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Author Topic: Scanning film again  (Read 11611 times)
Ray
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« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2005, 04:18:36 AM »
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Now, turning to the nitty gritty on RAW scans with Silverfast, here is the recipe, as confirmed by LaserSoft and so far UNtested by me:

(1) In the FRAME tab for SCAN TYPE select <48 bit HDR colour>.
(2) In the OPTIONS>GENERAL tab for Gamma Gradation leave the box before <for HDR Output> UNchecked.
(3) In the OPTIONS>CMS tab for <profiles for ICM Internal> select NONE.
(4) Also uncheck <Embedded ICC Profile>.

Mark,
I've tried the above with my trial copy of SilverFast. I need to make one more adjustment in Options/CMS, Input-Internal = None.

I can see no benefit in doing RAW scans. There's no more shadow detail, the colors and contrast are completely off, and the work in Photoshop to correct everything and make the image look as good as the scanning software adjustments I normally make, is either beyond my expertise or beyond my patience.

By the way, RAW scans of color negatives come out still as negatives, despite the fact that the preview is positive. Is this right, and if so, what's the purpose of that?
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Ray
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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2005, 10:49:31 AM »
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Secondly, I ran into a problem with Silverfast because it does not handle Prophoto colour space properly (the colour balance and luminosity in the scan window are not replicated as such in the scanned image file as shown in Photoshop when ProPhoto is used in both). In order to see whether it is a scanner problem or a software problem, one needs to start with the raw data and do tests.

Mark,
That is a worry. At the moment I'm using SilverFast on a cheap Sony 17" LCD on its lowest luminance setting, which I've calibrated with ColorEyes and the X-Rite DT94.

Working space is ProPhoto RGB and SilverFast settings embed that profile. I see no difference between the scanned image opened in PS with the embedded ProPhoto profile, and the SilverFast preview. That's how it should be and I'm happy with that, and also surprised that I can get this close a match with a run-of-the-mill LCD monitor.

I've been undecided about SilverFast for some time. My impressions so far are that Dimage Scan (for the 5400ll) produces better results with negatives. But I haven't tried all types of negatives in my archives yet. Vuescan seems to do the best job with B&W. SilverFast does a better job with Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides.

Since I have a lot of treasured Kodachromes and Ektachromes that go back 40 years, I've decided to buy the SilverFast unlock key. But I'm nevertheless puzzled that SilverFast is not doing a good job with B&W and color negatives. A friend has a Dimage Scan Dual lll, 2800 dpi. The software did rather poorly with color negatives. He's upgraded to the 5400ll on the strength of the superior handling of color negatives.

IF I have to use 3 different scanning software programs for 3 different types of film, then so be it.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2005, 06:58:25 AM »
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Hi Ray, yes I am aware of those options, but I haven't activated them, because I live in "mortal fear" of things that say something like "Reset ALL" when "all" isn't fully defined and their challenged documentation doesn't help much. I've had in the back of my mind that there could be gremlins lurking in the deep dark corners of the software ( of which there are many) just waiting to skewer me for being over-zealous with the commands.

Anyhow, now that you have taken the risk of de-mystifying it, that's great, I'll be less fearsome. (Perhaps a bit irrational in the first place - after all, just a few more minutes of head-scratching to get things back on track in case all-#### breaks loose; but I just have so many of these legacy negatives I want to finish scanning, that I try not to get bogged down, while still mastering the thing enough to get the quality I want - which by and large I have.)

The ProPhoto dialogue I'm having with Lasersoft - and they have NOT yet been able to either replicate or resolve - is an attempt to put a bit of icing on the cake just in case I can eak-out a bit more in-gamut values that the Epson 4000 can handle. Of course you are absolutely correct that it makes nonsense of image adjustment in Silverfast if what I see in their prescan window doesn't end up looking the same in Photoshop - that was the basis of my original complaint to Lasersoft. I am open to the (perhaps remote) possibility that the problem may not be Silverfast - it could be model 1 of the 5400 scanner - that is why I got into the idea of producing RAW files and working them in LAB using ProPhoto space, to see what misses out on what. But I haven't tried it yet. The 5400-1 specs do not list ProPhoto as a supported working space, but it does support something called "wide gamut RGB" which may - or may not - be the same thing. Minolta tells me the scanner itself would not clip colours within the ProPhoto work space. Let me ask you - does the 5400 model 2 explicitly support ProPhoto?

I agree, in respect of its fundamental performance Silverfast is a VERY good piece of software, underneath all its quirkiness and poor quality documentation. I especially like the grey triangular "pipette" for achieving colour balance where there is something (or some things) in the image that definitely should be true grey. Also, its colour wheel is handy for some balancing work, and the mid-range exposure setting "L" is quite powerful at rescuing seemingly hopeless negatives. Sometimes I find this stuff really is good (if not essential in case of heavily under-exposed negatives) to use before getting the image into Photoshop, but I remain convinced there is nothing out there that fully competes with the scope, depth and flexibility of Photoshop's colour and luminosity adjustment tools.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
LeifG
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« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2005, 03:27:46 PM »
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I use the Dimage Scan software with the Minolta DS5400 (first version) and get excellent results for Fuji Provia 100F and Kodachrome 64. In the case of Fuji, I scan, then in PS apply a profile generated from a Q60 slide from ColorAid in Germany. Unfortunately I cannot find a Q60 slide for KR64, but I find that the scan is fairly close, and just needs some shift to the relative RGB brightness before the scan. I have Vuescan but don't like it. It's supposed to allow generation of a profile but I couldn't get it to work. I tested SilverFast, but I hate it. The interface is IMO a dog in terms of ergonomics.

I find that ICE works well with KR64, and the auto-focus is useless. I always manual focus and get sharper results. Very rarely I get 1 pixel wide coloured lines in a scan. Blooming is not an issue, unlike with several other scanners I owned.

Leif
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2005, 12:05:31 PM »
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Ray, interesting that you have not had the ProPhoto problem. Now, you are using the 5400-II and I am using the original 5400. Maybe that is the rub. Perhaps Minolta have improved something affecting this.

For my set-up Silverfast is by far the best at handlng colour negatives notwithstanding the ProPhoto issue. [I haven't used it for anything else so don't know the relative merits for other media.] I do know that in the 5400-II Minolta claims superior negative handling capability - probably some combination of both hardware and software.

Yes - in terms of what software to use - I think you have it right - as long as the moolah is available, buy whatever works best for each medium. A bit rich as a solution, but I guess it's too much to expect "one size fits all" in this domain.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2005, 10:33:08 PM »
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Hi Ray,

Thanks for your settings. Next time I scan I shall compare them with mine, and if not the same, try them out to see what happens. I'll let you know.

If I have made any adjustments at all to an image, I always reset them before doing the next image. This is most easily handled by clicking on the colour balance, mid range exposure or histogram tools as appropriate and then clicking reset. It works.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2005, 10:37:09 AM »
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Mark,
The Dimage Scan software for the 5400 ll also does not have a ProPhoto option. This fact was one of the first differences I noticed when comparing Dimage Scan with both Vuescan and SilverFast. I don't think your mismatch between preview and scanned image, using the ProPhoto space, can be explained by this omission.
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Ray
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« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2005, 09:22:05 AM »
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Mark,
Glad to be of assistance. I'm often accused of being impractical  Cheesy .
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2005, 12:50:48 AM »
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If the scan software accepts ICC profiles, you can shoot a Color Checker SG under appropriate lighting and make your own film profiles if the film type is still manufactured. If not, there isn't much you can do but sweat blood and grit your teeth.
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Frere Jacques
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« Reply #29 on: August 31, 2005, 12:28:50 PM »
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Ray-

One other thing. Silverfast does have a Reala profile, it's just well hidden -- in NegaFix, choose Fuji, the Superia, then in the last box scroll all the way down & you will find Reala 100 listed.

-JMK
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2005, 01:37:43 PM »
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Clive,

Yes - if only using positive transparency film of a type for which there is a useful IT8 target, Vuescan should be fine at much lower cost. I must emphasize that my experience and recommendation is based largely on what works best for colour negative film. This is a very important distinction that fundamentally affects choice of software.

That much said, I just looked at Silverfast pricing and saw that while they charge 258 dollars for the version that supports the Minolta scanner, they charge 407 for the equivalent version supporting the Nikon Coolscan 4000. That ups the ante quite a bit! It's never been clear to me why these large price differences as a function of scanner model - maybe it reflects complexity of configuration and corresponding development effort, who knows.

Dmerger, again dealing with negatives, the luminosity range and colour balance of colour negative scans is much more controllable with Silverfast and producers brigher, richer results than I've been able to achieve with either Vuescan or with Minolta's native software.

There is a balancing act about how much adjusting to do in the scanning software and how much in Photoshop. Heavily underexposed images do need to be tweaked quite heavily at the scanning stage, otherwise Photoshop will not be able to rescue them to their full potential. For more normal exposures, the saw-off I discussed in my previous post works well.

In relative terms, I don't think we are hardware limited with the Minolta 5400 scanner - it has the highest specified DR and optical resolution of any desktop film scanner on the market. I think software issues are much more determinative than hardware constraints.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Clive Carpenter
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« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2005, 02:55:58 AM »
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Well, grain reduction in Vuescan is not as effective as GEM in Dimage Scan and Nikon Scan. Are you implying that Photoshop can do a better job than GEM or ICE?

Not really.  For grain I use Neat Image as a PS plug-in and sharpening is handled using Photokit Sharpener.  I do use ICE in NikonScan, or the equivalent in VueScan.

Clive
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Ray
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« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2005, 11:17:54 AM »
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so if ultra-high res gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling, that's fine.
Hey! It's the 24x36" prints from my Epson 7600 that give me the warm, fuzzy feeling  Cheesy .
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dmerger
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« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2005, 11:42:20 AM »
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Mark, for my purposes, I agree with Ray about scan resolution.  I try to scan once at the highest resolution.  My biggest prints have been 22 x 33.  

I'm afraid that you may have missed my point about SilverFast and VueScan.  I'm not suprised that you can get a better looking scan with SilverFast, but how much of the improvement is purely post scan image adjustments made with SilverFast software? I suspect that virtually all the improvements are just post scan manipulation and that I could do the same or better with Photoshop CS.  Is my assumption incorrect?

My goal is to get the best possible "RAW" scan from my scanner, without any post scan, non-hardware image adjustments, and then make all my image adjustments with Neat Image, PK Sharpener and Photoshop CS.  So, what I'm really interested in is whether SilverFast or VueScan is capable of producing better "RAW" scans.
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Dean Erger
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« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2005, 03:11:46 PM »
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dmerger, you are raising an interesting and important question about what adjustments happen pre-scan and what  post scan but pre-Photoshop. The importance is that the key technical argument used by the proponents for adjusting as much as possible before scanning is that the scanned image then ends-up in Photoshop with no data loss and little do in Photoshop that would take its toll on the pixels - remembering that most image corrections destroy information. That argument loses alot of its mathematical appeal if in fact most of the calculations affect already scanned pixels whether it happens in the one piece of software or the other. One thing there is NO question about - heavily underexposed originals MUST be brightened up during scan exposure otherwise Photoshop cannot cope adequately.

As for custom scanner profiles for handling POSITIVES, from what I've read in the colour management literature, calibrating and profiling the scanner for the material that will be scanned is part of a properly colour-managed workflow and should help improve both predictability and process efficiency. Fraser, Grey, Hutchinson etc. all write about this.

Now, turning to the nitty gritty on RAW scans with Silverfast, here is the recipe, as confirmed by LaserSoft and so far UNtested by me:

(1) In the FRAME tab for SCAN TYPE select <48 bit HDR colour>.
(2) In the OPTIONS>GENERAL tab for Gamma Gradation leave the box before <for HDR Output> UNchecked.
(3) In the OPTIONS>CMS tab for <profiles for ICM Internal> select NONE.
(4) Also uncheck <Embedded ICC Profile>.

I'm curious to get your reaction on how it works and what it does. Let us compare notes.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2005, 07:55:07 AM »
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Ray,

You got what is expected. As for why do it, there are several  reasons:

Firstly, specific applications can ask for such data - for example, CF Systems for converting from negative to positive.

Secondly, I ran into a problem with Silverfast because it does not handle Prophoto colour space properly (the colour balance and luminosity in the scan window are not replicated as such in the scanned image file as shown in Photoshop when ProPhoto is used in both). In order to see whether it is a scanner problem or a software problem, one needs to start with the raw data and do tests.

Thirdly, if you want to test whether the scanning program's settings and adjustments are doing all they can for you, it is good to be able to start with the same raw data it starts with and see whether you can improve on it. If you can, aspects of their software are not worth paying for; if you can't, they are.

I haven't made the time to experiment with it yet - other things have priority just now, but when I do in the near future I shall most likely be making my adjustments in LAB rather than RGB or CMYK. This is simply because the easiest way to convert from negative to positive is to reverse the A & B curves, then colour balance can be further tweaked with those two curves leaving luminosity unaffected, while luminosity can then be adjusted on its own using the L curve. In this way one may be able to develop a recipe, or a "preset" generally useful for a film type, very much like the scanning software does. If it provides no value-added over the standard way of using Silverfast, so be it - back to the standard way. If I find I've improved image quality relative to the standard approach, well - value-added.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #36 on: September 06, 2005, 12:09:27 AM »
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This is most easily handled by clicking on the colour balance, mid range exposure or histogram tools as appropriate and then clicking reset. It works.
Mark,
Are you aware that there's a 'reset' and 'reset all' option?

At the bottom of the 'Frame' window where you have Prescan, Scan, Quit and Options buttons, pressing ALT turns the Options button into a Reset button and pressing SHIFT turns the Options button into a 'Reset All' button.

I now 'reset all' with a single click before each new prescan. Resetting 'all' does not change the color management settings, fortunately  Smiley .

The more I use SilverFast, the more impressed I am. Their color adjustment tools seem to be as good as Photoshop's curves, but easier to use.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #37 on: September 10, 2005, 11:10:21 AM »
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Color Management[/u]
Internal - ICM
Monitor - ICM
Output - RGB

Profiles for ICM[/u]
Input - Konica Minolta .... 5400ll
Internal - ProPhoto RGB
Grey - none
Output/Printer - greyed out
Rendering Intent - Rel Col

Embedded ICC Profiles[/u]
Embed ICC Profile - box ticked
Profile to embed - ProPhoto RGB
Ray,

This recipe works. The Prophoto problem is solved. Thank you EVER SO MUCH. When working with negatives, the only key change I had to make, apart from (obviously) selecting the ProPhoto working space, is to select <ICM> instead of <none> in "Colour Management" for the "internal>monitor" window. With negatives "input>internal" is greyed out, and under "Profiles for ICM" "Input" is greyed out. So the whole problem was one simple choice for "Internal>Monitor" that I missed trying and Lasersoft after all this time and back and forth with me never thought of suggesting. I much appreciate your astuteness for discovering this.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
LeifG
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« Reply #38 on: September 15, 2005, 02:53:26 AM »
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Having just acquired a Dimage Scan Elite 5400ll I've been busy comparing scans using different software; namely Vuescan, Silverfast and the software that came with the scanner.

It's a right mess, I have to say. The results are all over the place. I'm reaching the conclusion that one particular scanning software will do a better job than another only in respect to a particular film type.
Ray: you really must buy some IT8/Q60 profile slides. www.coloraid.de do some. Then create profiles. With Dimage Scan, scan as per normal, then apply the profile in Photoshop. Vuescan and SilverFast lets you create a profile and then scan with the profile 'loaded'. If the profile is applied while scanning (lamp brightness adjusted) then you should get better results. Otherwise I see little advantage to either method.

I find it easy to get good scans from the Minolta 5400, using Dimage Scan, which require little post scan adjustment apart from application in PS of a generated profile. The adjustments I make tend to be to compensate for a blue cast present on the slide. In the case of KR64, I find that reciprocity failure is so common that no profile would help. Usually adjusting the lamp brightness (reduce blue) is important.

Leif
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Ray
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« Reply #39 on: September 15, 2005, 08:36:11 AM »
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Leif,
I have the professional version of Vuescan and SilverFast which allow calibration of the scanner using an IT8 target.  I've thought about ordering a target through the internet but I'm not convinced it will serve much purpose. My previews in the scanning software match the scanned result very closely; closely enough in fact. The conclusion I draw from this is my scanner (the Elite 5400ll) is already sufficiently well calibrated.

I don't see much point in creating profiles for different film types using IT8 targets because the film I'm scanning is mostly old stuff which has faded to some degree. I now use digital cameras. At present I'm scanning old Kodachromes and Ektachromes, twice, once using Vuescan and once using SilverFast. Sometimes the automatic settings in Vuescan, with their built-in Kodachrome and Ektachrome profiles, produce better results than several minutes of stuffing around with SilverFast.  Smiley
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