How do you know the "real" imagequality when using scanner?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by pmu, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. pmu

    pmu Member

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    Ok, I have asked this somewhere else too, but I like to ask here also. To put this as simply as I can:

    How do you see the "real" image quality (sharpness, contrast, shadow detail etc.) on your films when using scanner? This question because scanner software does not give a "neutral" look = how the image appears on the screen depends so much on the scanner settings!! So is there a way to see the "neutral" image quality?? I have shooted only with Tmax100 (at ISO100 and ISO200), Tmax400 (at ISO200, ISO400, ISO800, ISO1600) and Tmax3200 (at ISO1600 and ISO3200) and have used only Tmax RS developer. I haven't bothered trying different films, developers, temperatures etc. since I can get the result I want with these films and chemicals that I use now - 90% of the images requires only levels and curves tools. So, how do I figure out if I am doing something "wrong" and could get that same results with other films and developers WITHOUT needing to use PS? Is there any idea trying other films and developers because those scannersoftware/setting still have so big role in how the image appears on those films too!?
     
  2. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    I just went through this same issues a few days ago and it appears that one has to examine his film using a microscope, then compare it to the scanned outcome. Yes, scanner firmware introduces changes to the image, no matter what people claim. Even RAW digital is firmware dependent.

    Bottom line, and some comfort to APUGers of MF to LF aspirations - the larger the negative, the better the outcome, and the less need for super-expensive scanners.

    My question was exemplified by this image made to proof an approach: http://elearning.winona.edu/jjs/comp

    (Sorry for drifting to digitalisms. I do color for the day-job and am just not smart enough to make analog color prints.)
     
  3. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    I don't think that you can judge the quality of film for non-digital purposes with a scanner - you are better off looking at it with a loupe. A scanner will tell you what the film looks like when scanned on that scanner. You could do some limited densitometry though (limited by the scanner's true dynamic range, not the one in the sales literature), if you have a step wedge for calibration and software that allows the equivalent of 'manual exposure'.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  4. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Sean should probably move this to the "Gray Area" sub forum...

    Depending on your scanner and software, you may be able to establish a "standard" reference setting for B&W materials. If you were to scan a test target (such as a step wedge), make all appropriate adjustments to get as complete a scale as possible, then save those settings, it should be possible to apply those settings as a baseline when scanning a new negative. Overall "exposure" will still have to be adjusted manually as different film bases have different characteristics.

    Sharpness is another matter all together. Scanners tend to act more like a condenser rather than a diffusion enlarger, so grain can be very apparent. Many scanners will default to using unsharp masking to make the scan crisp. With some cheaper scanners, that's about the ONLY way to get a sharp scan from a sharp negative! :smile:
     
  5. BradS

    BradS Member

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    "curves" and "levels"??? :confused:
     
  6. richardmellor

    richardmellor Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2005
  7. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    The more I learn of digital, the more I like analog.
     
  8. richardmellor

    richardmellor Member

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    to me the cool part of analog is when I capture a big fat negative.the quality
    is preserved in the negative. I have heard that you would need a ccd of 100 megapixels to equal a 120 negative and 500 megapixels to equal a 4x5 negative. as scanners get better and cheaper my
    analog image will only increase in quality. that captured in the digital of the day will forever be trapped in that quality.

    little does he know he is holding a 500 mega pixel camera.

    http://images.google.com/imgres?img...=&c2coff=1&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-17,GGLD:en&sa=N
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2005
  9. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    It is an interesting subject. I have found that some negatives that are nearly impossible to print in the darkroom will produce very good prints when scanned and printed on an inkjet. These are the very thin negatives. The analog prints from negatives that are easy to print are generally much better than the digital prints.

    In other words, IMO there is not a very good correlation between prints from the scanner-inkjet and those from enlarger-developed paper.

    When you have a film negative, you can print it with the best system you have. When you get a better printing system, you can reprint the negative.
     
  10. richardmellor

    richardmellor Member

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    I have heard that pmk pyro developed negatives ,scan well .
    I will be trying this soon
    I have started to see that unsharp mask is not your friend.
    It seems to make grain nice and sharp.
     
  11. highpeak

    highpeak Member

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    I don't think there is a definite relationship between scanned image and print image, scanned good may not print good and vise versa.

    What I do is scan the film strip (6 frames for 35mm format), that way, I can compare the film to each other without individual adjusting, that will give me an idea about the exposure. For sharpness, better get a loupe and light table, that will tell you, or do a real print, that's the best way to judge if the negative is good or bad.
     
  12. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    There, there Brad, don't be confused. It's just Photoshop talk. It's only important if you want to make images look good in photoshop. :D

    Levels sets the maximum black, pure white and middle grey.
    Curves changes contrast.

    We should stop such talk on this forum... :rolleyes:
     
  13. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    With something like this, or with printing on paper... You shoot, you test, you either don't like it and adjust something... Or you like the results and leave it.

    Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be...

    If your results are to be printed on paper, test with paper and don't get hung up on the digital... If your goal is digital, test for that... If it's a mix... Then do the best you can to learn to adjust your scanning to the print version.

    Just my idea,

    joe
     
  14. pmu

    pmu Member

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    By adjusting those mentioned levels and curves tools I can get the result I want. I would definitely like to do prints in the traditional way but at the moment it's not possible. It would suck really bad if later I would find out that these images which I can make look just the way I like with scanner/computer, looked like crap when prints were done in the traditional way....
     
  15. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I have scanned many negatives developed in staining developers, primarily PMK and Pyrocat-HD. Negatives from both developers have scanned very well, much better IMO than films developed in traditional developers such as D76 and Rodinal. The stain appears to minimize grain in scanning, as much or perhaps even more, than in projection printing.

    Sandy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2005
  16. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Sometimes I think unsharp masking in digital creates grain, or at least the appearance of it. When overdone in analog, it sometimes makes the picture look like layers of cutouts.
     
  17. sanking

    sanking Member

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    No question about it. Careless use of unsharp masking can very definitely increase the appearance of grain in a digital negative or print. The proper use of unsharp masking is something of an art in itself.

    Sandy