Film Film 101: Scanner requirements....& basic B+W development

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
ooh slightly softer and "greyer" but slightly nicer texture in the folds of material, especially the girl's with her back to the camera , left-foregound.

right, that's enough for today, I'm going to bed with the radio and some drugs ...
 

ajramirez

Hall of Famer
Jul 9, 2010
124
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Antonio
He he, the guys who give me a lift home were late getting there today, so I did have a little more cider than normal as I waited for them to finish their meal:)

Lets see if we can get you started.

Under Input I select scan to file, mode 35mm slide, media B/W negative, 8 bit grey, Preview resolution 1200 dpi, Scan resolution 3600 dpi, 4 passes.

Under colour select film type from drop down menu

Under Output, I just output as a tiff file.

Do a preview. using image from the task bar at the very top, or just press ctrl 3, and you'll get a curve up in the box in the bottom lh corner.
You can then manipulate the two triangles along the bottom axis to adjust the curve and control the contrast, etc of the preview.

I find that the preview in VueScan gives a much more accurate view of the final scan than does the preview in Silverfast.

See how you get on with that, and any further questions try me tomorrow, hope this gets you started and maybe Antonio will also chip in with his experiences.

Barrie
Paul and Barrie,

I really have nothing to add, as my workflow is very similar to Barrie's. The only significant difference is that I do one pass instead of 4. For some reason, on my scanner multiple passes only result in unsharp and unusable scans, as the multiple passes do not appear to register correctly.

Let me know if I can help in any other way.

Cheers,

Antonio
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
well, here's a new scan, done with Vuescan, but slightly tweaked from Barrie's settings: I set it as a colour negative (as XP2S is chroma), and let it do a light IR clean; also 7200dpi scan, single pas; and output as 16-bit gray tiff (as LR will handle 16 bit)
I left the contrast curve at default in Vusescan and did all the contrast and exposure mods in LR4.1RC1
This is fairly satisfactory (it certainly knocks the savagely over-sharpened minilab scans out of the county), though I have to say the scratches and marks on the emulsion don't look good to me ... there's a 4992x3336 pixel image available to peep at if you click through to Flickr :)
Now I want to see if I can reproduce this sort of level of ok-ness using Silverfast.
I also probably need to readjust my expectations of how good a negative scan can look (in terms of detail & sharpness) against what can be got from a proper wet print.


20120331-1-2 by _loupe, on Flickr
 

ajramirez

Hall of Famer
Jul 9, 2010
124
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Antonio
well, here's a new scan, done with Vuescan, but slightly tweaked from Barrie's settings: I set it as a colour negative (as XP2S is chroma), and let it do a light IR clean; also 7200dpi scan, single pas; and output as 16-bit gray tiff (as LR will handle 16 bit)
I left the contrast curve at default in Vusescan and did all the contrast and exposure mods in LR4.1RC1
This is fairly satisfactory (it certainly knocks the savagely over-sharpened minilab scans out of the county), though I have to say the scratches and marks on the emulsion don't look good to me ... there's a 4992x3336 pixel image available to peep at if you click through to Flickr :)
Now I want to see if I can reproduce this sort of level of ok-ness using Silverfast.
I also probably need to readjust my expectations of how good a negative scan can look (in terms of detail & sharpness) against what can be got from a proper wet print.


20120331-1-2 by _loupe, on Flickr
Paul,

I think it looks quite good. Three comments:

1. I do not know if it makes a difference, but when I scan XP2 Super or Kodak BW400CN, I set the input to B&W negative. In the output section, you will find both films listed under the B&W films available. Again, I do not know if if makes any difference, but that's what I do.
2. Scratches and marks on the emulsion are a fact of life with commercially processed negatives. I find that I spend most of my scanning time spotting negatives and cleaning up scratches with the spot healing tool in Photoshop. It's extremely annoying, but I have resigned myself to living with it.
3. As to sharpness, I have found that if you scan with sharpening off (which is what you should do) the scans require a fair amount of sharpening in the post process. What I do (which may not be correct but works for me) is I scan at 7200dpi which gives me an image size of approximately 10000 pixels on the long side. After spotting and any other PP, I resize to 6000pixels on the long side, which gives me the equivalent of 24mp (6000 x 4000). At that size, I sharpen by between 100% and 150% with a radius of 3.0 and a threshold of 7 or 8. While 3.0 may seem large for radius, it's not that large considering the size of the file. I am satisfied with the sharpness of my scans. I have not printed larger than A4 from scans, but have no reason to doubt I could print larger. In any event, they are as sharp as any of the wet prints I made in the past.

Please take any advice I provide with a grain of salt, as I am a newbie at this. I think it's great that we can share whatever knowledge we acquire with each other through this forum.

P.S. For what it's worth, I think Silverfast is an absolute waste of time. It's clunky, slow and cumbersome to use.

Best regards,

Antonio
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
Paul,

I concur with Antonio about scanning Ilford XP2 Super as a black and white negative using the inbuilt film selection of VueScan to take account of the colour of film base.

Likewise I do all my sharpening in Photoshop, using Unsharp mask. I was taught that it is better to sharpen in stages, so I only sharpen at 50%, but I run the Unsharp mask tool 3 or 4 times, and then make an assessment as to when it might be slightly oversharpened and ditch the last application of Unsharp mask. Also I convert the image before sharpening to LAB mode, then deselect the a and b channels, sharpening on the lightness channel only. For radius and threshold my settings are 1.0 and 0. I agree with Antonio, film takes a surprising amount of sharpening compared to a digital image.

I print my images on A4 paper with a 20mm border, so I produce files that have an image size of 257mm x 170mm at 300 dpi, giving a greyscale image of 5.81 Mb.

Again I have to agree with Antonio about Silverfast. The curve tool on which I place particular importance is very poor in its implementation.

Barrie
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
thanks Antonio, Barrie.

Funnily enough, I don't mind Silverfast's interface while I find Vuescan's "Windows 3" look rather annoying!

I thought it worth experimenting with setting input as a colour neg (to see if IR scratch removal was worth trying), as Vuescan still allows the film type to be set to XP2S

All the advice about film scanning I've read suggests not to use sharpening at the scan stage, so I didn't, but I don't have PS and never will (price and interface).
I do have the Gimp but while I could reproduce PS unsharp techniques in that, I prefer to stick with LR. It obviously offers less fine control than PS or the Gimp, but I already spend far too much time fiddling with snaps.

Sharpening is a bit of a dark art I reckon ... interesting how both your techniques are so different. Prior to getting the scanner I was already feeling a bit unsatisfied with sharpening on my digital files, and was experimenting with using a much larger radius and lots of masking
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
Further to the above discussion on scanning software, I have been finding that some negatives scan better in VueScan, whilst others scan better in Silverfast. So far I've only narrowed it down to Ilford FP4, HP4 or HP5 in general scanning better in Silverfast and Ilford XP2 Super scanning better in VueScan. The only setting VueScan has for Ilford b+w films is for XP2 Super. I don't know if there are other qualities of the negative that come into play. FP4, HP4 or HP5 negatives that appear to have blown out highlights in VueScan can be scanned, and the highlights controlled, using Silverfast.

Does anyone else have any thoughts along these lines?

Barrie
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
I don't have enough experience yet of a range of different films to comment personally, save that colour scans seem much better from Silverfast.
However I've been browsing scanning threads at RFF recently and one comment that stuck out was the suggestion (which happened to be in a thread about clipping) not to set a film type in Vuescan ... although no very specific rationale was given for not doing so
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
Guys,

Please keep this thread well alive - it is proving an excellent resource. I thought a scanner was far further into my future, but at a recent Trash and Treasure I scored what appears to be a good working Epson V300. OK I might lament that it only does 4800dpi and is restricted to 35mm film and slide, but then one should not complain when one finds something of this calibre for the princely sum of $10 :blush:.

I have downloaded the EpsonScan software and will try a copy of Vuescan to decide if it's worth the investment (and I hear 'trouble'). But if I can do anything half as good as this, then I'll be very pleased!!....though I'm not buying SilverFast as well :eek: :wink:
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Very nice Barrie!!! :thumbup:
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
Mark,

As I say, I've only just started using XP2 Super, but I've found VueScan able to handle that very well. It's my older FP4, HP4 and HP5 negatives that it seems to struggle with. Maybe they are "thinner" or problematic in some other way. Any other observations most welcome here.

Barrie
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
stillshunter said:
the princely sum of $10
... ouch; the trouble is if I trailed round the carboots every Sunday, I'd probably spend as much on petrol before I found anything like that as I just spent on a plustek ... :frown: ... a litre of petrol here costs about AUD 2.30 over here ...
 

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