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Author Topic: Scanning Workflow Questions  (Read 4261 times)
Mark F
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« on: January 09, 2009, 04:45:43 PM »
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Some advice from those who have experience with scanning slides would be appreciated.

I just bought the Nikon LS 5000 ED which comes with Nikon Scan 4 software.  I downloaded the trial version of VueScan 8.5 to see the difference in results, and really do not but maybe I'm too new with the scanner to know what I should be looking for.  Nikon Scan includes Digital ICE and other features that are not available with ViewScan, or at least Nikon Scan is supposed to do it better. Is there a reason to buy ViewScan?

Also, it seems to me that the best workflow is to generate a scan that has the details in the slide and then do the color and contrast correction in LR2. That is, not to spend any time in the scanning software to correct color cast, contrast, etc. Is this correct?

Thanks.
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Mark
Murray Fredericks
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2009, 05:06:09 PM »
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Mark,

you should test and find out which software works best for you.

I use different software for scanning different media.

As far as how much 'work' should be done in the software of the scanner, my approach has always been to get as close as possible to the final result in the scanner software before hitting the 'destructive' programs further down the line. I always stop well shot of clipping any info, however' at the scan stage.

Cheers

Murray
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dmerger
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2009, 09:53:45 AM »
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Mark, I use a Minolta 5400 (original version) with the Minolta software and Photoshop CS.  I’ve found that I get the best results by following your method.  

Our scanners are really simple devices.  They are in essence just specialized digital cameras with a scanning back.  Our scanners have only a few limited hardware adjustments.  We can select ICE and high bit output, and manually control the exposure and focus.  I call these the “hardware adjustments”.  All other adjustments are made to the data AFTER the scan.  I call these the “software adjustments”.

Making hardware adjustments gives me the best “raw” scan that my scanner is capable of producing.  I make all my software adjustments in Photoshop because I believe it to be a superior imaging editing program.  

(My scanner also allows me to make a lower resolution scan that is an even division of my scanner’s native resolution.  In that case, the stepper motor can move in larger increments and make a scan in a shorter time.  I always scan at the highest, native resolution so I don’t count scan resolution as a hardware adjustment, except I usually do a test scan at such a lower resolution without ICE and check it’s histogram in Photoshop to be sure I’ve achieved the optimum exposure, before I do my final scan.  I do so because the histogram in my Minolta software is based on the preview scan, which is not as detailed as an actual scan, and scanning at such a lower resolution without ICE is much faster than a full resolution scan with ICE.)

Some people disagree with my approach. I’m just explaining what works best for me.  For more discussion of this topic, you may want to check out these threads.

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....&hl=dmerger

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....&hl=dmerger
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Dean Erger
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2009, 06:51:45 PM »
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I have the Nikon 9000 and use Vuescan exclusively. It's been the most consistent software for my workflow. Ed Hamrick is also very easy to get a hold of and will answer just about any question to the best of his ability.
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Mark F
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2009, 09:35:27 PM »
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First, sorry that I 'm not using first names but I do not know what they are.

dmerger,  thanks for the link to the prior discussion.  I will read those. Your workflow makes sense to me but its good to hear it from someone who has been scanning for a while.

Terrence_Patrick, I have also found Ed Hamrick to be very accessible and willing to help with questions and would willingly purchase VueScan if there is a reason to do so. But would you please expand on what you mean when you say that VueScan is more consistent? It sounds like you are saying that you more often get better scan results when using Vue Scan than when using Nikon Scan. Is that the case and if yes, in what way better?

Thanks.

Mark
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Mark
whawn
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2009, 10:46:26 PM »
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I do individual image PS processing, spending hours in some cases on a given image, so I'm not necessarily typical, but I've used Vuescan for better than four years, and prefer it to Nikon Scan, hands down.

Sadly, Nikon Scan generally thinks it knows better than you do.  Using first a Nikon 5000 and then a 9000, I have found it to be impossible to get a really clean and useful scan out of the Nikon software.  There is simply no way I've found to turn off completely the automatic 'corrections' Nikon scan thinks ought to be used.  Vuescan, OTOH, if you want it to, will give you a proper scan, with all available information in the file, as close to a true RAW image as is possible.  

At the same time, Vuescan has much finer control.  You can, for example, control the exposure of each color channel separately.  You can easily make a custom master film-base filter for a particular variety of negative film, or even set the base color for each roll, if you like.  You can compensate (to a degree of course) for over- or under-exposed film.  You can make two files, one for the highlights and another for the shadows, from the same scan to get the full dynamic range from a given frame.

If you want to scan many frames quickly and achieve good but not necessarily outstanding results, again Vuescan is my choice.   I use it to quickly scan a roll of film, outputting JPEGs, to determine which frames get closer attention.  The Vuescan IR dirt and scratch remover is very nearly as good as ICE.  Vuescan's grain reduction is better than Nikon's GEM and I think degrades the image less.  Besides, Vuescan is lots faster.

Ed Hamrick, besides being accessible and helpful, is constantly improving his product.  Nikon Scan has not, as far as I know, been updated in years.

The only real negative to Vuescan is its unconventional interface.  It is, until you get used to it, just confusing.  Once you get into the flow it still has some rough spots.  
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Walter Hawn -- Casper, Wyoming
dmerger
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2009, 11:36:26 AM »
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I’ve never used Nikon Scan, so I found it very surprising that it you can’t turn off completely the automatic corrections Nikon scan thinks ought to be used.  I don’t understand why Nikon would do such a thing.  If this is the case, however, it is a good reason to use a different program.

My Minolta software has the option, like Vuescan, to set the “exposure” separately for each color channel.  However, calling it an “exposure” adjustment is a slight misnomer. This adjustment adjusts the data after the scan.  

The other techniques Walter mentions in his third paragraph are also “post scan” adjustments.  I’m not saying that such adjustments are not useful and maybe even easier to implement in Vuescan, but such adjustments can also be implemented in Photoshop.  I choose to make such adjustments in Photoshop because, among other reasons, I can make such adjustments using layers and masks.  Others may prefer Vuescan.

A technique that can’t be duplicated in Photoshop, however, is the use of actual different exposures.  1. You can scan the same slide twice using different scan exposures, and then combine them in Photoshop.  2. If you bracketed you film shots, you can scans two of them and then combine them in Photoshop.  I’ve done both.  They each have their challenges and problems, but in rare situations may be of some help.  You’ll have to experiment with these techniques yourself, but I’ve found the benefits to be very minor, at best, and then only in very limited cases.

Vuescan and Silverfast have a lot of devoted fans.  Mark, there may be many reasons why you would prefer either of them to Nikon Scan.  All I can say is what works for me and why.  You’ll have to decide what works best for you.

Dean
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Dean Erger
Mark F
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2009, 07:53:44 PM »
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Dean and Walter,

Thanks, I'm starting to see why I should take a hard look at VueScan.  I'm still learning the scanner and for a while will work with both programs. Since the slides I'm scanning are my "best"  over the years, I'm hoping that the dynamic range is within the scanner's capability so I won't need separate scans for the highlights and shadows.

Mark
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Mark
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