If you don't know what cross processing is, then here is the – very – short version. It is when you develop a film in the “wrong” chemicals, a C41 film in E6 chemicals and vice versa. Read more about it here on Wikipedia
It's not that I do this a lot, I actually only done it once recently – a E6 film in C41 chemicals – and then I have two old – 20 years – slide films that was developed in C41 by the lab by a mistake.
It's the two old films, I'll use in this blog post, because back in the day I always ordered 10×15 prints of my negatives, when I got them developed. And that's how I know what they look like when cross processed, and that gives me the perfect set off for this comparison.
Back then I was very sad, that they were cross processed, I don't even think I knew it was a thing you could do for the effect. Anyway I wasn't happy about it, and my Photoshop skills were not that good either, so correcting the photos – from a scan of the 10×15 print – was not really an option. I mainly just converted them to black and white.
Jump to 2020, and my photography skills are a way better than in 2000, and my photo equipment is also a lot better, I can now scan the negatives in a dedicated negative scanner instead of scanning the 10×15 prints on a flatbed scanner. And the software has of course also gotten better, and this guy Nathan made a super awesome negative conversion plug-in for Lightroom called Negative Lab Pro (NLP), which I have used on all my scans, since I bought it.
I started scanning my old negatives, and when I came to the two cross processed ones, I noticed that the colors were different from what I remembered the 10×15 prints to be. I found the prints in a photo album, and I was right they were a lot greener in the 2000 version, then in my new NLP version.
So is this a good or a bad thing? Well I guess that all depends on what you're looking for in your photo. There is no doubt about that the 2000 me, would have been a happy camper with the NLP versions of the negatives. And I must admit that 2020 me also like the NLP look.
But if it's the cross process look you're going for, then I wouldn't recommend that you use NLP, but just scan the negatives with as few settings in your scanner software as possible.
OK, on with the comparison. But first some…
- Scanner: Plustek 8200i
- Software: Vuescan
- Non NLP scan settings: media: color negative, color balance: neutral, 48bit RGB and 3600dpi resolution, the rest is up to you 🙂
- NLP scan settings: the ones Nathan recommends on his website.
Here are a few examples. The top photo is without NLP conversion and the bottom photo is. I haven't done any corrections other than cropping the photos.
Direct scan Negative Lab Pro Direct scan Negative Lab Pro Direct scan Negative Lab Pro Direct scan Negative Lab Pro Direct scan Negative Lab Pro
NB: the 10×15 prints – from back then – I have in my photo album, are actually way darker (and perhaps a bit greener) than the scans I made here. Here's a quick snapshot of a few of them.
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