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Author Topic: Printing from Slides?  (Read 2742 times)
Mike Guilbault
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« on: June 29, 2011, 11:04:52 PM »
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I have a whole whack of 35mm and some MF transparencies.  I've never attempted to scan them (I only have an inexpensive Epson 4180 flatbed scanner) and just wondering if a scan from a 35mm slide produces enough quality to print... and if so, what do you use to scan it with?  Same question for MF trannies (mainly 6x6).
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2011, 01:59:42 AM »
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You can definitely get enough quality for a good print. The question is how much of your time and/or money are you willing to throw at it?

Scanning slides is, without a doubt, the most painful, awful, boring, ghastly, thing in the world to do yourself. It sucks. I cannot possibly overstate how much you will hate doing it if you have "a whole whack" of them. One or two that you are meticuously preparing for the world's greatest print? Not so bad because you are clearly focusing on one frame and scanning is part of your overall workflow. A whole whack? You're better off going to all the remaining stops on Britney Spears's Femme Fatale tour (and I'm saying that having just returned from the concert, it was awful. But better than scanning slides.)

So what can you do?

1) Outsource the scanning of "a whole whack" to www.scancafe.com. It'll take a long time, but they'll give you reasonable scans. Print worthy? Unlikely. But you'll have your memories in digital form.
2) Outsource the scanning of your best images to www.westcoastimaging.com (there are likely other places). It'll cost you a crapton of money but they'll be beautiful scans and you can print stunning images larger than you ever thought.
3) Get either the Plustek or the Epson scanner (see http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/scanners/plustek.shtml for Mark's review of the Plustek) and give up the rest of your evenings Smiley

Neil
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Neil Enns
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2011, 02:19:08 AM »
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I can't imagine letting anyone else scan my film. Scanning film boring?Huh No way. I've scanned literally thousands of my own 35mm slides, Kodachrome 25, 64 and 200, every flavor of Ektachrome plus some Agfa here and there. Part of the fun of it for me is the challenge of seeing how much I can improve the image from what it looks like on a lightbox. But I wouldn't waste my time scanning with anything less than a good drum scanner. Scan once at the highest anticipated resolution - usually either 4000 or 8000 ppi for 35mm, 4000 for 2-1/4, and most likely 2667 for 4x5 and 2000 for 8x10.

I've been drum scanning my own and other people's film for the last thirteen years and am still not tired of it. Hardly a month goes by where I don't pull files that I had almost forgotten about, the latest being shots I did of Lyle Lovett in '94 for Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Rediscovering old images and wondering why we never used THAT shot back then, when it's clearly the one that should have been used. Plus we now have tools to work with images that we never had before.
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Sven W
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2011, 05:16:30 AM »
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I agree with Neil. It's a PITA !
Let somebody else do the dirty work.

But if you for some odd reason want to, or if you're in a hurry and want to make it easy, take a look at this:
https://reflecta.de/en/products/detail/~id.19/reflecta-DigitDia-5000.html
The women in the video is not included....... Grin

/Sven
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2011, 06:44:27 AM »
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thanks guys... that's about what I suspected.  I'm not in a hurry to scan the "whole whack" at once.  Since I've grown more critical in old age, I'm sure I'll find lots that may hit the bottom of the trash-can.  I just want to find some good one to print from, so I'll probably find a local (ie. Toronto) source for scanning. My current lab may do it too.. I'll have to check.

Sven... looks like a cool unit.. but I didn't understand the dialogue. I'm sure I heard her say she came with the unit! Grin
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Mike Guilbault
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2011, 08:23:28 AM »
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Mike, what size do you intend to print to? What proportion of them is 35mm and what medium format? Once I know this, I can provide some advice.
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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
MHMG
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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2011, 08:40:47 AM »
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Sven... looks like a cool unit.. but I didn't understand the dialogue. I'm sure I heard her say she came with the unit! Grin

She's got great dynamic range no doubt (I'm talking about the scanner) Grin

I use Vuescan Pro with both Nikon ED9000 and Epson V750 pro scanners. There are good wet mount options for both scanners when one wants to extract the ultimate quality scan from these relatively low priced scanners. Maybe not quite in the same league as a high-end drum scan, but outstanding prints can be made nonetheless without having to spend a fortune. The real beauty of Vuescan Pro is that it normalizes my film-based workflow by enabling 16 bit dng raw files to be produced from either scanner.  You get the raw scanner sensor response recorded in a dng file that is then treated like a normal digital Raw file in ACR or Lightroom. No need to sit an fuss over image color and tone in an unfamiliar scanner software app and subsequently worry whether you made the right decisions during the scanning session.  With a RAW scanner workflow, you can non destructively edit your color and tone correction decisions after the fact with the same ease as working with digital camera RAW files.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2011, 08:49:48 AM »
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Hi,

I had an earlier version of the Reflecta Digit Dia (3600) and it sucked many ways. Density was awful, color were awful and slide feed was not reliable. The 5000 model may be better, but be warned...

Best regards
Erik


I agree with Neil. It's a PITA !
Let somebody else do the dirty work.

But if you for some odd reason want to, or if you're in a hurry and want to make it easy, take a look at this:
https://reflecta.de/en/products/detail/~id.19/reflecta-DigitDia-5000.html
The women in the video is not included....... Grin

/Sven
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AFairley
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2011, 10:51:21 AM »
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The real beauty of Vuescan Pro is that it normalizes my film-based workflow by enabling 16 bit dng raw files to be produced from either scanner.  You get the raw scanner sensor response recorded in a dng file that is then treated like a normal digital Raw file in ACR or Lightroom.

It appears from earlier threads on this topic (don't have a link handy, sorry) that the Vuescan "DNG" is simply a TIFF file in a DNG wrapper, and nothing like the raw files digital cameras produce.  So there is no format advantage (unless Vuescan compresses the DNGs more than TIFFS) since you also can edit TIFFs in ACR.  (And you cannot use Adobe DNG editor to create a custom ACR profiles for Vuescan DNGs so there's no advantage there either.) 

What I have gathered from more experienced users on the forum is that you are better off adjusting at least exposure to get it close in the scanner SW (assuming you are making adustments to the scanner hardware) and then doing final adustments in ACR or PS (or your editor of choice) so you are minimizing manipulation of the digital file, which has the potential to introduce noise and color artifacts.

I may well have some details wrong, take the above with that in mind....
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2011, 10:53:43 AM »
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Scanning from slides is an art all its own. You'll get far better prints using a digital workflow starting with a scan than you'd ever get using traditional darkroom techniques.

I've been through 3 generations of dedicated slide/film scanners, and unfortunately the rise of digital and collapse of film sales has killed the market so no new (high quality) film scanners are likely to be forthcoming. Medium format slides have so much information you'll get great results with almost any decent flatbed scanner that includes a transmitted light/transparency scan option.

I'm using a Minolta 5400 scanner for my 35 mm slides, and it's excellent if you can find one used. Be aware that while Sony picked up Minolta's camera side, and will provide repair services for the hardware, they no longer support it so the software in the box no longer works with newer operating systems and will never be updated. I'm using Vuescan from Hamrix, which works fine. Silverfast is another pricier option.

Once you climb the learning curve and work in earnest, it'll take you about an hour per scan if you want to squeeze every last drop of image quality out of a 35 mm slide. If the original is a very high quality low ISO film like Velvia or Provia 100F, and an excellent sharp exposure, you can print up to 20 x 30" no problem, though grain will be visible. I've printed a few up to 24 x 36", and this can look surprisingly good if it's a busy image like a forest scene, but blue skies will look very gritty due to the film's grain. If you're a Photoshop guru you can blur that out nicely, but now you're talking serious time in front of the computer.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2011, 10:55:09 AM »
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That's correct. DNG is just a container. It's a three-channel rendered pixel-based file with a DNG wrapper on it. And yes, with good scanning software it's advantageous to do dust and scratch removal, white balancing and an approximately good histogram at the scan stage. Makes life easier in post-scan image editors.
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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
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2011, 10:58:27 AM »
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Scanning from slides is an art all its own. You'll get far better prints using a digital workflow starting with a scan than you'd ever get using traditional darkroom techniques.

I've been through 3 generations of dedicated slide/film scanners, and unfortunately the rise of digital and collapse of film sales has killed the market so no new (high quality) film scanners are likely to be forthcoming. Medium format slides have so much information you'll get great results with almost any decent flatbed scanner that includes a transmitted light/transparency scan option.

I'm using a Minolta 5400 scanner for my 35 mm slides, and it's excellent if you can find one used. Be aware that while Sony picked up Minolta's camera side, and will provide repair services for the hardware, they no longer support it so the software in the box no longer works with newer operating systems and will never be updated. I'm using Vuescan from Hamrix, which works fine. Silverfast is another pricier option.

Once you climb the learning curve and work in earnest, it'll take you about an hour per scan if you want to squeeze every last drop of image quality out of a 35 mm slide. If the original is a very high quality low ISO film like Velvia or Provia 100F, and an excellent sharp exposure, you can print up to 20 x 30" no problem, though grain will be visible. I've printed a few up to 24 x 36", and this can look surprisingly good if it's a busy image like a forest scene, but blue skies will look very gritty due to the film's grain. If you're a Photoshop guru you can blur that out nicely, but now you're talking serious time in front of the computer.

I've never spent anything near an hour producing a scan and I produce fine 13*19 prints from 35mm colour negatives - or slides. Grain and sharpening can be handled very well in post-scan processing with a combination of Topaz DeNoise and Photokit Sharpener, properly used. I scan with SilverFast using a Nikon 5000 ED, an Epson V750 and for testing and research purposes a Plustek 7600i. The two latter are current models. I reviewed the Plustek on this website. It comes with SilverFast.
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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 #12 on: June 30, 2011, 11:08:21 AM »
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Before you go the scanner route, you may want to try using your DSLR and a macro lens.  I've seen very impressive results using that method posted on this web site.
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Dean Erger
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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2011, 12:18:33 PM »
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Before you go the scanner route, you may want to try using your DSLR and a macro lens.  I've seen very impressive results using that method posted on this web site.

Yes, I have also seen good results from this. Never tried it myself, as I don't have the right lens and mounting contraption to do it. In principle, however, it should be quite workable. There'd be no infra-red channel for detecting and removing debris and scratches, and one would need to make sure the set-up doesn't vignette or distort the image, but other than that I can't think of good reasons why it wouldn't be doable. A search would probably turn-up articles on specific techniques.
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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
MHMG
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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2011, 12:18:44 PM »
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That's correct. DNG is just a container. It's a three-channel rendered pixel-based file with a DNG wrapper on it. And yes, with good scanning software it's advantageous to do dust and scratch removal, white balancing and an approximately good histogram at the scan stage. Makes life easier in post-scan image editors.

Right, for brevity I neglected to say that Vuescan will also save RAW (linear) tif format which goes through an ACR or lightroom workflow no differently than the image saved in DNG. As you say, DNG is just that linear tiff in a dng container, It differs from digital camera raw data in that there is no de-mosiac pattern encoding. But it is the "untreated" scanner data that is the basis for any image corrections one would/could do in the scanner app itself. Also, just like a digital camera, one definitely wants to optimize exposure at this "raw" capture stage, and Vuescan provides exposure/gain control, even RGB individual channel exposure control on scanners that support it. Try as I might, I've never been happy running dust and scratch removal algorithms like digital ICE at the scanning stage, but if that's of value to you, then you just take the dng or tiff raw file back into Vuescan and reprocess at will with whatever Vuescan color correction/sharpening/noise reduction tools you want. Simply stated, I'm much more familiar with PS and lightroom than any scanner based image editing tools, so I prefer to do these edits to my linear tif or dng scanned images with the software I know best.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2011, 12:31:23 PM »
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Right, for brevity I neglected to say that Vuescan will also save RAW (linear) tif format which goes through an ACR or lightroom workflow no differently than the image saved in DNG. As you say, DNG is just that linear tiff in a dng container, It differs from digital camera raw data in that there is no de-mosiac pattern encoding. But it is the "untreated" scanner data that is the basis for any image corrections one would/could do in the scanner app itself. Also, just like a digital camera, one definitely wants to optimize exposure at this "raw" capture stage, and Vuescan provides exposure/gain control, even RGB individual channel exposure control on scanners that support it. Try as I might, I've never been happy running dust and scratch removal algorithms like digital ICE at the scanning stage, but if that's of value to you, then you just take the dng or tiff raw file back into Vuescan and reprocess at will with whatever Vuescan color correction/sharpening/noise reduction tools you want. Simply stated, I'm much more familiar with PS and lightroom than any scanner based image editing tools, so I prefer to do these edits to my linear tif or dng scanned images with the software I know best.

It's not really "untreated scanner data". It's scanned media that has been through a process of analog to digital conversion, becoming an RGB pixel-based file, using a colour space that has been either user-selected, or absent which some scanner space that scales the colours and renders them into an untagged TIF format - which may than be wrapped as DNG. Dust and scratch removal with SilverFast for scanners that support infrared detection is very, very good, and one of the main reasons why I use that application. It also has great strength in colour balancing. It also allows lamp control for adjusting the exposure of individual channels on supported scanners. For the "over-lapping tools" (ones which exist in scanning software/LR/PS) - my philosophy is very simple - use the ones that work best for the purpose at hand. For example, Lightroom's luminance controls are second to none. But I'll still aim for a decent histogram and white balance at the scan stage
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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
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2011, 01:39:16 PM »
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Hi,

I did spend something like two hours on a 70x100 cm print from a Velvia 67 scan. The major issue was to get shadow detail and suppress grain, but the result was gorgeous.

Some scanners may be better than others but scanning a film with D-MAx close 4.0 will always be a challenge.

Good slides can yield very good results, but before scanners arrived we had few really good ways to judge image quality in slides, I would suggest that many old slides are far from perfect. Good 135 slides should print well in A3 size.

The scanner I used is Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro, scans at 3200 PPI in MF and 4800 PPI in 135.

Check out this: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/16-pentax67velvia-vs-sony-alpha-900

and perhaps this:

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/25-dslr-vs-mfdb-vs-film

Best regards
Erik

Best regards
Erik

I've never spent anything near an hour producing a scan and I produce fine 13*19 prints from 35mm colour negatives - or slides. Grain and sharpening can be handled very well in post-scan processing with a combination of Topaz DeNoise and Photokit Sharpener, properly used. I scan with SilverFast using a Nikon 5000 ED, an Epson V750 and for testing and research purposes a Plustek 7600i. The two latter are current models. I reviewed the Plustek on this website. It comes with SilverFast.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 01:57:31 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

JohnHeerema
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« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2011, 05:16:44 PM »
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I also have thousands of slides and negative strips. For the last year or so, I've had a Nikon 5000 working its way through them pretty much continuously. With a slide feeder, the thing needs occasional attention, but just a few minutes here and there through the day.

I personally start by characterizing the scanner using an IT8 target for whatever emulsion I'm scanning. I just scan everything at 4000 dpi, 16 exposures, and triage later. Storage is cheap, and I want to spend as little of my time on the process as possible. I figure that I should have all of the small-format film scanned in another couple of years at the rate I'm going. With careful post-scan processing, I can easily print to about 24" in the long dimension (your quality standards, of course, may vary!).
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2011, 05:26:44 PM »
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It all depends on what your standards are, I guess.  Grin

Optimizing color balance, sharpening that's perfect for the specific image, digging the last pixel of detail out of the shadows, smoothing film grain without mushing the fine details.... doing it well takes a bit of time. Software plug-ins are great for quickly turning out lots and lots of "good enough". IMHO it takes lots of tweaking and TLC to eeke out that last couple percent of quality from a really good image and make it worthy of a 20 x 30" or larger print.

In my experience it's pretty simple to make a really good 13 x 19" print from a 35 mm scan. It's much, much harder to make a 24 x 36" that doesn't call more attention to its technical flaws than to the image itself.
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MHMG
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« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2011, 06:00:17 PM »
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It's not really "untreated scanner data". It's scanned media that has been through a process of analog to digital conversion, becoming an RGB pixel-based file, using a colour space that has been either user-selected, or absent which some scanner space that scales the colours and renders them into an untagged TIF format

Ok, I should have said something like 'native analog-to-digital signal encoding" rather than "untreated data". The bottom line is that an analog to digital conversion takes place at the very beginning just as it does in a digital camera, a colorspace gets assigned which, even if RGB or CMYK encoded, must correlate with assigned colorimetric values (there is no a priori knowledge of true colorimetric scene values), sometimes by default or sometimes by user-preferred choice, but it is nevertheless the starting point for any subsequent digital data manipulation via scanner software or other image editing software. In my case I choose ACR or Lightroom.

I think we may be getting bogged down in technicalities here. At the end of the day, the end-user has to arrive at a color and tone corrected scan which is ideally assigned a conventional working colorspace like sRGB, aRGB, prophotoRGB,etc. I choose do to this in a post-scan mode of operation while many choose to do it at the moment of initial scan. I'm not suggesting one method is categorically better than the other. I am suggesting that my approach has a certain workflow efficiency for me since I'm skilled in PS/ACR and Lightroom, but not in Vuescan editing tools, Silverfast editing tools, etc., etc.  I offered this "RAW scan"  suggestion because I suspect there are other LULA forum readers out there just like me, ie. well versed in PS and/or Lightroom, not so much with Silverfast, Vuescan, EpsonScan, and so forth.. Whatever editing tool you use to fine tune the scanned image and whether you do it at moment of capture or later on, you are going to need to know your image editing tools pretty well to achieve an excellent end result.

kind regards,
Mark

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