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Author Topic: unsuccessful scanning  (Read 1217 times)
calvinmaphoto
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« on: December 26, 2012, 07:07:59 PM »
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I get my film processed at Costco and I always order a print that I use as a glorified contact sheet.  I'm starting to scan the negatives on my own, but the quality disgusting compared to the 4x6 print.  

I've attached an example of a scanned photo VS a scanned negative. As you can see, the scanned photo is a lot more smooth, less contrast, no vignetting, and somewhat sharper (among other things). What am I doing wrong?

Also, there's a screencap of my settings from MP Navigator EX 3.1.  Using a Canoscan 9000F, Fuji Superia 400, Canon AE-1.

Thanks for all the help!

« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 07:09:41 PM by calvinmaphoto » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2012, 07:37:52 PM »
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It could be all kinds of things, to begin with:

(1) The scanner may not be well-suited for scanning negatives; I have no experience with that particular scanner, so I can't be sure, but the Imaging-Resource review of this scanner noted some limitation in respect of negative handling due to the absence of custom inversion *profiles* for each film type. Download demo versions of SilverFast and Vuescan to see whether better software and bespoke negative inversion *profiles* help. Vuescan is cheaper, but SilverFast has the most sophisticated capability for customizing negative inversion *profiles*.
(2) You may not be editing the results properly, either because the software you are using doesn't allow it, or you aren't using it properly for the task at hand. No matter how good the negative to positive conversion allowed by the scan software, image adjustments remain necessary most of the time - however, the better the inversion and de-masking the less other adjusting that is needed.
(3) The photo to which you are comparing the negative doesn't look particularly good either - washed-out and unnatural colour.
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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 #2 on: December 27, 2012, 07:07:24 AM »
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Regarding item (1) in yesterday's response above, I forgot to mention that LED illumination in scanners can accentuate the appearance of film grain in scans - especially negatives. There are essentially two ways of dealing with this, both of them involving an appropriate combination of "noise" reduction and sharpening. All algorithms that reduce noise and grain also reduce sharpness to some extent no matter how *smart* they are at distinguishing wanted detail from unwanted detail. So the essential strategy is to find the right tools and the right balance in their settings. There isn't a recipe for this. You need to experiment, as results vary depending on the film, the scanner, the applications used and finally, what you do as guided by what you see and prefer. (By the way this process can't be compared with what happens in Costco, where the production technology is different.) The two ways of dealing with it are (i) pre-scan in the scanner software, or (ii) post-scan in an external image editor. I explain both approaches in detail in my book, description of which is hyperlinked under my name here. While both approaches work, my personal preference, where I want to spend the extra time for optimal outcomes, is to do none of this at the scan stage, but instead open the scans in Photoshop and use specialized plug-ins (for example Topaz De-Noise and Photokit Sharpener) to create very finely controlled and totally reversible combinations of grain smoothing and sharpening. I have written articles about these processes you can find on this website.
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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
ashaughnessy
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 11:04:45 AM »
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I would say your own scan is giving you all the information on the negative. The difference in the costco print is almost certainly down to some combination of their own settings plus post processing, which could include any combination of brightness adjustment, contrast adjustment, colour balance adjustment, noise reduction, sharpening, etc. The differences could be due to the basic costco scanner settings or their post processing. The costco print has also been scanned twice - once by costco when scanning the negative, and once by you when scanning the print.

The vignetting is still there in the costco print, just less noticeable because of the brightness and contrast adjustments.

When doing your own scanning, you would usually expect to have to adjust the scanner settings plus do post processing to get the result as you want it. As long as you've got all the information the negative contains, which I suspect you have. You just now need to get your scan into a photo editor of your choice and adjust brightness, contrast, colour as you see fit, plus noise reduction and sharpening to taste.

I would also say the original doesn't look like exceptionally good quality (a little soft, for example) and the costco print looks pretty rubbish too, so I wouldn't expect great things from this negative. But I wouldn't blame your scanner.
Anthony
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