Scanning 110

Working through the pile of film negatives I found myself pushing aside a small pile of 110 negatives.

110 frames are dramatically smaller than 35mm frames, and not quite the same ratio. The biggest point about that is the smaller negative requires a higher scanning resolution to get the same number of pixels. But, because there is just less film to be worked with, it is more vulnerable to degradation, and digitizing issues.

The celluloid is traditionally a bit thicker than 35mm, just to strengthen the film which is cut about one-third the width. While this improves physical strength, it may leave the film more likely to fade or shift colour tone due to incomplete processing. Even if the shift is minor, that slightly thicker film is just enough a difference that software filters – primarily normed against 35mm negatives – often over-compensate during digitization.

A very blue-shifted image digitized from a color negative
Badly filtered 110 negative.

Which results in images like this one. It is very blue, and the colour range extremely flattened. One might assume it was over-contrasted, but actually the colours were just collapsed.

Better filtering.

Unfortunately, even when the filter is tweaked to get better digital colour, the image is still grainy and the shading and tinting transitions seem coarse.  Most importantly the image seems to still lack the warmth of colour tones.

Scan from print.

Of course we know this because we have the original print. And that has also faded over the years, but for now it serves as the comparison for learning how better to digitize 110.