Please help - Scanning negs

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Nicole, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    I recently bought the Epson 4870 Scanner which is great (for proofing etc...) and it scans 24 negs at once. Very nice!

    But, I'm having trouble getting the best possible scanned results from my negatives. The scans show a lot of grain where there is hardly any on the negative. It's not dust/dirt either.

    I'm trying to produce proof prints of 6x4's, and 5x7's from the scans. I'm scanning at 2400 dpi and 16 bit.

    Any tips/suggestions you may have would be most appreciated.

    Thanks very much and kind regards
    Nicole
     
  2. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    A lot depends on the software being used, Nicole. I'm not sure if you're scanning color or B&W negs, but many scanner/software combinations get fooled by B&W negs - including the otherwise very-capable Silverfast plugin often bundled with Epson scanners.

    One way around the problem of this introduction of bogus grain is to scan the B&W neg as a color positive, and "invert" in Photoshop. Just remember that things are reversed when setting parameters in the scanning software. When doing this, the preview of the image will look like a "good" negative.

    Also, scanning at 2400 PPI may be overkill if your objective is to simply produce good proofs of 5x7 or smaller. I'd suggest scanning at a resolution that will produce a file of the desired print size at your printer's so-called sweet spot - probably around 300 DPI. If you're using Silverfast, setting the print size and output resolution is one of the options.
     
  3. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Hi Ralph, I'm using PS CS for all my scanning although I have installed Silverfast, just haven't looked into it yet.
     
  4. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Nicole,

    for 4 x 6 and 5 x 7 300 dpi is enough to give very good quality proofs, not difficult at all, the area you want to look at is you white balance which will balance the prints out more evenly, is this a flatbed? if so make sure your table is very clean and your transparancy illumination is also clean, this will help with contrast and even illumination..

    Dave
     
  5. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Hi Dave, the scanner's a flatbed. I'm a little confused as to whether to set the scanning at "original" or preselected 5x7's or some other size, but it then crops the neg, which I don't want. I'm not sure what the benefits are over these and can't find much on it in the online manual.
    Thanks for your input Dave.
    Cheers
    Nicole


     
  6. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I also use PS CS for image editing, and the Silverfast PS plugin for scanning. I wasn't aware that PS CS included its own scanning software, however. Is that through the WIA-support option under the "import" menu item?

    There may be device configuration parameters that need to be set to optimize the WIA software for your 4870. I'm not sure about this, however, so I can't offer advice in that regard.

    Having installed Silverfast, does that appear as an option in the import menu? If the scanner was connected and turned on when you installed Silverfast, I'm surprised that the installation procedure didn't prompt you for additional info. If you had an earlier version of PS installed, the Silverfast stuff may have been placed under that version's menus. There is a procedure for copying that to the CS directory, but I don't recall the specifics. You might need to consult the support documentation on the Silverfast Web site to get more info.
     
  7. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Nicole,

    Normally when I am scanning negs, I will set the scanner for 1200 dpi and scan at actual size, I then convert to the size I want at 300 dpi, which produces a good quality size for the print/proof I am making, in other words, scan at true size 1200 dpi and then resize in PS to 5 x 7 at 300 dpi or 4 x 6 at 300 dpi which produces very printable files with good contrast..

    Dave
     
  8. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Hi Nicole,

    There's a fair amount of information on the web about this issue. Search on 'grain aliasing'. Here's one link. Does your scanner have 'ICE'? In particular 'GEM' (?grain equalization and management?)? This works, at least with my Nikon scanners, with conventional B&W film when it is scanned in RGB instead of greyscale. It isn't necessary with most B&W films, but it is useful with some of them.

    I usually send files to my Epson printers at 360 or 720 dpi instead of 300, by the way. Different printers seem to like different resolutions - it is a factor of the native resolution of the printer. (360 = 1440/4).

    Best,
    Helen
     
  9. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    irony

    Is it it not ironic that to show our work on this site we have to use digital imaging? To me it seems almost like a minister having to learning dirty words to produce a good sermon.
     
  10. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Yes, an interesting irony. But, the only alternative would be to beam ourselves back and forth, Star Trek-like, presumably over some sort of (again, digital) broadband connection. Considering all the hackers out there, that might be risky with a "denial of surface" (sic) attack. :wink:
     
  11. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    Hi Nicole,

    OK reading through this, I can help a bit, since I have the Epson 3200 which is the precursor to the 4870.

    Couple of assumptions first:
    1. Silver Fast launches when you do File->Import->Epson 4870?
    2. For B&W negatives you are choosing the 8-bit or 16-bit grey scale option?

    Now:
    3. I would use 400dpi max - many people use 150dpi or 300dpi.
    4. I would not scan in to original. I have a 'custom' image size of 10" x 10" since, my Blad makes squares.
    5. I also scan in one image at a time versus batching.
    6. I always preview, 'square' my image and zoom. Then I re-size/crop the preview and zoom again.
    7. I use levels to make any adjustments and I make any necessary colour adjustments with either curves or levels.
    8. I turn ON unsharp mask.
    9. I set the ICC profile to Adobe RGB for colour and Gamma 2.2 for B&W.

    Oops, one more assumption:
    10. I don't know which 4870 you have the PHOTO version or the PRO version. If you have the PRO version, I would assume that you used the target and the calibration software to create a custom ICC profile?

    Once in Photoshop, I then see if I need to make any further adjustments and if so, I scan again. I prefer to have a 'good' scan before I start with any PS.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Regards, Art.
     
  12. Gustavo_Castilla

    Gustavo_Castilla Member

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    I recomed to first scan a grey card

    Hi I hope this helps you
    1, scan a gray card that way you have a know value.
    2 scan a grey card same reason as before
    Now you play with the scanning software settings so that you get the corrected values
    3 scan a neg and adjust to find your black and white points
    or even better scan your neg and a grey card together that way you have a set point to shoot at and GO BY THE HISTOGRAM not what the scan looks like, Then you can play with it on PSD (photoshop) adjustment layer curvs
    if you need more help let us know
     
  13. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    One thing I've found about unsharp mask and grain is the radius needs to be a bit bigger than the grain size or it will enhance the grain instead of the image. A little careful experimentation will tell you what to set it at for each type of film and ppi.
     
  14. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I have found that when I scan B&W negs I have to turn OFF pixel polish (makes old negs look new) and dust busters (my scanner thinks the grain is dust and makes the scan very unsharp. Then I scan a raw, non-manipulated neg.

    Morten
     
  15. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I also have the 4870 (photo version, not pro). I was told to not use ICE when doing B&W because it increases the grain. Also, I scan from the scanner software itself, not PS CS or elements. At the top, there's a pull-down where you can select auto, home, or pro mode. With pro mode there are more options for resolution, size, and pretty much everything else. I've created fullframe profiles for 35mm and 120 using the customize selection at the bottom of the list under scanned size (I think that's what it's called). I've done a lot of adjustments in setting things up, but you can save ones you've created, so it gets faster. I also usually scan at about 350 dpi with the size set for around 8 x 12. That way, I should be able get a decent print without killing my harddrive. HTH!!
     
  16. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Thanks for everyone input again. What would I do without you guys???

    Winger, can I ask how you scan your 120's as I can't seem to get mine to scan 6 negs at a time, as it advertises that it does.

    Cheers
    Nicole

     
  17. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Hi Nicole;
    I actually haven't tried more than 3 or 4 120s at the same time. I have both a 645 and a 6x6, so that changes how many it can handle at a time. I also tend to scan just the ones I'm going to print in the basement so I can play with them a bit and see how I might want to adjust things. Or I scan them to post somewhere. My biggest problem with the scanner so far is that it doesn't always read the edges of the frames accurately and then won't give thumbnail views. Is that what's happening to you as far as not getting 6 negs? If you're in thumbnail view, you do have remember to adjust the settings for each frame separately and make sure each box is checked. If all the thumbnails don't show on the screen, it probably isn't reading them all. If you choose "normal" in the preview mode, it'll show everything on the bed. That's what I keep having to do but it is a bit more of a pain to select the frames. I've only had my scanner for a couple of months, so I haven't gotten it all figured out, yet. HTH
     
  18. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Thanks Bethe. I can't seem to scan any more than 1 negative at a time as all the other negs get the left & right edges cropped by about 1/3, so not much left of the image. I guess I just can't seem to get out of the 35mm size to change to a 6x6 size.

    So Bethe I'm sorry I can't give you any advice at all as yet as I can't get one right.

    Could you explain to me how to change the size to 6x6 as it always reverts back to 35mm on me.

    Cheers
    Nicole
     
  19. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I'm doing this from memory, so I hope I get it right. At the top of the scanning software, there's a pull-down box where you can select "professional mode". Once you do that, the rest of the window has more options. Somewhere beneath resolution, there are boxes for size of thing being scanned and size of result. The default for result is "original". If you click the arrow by that, there's a long list, at the bottom of which is "customize". Choose that, put in say, 8 inches by 8 inches, write over what's in the box at the top (it's 2 words, but I can't remember them, I called mine "Hassie") and click save. It took me a few tries to get it right, btw. Then, when you go back to the main one and click the arrow by original, the list will include whatever you've named your square one. Once the marquee is on the photo you're doing, you can drag the edges to make it bigger and move it around with the hand. If this still doesn't help, maybe I can figure out how to copy screen shots into an e-mail or PM. just let me know. And I'm far from an expert in it, I just fiddle around until I figure out something.
     
  20. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    I had an Epson 1200 "perfection" 3 generations before yours Nicole; which I had difficulty getting good results from using the Epson scanner software. Grain seemed to be enhanced by the Epson USM being enabled.
    By switching to Vuescan at www.hamrick.com (full free working demo downloadable) I reckon that I doubled the performance of this scanner. At $99 for pro-version you get unlimited upgrades and the ability to fully colour manage, it works for just about any scanner worth its salt. It is fully transferable should you change scanners in the future. I like the ability to save set-ups that you use often. These can be easily amended if necessary. It is not everyone's cup of tea, since you add numbers to boxes rather than use a more graphical interface. Suggest a Google search on Vuescan to get other testimonies. The Help manual could do with improvement, but it is worth persisting with.

    Personally although I tried hard with Silverfast, even reading all 380 pages in the manual(and still not winning the anorak!) I felt it lacked the control I was able to get with Vuescan. That said, there are many serious affictionados of Silverfast who get great results.

    Vuescan has a batch option where you can calibrate for filmbase+fog to get everything optimised for that film. I only ever scan one shot at a time.
    Try misaligning the shot on purpose for the preview if the rebate not visible in the holder. This enables you to sample from the rebate to set a true black point. Ensure white point is not burning out.
    Concur using 16 bit.
    You will need to "capture sharpen" which is only a tiny amount. Use Photoshop or plug-ins available for this since you have more control. Other sharpening takes place prior to output.
    This is a huge subject please forgive my brevity.

    Edit

    I realise that I forgot to mention two salient points for justifying my claim to double performance.
    First - Multi-sampling where the scan does the number of passes you choose (I found 3 fine) it then averages readings which significantly reduces noise in the shadows and extracts better shadow detail, yielding an effective increase in DMax.
    Secondly - ability to save the RAW files separately which can be reprocessed in Photoshop should the need arise, without the hassle of mounting and physically scanning the negs again.
    Finally, I was able to do ICC calibration with an IT8 target to enable far better colour accuracy with tranny films.

    I read somewhere that either ICE or GEM doesn't like silver in films which is why it doesn't work with B+W films other than XP2 etc.

    Hope this was helpful.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2005