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Author Topic: Scanning Kodachrome  (Read 37774 times)
pfigen
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« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2007, 11:51:59 PM »
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The problem with scanning Kodachrome is really the fact that it has a much higher dmax than either Fujichrome or Ektachrome and there is not a single CCD scanner on the planet that can come close to seeing all the way into those deep deep shadows. I've scanned a ton of Kodachrome on my Howtek, and, trust me, there is no problem scanning this film aside from the dmax issues. Kodachrome has a dmax of around 3.7 - 3.8. Drum scanners can see to about 3.9 and CCD's to about 3.0 on a good day.

I just finished making a bunch of 32 X 48 inch prints for a friend of mine from K64 and K25 slides that he scanned on his Howtek 4500 at 4000 ppi. The prints looked phenomenal even if they were a tad grainy at that size, but what great looking grain it was. These prints looked better than the Lightjets of the same size in Bishop that were scanned on a Primescan. There is a real difference between brands of scanners.

I have profiles made from Kodak, Fuji and Hutchcolor Velvia targets, and the only thing I have to do is on some Kodachromes, is to manually set the black point, which tends to be too high in the blue channel. Push the blue channel down in the blacks and the color just comes together.
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Ray
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« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2007, 05:13:46 AM »
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Ray - if the colours of the slide are miles out and you are using Vuescan or Silverfast to bring them back, you are depending on the monitor preview to tell you when they look right as you make adjustments to the data governing the preview file. And then you will be depending on the scanner to reproduce those numbers in the scanned vesion of the file.

Absolutely right, Mark.

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Generally speaking, if either the monitor or the scanner are not characterized and profiled it is more than likely that the output of the one would not resemble the output of the other and therefore you wouldn't get the apperance of the file numbers you intended for the corrective adjustments to that faded, off-colour slide.

Both Vuescan and Dimage Scan Utility need the monitor profile to be loaded into the software. Silverfast seems to be able to work this out for itself. The scanned images from Vuescan match the preview as closely as one could hope for. However, the scanned images from Dimage Scan Utility and Silverfast are often very slightly different. Don't know why, except possibly certain adjustments to the image are not fully reflected in the preview. I don't think an IT8 calibration has anything to do with it.

Below is an example of a 44 year old Kodachrome scanned using Dimage Scan Utility. The colors look identical to me, between preview and scan, except for the sky which is noticeably bluer in the preview. I never see such differences when using Vuescan.

This is a problem image however. I've been unable to get the colors to my satisfaction in either the scanning software or in Photoshop.

Did you know that Bangkok had trams in 1963, Mark.  

[attachment=2800:attachment]
« Last Edit: July 11, 2007, 05:14:34 AM by Ray » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2007, 06:55:54 AM »
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Hi Ray,

Thank goodness they abandoned the trams (wish we could progress that way in Toronto) - can you imagine what traffic in Bangkok would be like if they still had them on top of the rest of the situation there? The BTS helped I guess, but I've recommended to the Mayor of Toronto that he visit Cairo, Lagos and Bangkok if he wants a vision of where Toronto traffic is rapidly heading. No reply of course. We just vote for these people..............

Turning to your images, the sky is the place where you most obviously see the hue differences, but when I look closely and intently at those two images on my monitor - unless my imagination is running wild - I can detect there is a more generalized hue difference which is camouflaged by the relative lack of brightness in the non-sky areas. If I'm correct in that observation, it means that there is a colour management issue going on somewhere.

I was never impressed with colour handling in Minolta's scanner software. Vuescan is better and (for negatives) Silverfast is the cream of the crop despite the obtuse U.I. and crummy documentation.

I'm talking generally - not specifically for any particular image, but I don't understand why that image should be especially problematic. In particular, it should be totally fixable in Photoshop. If it's a general cast a tweak of a channel curve or two should do it; if it's a specific sky cast, the same treatment with a layer mask isolating the sky should work. Perhaps you've tried that already? Shouldn't that have delivered the goods?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2007, 07:17:38 AM »
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I could be wrong, but I don't believe much purpose is served calibrating the scanner with a Q60 slide if the slides to be scanned have been subjected to fading.

I'm very impressed with the capabilities of my Dimage Scan 5400 II, which, as Mark mentioned, seems to be able to remove scratches through use of ICE with Kodachromes, something that other scanners, such as my Nikon 8000 cannot do without producing artifacts such as double edges.

I haven't been keeping up with developments in scanner technology but I wonder if there's now anything even better than the KM 5400 II at a similar affordable price.
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My comments related to unfaded slides which is what I have. I have no experience of using the colour restoration tools of the Coolscan scanners, but I suspect it still makes sense to calibrate to get a good starting point. Someone who owns a Coolscan can no doubt comment.

Kodachrome also has a tendency to colour casts and colour changes due to reciprocity failure. Again calibration can provide a starting point.

Many scanners have problems using ICE with Kodachrome. Some people say Coolscans are okay with ICE and Kodachromes. Some say they are not. It might be that the emulsion has undergone changes throughout the decades, and some formulations cause issues.

I am not sure there is anything better. The market has moved over to digital, and scanners probably sell in much smaller numbers. Hence there is less motivation to commit funds to a new model.

However ... this might mean there are some used drum scanners going cheap?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2007, 07:20:55 AM by Slough » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2007, 08:04:47 AM »
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I'm talking generally - not specifically for any particular image, but I don't understand why that image should be especially problematic. In particular, it should be totally fixable in Photoshop. If it's a general cast a tweak of a channel curve or two should do it; if it's a specific sky cast, the same treatment with a layer mask isolating the sky should work. Perhaps you've tried that already? Shouldn't that have delivered the goods?
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Mark,
I now believe I must have neglected to perform a fresh prescan after making some adjustment, to cause that sky difference with the Minolta software. Below is another scan using Silverfast where I've done my best to correct for color hues and an excessively dark background.

To my eyes, the two images are very, very close, including the sky. The only difference I can pick up is the very slightly deeper shade of burgundy of the Volkswagon in the preview on the right.

I don't know why this image is a problem. The colors are just 'yukkie'. Perhaps it's because the main part of the image is basically underexposed. Exposure was for the sky. Perhaps it's because there's a conflict of different WBs in the image as a result of different rates of fading and deterioration of the colors. I wouldn't expect an IT8 target would help here.

[attachment=2801:attachment]

Yep! That sky train in Bangkok is just great. They should extend it as much as possible. I'm not sure if the current extension to the new airport is going to serve much purpose. I can't imagine thousands of travellers struggling to heave their  heavy suitcases or backpacks onto a train just to save a few Baht, especially if they have to get a taxi from the train station to their hotel, having struggled with their luggage down dozens of steps to the roadside.
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Ray
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« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2007, 08:23:05 AM »
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I have no experience of using the colour restoration tools of the Coolscan scanners, but I suspect it still makes sense to calibrate to get a good starting point. Someone who owns a Coolscan can no doubt comment.

Kodachrome also has a tendency to colour casts and colour changes due to reciprocity failure. Again calibration can provide a starting point.

There's always a starting point. Calibration might provide a slightly different starting point but I can see no reason why it should be a better starting point with faded slides where the color scheme and degree of deterioration is not known (scientifically and precisely, that is).

In fact, as a result of unknown changes to the hues and saturation of the faded slide, a calibration of the scanner might result in a starting point which is worse.

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Many scanners have problems using ICE with Kodachrome. Some people say Coolscans are okay with ICE and Kodachromes. Some say they are not. It might be that the emulsion has undergone changes throughout the decades, and some formulations cause issues.

I used to have problems using ICE with my Nikon 8000ED, with Kodachrome. No such problems with the Minolta 5400 II with Minolta's own software or with SilverFast.

In the image in my previous post, the left part opened in Photoshop has had ICE applied in Silverfast. The preview doesn't show the effects of ICE.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2007, 08:25:14 AM by Ray » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2007, 08:41:51 AM »
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Mark,
Below is another scan using Silverfast where I've done my best to correct for color hues and an excessively dark background.

To my eyes, the two images are very, very close, including the sky.

The colors are just 'yukkie'. Perhaps it's because the main part of the image is basically underexposed. Exposure was for the sky. Perhaps it's because there's a conflict of different WBs in the image as a result of different rates of fading and deterioration of the colors. I wouldn't expect an IT8 target would help here.

[attachment=2801:attachment]

Yep! That sky train in Bangkok is just great. They should extend it as much as possible. I'm not sure if the current extension to the new airport is going to serve much purpose. I can't imagine thousands of travellers struggling to heave their  heavy suitcases or backpacks onto a train just to save a few Baht, especially if they have to get a taxi from the train station to their hotel, having struggled with their luggage down dozens of steps to the roadside.
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Hi Ray,

Dramatic improvement in color alignment.

Under-exposure of the non-sky area shouldn't be a particular challenge for getting the hues right - but brightness clearly suffers. The idea that different dyes fade at different rates sounds plausible, but that too shouldn't be a problem unless it happens disproportionately in different areas of the image. I can see that causing a huge colour balancing nightmare. And in that situation, while a properly profiled scanner for colour slides remains <a good thing>, I agree it would not solve that kind of problem - you'd have properly managed conflicting white balances!

Haven't been through the new airport at BKK. I hear there have been teething issues.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2007, 11:11:21 AM »
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Mark,
Thanks. Just for the record, here's an improvement but the skin tones are still not right. I'm afraid I can't make do without Photoshop. Perhaps I should be able to achieve such results (and better) in Silverfast. I need more practice   .

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Haven't been through the new airport at BKK. I hear there have been teething issues.

Just a few subsidence problems due to the fact the place was once a swamp, cracks on the runway etc. Nothing serious   .

[attachment=2803:attachment]
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2007, 11:41:11 AM »
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Ray,

It's pretty good! I think I would de-saturate the Yellows by something between 5% and 10% - that could eliminate the last vestige of muddiness and help the skin tones too - at least from what I see on my monitor.

As decent a program as Silverfast is, I don't rely on it to do everything. Most importantly, I can't soft-proof with the printer profile at the scanning stage, so that alone necessitates a trip into Photoshop. In fact, all I count on Silverfast for is the heavy lifting on luminance and colour balance for the scan, then I do everything else in Photoshop where the tools and plug-ins I have make it so much preferable.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2007, 08:48:57 PM »
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Ray,

It's pretty good! I think I would de-saturate the Yellows by something between 5% and 10% - that could eliminate the last vestige of muddiness and help the skin tones too - at least from what I see on my monitor.

As decent a program as Silverfast is, I don't rely on it to do everything. Most importantly, I can't soft-proof with the printer profile at the scanning stage, so that alone necessitates a trip into Photoshop. In fact, all I count on Silverfast for is the heavy lifting on luminance and colour balance for the scan, then I do everything else in Photoshop where the tools and plug-ins I have make it so much preferable.
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Mark,
You're quite right. There is a yellow cast. What I find puzzling is that there's plenty of opportunity for gray balncing in this image with chrome bumber bars and tram lines, but it doesn't seem to work. Produces instead some pretty awful casts.

The following change I think is a big improvement, but still not quite right. What do you think?

[attachment=2807:attachment]
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tsjanik
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« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2007, 09:44:51 PM »
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Kevin:

I was in a similar situation a few years ago - 30 yrs of Kodachrome to convert to digital.  There is lots of good advice in the previous posts (e.g. Mark's article); as you mentioned, some may be beyond your knowledge at the moment, but I will offer a suggestion:  I have a Minolta 5400 and a Nikon 9000.  I have kept the 5400 because it does a better job with most properly exposed Kodachromes.  So, my suggestion, in the absence of drum scans, is to find a 5400
.
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johnadrian71
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« Reply #31 on: July 12, 2007, 06:05:30 AM »
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I don't know what things are like where you are but here in the UK, you can get a drumscan for an amazing 10 per scan. Compared to the 50 GBP we used to pay just a couple of years ago this is simply unbelievable.

I have used these people http://www.drumscan.co.uk

I have spoken to these guys and basically they broker scans for scanner operators who are finding things incredibly tough as the demand has just fallen away incredibly over the past couple of years.

I had 35mm (not Kodachrome though) scans made by them and they were incredible.

I am a professional retoucher with 15 years in the business, so I know a good scan when I see one.

The problem with doing your own scanning, especially from an extensive back catalogue is space and time.

If you can negotiate a hard bargain, I'd say get someone else to do your scanning, but work with them for the results you need.
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Ray
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« Reply #32 on: July 12, 2007, 09:31:31 PM »
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I don't know what things are like where you are but here in the UK, you can get a drumscan for an amazing 10 per scan. Compared to the 50 GBP we used to pay just a couple of years ago this is simply unbelievable.
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Time is money. If you are very busy, a one-time high resolution scan of your best Kodachromes at 10 pounds per slide might be the best way to go.

However, I paid roughly 300 pounds for my Monolt 5400 II scanner. That sum of money pays for the drum scanning of only 30 slides at this amazingly low price of 10 pounds per slide.

The other issue is the color balance if the slides are old, as I've tried to demonstrate with those examples in my previous posts. Does that price of 10 pounds include individual color correction for each slide. I doubt it. I imagine a batch of slides is stuck to the drum with some sort of fluid and they are all given the same treatment.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #33 on: July 13, 2007, 12:24:36 AM »
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Hi!

Just want to mention that Vuescan is profiled. Ed Hamrick includes profiles for most scanners. Variations between scanners is supposedly small.

The idea with profiling is to characterize the scanning device. What you do is to scan a measured target (where each patch of color is exactly known) and calculate a conversion from scanned color to correct color. This characterization is for CCD, filters, light source and electronics like amplifiers and ADC (Analog Digital Converter).

There is some discussion about whether there is a need to calibrate for each film or not. The only reason I can see to do that is that different films can probably have different spectral transmission probabilities and IR (infrared) absorption.

I would assume that Nikon scanners which have a LED based light source may be less subjects to these effects than scanners using luminiscent panels or tubes.

Best regards
Erik




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Ray - if the colours of the slide are miles out and you are using Vuescan or Silverfast to bring them back, you are depending on the monitor preview to tell you when they look right as you make adjustments to the data governing the preview file. And then you will be depending on the scanner to reproduce those numbers in the scanned vesion of the file. Generally speaking, if either the monitor or the scanner are not characterized and profiled it is more than likely that the output of the one would not resemble the output of the other and therefore you wouldn't get the apperance of the file numbers you intended for the corrective adjustments to that faded, off-colour slide.

It would seem to me that the good behaviour you are getting from your combination of Vuescan and the scanner is either good fortune, or perhaps Vuescan is doing something with the scanner under the hood which produces this happy outcome. I can't profess to know why you are so fortunate, because I haven't used your set-up or done that particular work. Perhaps others could help here.
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Slough
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« Reply #34 on: July 13, 2007, 07:08:12 AM »
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There's always a starting point. Calibration might provide a slightly different starting point but I can see no reason why it should be a better starting point with faded slides where the color scheme and degree of deterioration is not known (scientifically and precisely, that is).

In fact, as a result of unknown changes to the hues and saturation of the faded slide, a calibration of the scanner might result in a starting point which is worse.
I used to have problems using ICE with my Nikon 8000ED, with Kodachrome. No such problems with the Minolta 5400 II with Minolta's own software or with SilverFast.

In the image in my previous post, the left part opened in Photoshop has had ICE applied in Silverfast. The preview doesn't show the effects of ICE.
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The clue was in my posting when I said 'suspect'. That means I do not know and I am guessing based on my experience of f or 5 scanners. Which is precisely what you are doing since you also too seem to have no experience of faded emulsions.

"I can see no reason why it should be a better starting point with faded slides "

To state the obvious, if the fading is slight, then the calibration will get you close, given that in my experience of many scanners, the default uncalibrated scan of Kodachrome is way off. And again to state the obvious if the fading is heavy, then calibration might not help. Again the only way to know is to get feedback from someone who has done it. I think these points are both quite obvious, and I assumed it was not worth making them explicity.

My experience of slides with reciprocity failure is that calibration is a good starting point.

But then again you seem to argue for the sake of arguing which I find rather tiresome.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #35 on: July 13, 2007, 07:41:46 AM »
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The clue was in my posting when I said 'suspect'. That means I do not know and I am guessing based on my experience of f or 5 scanners. Which is precisely what you are doing since you also too seem to have no experience of faded emulsions.

"I can see no reason why it should be a better starting point with faded slides "

To state the obvious, if the fading is slight, then the calibration will get you close, given that in my experience of many scanners, the default uncalibrated scan of Kodachrome is way off. And again to state the obvious if the fading is heavy, then calibration might not help. Again the only way to know is to get feedback from someone who has done it. I think these points are both quite obvious, and I assumed it was not worth making them explicity.

My experience of slides with reciprocity failure is that calibration is a good starting point.

But then again you seem to argue for the sake of arguing which I find rather tiresome.
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Your last sentence is an uncalled-for personal remark. Let us keep this discussion confined to the technical merits of the issues.

As I've said before, as long as you are NOT working with colour negatives (where it can't be done), characterizing a scanner is a *good thing to do* regardless of the characteristics of the image. It will at least return a correct (if correctly identified) neutral tone.

Where Ray has an issue - legitimate I believe - is how helpful calibration would be for these faded images, and this may have little to do with how faded the image is. Ray has mentioned the possibility that the different dyes may not have faded proportionately. This would obviously muck-up grey-balance or white-balance adjustments, because they all depend on mapping relativity between colours; hence if that relatively has been messed by disproportionate fading between the primaries, common sense would suggest that all the calibration in the world will not produce a balanced image in one click. However, it will get the grey or white right, and that is a useful starting point - IF the grey or white really is grey or white. If white/grey balancing does not work correctly because of this factor, it is necessary to use the individual RGB curves for balancing the image. Silverfast, for example, allows this at the scanning stage; if the scanning software doesn't, it is a task for Photoshop.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #36 on: July 13, 2007, 09:18:53 AM »
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Your last sentence is an uncalled-for personal remark. Let us keep this discussion confined to the technical merits of the issues.

I disagree. Both of his postings were entirely negative, along the lines of "Well you are completely wrong but I cannot give any evidence, anyway I know this and you dont".

Now if he had some actual experience, and could make an observation, then that would have added something.

As someone else has said, calibration simply means that the scan is an accurate representation of the image, even though that image might have a cast or some fading.

FWIW I have owned a Coolscan LS30, a Minolta 5400, another scanner the name of which escapes me and a flatbed so I do have some experience on which to base opinons. And IMO Kodachrome is a devil to scan, and only the more recent scanners can do it justice. And I have found that it is better to calibrate first even when the slide has a colour shift. The uncalibrated scans are worse.

Incidentally I found most magazine scanner reviews to be worse than useless as they never tried Kodachrome. The OP should be aware of that.
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David Good
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« Reply #37 on: July 13, 2007, 10:09:49 AM »
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Once you have profiled for the characteristics of the scanner it can then be modified by applying an inverted curve and re-profiling. You may have to average out several images representative of the color cast, of course more correction will be needed post processing. The Hutch site describes this method. This has helped me as I dive into more than 4500 for a client.

Ray,

In Vuescan you may want to try setting the Media to Image, Scanner ICC Profile (if any) to your modified profile, and Output Color Space to Device RGB. The scanner profile only affects the preview once you click scan. If you don't have a profile you can still preview your working space by setting it as you do now. My preference is to assign and convert in Photoshop. Ed's efforts at improving Vuescan's infrared cleaning paid off as it works very well.
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Ray
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« Reply #38 on: July 13, 2007, 12:00:09 PM »
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I disagree. Both of his postings were entirely negative, along the lines of "Well you are completely wrong but I cannot give any evidence, anyway I know this and you dont".
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Slough,
That statement is completely untrue. Show what comments I've made in this thread that could possibly be interpreted in that way.

All my comments in this thread and all threads on this forum, for that matter, are based on either personal experience or personal opinion based on rational deduction from the evidence available as well as the opinion of others. I back up my opinions with photographic examples when possible.

If you would like to back up your opinion with a before/after example of how a scanner calibrated with an IT8 target can help a faded slide, then please do so, but make sure it really is a faded slide.

I have literally thousands of faded slides & negatives. Do you think I wouldn't be calibrating my scanner if I thought it would make a difference? Do you think I'm mad? The fact is, I have few slides that are not faded to some degree. My most recently shot film before I switched to digital about 6 years ago was Fuji Reala and Kodak Royal Gold color negative film.

I have no trouble getting the hues very close when scanning negative film because the scanner software includes a variety of profiles for different negative film types, which make a huge difference to the color and tonality. However, Vuescan also contains a few slide profiles, namely, Generic, Kodak Kodachrome, and Kodak Ectachrome.

With the slides I'm scanning, it makes not a whit of difference which profile I choose. The preview looks the same. As I mentioned before, the examples I've seen on the net lead me to believe that profiling with an IT8 target makes only a subtle difference. If your slide is faded by more than a subtle degree, I can't see the point.

I'm relying upon people like you, so convinced it does make a difference, to show me some comparisons. If we were to switch places and I was the one arguing the point that a calibration makes a worthwhile difference to the preview of a faded slide, I'd show you. I wouldn't expect you to take my word for it.
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Ray
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« Reply #39 on: July 13, 2007, 12:10:48 PM »
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Ray,

In Vuescan you may want to try setting the Media to Image, Scanner ICC Profile (if any) to your modified profile, and Output Color Space to Device RGB. The scanner profile only affects the preview once you click scan. If you don't have a profile you can still preview your working space by setting it as you do now. My preference is to assign and convert in Photoshop. Ed's efforts at improving Vuescan's infrared cleaning paid off as it works very well.
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David,
Thanks for the tip. I'll try that. I tend to go through a phase of scanning activity, become familiar the quirks of the software, then leave it for a while. When I resume scanning perhaps a year or so later, I find I have to relearn.
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