Can I apply PL4 lens corrections when I use a "known" lens on a film camera

I purchased a used Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED VR lens from KEH for use on my Nikon D750 and Df. I know that PL4 will automatically correct for both the camera, and the lens. I just received the lens today, so I’ll start using it later this week. No issues that I know of.

I also plan to use this lens on my NIkon F4 film camera. Since the lens has no external adjustment for aperture, I will need to shoot in Program or Manual mode. My plan is to scan the negatives with a Plustek scanner, then edit using PL4.

My question, which might also relate to a lot of other people shooting film cameras using lenses that PL4 “knows about”, is whether there is any way for me to tell PL4 which lens I used, so PL4 can automatically make the corrections it might have done if the lens was mounted on a digital camera? Even with the “data back” there is nothing like an EXIF file to pass on any information to PL4.

If PL4 can’t do this automatically, is it possible for me to use something like a “filter” so PL4 will make the adjustments?

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Simple answer: 99.9% No.

PhotoLab searches for lens info in the metadata areas of the image file. Together with the info about the camera used, PhotoLab then downloads/applies the respective modle corrections.

If you want to spoof PhotoLab into using the module, you’d need to edit the file from the scanner and add the necessary info in the right places - and make PhotoLab believe that the TIFF you’re editing was written by Lightroom…

That might be a nice feature if they could allow “manual” correction.
It would be nice if I could tell PL4 that the image came from my D750 with this lens…

But for now, I’ll assume “no” is the end of it. Thanks for the reply.

(Is it possible to apply lens corrections manually, such as “pincushion” correction? I could take a photo of a “grid”, adjust it until it was right, then use those corrections manually for my actual photos with that lens…)

…this can be a possibility… Don’t forget to shoot the grid at different zoom and focal length settings. Maybe manual corrections might be good enough.


while this combination works in Progam Mode and Shutter Priority (manually is no fun) and even with autofocus, this G-lens is better suited for your D750.

I agree, and the VR won’t do anything on the F4, but will be quite useful on the D750 or Df.

I thought about buying a lens specifically for the F4, but I’ll hold off on that until I see how the F4 works for me.

Most of the lenses I liked the most I couldn’t and can’t afford.

Who knows, maybe I’ll put the F4 away again, and go back to Leica. No auto-focus, no VR, and even if it’s “no fun” as you put it, I want to be able to set everything manually. Or, maybe I’ll put everything away, and go back to Digital.

It will probably sound silly to say this, but the images I “finish” after scanning them feel much more satisfying than my digital captures.

How do you guys feel about analog vs. digital? Do you notice the difference in the end result?

When I was still using my Mamiya M645 in the last century, I always liked to use the waist level finder, because it made me shoot less. Here’s why: When I look through the waist level finder, I see an image instead of whatever is in front of the lens. This abstraction made a difference.

I also remember that I wanted to get saturated colours like I saw in photo books. When I look at these books now, I find that the colours are less than what I remembered. Digital photos have shifted perception of what looks “normal” withe their crying-out-loud saturation. Analog photos have, what we today call character, or flaws, that we try to eliminate at all cost.

Check colours in movies: Cinematic look is less saturated and sometimes, you can find colour fringes too - and bokeh which melts the background - or not.

Does analog vs digital matter? Not imo. I’m quite happy with not having to stay up long enlarging nights and sniffing chemicals, although I have fond memories of that time.


That is just so true. And using a view camera further increases that abstraction, because the image is not only “indirect”, it is also inverted. So you look for shapes and patterns more.

Mind you, I was leading an LF workshop in Scotland a number of years ago, setting up a shot under the darkcloth, but when I came out from under it, I had this thought that the image I was looking at was the right way up! It’s amazing what the brain can do.

It’s a bit like vinyl records vs CDs. There is a massive resurgence of interest in vinyl these days because it “feels” different and has things like fizz, pop and crackle as the needle runs in the groove.

On the other hand, with digital photography, we do have the choice as to how “perfect” we make our images, although emulating wet plate collodion process can be quite difficult :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

But, to my mind, the best thing we, as photographers, can do is learn to make images rather than just take photos

We still have a few hundred sheets of 5" x 4" film in the freezer, really must take some of it out and flex the bellows on my Ebony SV45Te


At any time, I prefer the controlled (and stainfree !) digital darkroom to different emulsions, variing
developing processes and hoping for the result. → Organizing PL4 on my computer to deal with both analog and digital images - #7 by Wolfgang

But however you decide – have fun with it.

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While I don’t have anything like a Mamiya M645, I do have the option of buying a “wait level finder” that will go on my F4. I’ve never used one - I still have one I bought long ago for my Nikon F2 (I think) but I never mounted it on the camera. Ebay has lotos of them, all around $100.

I think I understand and appreciate what you’re saying - with all my current cameras, I see “what’s in front of me”, and I adjust the framing and composition to make the “shapes” look better. With the waist level viewpoint, it’s more like looking at a “photograph” that I can control before I capture it.

On a 35, I think the image will be right side up, but maybe the other things you mention will still apply.

To be honest, I’m mostly trying to capture what I see, in the best way I can. By moving closer and further away, and right/left, maybe I can start creating an image, before I place my make-believe tripod (my feet) in place. I usually do this, when I’m “hunting” for an image. I don’t always do it when I’m trying to capture what I see.

When I’m using digital, I often take many photos of the same thing, hoping one of them will capture what I want. With film, I tend to take just ONE shot, more carefully composed to be exactly what I want. (…and the above goes out the window, when I’m trying to photograph people or animals - it always seems to take lots of shots until the person/animal looks the way I like. Expressions and body movement are so quick to change, I’m more likely to get a photo I’ll be happy with if I shoot more images. But I prefer taking “landscape” photos, where I have lots of time to get organized. I hope I learn to “see” things more like the way Joanna does, considering not only what’s in front of me, but how I can optimize it (like with the rock!!).

In my opinion, digital is superior to analog when it comes to image quality. If I shoot positive or negative film and then scan it, it is then digital. The original capture, on positive or negative film doesn’t capture any more detail, as far as I have been able to see, than even my old Canon 10d could years ago. As far as the “character” of film, well…digital files can have all of the character added in post and if done skillfully enough, I doubt anyone would be able to pick which image was film and which was a digital capture.

Now…if your main focus is “fun”, then film does offer a fun aspect that digital doesn’t. The excitement of loading the BW film into the developing tank, developing the film, letting it dry then either scanning it or if you are lucky going into the darkroom and printing your own prints…dodging and burning to your hearts content and then watching the image appear on the print in the developer. That is something that digital can’t provide…unless someone invents a small usb powered scent atomizer that can spray the scent of Dektol or stop bath into your face at the correct time intervals…hmmmm…this might be a good idea.


I just read through this discussion, and my head is spinning:

I’'m starting to accept that for an ordinary person, it no longer matters. Diffraction seems to be one of the main culprits. I’ll do the best I can with what I’ve got, but I seriously think the only drawback for shooting film is “instant gratification”. I’ll find out soon enough from my own images.

Thanks for sharing the article. Interesting indeed. I wasn’t even thinking about “scanning” using a digital camera setup. I was only thinking of using a dedicated film scanner or flatbed scanner with film capability.

In the end, if you like shooting film then do it. I like using my old Canon FDn mount 28mm f2.8 prime on my Canon eos R. Is it as sharp as my Tamron 24-70? Not by a long shot. But the experience of using this old manual focus prime is special. It has a feel about it that is special to me. Image quality is ok and has a special way of rendering the colors. I can use PL4 and replicate the colors using any of my other lenses, but that doesn’t do anything for the experience.

I know this will sound a bit crazy, but…shoot yourself happy.

Hi Mike. I’m going to share my opinion on this film vs digital topic - feel free to take it, leave it, or ignore it :sunglasses:

As you know, I have a 5" x 4" film camera, but I also have a Mamiya RZ67 “brick” for studio shots and a Mamiya 7 II rangefinder for walkabout.

When I started with digital photography, I swapped in my Pentax ME Super for a Nikon D100 (6Mpx). The resolution and image quality were acceptable and I found I could get better colour images, easier, than with a film camera. OK for displaying on a monitor but, for larger prints, not that good. Nonetheless, I did make a stunning panoramic by stitching 5 shots and printing it at just over 6ft long using Genuine Fractals to multiply the pixel count. here’s a very small export…

As time passed and the resolution of digital cameras grew, I acquired my present camera - a Nikon D810 (36Mpx)

This was a revelation! All of a sudden, I could make digital images with a resolution that wasn’t far off what I could achieve with my 6cm x 7cm cameras. If I crop the 2:3 framing to 6:7, I get a 28Mpx image, which will easily match anything I can get (in colour) from the Mamiyas, when printed to 24" x 20". Finer grain B & W film would possibly yield more detail than the equivalent digital capture but, so far, even with pixel doubling to print, we send files to Ilford in the UK for them to laser print on silver halide paper to 40" x 32" and the results are nothing short of breathtaking.

In summary, I no longer bother with my 6x7 cameras unless I want to wallow in nostalgia - processing and scanning them is just too much “faff”.

As for “look and feel”, I always shoot Fuji Neopan Acros 100 film and I find that the PhotoLab emulation gives the same tonality and grain structure, well enough to convince me I don’t need to go back to shooting film, scanning it and applying the preset anyway.

I take it you have a lot of 35mm film you would like digitise and archive. I’m not sure why you would bother archiving digital scans; that is so much more difficult than real film, what with having to make backups of backups and facing the possibility of disk failures, file corruption and possible technology change making disks unreadable. I would digitise only the film you want to put online or share and, then, only at 2,400 ppi. More than that really isn’t worthwhile unless you are planning on printing really big for an exhibition.

In summary, my opinion, if you really want to do anything serious with film, don’t bother with 35mm, you’ll be hard pressed to get better results than a digital camera with the same resolution as a medium format film camera. Get a view camera! :crazy_face: Otherwise, get a high-res digital and save the cost and hassle of developing, scanning and de-spotting images to end up with a result that nobody else could tell the difference.


That’s what I’m doing - I have a negative album, and I’ve been going through it looking for images I’d like to show on my Smugmug gallery. I’ve made scanned 50 images at most so far. As for size, SmugMug allows me to post almost any image, and people can view it small, larger, very large, or “full” size, 100%. I was scanning at 7200 dpi, but the files are too large, so I dropped back to 3600. I think I remember you suggesting 2400 some time ago.

I’m not currently doing anything “serious” with anything. I’m doing what I enjoy doing, and I’ve been enjoying shooting film lately. My D750 with 24 megapixels is enough to do anything I’m likely to do, and it’s lighter and easier for me than a D800 or D850 or whatever Nikon is up to.

There’s also the minor issue of I can’t afford to buy a LF view camera, along with the lenses, and everything else I need.

I figure I have more than enough photographic gear, and what needs to improve is me, not the gear.

In a way, what you just wrote sounds like my current fascination with shooting my film cameras. Nostalgia… There is no logical reason I can think of for shooting my F4 when I have a D750.

The reason I drive a Mazda MX-5 Miata is because it’s the closest I can get to driving my old 1960 MGA (but without the constant “issues”). :slight_smile:

In a few months, maybe I’ll be over and done with this, but yes, I enjoy doing it. I can have just as much fun with a $300 (today, $2000 20 years ago) F4, as with a $7,000 new camera. And all that changes from last year’s $7,000 model is the electronics.

…and if I’m going to shoot film, unless film cameras take off like vinyl, what used to be top-of-the-line cameras are very affordable, if others catch on.

(My digital cameras aren’t going anywhere - I’m sure there will be lots of times when I select them over film. Instant gratification, instant email, instant posting… and with help from so many people here, I can now get quite reasonable results!)

(I don’t have clients, I don’t have deadlines, I have all the time in the world, and with Covid keeping me home so much, I am thoroughly involved in photography. And I can’t wait to get back to India!!!)

That is a lovely, spectacular, beautiful photo!!!

I love everything about this photo, the QE2, the boats alongside it, the sky, the background - STUNNING!!!

I guess it’s too large an image to even post online…

Just to give you some idea, here’s a screenshot of a portion of the image at 100%

I never forgot what I had read long ago about “Genuine Fractals”. Do you know if the original software is still available? I suggested the hospital I volunteer at buy the software many years ago, and I think they were overwhelmingly impressed. Back then, as I recall, I couldn’t afford it. Maybe I still can’t afford it, I dunno.

Even without that technical ability, I love the photo, with the city at the left, the ship at the right, and that awesome cloud. How did you stitch the five shots together?

It is still available ON1 Resize 2021 – ON1

Well, the current version is €73,07

Back then (2004) I used Photoshop CS3.

If I need stitching nowadays, I use Affinity Photo. Here’s a 22 shot stitch taken with a Nikon D200 on a Manfrotto panoramic head

That’s a 97Mpx image without resizing. Here’s a screenshot of a detail at 100%