I scan my image only to the file size I need for my specific
project, or should I scan to the highest resolution possible?
Read about West Coast
Imaging's scan once for many purposes philosophy.
do I need to use a drum scanner? Can't I just use a flatbed
or desktop scanner?
Compare and see. If you are happy with what your flatbed or film
scanner gives you, then use it. We find that we are only happy
with the quality our Tango gives
us. It resolves more detail, and gives cleaner and more accurate
color. It makes the process of printing easier and better. In every
art, the quality of your raw materials affects the quality of the
final piece. In digital imaging, the scan is the raw material.
We choose to start with the best available.
so great about the Tango Drum Scanner?
It truly resolves up to 10,780 dpi--capturing every single
detail in your film. The software that drives the scanner
allows for the cleanest, most accurate scan available
from your piece of film. Many companies offer drum scans
from less expensive scanners--there is a visible difference
(do a comparison test between the Tango
and another drum scanner to view for yourself). If you start off
with a less-than-superior scan, you will sacrifice the integrity
of your digital image. The other advantage to using our Tango
is that we have a vast amount of experience making digital fine
art photographs. From the scan to the finished image--we know what
you need for an excellent print.
do you recommend scanning 35mm to 200MB 16-bit RGB?
Scanning a 35mm frame at 5000dpi in RGB creates a 200MB 16-bit
file. At 5000 dpi, we've reached the point of diminishing returns...you
have to scan much larger to pull even small amounts of additional
detail from the film. The exceptions are images captured with
X-pan cameras, Zeiss lenses and Leica lenses.
I scan my larger format film to 400MB 16-bit RGB or 600MB 16-bit
It's up to you. With a 400MB 16-bit RGB scan you can make a 30x40
print at 200dpi. You can also make a duplicate transparency using
a digital film recorder.
600MB 16-bit RGB scan allows you to print a 30x40 print at 300dpi
or a 40x50 at 200 dpi.
you FTP scans to me?
We can do better than that! Our online services allow you to upload
files to us, and download scans, using your web browser - no FTP
programs necessary. Sign
up for a free account today.
There is a $15 online delivery charge for each order delivered
only need one image scanned, but the image is on a strip
of film. Do I need to cut out the individual frame, or should
I send the entire strip?
Yes, please trim out the individual frame we need to scan. It is
easier and less clumsy to mount, which reduces the chance of damaging
we receive a strip of film, we will contact you to see if we
can trim out the individual frame you need us to scan.
you DO NOT want to cut the film, we can mount the entire strip
on our drum. Since this requires more work and time, we charge
$10 per strip of 3 images mounted (larger strips will be billed
at a higher rate), and turnaround will be longer.
do Tango scans compare to scans from other scanners?
In a world where you can buy scanners for a few thousand dollars,
we decided to spend $70,000 on our Tango because it delivers
THE BEST scans we've ever seen. Making an excellent print requires
an excellent scan. We weren't willing to compromise on this critical
part of the process.
does the scan not look exactly like my slide, or my print from
When we make scan decisions, our first goal is to make a scan
that will make an excellent print. We scan images to RETAIN detail
and information, and NOT necessarily to match your film because
this makes the very best prints.
a smaller scan of lesser quality?
No. It's simply scanned at a lower resolution, so you won't be
able to print it as large as you could print a bigger scan.
a 6x7 and a 4x5 piece of film both generate a 600MB 16-bit
RGB scan, then they should make a 30x40 print with the same
amount of detail and quality, right? Film size doesn't matter?
Let's say you took a picture of Yosemite Valley with your 6x7
camera, and the same image with your 4x5. On your 6x7 film, the
size of Yosemite Fall would be maybe 1.3cm tall. On your 4x5
film, Bridalveil Fall would be 2.35cm tall. That means it's nearly
twice as large on the film. There is a lot more information and
detail recorded on the 4x5 film, simply because there is more
space to record it. The scanner "sees" this additional
information, as because of that, it makes a sharper scan from
the 4x5 with more resolution. View
an illustration of this example.
do my scans look pixilated in some areas?
If you are not used to looking at digital files, you can mistake
individual pieces of grain for pixels. When you scan an image,
the grain on your film looks very different than when you view
it on a light table because of the magnification (unless you regularly
view your film under a microscope!) What looks like an even blue
sky actually has many different colors and densities of grain making
up what the eye perceives as blue. You especially notice this phenomenon
in deep shadows and large dark areas. It's completely normal, since
the scanner is actually capturing the subtle nuances of your film!
big can I print from a 100/200/300 mb scan?
Here is a chart with general guidelines of how large you
can print an image at 200dpi and 300dpi.
Print Size at 200dpi
Print Size at 300dpi
16-bit RGB Scan
16-bit RGB Scan
16-bit RGB Scan
have a very dark slide. Will a good scan be able to lighten
The best scans come from properly exposed film. If your film
is underexposed in highlights and shadows, we can lighten it.
But if your shadows are dark and heavy because the brightness
range of the scene exceeded the latitude of the film, there is
less we can do because you need to make local changes that can't
be made on scanner. You have much more local control in lightening
or darkening a transparency by working on the scan in Photoshop.
If you have an underexposed image, we'll do our best to capture
as much shadow detail as possible--but if your shadows are completely
black, we can't capture detail that isn't there. If you are trying
to "save" an image that it extremely difficult, there
are special techniques we can use on scanner, but you will have
to tell us ahead of time to use them. We generally don't use
these techniques unless you ask because they can make your files
more difficult to print.
heard it is much more difficult to get a high-quality scan
from color negative film than chromes. Is this absolutely true
? Is there a way to expose film to optimize it for scanning?
I prefer to continue shooting negative film because of its
contrast ratio and exposure latitude. As I contemplate having
my images scanned, I'd like to know the best solution for future
film, and the projects I'm embarking upon.
Chromes scan more easily than negs for a number of reasons, not
the least of which is that it is a positive, and we have an accurate
reference to what it should look like. With a negative we have
no such reference. Also, the grain structure of chromes holds
up much better, and gives a sharper file than negs.
The wider latitude of negs is part of the problem, as well. Compressing
that range into a print flattens contrast and destroys local
contrast...things that make a print sparkle. On the other hand,
using chromes in flat light stretches out the contrast range
and makes nice local contrast happen automatically.
have scanned thousands of chromes and negs from beginners to
professionals with decades of experience. In looking at what
works, we have found that negs from studio photographers who
light flat for chrome, make the best scans....so the very reason
you want to use neg is in direct opposition to creating the type
of lighting conditions and neg that scans well.
Now this doesn't mean that the chrome is always better, but with
a chrome, what you see is what you get, and we can always make
a good scan from a good chrome. With NEgatives there is a little
bit more variability and uncertainty. The type of neg film really
doesn't matter very much.
You will choose what tools and workflow will work best for you
and your work. I don't know the type of subject matter you photograph,
but the look you see in Outdoor Photographer of landscapes is a
direct function of using chrome film or digital cameras in those
early morning and late evening light with a latitude, color, and
contrast that create those looks. If there was an easier way to
obtain that look, we'd all be doing it!
it possible to drum scan APS negatives? Does this require removal
from the cassette?
Yes! The cassette must be opened, and the frame cut out. We have
scanned some, and we were very surprised by the quality it held.
you scan small film like Minox, 16mm motion picture frames,
or Kodak Disc Film?
Yes! It has to be cut from the disc. We have scanned some, and
we were very surprised by the quality it held for a 20-year-old
emulsion that's so small--but we don't see it making a comeback
anytime soon. Even James Bond has abandoned his trusty Minox and
is the highest resolution scan you could get from the 24mm
We can scan up to 10780 dpi which will give you a 400mb 16 bit
RGB file if we scan the whole frame. If you can give us the crop,
we can crop on scanner. At this resolution you will have pulled
everything possible out of the film.
Unfortunately, the lenses on most APS cameras are not very good,
and they dont have a lot of real resolution on the film.
is a Chromira?
The Chromira is a Digital Enlarger that exposes type C photographic paper with
LEDs. The photo paper is then processed in RA-4 chemistry, creating a continuous-tone,
true photographic print. The LEDs use the numbers in your digital file to determine
how to expose the paper. The Chromira is different from inkjet printers because
it exposes photographic paper (no ink is involved), whereas inkjet printers physically
lay ink on paper or canvas.
we chose the Chromira as our primary output device for Fuji
Crystal Archive Paper:
Both the Lightjet and the Chromira expose Fuji Crystal Archive
paper, so we’re printing on the same paper we've used since
1997. The main difference between the machines is how they expose
paper. The Lightjet uses lasers; the Chromira uses LEDs. In our
comparison testing we found that with an accurate profile, both
could make prints that we considered to be a match. We decided
to go with the Chromira because the prints seemed to consistently
have a little more brilliance and a little cleaner color. We also
think the Chromira is more flexible for us, when it comes to its
ease of use in producing Fine Art prints.
prints off the Chromira compare to prints off the Lightjet:
• Sharpness: Chromira prints are as sharp or sharper than
• Both the Chromira and Lightjet accept standard 300 dpi
files. The Chromira can accept any resolution file.
• Gamut: In our comparison tests, we are seeing richer blues
and cleaner colors.
• Can it print from low-res digital camera files? Yes! The
Chromira can interpolate any DPI file up to printing resolution.
Optimal results are achieved by following the steps in our IMAGING
TIP: Gaining Maximum Sharpness from Digital Camera Files.
• Exposes Fuji Crystal Archive paper: Yes! The Chromira prints
on the same paper we used on the Lightjet.
I need to profile my prints to your Chromira profile?
No. Unlike the Lightjet, the Chromira can read your working space
and convert it on the fly to the proper output profile. This saves
you a step, and saves you time. Please read the new preflight requirements.
I use my existing profiled files to print on the Chromira?
Yes, but only if it's necessary. Because they’ve been
confined to the Lightjet colorspace, they may not be able
to utilize the full gamut of the Chromira. Your prints should
look better if you send us a targeted file in it's original
do Chromira prints compare to prints made through more traditional
methods, like Ilfochrome?
Ilfochrome is a beautiful analog process, but notoriously
difficult. Even at its best, Ilfochrome printing requires
much more time than Photoshop. Every time we've been asked
by a client to "match"
an existing Ilfochrome print, we've gone beyond a match, and brought
out aspects of the image the client never thought possible. If
you are still using Ilfochrome, you should see what our process
can do for your photographs--otherwise, you'll never know what
you are missing! Quantitatively, digital prints will be sharper,
which allows you to make larger prints; the color is cleaner; and
the contrast problems so common in Ilfochrome prints are removed
by the scanner.
there any difference between the gloss and matte finish in
terms of apparent sharpness or quality, or in terms of file
Both papers produce the same color. In terms of sharpness, the
sheen of the gloss paper makes the image appear slightly sharper
(though you wouldn't notice the slight difference at first glance).
The matte paper is less fragile than gloss, scratching less easily.
Both papers are beautiful, and deciding which one to use is a personal
do you recommend mounting Chromira prints?
Any process that can mount color photographic prints can work with
Chromira prints. We suggest checking with your framer to see what
process they use. Many customers have had success with dry mounting
or T-hinge mounting. Here's
what you do to T-hinge mount: Take four strips of archival linen
tape, about .75" wide, and 2-3"
long. Tape one strip to the back of the print, on each of the upper
corners. The tape should be perpendicular to the top of the print,
and the sticky side should be up. Then take the other two pieces
of tape, and apply so each piece is parallel to the print, over
the other strips of tape. Now press these pieces of tape onto the
mat board. Your print is now fixed to the mat board. Now take two
plastic corner mounts, and apply them to the bottom corners of
the print. These mounts should not be supporting the print, but
anchoring it gently to the mat board. You're done!
much can I sell my Chromira prints for?
It depends on where you're selling them. In a fine art gallery,
here are some general prices for a matted Fuji Crystal Archive
Why should I send my images to West Coast Imaging, instead of another
1997, we opened our business to offer the care and attention
photographers deserve. Coming from fine-art gallery backgrounds,
we have a high standard for quality print making. We are not
a lab, but a studio. We built our business from the ground up
around one goal: to offer the best quality prints to photographers
from their images.
There are several factors that set us apart from other labs in
treat printmaking and scanning as an art, giving each image
intense individualized attention. We are a studio that helps
photographers achieve their goals, rather than a lab that pushes
images through a fixed process. Fixed processes work well for
E-6 lines, but not for fine art printmaking.
staff members offer extensive backgrounds in photography and
digital imaging. Whether you're a photojournalist, commercial
photographer, portrait photographer or landscape photographer,
we talk the same language, and we understand the value of your
original transparency. When you call to talk with us, we'll
understand what you mean if you say, "I'd like the foreground
a stop lighter."
offer personalized service. One of the best parts of our job
is chatting with clients. We want to get to know you, your
photography, and your vision. This is the best way to make
prints that please you.
Tango Drum Scanner delivers exceptional 8-bit or 16-bit scans.
Starting out with an excellent scan makes everything else in
digital imaging significantly easier.
offer a wide variety of digital printing options, including
Fuji Crystal Archive Prints and the latest Epson printers with
a wide variety of papers. Offering many high-quality options
gives photographers more creative control over the look and
feel of their final prints.
offer full service printing to photographers who would rather
be in the field making new photos than working in Photoshop.
All we need is your film or digital camera file, and any direction
you would like to give us. We'll put our imaging talents to
work, delivering a final print you can sell or display.
who want to do their own Photoshop work can use our Print
Lab, and we'll make prints directly from your files. This
is a great way to make prints of your images without having
to spend the money (or space) to have the printer in your own
digital imaging changing virtually every day, it's important
to stay on the cutting edge of all new developments. We take
this task seriously, and are constantly implementing new services
and technology as the industry evolves.
if you need more reasons, read what
our clients have to say about us.
kind of equipment do you use?
Our studio uses primarily Macintosh computers. All of our monitors
are calibrated using EyeOne Photo by GreytagMacbeth. We own two
Tango Drum Scanners; Epson 11880, 9800, 9600, and 10000 model
printers; and a Chromira ProLab...and that's just a short list!
can I see examples of your prints?
You can request samples,
and we will mail you small sample prints for your review.
is Oakhurst, California?
Oakhurst is located on California Highway 41, about 15 miles from
the south gate of Yosemite National Park. We're also about an hour
north of Fresno--where the closest airport is located. View
a map of the area.
are you located in Oakhurst as opposed to LA or the San Francisco
Our staff is comprised of photographers and artists who are motivated
by beautiful scenery and time spent in the outdoors. Digital printing
requires a great amount of creativity, clarity and patience--which
are easily found when you step outside our studio. Shipping companies
like FedEx allow us to conduct business overnight with our vendors
and our clients. Turn-around times wouldn't be any faster if we
lived in a large city. We can't find a good reason to NOT live
in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
am an amateur photographer, not a professional. Can I still
send my work to West Coast Imaging?
Yes! We welcome work from ANYONE who wants an excellent scan or
print of their image. Our goal is to help all photographers tell
their story better, and to make their vision a reality.
I come in for a tour of West Coast Imaging?
We'd be happy to show you our studio during our regular business
hours (9 to 5, Monday through Friday). Since we work on deadline
almost every day, please schedule an appointment for your visit
by sending us an email.
We are a mail order pro lab. We know that every damaged
package causes problems, delays, and frustrations. Therefore,
we take great care in packaging your prints and film. We
package to ensure success with every order.
How we package your prints
After inspecting your prints thoroughly, we package them
carefully using archival bags, archival interleaving, and
a variety of materials that are necessary to protect your
print. We have custom boxes and cardboard pads for prints
up to 20x30 in size. We roll larger prints around the OUTSIDE
of a sturdy cardboard tube, wrap the tube with bubble wrap,
then place it in a large rectangular box.
How we package your scans
We sandwich your originals between two pieces of thick cardboard.
The CDs are attached to the cardboard sandwich with rubber
bands, and the entire package is slipped into a plastic
sleeve and sealed with an "originals enclosed" sticker.
Small scan orders are shipped in a Fedex envelope. Larger
orders are wrapped in bubble wrap and slipped into a Fedex
We charge a handling fee on each box we ship
Our shipping materials cost money, as does the labor it takes
to package your prints. Our handling fees exist to cover
these costs. This fee is charged whether you have one print
in the box, or five prints. This fee is charged IN ADDITION
to the shipping charges charged by the carrier. If you
are unsure about how much you will be charged, we are always
happy to provide a quote for you.
The handling fee is based on the size of the box, and how
much packaging is required. Here are some sample handling
No handling fees for DVDs
$6 for prints
or other small items that fit into a Fedex Envelope
$8 for orders that fit into a Fedex box
$10 for a box of 16x20 prints or canvas wraps
$18 for a box of rolled 24x36 prints
$20 and up for oversized and custom boxes
We can insure your package at your request
Our default policy is to ship your package without any special
insurance. If you would like us to insure your package
for a certain amount (such as the amount of your invoice),
please let us know when you place your order.
FedEx Second Day is our default shipping method for prints,
and for packages containing film:
FedEx is our carrier of choice, and we can ship using any
of their express or ground services. If you do not specify
a service in the "shipping preference" section
of your order form, we will ship by FedEx Second Day delivery
for print orders, and packages containing film. Shipping
charges are billed with your invoice. We charge Fedex's retail
rates for your shipment. We can also bill shipping directly
to your FedEx account. For an additional fee, we can ship
your package so a signature is required for delivery. Please
boldly write "signature required" in the shipping
preference area of your order form to request this service,
or contact us to request it on an order already in-house.
If you are ordering prints larger than 24x30, or if your
prints are rolled, you will be charged by dimensional weight,
which increases shipping costs with most services. You can
usually reduce your shipping costs for these large prints
by choosing to ship them FedEx Ground.
USPS is our default shipping method
for DVDs and proofs:
Since the USPS offers exceptional rates on shipping small
packages, we use the USPS as our default shipping method
for proofs and DVDs. If you prefer a different shipping
method, please indicate this on your order form.
FedEx Ground is the least expensive
option for most packages:
FedEx Ground can take anywhere from a day (in California)
to a week (to the East Coast) rates range from $4 on up,
depending on your ZIP code and the package weight. If you
would like to ship using FedEx Ground, please indicate
this on your order form.
We also ship via UPS, OnTrac, and freight
shipping for large pieces, and upon request.
We ship internationally. Since each country has
different postal regulations, please tell us the carrier
you wish to use. We can quote different carriers upon request.
Also give us instructions on how to fill out the
carriage value forms, and any other information we need
Be assured, prints from West Coast Imaging
are packaged to withstand the tortures
We package prints up to 20x30 in several
layers of cardboard, which are placed in
a custom-made flat box. Large prints are
sent rolled, wrapped in bubble wrap, then
sealed in a sturdy cardboard box.
A few precautions should
be taken when opening your
Keep all food and liquids away from
your work area.
Check all layers of cardboard for
originals, CDs, or paperwork.
Carefully remove the tape that secures
the prints to the cardboard.
Handle your prints with clean hands.
Wearing white cotton gloves is an even
Slide the print out of the protective plastic
bag on a large clean table.
Be sure to keep your print flat. When lifting
the print, hold by opposite corners ONLY!!
Holding the prints in any other way will
cause a crease, and ruin your print (an
Last but not least, enjoy your beautiful
photos from West Coast Imaging.
Text and Illustrations by Ron
Iudice, West Coast Imaging staff member
Carefully remove your print from the plastic
bag on a large, flat surface.
Do not handle your print by two
corners on the same side of the print. You will
Do not handle your print with one hand.
You will damage it.
For best results, handle your print
by opposite corners.
Will My 35mm Print at 16x20, Compared to a 4x5?
Excellent 16x20 prints can be made from 35mm, but 16x20 prints from larger formats
will have better resolution and sharpness. This chart will help you compare film
formats versus print size.
View the longevity of various types of Epson Inks on a variety
Digital imaging is full of jargon and abbreviations.
Our glossary will demystify some of the more common
a comparison between a 6x7 transparency and a 4x5 scanned to
300mb 8-bit RGB scan