I am new to film photography and developing/scanning at home so I would like to ask your opinion about my setup and workflow. I also attached a picture from my last developed and scanned roll of Portra 400.
When I see shots posted on reddit or even Instagram, I have the feeling my photos are not coming as they supposed to. Mostly regarding sharpness, noise and exposure.
I’m using a Nikon FA with a 50mm 1.4 AIS lens. For my last roll I used Portra 400 metered at 200 so overexposed. (I’ve read and seen a lot of reviews on internet and Youtube where they say Portra needs more light). The shot in the attachement was made at F8, I use apperture priotity and multi pattern metering (not center weighted)
For developing I use Tetenal Colortec C-41. I followed the table in the small book coming with the kit and since I reached my 4th roll, I developed the film 9 minutes (first 30 seconds with the stick rotating, then turning rotating gently 3 times every minute). I then used the Blix for 8 min (same agitation technique like for developing), then 6 min rinsing, and then 1 min for the fixer. The temperature I tried to keep for all chemicals 30 degrees ± 0.5
For scanning I use my XT3 with a Canon FD 50mm 3.5 Macro lens with extension tube to reach 1:1 magnification. Kaiser Slimlite plano is my light table. I use the Lomography Digitizer for 35mm as a film holder. (However I do not cover the part of the light table that I dont use when scanning. Maybe this is also one problem?)
My settings for scanning:
F8, ISO 160, SS 1sec (is this too long?)
-I’ve read that its better to expose to the right when scanning negatives to get the whole information from the shadows.
- I shoot RAW only
- I try to focus on the grain using focus peaking
I then import the scans in Lightroom and use NLP with the Frontier +3 Saturation. The conversion turns out very well, altough I must say I cannot see a big difference between the colors of for example Kodak Gold or Portra 400, altough I know from looking at so many Portra pictures how the tones should look. I must say I am a bit disappointed after this last roll, especially because it’s my first Portra roll and maybe I expected something different. I find too much grain, not sharp or clean enough, and quite noisy. (Is it also noisy because I use a Fuji camera with Lightroom)
I know there could be a lot of things that lead to a noisy, grainy unsharp not so clean picture. Maybe my Nikon is overexposing? Maybe the lens is not sharp? Maybe my macro lens is not sharp?
Anyways, I’m looking forward to your answers and opinions guys.
Thank you very much!
EDIT: Here is a link with the image https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3cffzhmc4zoeeqt/AAA5DXf1eysbZ2-k_LZAUHlXa?dl=0
It somehow didnt want to upload here.