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  1. #1
    joeyk49's Avatar
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    Scanning Negatives

    Not sure where this belongs...but since it has to do with a process I want to place in between film development and printing...

    I've been trying to scan negatives in order to get an idea of how they will look, or how I want them to look printed. My attempts thus far have been miserable.

    Can anyone brief me on, or refer me to an article on scanning negatives with a flatbed and coverting them to positives. I use PS, but thus far, only to scan and store prints and work in that other format.

    Thanks.

    Joe

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    What size of negatives and what model of scanner?

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    There's an article on scanning for web display on this very own website!
    http://www.apug.org/forums/article.php?a=107

    Maybe that can help you a bit further.

    G

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    I understand from your post that you want to use the scanner and PS to previsualise how the neg will look when printed conventionally, not as an intermediate digital step. That sounds like an interesting project that isn't contrary to the spirit of APUG. A similar thing is done in the movies - digital simulation of how a neg will print. It's like BTZS with pictures.

    Therefore what you want is not the best scan you can get, but a scan that is representative of how a piece of paper will respond, or preferably, will allow the paper response to be mimicked in PS.

    I'd do it by producing a standardised file from the scanner - ie one in which a certain transmission density will always correspond to a certain greyscale value (I'm using B&W for simplicity of description, the same system would work for colour). I'd achieve that by using a step wedge with scanning software like Vuescan ($50) that allows you to fix the scanner 'exposure'. Then, knowing the paper's response curve to that step-wedge for each contrast grade, I'd write a little PS filter that applied the paper curve to the film scan file and allowed the choice of paper grade and exposure - ie the ability to select the portion of the film's response curve that would be translated to the paper. Easier to explain with a few diagrams than to put into words, especially as this should be explained at greater length than I've done quickly here. If I'm on the right lines let me know and I'll explain further.

    Best,
    Helen

  5. #5
    rfshootist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyk49
    Not sure where this belongs...but since it has to do with a process I want to place in between film development and printing...

    I've been trying to scan negatives in order to get an idea of how they will look, or how I want them to look printed. My attempts thus far have been miserable.

    Joe
    Hi Joe,

    we talked about it already, in general a flatbed is not suited well for 35mm negs, tho it works well for MF negsor prints. And for B&W it's even worse, if you want decent results you need a dedicated 35 mm scanner. A small Minolta DualscanIV is better than each flatbed, excepted maybe the expensive Epsons. But for those I haven't seen reliable results, for the Dualscan IV i have.
    Regards,
    Bertram
    A la recherche du temps perdu: www. bersac.de

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    Lee L's Avatar
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    Go with Helen's suggestions. I'm only chiming in to stress that you need good software like Vuescan to make your scanning consistent enough to be useful. A lot of mfgr supplied scanning software is automated in a way that won't let you be consistent about scanning, which would only be an exercise in frustration.

    Lee

    (Should this go to the gray area?)

  7. #7
    Helen B's Avatar
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    "(Should this go to the gray area?)"

    It does appear to be about using digital as on offline (as we'd say in the movies) part of an all-traditional online workflow, as opposed to producing an inkjet neg for example. The 'line' in this case is the direct line between the camera original and the final print.

    The preview system should work with any scanner that is supported by Vuescan or similar, and which can capture the full density range of the neg. The quality of the scan is not all that important because it isn't being used for the final print. This is all very similar to the relationship between offline and online post production in the movies.

    Best,
    Helen

  8. #8
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen B
    "(Should this go to the gray area?)"

    It does appear to be about using digital as on offline (as we'd say in the movies) part of an all-traditional online workflow, as opposed to producing an inkjet neg for example. The 'line' in this case is the direct line between the camera original and the final print.

    The preview system should work with any scanner that is supported by Vuescan or similar, and which can capture the full density range of the neg. The quality of the scan is not all that important because it isn't being used for the final print. This is all very similar to the relationship between offline and online post production in the movies.

    Best,
    Helen
    Sometimes the "gray" line is unclear to me. I guess if you look at this as "scanner as densitometer", it's not an issue.

    Like you, I think the greatest problem with some standard software packages is that they don't allow the user to set the "black" and "white" points, and are often set to drop too large a percentage of the extremes of the range, losing highlight and shadow detail. That's the aspect in which I'd be most concerned about the quality of the scan for this application.

    I've been using Vuescan for so long that I can't really recall the "official" software for my flatbed or neg scanners. I do recall how tremendous an improvement Vuescan was. Vuescan also supports my neg scanner even after the mfgr decided not to release drivers for WinXP.

    Lee

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfshootist
    Hi Joe,
    we talked about it already, in general a flatbed is not suited well for 35mm negs, tho it works well for MF negsor prints. And for B&W it's even worse, if you want decent results you need a dedicated 35 mm scanner. A small Minolta DualscanIV is better than each flatbed, excepted maybe the expensive Epsons. But for those I haven't seen reliable results, for the Dualscan IV i have.
    Regards,
    Bertram
    In general, it is not AS good. I think for this application, it would be just fine. I have a new Epson Perfection 4990 (flatbed). I have made test prints of both B&W and color 35mm negs and pos, at 5x7, 400 dpi... I have made the same prints from scans made on a Nikon Coolscan (dedicated 35mm), same specs, and you can't tell the difference. My goal was to compare the two to see which one I wanted to buy . I also used the prints to calibrate my monitor.

    Consequently, I own both now but I use the flatbed for anything for th web, or for proofing needs... I only use the Nikon for color stuff that is going to be larger than 4x6... But, for your needs, I think any newer flatbed would be just fine.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee L
    Sometimes the "gray" line is unclear to me. I guess if you look at this as "scanner as densitometer", it's not an issue.
    I've never used a densitometer before, but I've been getting curious about densitometer measurements as a means of calibrating film speed and development times. I do own a scanner (a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400), though, and was wondering if it's possible to get densitometer-style values out of it for this purpose. Any suggestions or pointers?

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