Fuji Frontier or Noritsu film scans

Choices abound when it comes to photographing weddings on film; camera, film stock, lab and even film scanner. It can be a bit daunting at first and takes a while to settle on a combination that suits you and the look your trying to achieve. Below are a couple of photographs I captured at a recent styled shoot at Fingask Castle in Perthshire, Scotland. They were scanned by the awfully talented people at Richard Photo Lab in Hollywood, USA. One is scanned on a Noritsu film scanner and the other on a Fuji Frontier scanner. Both images are displayed exactly as they came from the lab.

film wedding photography scanned on Fuji Frontier film scanner

film wedding photography scanned on Noritsu film scanner

The top image was scanned on a Fuji Frontier and the bottom image on a Noritsu scanner. My personal tastes lean towards the Fuji Frontier. Both scans hold up well to scrutiny at 100% although I believe the Noritsu files enlarge up a little bit better. There is an interesting article here which is well worth reading on both scanners.

UK wedding film photographer Frontier vs Noritsu

Frontier left, Noritsu right

FYI the photographs were shot on a Hasselblad H1 camera with 80mm f2.8 lens @f4. The film was Fuji 400H metered at 200. I hope this comparison helps you in choosing between the Frontier & Noritsu scanners. Feel free to ask me anything on any aspect of photographing weddings on medium format film.

wedding photographer Scotland

Frontier left, Noritsu right

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12 thoughts on “Fuji Frontier or Noritsu film scans

  1. the Noritsu looks to have a reddish cast .Usually a WB adj gets rid of it with the Noritsu scans in my humble experience. I guess its a matter of preference. With these I prefer the brightness and greens of the location on the frontier, thanks for the comparison, love them.

  2. Thanks Toni, I’m leaning towards the Frontier. Prefer the greens and it’s a touch more punchy. Do like the warmth of the skin tones with the Noritsu files too though…

    • Me too Roland but the skin tones are maybe a touch yellow. The images from the Noritsu scanner seem to upsize better in post but I prefer the overall look of the Frontier scans, shame they take longer to turn around in most labs…

  3. Very nice post. At first glance I preferred the Frontier scans. But after looking at them for a while longer I decided that the Noritsu scan is actually more natural and appealing. The Frontier scans probably look better at first because they have slightly higher contrast. They do have a relatively yellowish cast though.

    Have you used Richard photo labs again? I’m wondering how they compare to some of the UK labs (Peak? Genie? The Vault?)

    Look forward to your response.

    • Thanks for your lovely comments! I was leaning to the Frontier scan but there’s not much in it TBH. They are straight scans and both benefit from a bit of a tweak in Lightroom. The Noritsu scans upsize nicely but I suspect the Frontier scans print more like a traditional photo. I’ve not had much luck with UK labs I’m afraid. All of my work goes to RPL, they do a great job and the results are very consistent which makes life a lot easier. Feel free to get in touch if I can help you in any way – shooting film is a bit of a journey!

  4. Hiya Craig,

    I scan on an Imacon 949 scanner (see my website), this isn’t a dodgy sales technique btw! I’d really love the chance to scan the image above on my scanner (of no cost to yourself) & just see how it compares to the frontier & noritsu. Obviously I have the potential to scan at a far higher resolution, but, as you’ve highlighted in this post, colour & tone are ‘very’ important.

    Kind regards

    Ian

    • I’d be interested to see how it scans on the Imacon too Ian, thank you. RPL hold on to my negs for a bit and mail them back to me periodically over the year. I’ll drop you an email when I have these particular negs back. Many thanks again, Craig

  5. sorry… i posted too early lol!

    Hi Craig
    I can tell anyone who views this, that the UK labs, and I have tried them all, have absolutely no idea what they are doing when it comes to scanning neg film. Its curved to the hilt, and looks aweful.
    RPL obviously do a lot more work in their scanning than leave the profile at default, or just do some basic density adjustment. To get your skin tones like that, its not just over exposing the film… the midtones and highlights all need to be pulled up dont they, and the contrast/saturation adjusted in the lower tones. Any bit of film i have got back from the lab looks nothing like what RPL can produce. Only The Darkroom in the UK will seriously work with you in getting a scan profile setup to what you wish, but even then, its no where near the quality of RPL.
    I just dont understand why in the UK no lab can get this look out of their Noritsu’s or Frontiers. Maybe Genesis could, that is the only lab i haven’t tried with col neg, their prices are very high.
    I know wedding photo’s who send work to them from the UK.. and I’m only a hobbiest, so to do that I think is probably overkill.
    Ian Scovell, who has posted here, does my work and he’s brilliant.

    why does every film shooter what their images looking like a Jose Villa??!! They aren’t Jose Villa….I think its quite sad. Whats happened to individual style and presentation?

    Thanks for the post though….interesting.. I know twinlens boys have done this kind of thing also…
    I wish every film shooter in the UK would hassle the labs to get an RPL quality service here… and not put up with the rather poor services we have. No wonder so many use Digital in the UK.

    • Hi Steve, thanks for taking the time to add your comment. RPL scans are nice there’s no doubt. I’m just waiting on a heap of personal work coming back from a UK lab and am hopeful of good results. I had a good chat with them as regards what I was looking for so will wait and see what the scans are like. Tragically, I’ve sent them a pile of well-expired Kodak Gold and some Reala (two emulsions that I seldom use!) so it’ll be difficult to make a direct comparison with scans sent to the US. Take a look back in a week or so and fingers crossed I’ll post the pics on my blog. Thanks again, Craig

  6. Hi Craig,

    Interesting post and lovely photograpgs. I stumbled across your blog looking for recommendations of a RPL UK equivalent….their service just seems streets ahead of anything we have here.
    Anyway, I have recently bought a Mamiya to shoot alongside my 35mm and digital and would like to get the most out of it. Would you still recommend using RPL over any UK based company? And secondly have you built a personal colour profile with them for scans etc. and if so how easy was this?

    Best wishes

    Nick

    • Hello Nick, thanks for visiting and your kind comments. RPL produce amazing scans but there is an associated risk with sending films overseas. I never experienced any problems but I was always relieved to receive a mail from them confirming receipt of my films! I’ve been using AG Photolab in Birmingham recently and am very happy with what I’m getting back from them. They are more than willing to scan to my personal preferences and I’m actually going to sit in with them for a day at the end of the month to dial in a look for my work. Price-wise they are less expensive than RPL and of course being based in the UK makes it easier all round to chat during the day. I never went down the colour-pac road at RPL but I think if you were going to settle on them to handle your work it would be a good way to go. Hope this helps, feel free to hit me with any more questions and best of luck shooting MF on your Mamiya!

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