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Author Topic: B&W negative "Contact Sheets" with scanner  (Read 4807 times)
Dave Gurtcheff
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« on: September 21, 2012, 01:56:57 PM »
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Hi all:
I have some priceless family negatives. They are all B&W, 645 (2 1/4" x 1 5/8"). I have about 250 rolls, 16 per roll. I want to put the 16 frames in archival 8.5"x11" pages and scan an entire roll at once (still in the pages, so I don't handle them, then make a B&W contact sheet). My trusty old HP 4890 Scanjet and Vuescan did a very nice job on the first 10 rolls, then died. I replaced it with an Epson V500 and found out the transparency adapter in the lid only accepted a narrow strip in the center of about 4 or 5 negatives. I returned it. I then purchased an HP G4050, with a full size transparency adapter in the lid. I tried one roll, and it takes forever to make a preview (I mean minutes), and even longer to make a scan. In fact it was so slow, I thought it was defective. It is going back to B&H. This scanner is really not practicle for what I need to do. I ordered an Epson V700, as all the reviews say it is about as good as you can get. I must also add, that I DO NOT intend to make final film scans for big prints with the flat bed. I have a Polaroid 120 Sprintscan 4000 dpi dedicated film scanner that handles negs to 2.25"x3.25". My work flow has been to place the negs in the pages, lay the page on the bed, select an ouput resolution of only 300 dpi (contact sheet resolution....I do not need more than this), then use my office laser printer for a quick and dirty look at what is on the negs. This has worked very well using the old (dead) scanner. The edges of the negs on the perimeter of the pages get slightly cropped, as the transparency adapter is only about 8"x10", but I can live with this.
Any tips ? I use Vuescan, but the V700 comes with a version of Silvefast, which I have no experience with. I like Vuescan, because it is straight forward: set input parametes and output parameters, and where you want the scans filed. This is a VERY important family project, so any and all help is appreciated.
Thanks for any advice in advance.
Best regards
Dave in NJ
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FranciscoDisilvestro
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 03:41:57 PM »
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Hello,

I had an Epson V700 and I usually did what you plan to do, produce a "contact sheet" of negatives inside archival pages. The scan at a resolution of 300 dpi  is fast (I don't remember the time) but was not minutes.

Regarding software, as far as I know, if you have a licence of Vuescan, you can use it with any scanner, so I don't see a reason why you cannot use it with the V700

The V700 comes with Epson Scan and Silverfast (The ME version, at least when I had it) but it is up to you to decide which software to use.

Regards
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dmerger
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 04:17:06 PM »
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If you already have a digital camera, macro lens, tripod and a light table, you may want to consider just photographing your pages.  Once you get it set up, it should be very fast and easily provide sufficient quality for your contact sheets. 
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Dean Erger
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 06:58:11 PM »
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Dave, I have the v700.  I would just use the bundled Epson software, it will be perfectly adequate for your needs, and IMO it is easier to use than VueScan and certainly Silverfast.  I wonder if you can just dispense with the 8x10 transparency insert alltogether, or enlarge the opening to cover a little more area.  I am not near the scanner so I can't check to see if it has anything on it that communicates with the scanner in any way. From what I recall it's just a 8.5x11 piece of black plastic or cardstock with an 8x10 hole in the middle.  Good luck with your project.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2012, 03:34:13 AM »
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Dave, I have the v700.  I would just use the bundled Epson software, it will be perfectly adequate for your needs, and IMO it is easier to use than VueScan and certainly Silverfast.

When he has VueScan installed, there is no need to install the software that came with it and learn to use a new software utility to drive the V700. I use VueScan on my V700 and never installed the Epson software.

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I wonder if you can just dispense with the 8x10 transparency insert alltogether, or enlarge the opening to cover a little more area.

In transparency/backlit mode, the focus plane lies a little bit above the glass platen. The standard film holder allows to (crudely) compensate for that distance. But since the output requirements are low, it might be worth a try to put the sleeved films directly on the glass.

Cheers,
Bart
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FranciscoDisilvestro
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2012, 08:54:37 AM »
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In transparency/backlit mode, the focus plane lies a little bit above the glass platen. The standard film holder allows to (crudely) compensate for that distance. But since the output requirements are low, it might be worth a try to put the sleeved films directly on the glass.

There are two options, one with the plane of focus 3mm above the glass and another directly on the glass plane. You select either "transparency" or "transparecy full area" (the names might vary depending on the software). The V700 has two lenses, one for each focus plane.

You can get well focused films that are put directly on the glass.
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AFairley
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2012, 10:29:07 AM »
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When he has VueScan installed, there is no need to install the software that came with it and learn to use a new software utility to drive the V700.

I missed that the OP already has VueScan, certainly no point in using something else if it supports the "transparency full area" mode.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2012, 03:37:23 PM »
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I missed that the OP already has VueScan, certainly no point in using something else if it supports the "transparency full area" mode.

Hi,

Yes, VueScan allows a "Flatbed", a "Transparency", or a "Transparency 8x10" mode for the V700. There is a very narrow edged "Film Area Guide" included with the scanner for the 8x10 inch mode that is indeed flat and not raised. It also keeps a strip of the glass platen unobstructed at the top edge, required for calibration. The free film area of the guide/mask measures 208 x 256 mm, and Vuescan can see a maximum area of 203 x 254 mm or 8 x 10 inch (with or without guide).

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 10:50:34 AM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
Dave Gurtcheff
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 09:16:52 AM »
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Thank you all for your valuable help. This project is a major event for me, and family. It needs to be briefly shared:
I have beeen seriously interested in photography since 1959 when we got married, and I built my first darkroom. My love and specialty is seascapes of Long Beach Island NJ (LBI). The type of work I am interested is on my web site here:
www.modernpictorials.com. We retired, and live on LBI year round. Before that we vacationed here. Both sets of granparents lived here year arond, so I have been coming here ever since I was born. My father was raised here. He was an electrical engineer by profession, but also an internationally recognized amateur photographer. His specialty was LBI seascapes. He exhibited in the "Internationl Salons of Photography" in the 1930s. He was nationally published at least three times with full size LBI photos. I was able to find the magazines on Ebay. One such publication was the cover of the August 1937 issue of Zeiss Magazine. Now you have the background of my Dad. In May, 1940, he died at age 29. I was three. Mom said she did not remember what happened to the negatives; she thought either lost or damaged over the years. I did not persue it with her.
Now get ready for this:
The end of August I received an email on my photo web site asking if I were related to an Alec or Alex Gurtcheff. If so, she had his negatives. You can imagine the excitement here. My wife tried to prepare me, saying that if they were not stored properly, they could be in unuseable condition, If they got damp, they could be stuck to together, etc. This wonderful woman drove about 100 miles from her home in PA to hand deliver them. The negatives showed up in a heavy fire proof box, approximately 11" x 17" x 4". Every roll was numbered, each negative was filed separately in it's own glassine envelope so they would not rub together. Mint condition. Through a series of bizzare circumstances, fate and luck, they have been kept in dark storage, at ambient temperature for the last 72 years in the bottom of a closet. Beacuse of the internet this lovely lady found me.
You can sense my excitement. I only contact printed 10 rolls before my scanner died, but already I found the original negative for the Zeiss magazine. Obviously my Dad knew the future value of his work by his meticulos storage and processing The negs are state of the art. He used a Xeiss Super Ikonta "A" (645 format) with (uncoated) Tessar lens and Compur shutter. I have the camera.
This story, and the circumstances need to be published, and several friends have offered to help.
Forgive an old guy's ramblings.
Sincerely
Dave Gurtcheff
Beach Haven, NJ
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AFairley
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2012, 10:59:37 AM »
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That is a terrific story, Dave.  Thanks for sharing.
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Dave Gurtcheff
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2012, 11:20:37 AM »
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That is a terrific story, Dave.  Thanks for sharing.
Looking at the negatives is scary. My Dad's "photographic eye", interests, style, and subject matter and mine are exactly the same. I feel like I am looking at my own negatives.
Best regards
Dave
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2012, 08:45:51 AM »
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Thanks for sharing that story. Life is good.

Randy (Another Jersey Boy) Carone
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2012, 09:46:24 AM »
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This is a very hear-warming story Dave, and I hope you hit on a successful workflow for getting the scans exactly into the shape you think they should be. This is a fitting example of why despite the fact scanning has become a niche area with the digital camera onslaught of the past decade, it will nonetheless be with us for as long as people have archives of film, and they wish to "scan their memories".

Best regards,

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
Dave Gurtcheff
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2012, 01:39:22 PM »
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Thanks guys. Mark: The V700 allows me to scan an entire roll of 645 negs all at once without taking them out of the archival page. There is a small amount of cropping around the edges, as the max scan area is 8"x10", but I can live with this. The very first print I made was done by scanning the negative in my Polaroid 120 Sprintscan at 4000 dpi with VueScan Pro.. The quality is there for a 16"x20" no problem. I will attempt to attach the image made from my Dad's 1937 negative.
Thanks again all.
Dave
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AFairley
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« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2012, 01:48:56 PM »
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I just want to add that given the volume of negatives, the OP might want to consider using a DSLR + macro lens + light table to digitize the negative, notwithstanding the availability of a scanner.  I found a bunch of old negatives my father had shot in the early 50s, some 6x6, some around 6x4.5.  I hinge-taped an opaque piece of cardboard with a cutout for the negative to a light box, had the camera over it and shot away, you can go pretty much as fast as you can bursh and blow off and swap out the negatives (if they do not need serious cleaning).  Its at a completely different level of speed thatn scanning, and if your setup is good, will beat the Epson IQ-wise.  (I am now getting Kodachrome "scans" with the 16MP Olympus OM-D + Olympus 50mm macro that are at the very least the equal of what I can get from the Epson).  
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Dave Gurtcheff
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« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2012, 03:34:44 PM »
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I just want to add that given the volume of negatives, the OP might want to consider using a DSLR + macro lens + light table to digitize the negative, notwithstanding the availability of a scanner.  I found a bunch of old negatives my father had shot in the early 50s, some 6x6, some around 6x4.5.  I hinge-taped an opaque piece of cardboard with a cutout for the negative to a light box, had the camera over it and shot away, you can go pretty much as fast as you can bursh and blow off and swap out the negatives (if they do not need serious cleaning).  Its at a completely different level of speed thatn scanning, and if your setup is good, will beat the Epson IQ-wise.  (I am now getting Kodachrome "scans" with the 16MP Olympus OM-D + Olympus 50mm macro that are at the very least the equal of what I can get from the Epson).  

Thanks, but I am confused. IF I use my digital camera plus macro lens, won't the copy and file still be a negative?
I need a file that contains a positive image, unless I can somehow reverse it in Photoshop. MY film scanner converts a neg to a positive image suitable for printing. I can see how it would work with positive slides.
Thanks again all for the help.
Dave
Dave
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2012, 04:00:22 PM »
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You can reverse the image in Photoshop by adding a Curves Adjustment layer and reversing it (slope completely in the opposite direction). Your scanner does not invert a negative. The scanner software does that.
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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
Dave Gurtcheff
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« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2012, 09:59:33 PM »
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Thank you Mark. Now i wonder how the quality would be. I can use a Pentax 645D with 120 macro lens vs my film scanner. I may try it to compare them.

Dave
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dmerger
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« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2012, 10:10:46 PM »
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A quick way to convert a negative to a positive in PS is to click on "Image", "Adjustments" and "Invert". 

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Dean Erger
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2012, 11:48:32 PM »
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Thank you Mark. Now i wonder how the quality would be. I can use a Pentax 645D with 120 macro lens vs my film scanner. I may try it to compare them.

Dave

If you do so, please share your observations. It would be of interest. Well-done "scanning" with a camera can produce high quality results.
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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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