I’ve had about enough of my scanner, a Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II. Despite getting negatives with gorgeous density when I developed Ilford Delta 400 in LegacyPro L110, a Kodak HC-110 clone, about half of the scans look terrible. I used the Ilford data sheet recipe of Dilution B, 7:30 at 20° C. I made the photos in my wonderful Olympus XA.

I made these three images on a graffiti wall in Bloomington when I was there to walk in a park with my oldest recently. The tonality and sharpness are pretty good. These images needed very little post processing.


On the way home I stopped in Martinsville to see an old friend, this brick road that was probably laid in the 1910s. It is the precursor to State Road 39, which is maybe 500 feet to the left, out of the frame. The bricks in the foreground look nearly three-dimensional, as if you can reach out and touch them.

Old brick road, Martinsville, IN

I went to McCormick’s Creek State Park to walk with my youngest. Thanks to COVID-19, I’m seeing my adult children in the outdoors whenever the weather allows it and I can get away. My scanner just couldn’t pull good detail out of the shadows on these negatives.

At McCormick's Creek State Park
At McCormick's Creek State Park

I had a chance to visit my favorite abandoned bridge on the way home. It was starting to get dark that gray afternoon and the XA gave me shutter speeds of 1/15 or less at apertures that would secure lots of depth of field. I backed off to f/5.6 as a compromise, but for some reason I got underexposed negatives. My first scans were so dark as to be unusable. I re-scanned these images, tweaking settings to bring out the shadows, and got images like this one. It’s better, but still not great.

Abandoned US 40 bridge

I have no idea what happened in this image, which I made at the Bloomington park. It’s grainy and not sharp, and the tones are flat. Maybe that reflecting mirror fooled the meter?

Switchyard Park, Bloomington

I finished the roll in downtown Zionsville. This is the best image from that little walk, technically. A couple other images have a more interesting composition, but I whiffed focus or shook the camera a little. It was a heavily overcast day and again I was getting slow shutter speeds at f/5.6. I’ve had great luck with the XA in crappy weather before, so I don’t know what happened here.


The Olympus XA is a never-miss camera for me, which heightens my disappointment in these images. The negatives look great, it’s just that my scanner isn’t getting the detail I know is there.

Stay tuned — a solution is on the horizon.

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17 responses to “Ilford Delta 400 in LegacyPro L110”

  1. arhphotographic Avatar

    I feel your pain:( I too have had to replace my HP scanner for the same reasons as yourself. I settled on an Epson V370 and although far from perfect a significant improvement , leading to :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ll give you a sneak preview: I bought a used dedicated 35mm scanner from KEH. Sample scans to come!

  2. Mike Connealy Avatar

    Which scanning program are you using and what settings within it? A lot of people like Vuescan. I’m still using a very old version of Silverfast with my old Epson flatbed scanner. Silverfast provides quite a few preset profiles for a variety of films. I usually try out several for any batch of negatives. There are also quite a few tools within Silverfast for adjusting contrast and tonal values.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I use VueScan. I’ve done everything I know to do to get better 35mm scans from my flatbed with it. I used to use SilverFast with my old scanner and appreciated its film profiles, but its UI was terrible and that’s what made me choose VueScan for my new scanner. VueScan has a few film profiles but they’re not great.

  3. Joe shoots resurrected cameras Avatar

    Now I’m intrigued to know which scanner you bought! Honestly I hope it’s not another flatbed, I think you’ve graduated from that. Looked at KEH’s website and it looks like scanners go fast there, almost nothing listed. So…can you at least give us a hint? :D

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Well, it was made in about 2003, by the mind of a (then) major camera manufacturer.

      1. Joe shoots resurrected cameras Avatar

        Hmmmm then I’d say either a Polaroid Sprintscan or one of the Minolta Dimage series…

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Good guesses!

        2. Jim Grey Avatar

          The reveal is this Wednesday!

  4. fishyfisharcade Avatar

    Based on a previous conversation we had, I think I may know what you went for, but I’ll mention no (scanner) names. :-) Plus you may surprise me with something else. Whatever you chose, I hope you get the results you’re after.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I think you’ll be surprised!

      1. fishyfisharcade Avatar

        Cool. I shall look forward to the reveal. :-)

  5. tbm3fan Avatar

    Funny you mention a Canon 9000 xx scanner. Just came off a Facebook group for vintage camera users, you may know, and there was talk by a user about the Canon 9000 and replacement models. The comment was that this model is quite bad at dealing with highlights and shadows in a 35mm negative.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s been my experience for sure. It just can’t get good shadow detail from 35mm negs. It struggles a little with MF negs but I can usually work around it. Not on 35mm negs, or at least I haven’t been able to figure it out.

  6. Jerome (EarthSunFilm) Avatar

    I use an epson v600. So far, the scans have been pretty good. I tried SilverFast, but it’s the most counter-intuitive software I have ever used. Now I use epson software, and the biggest issue is exposure levels. Often negatives scan too light.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      VueScan might help you. I don’t think any scanner software is intuitive, but VueScan is far more intuitive than SilverFast.

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