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Author Topic: Silverfast 8 + Nikon 5000 + Kodachrome = scan lines/banding  (Read 10554 times)
syncrasy
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2012, 11:02:13 AM »
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Hi Mark - I didn't think you were hallucinating - I ascribed all the blame to my temporary viewing conditions. Thanks for the blow-ups - by comparing the two scans it's now clear what the phenomenon looks like. I am intrigued that the left image name suggests no multi-exposure and the right image name suggests with multi-exposure. If this is the only difference between the two scans, it does raise a question about whether there could be a slight registration problem between the two scan passes that multi-exposure creates, or an inordinate exaggeration of the dark pixels relative to the lighter edges - I'm purely drawing inferences or hypotheses here, and even if either were true, not clear whether it is software or hardware-related, but perhaps interesting avenues of further investigation - provided the image names correctly identify the differences of scan treatment.

Mark, whoa, hold on.... The scans were made with different versions of SilverFast. You can see the '6' and '8' in the file names. (Sorry for the cryptic names; I probably should have used longer file names.)
  • left image: SilverFast 6.6 with 8x multisampling (there is no multi-exposure option in SF 6, as far as I know)
  • right image: Silverfast 8 with multi-exposure on (since there is no multi-sampling option in SF 8  )

As I said earlier, SF8 with multi-exposure (M-E) on has negligible effect on the jaggedy lines, but I am using M-E to provide the best possible scan. So this is a SF 6.6 vs SF 8 conundrum. SF 6.6 appears to work; SF 8 does not. The Nikon part of this discussion might be irrelevant, but I included it for comparison (now that it appears to work on my Snow Leopard machine).

(And I knew you knew I wasn't hallucinating, but sometimes I'm not sure myself. Besides, I wanted you to see the phenomenon.)
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 11:31:51 AM by syncrasy » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2012, 11:37:46 AM »
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Mark, whoa, hold on.... The scans were made with different versions of SilverFast. You can see the '6' and '8' in the file names. (Sorry for the cryptic names; I probably should have used longer file names.)
  • left image: SilverFast 6.6 with 8x multisampling (there is no multi-exposure option in SF 6, as far as I know)
  • right image: Silverfast 8 with multi-exposure on (since there is no multi-sampling option in SF 8  )

As I said earlier, SF8 with multi-exposure (M-E) on has negligible effect on the jaggedy lines, but I am using M-E to provide the best possible scan. So this is a SF 6.6 vs SF 8 conundrum. SF 6.6 appears to work; SF 8 does not. The Nikon part of this discussion might be irrelevant, but I included it for comparison (now that it appears to work on my Snow Leopard machine).

(And I knew you knew I wasn't hallucinating, but sometimes I'm not sure myself. Besides, I wanted you to see the phenomenon.)


Oops - missed that! OK - problem seems not to be mutii-exposure related. Back to the drawing board.
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syncrasy
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2012, 02:53:56 PM »
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I hope you labelled the images correctly, because the Nikon Scan image looks the worst of the lot - the sky looks like coarse sandpaper, not the case for the two to the right.

On second thought (to hijack my own thread briefly), check out these quickly corrected images: Nikon Scan vs SilverFast 6.6. Ignoring the color mismatch, to my eye the "sandpaper" coarseness is about the same for both scans.

OK, that's all for now. I'll wait for our scheduled discussion of SF 6.6 vs SF 8 at the end of the month.
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2012, 09:29:40 PM »
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I agree.

On another matter, somewhere above you raised the issue about the monitoring and response on the SilverFast Forum. I checked on this, and the first item in the Forum rules says:

<This forum is for generic talking and not for supporting your special problems!. Please use our support assistant to get special help for your problem.> They want people to go to tech support for tech support issues and use the forum for everything else, and it would appear from what you are saying that they do monitor for this quite closely!

Cheers,

Mark
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syncrasy
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2012, 11:08:10 PM »
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On another matter, somewhere above you raised the issue about the monitoring and response on the SilverFast Forum. I checked on this, and the first item in the Forum rules says:

<This forum is for generic talking and not for supporting your special problems!. Please use our support assistant to get special help for your problem.> They want people to go to tech support for tech support issues and use the forum for everything else, and it would appear from what you are saying that they do monitor for this quite closely!

Oh, yes. The notorious "generic talking" rule. I know it well. But I could never figure out what they meant by "generic" because the forum is full of very specific technical questions. (The forum even has topics such as "Installation Problems," "Host Related Problems," "OSX Problems," "All Other Problems," etc.) They also have these specific rules:

Before you post.

* Use our search function in this forum to find similar topics.
* Use our FAQ to find solutions for your problems.
* Use our support assistant to get help if nothing of the above points help you.


That would seem to imply that someone else with "your (special) problem" was successful in getting their problem posted—an event that should be prohibited by the "generic talking . . . not . . . your special problems!" mission of the forum.

It would be comical if it weren't so frustrating. We're talking Alice in Wonderland territory here.

In my case, the support assistant couldn't answer the problem, and further correspondence with their team came up empty. One might think they would let forum members post difficult cases to the wider community (i.e., leveraging the value of a true forum, like Microsoft and Phase One did/do with Expression Media/Media Pro). Instead I got shut down and my question never was answered. Very peculiar company, LaserSoft.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 11:11:28 PM by syncrasy » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2012, 01:45:43 AM »
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OK, I understand how it can appear rather confusing!

Back to the main business.

Cheers,

Mark
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« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2012, 04:56:53 PM »
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I have EXACTLY the same set-up that you have, I have done tons of work with it, and I have not noticed this problem. I am not in a position to do so now, but come the end of the month (I know, not instant gratification) I shall be, and I would be pleased to run some tests to see whether I can reproduce the observations you've made here. My preliminary assessment based on what I've and seen before is that this should not happen.

........

Hi Mark,

I am now back at home, and as promised I ran several tests to try to reproduce your observations and I could not. I used a Kodachrome slide with both light and dark areas (contiguous) and did one scan unadjusted with no multi-exposure, another scan unadjusted with multi-exposure, and another scan adjusted. All 48-bit tiff 4000 PPI, 100% magnification ratio, using LSI's canned profile for Kodachrome. Opened in Photoshop and magnified to 100%, none of them displayed the condition you explained and demonstrated, either in Normal mode, or in Screen mode (which opens darks and exposes defects); hence as I cannot reproduce it I cannot confirm a systemic issue either with the application or with the scanner and unfortunately cannot offer a viable explanation of what may be causing the problem you are having. Sorry I could not be more helpful with a solution.

Cheers,

Mark
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syncrasy
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« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2012, 08:35:05 PM »
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Mark,

Thank you for your time and effort. The mystery continues.

I can only assume there is a problem on my end. The first obvious variable is the actual slides. Perhaps my slides are unusually difficult to scan (too old? too dense? too dark?). The next most obvious variable is my scanning method, but I think we've established we are using the same settings and profile, and the folks in Germany looked at my log file and didn't find any issues. So if it's not the slides or my scanning method, then there is a hardware or software issue. The first test I can try is to install SF8 on my laptop and run a test with the same slide. I'll report back when I have results. If you have any other suggestions, let me know.

(BTW... I'm not familiar with "Normal Mode" vs "Screen Mode." My Photoshop CS2 has a View > Screen Mode > Standard Screen Mode or Full Screen Mode with Menu Bar or Full Screen Mode, but I don't know what these views do or if changing them would make a difference in troubleshooting my issue.)

Is there any reason to suspect a 32-bit vs 64-bit mode issue? I assume my SF8 is running in 64-bit mode since the "Open in 32-bit mode" checkbox is unchecked. I know that I had to change Nikon Capture NX2 setting from 64- to 32-bit mode to get it to work properly. A shot in the dark.

Thanks,

(the other) Mark
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 08:53:19 PM by syncrasy » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2012, 08:59:25 PM »
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Mark,

Thank you for your time and effort. The mystery continues.

I can only assume there is a problem on my end. The first obvious variable is the actual slides. Perhaps my slides are unusually difficult to scan (too old? too dense? too dark?). The next most obvious variable is my scanning method, but I think we've established we are using the same settings and profile, and the folks in Germany looked at my log file and didn't find any issues. So if it's not the slides or my scanning method, then there is a hardware or software issue. The first test I can try is to install SF8 on my laptop and run a test with the same slide. I'll report back when I have results. If you have any other suggestions, let me know.

(BTW... I'm not familiar with "Normal Mode" vs "Screen Mode." My Photoshop CS2 has a View > Screen Mode > Standard Screen Mode or Full Screen Mode with Menu Bar or Full Screen Mode, but I don't know what these views do or if changing them would make a difference in troubleshooting my issue.)

Thanks,

(the other) Mark

Mark - I was referring to the Blend Modes in Photoshop (and CS2 has them), when you add a Curves Adjustment Layer, you can select from a large number of Blend Modes. After adding the Curves Adjustment Later, at the top of the Layers Panel, you will see a pane with the word "Normal". That's the default Blend Mode. Click on it and a bunch of options open up. Select Screen and most of the image turns much lighter, allowing you to see through otherwise dense material. It helps to reveal hidden defects.

From your first post, I suspect it is something to do with the slides. If you got somewhat decent results using high multisampling in SilverFast 6.6, this indicates to me that perhaps a lot of nasty stuff is being "averaged out" by the multisampling. I suspect Multi-Exposure in SF8 is not as strong as the strongest multi-sampling was in SF 6.6. To test whether it may be the slides, try slides from a different camera or a different era - whatever you can get your hands on and see whether the problem reproduces itself with media from a different vintage/camera/era.
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« Reply #29 on: April 03, 2012, 07:38:45 AM »
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This may be a long shot, but multi-sampling would give time for any mechanical vibrations to settle out and average the result. Multi-exposure might resemble a multi-sample of 2 from a time perspective- you would have to talk with the engineers at Lasersoft. i forget if they make two complete passes or hold position and expose twice. From what i remember, multi-sampling holds a set position and scans x times. So ccd registration offset could still be the issue, and i think more likely. There were some guides on the net on how to open up the scanner and look for dust/dirt issues, but it would be better if Nikon ( still ? ) serviced the unit. At one point, SF replaced the Nikon Maid drivers (it was in the 6.x series if i remember correctly) on the Mac with their own. Otherwise, the SF software would be using the same drivers as Nikon. Ed reverse engineered the drivers for the Nikon and did not use the Maid modules for Vuescan.

Frank
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 10:10:59 AM by degrub » Logged
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« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2012, 04:08:20 PM »
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To test whether it may be the slides, try slides from a different camera or a different era - whatever you can get your hands on and see whether the problem reproduces itself with media from a different vintage/camera/era.

Attached are samples from a 1982 Kodachrome slide, the most recent year in my collection, shot with a different camera. (My previous sample was 1975 Kodachrome, and the problem occurs in my 1930s and 40s slides, too.)

I've included full, 100x, and 300x screenshots. SF6.6 on the left, SF 8 on the right. As you can see, the scan line problem is present in this more recent sample.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 04:10:14 PM by syncrasy » Logged

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« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2012, 04:19:32 PM »
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Until one gets to a 300% screen magnification any difference is not detectable on my high res NEC PA271 display. At 300%, the edge of one of the grass blades looks slightly more pixellated in the SF8 version versus the SF6 version. Have you printed both to see whether there is a practical difference on paper t the resolution and linear dimensions you would normally require?
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« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2012, 04:42:34 PM »
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Until one gets to a 300% screen magnification any difference is not detectable on my high res NEC PA271 display. At 300%, the edge of one of the grass blades looks slightly more pixellated in the SF8 version versus the SF6 version.

Odd. I can see them in the 100% version if I look closely (my monitor is NEC MultiSync LCD 1960NXi, if that's of importance). I've attached a marked-up version of the 100% shot to draw your attention to the many jagged areas that I can see.

Have you printed both to see whether there is a practical difference on paper t the resolution and linear dimensions you would normally require?

Not yet. I just assumed the differences I am seeing would translate to paper.
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« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2012, 04:52:48 PM »
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Mark, this is really very interesting. I downloaded your image and opened it in Photoshop, attached a Curves layer in Screen mode so I could really see what's going on, and at 100% differences are hardly detectable - my eyes and my display - both very good dare I see, but perhaps not as good as yours' - that we'll never likely know! :-). Then I magnified the image to 200%, and indeed, at that magnification, the degree of edge pixellation is greater in the SF8 image than in the SF6 image. Of course anything magnified beyond 200% (which is one screen pixel per one image pixel) is bound to show some pixellation, so all that matters here is the relative appearance between the two application versions. As to what's causing it, I can't say. BUT, what you see at these kind of magnifications is NOT necessarily what you will see in a print - in fact hardly ever. I recommend that you print both versions at your standard print settings and just examine the photos at normal viewing distance, and let us know what you find.
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« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2012, 04:59:26 PM »
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This may be a long shot, but multi-sampling would give time for any mechanical vibrations to settle out and average the result. Multi-exposure might resemble a multi-sample of 2 from a time perspective- you would have to talk with the engineers at Lasersoft. i forget if they make two complete passes or hold position and expose twice. From what i remember, multi-sampling holds a set position and scans x times. So ccd registration offset could still be the issue, and i think more likely. There were some guides on the net on how to open up the scanner and look for dust/dirt issues, but it would be better if Nikon ( still ? ) serviced the unit. At one point, SF replaced the Nikon Maid drivers (it was in the 6.x series if i remember correctly) on the Mac with their own. Otherwise, the SF software would be using the same drivers as Nikon. Ed reverse engineered the drivers for the Nikon and did not use the Maid modules for Vuescan.

Frank

Thanks for the input, Frank. I'm inclined to think that the removal of multi-scanning from SF 8 is contributing to this issue. I don't know enough about drivers to comment, but perhaps the driver replacement is also an issue.

I should also revisit the VueScan question, since I have noticed a similar problem of jagged scan lines in my demo version of VueScan. Attached is a comparison of SF 6.6 vs SF 8 vs VueScan (in fine mode). I'm including both 100% and 300% views. Curiously, VueScan appears to produce fewer jagged edges/scan lines than SF 8, but it produces some new jagged scan lines on different parts of the image (most notably the blade of grass angled upward left to right).
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 05:01:40 PM by syncrasy » Logged

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« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2012, 07:01:16 PM »
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Mark, this is really very interesting. I downloaded your image and opened it in Photoshop, attached a Curves layer in Screen mode so I could really see what's going on, and at 100% differences are hardly detectable - my eyes and my display - both very good dare I see, but perhaps not as good as yours' - that we'll never likely know! :-).

OK, I tried to do the same thing (open the 100% image, add a Curves layer in Screen mode). I see the same jagged/toothy edges, only now they're more pronounced because the Curves layer brightens the image. I can't comment on your eyes, but my eyes see the jaggies. And they're obvious.

Then I magnified the image to 200%, and indeed, at that magnification, the degree of edge pixellation is greater in the SF8 image than in the SF6 image. Of course anything magnified beyond 200% (which is one screen pixel per one image pixel) is bound to show some pixellation, so all that matters here is the relative appearance between the two application versions.

Agreed. I included the 300% shots to show the relative difference (and to prove that there is a difference, even though the effect is exaggerated).

As to what's causing it, I can't say. BUT, what you see at these kind of magnifications is NOT necessarily what you will see in a print - in fact hardly ever. I recommend that you print both versions at your standard print settings and just examine the photos at normal viewing distance, and let us know what you find.

Done. And I've attached two scans of the resulting print (300 ppi and 800 ppi).

My conclusions: The effect is less noticeable in a print than onscreen. In fact, the average viewer who knew nothing of this experiment probably would not notice any differences. But, to my eyes, the scan lines in the original SF 8 scan create a toothier/jagged roof line in the print. In the scans of the print (especially the 800 ppi scan), you can see that, where light and dark areas meet, small light and dark spikes intrude into each others' space, just as in the direct Kodachrome scan I posted earlier.

Ultimately, I still think SF 8 is not producing quality scans. (Or to be more accurate, it's producing flawed scans compared to SF 6.6; other than my jagged line problem, the quality is great.) I recently asked Lasersoft to help troubleshoot the problem again. They still couldn't reproduce the problem. But interestingly, in his most recent email, the support manager told me, "One of our developers is currently working on improvements for the Nikon scanners. He will look out for anything possibly causing this effect." I won't be holding my breath, but perhaps they will figure this out. But, to be honest, until they restore multi-scanning to SF 8, I seriously doubt this will be fixed.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 07:17:17 PM by syncrasy » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: April 03, 2012, 07:08:28 PM »
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One should not need multi-sampling to get smooth edges from such subject matter. The problem is elsewhere, so let us hope they can determine what's going on. Good to see that in print any differences are indeed not noticeable unless one is preconditioned to look real hard for them.
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« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2012, 08:38:32 AM »
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One should not need multi-sampling to get smooth edges from such subject matter. The problem is elsewhere, so let us hope they can determine what's going on. Good to see that in print any differences are indeed not noticeable unless one is preconditioned to look real hard for them.

I admit I'm not an expert on scanning technologies, so maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but according to the Nikon Scan reference manual (see attached screenshot), one of the benefits of multi-sample scanning is "smoother changes in tone" (in addition to noise reduction). And my tests show that multi-sampling clearly makes a difference. When I increase the multi-sampling levels from 1x to 4x to 8x in Nikon Scan and SF 6.6, I do see corresponding improvement in edge smoothness. The fact that multi-sampling is the one feature that Lasersoft specifically dropped from SF 8, which creates jagged edges in my tests, can only lead me to conclude that its absence is a factor. And VueScan, which has only one setting for Fine Mode (on/off), exhibits similar issues.

As for the print looking acceptable. . . I suppose that's good news, but I'm more likely to use my images for the Web than for print, and I often need to highly crop an image, which would make the jagged edges more apparent. So neither SF 8 nor VueScan is usable for my purposes.
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« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2012, 08:51:26 AM »
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No, I wasn't suggesting that multi-sampling is not useful. It can be. What I was trying to say is that one shouldn't need to depend on multi-sampling in order to avoid the problem you came across. My experience with scanning oodles of slides and negatives over the past 12 years indicates that I never needed a multi-sample setting greater than 2x to achieve all the tonal smoothness and edge clarity the equipment and processes could deliver. So what I'm suggesting is that if you need such high levels of multi-sampling to avoid these problems, the issue is elsewhere and not because SF8 and Vuescan don't provide such high levels of multi-sampling.
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« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2012, 09:10:31 AM »
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No, I wasn't suggesting that multi-sampling is not useful. It can be. What I was trying to say is that one shouldn't need to depend on multi-sampling in order to avoid the problem you came across. My experience with scanning oodles of slides and negatives over the past 12 years indicates that I never needed a multi-sample setting greater than 2x to achieve all the tonal smoothness and edge clarity the equipment and processes could deliver. So what I'm suggesting is that if you need such high levels of multi-sampling to avoid these problems, the issue is elsewhere and not because SF8 and Vuescan don't provide such high levels of multi-sampling.

Ah, OK. I think we are in agreement. But then should I be looking at driver issues or (gasp) hardware issues such as CCD registration, as Frank suggests above? I'm not sure Nikon will be able to advise me, considering I haven't noticed any differences using their software. It's only with SF 8 that I noticed the problem.
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