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10-25-2012, 10:16 PM   #1
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Is it me, or the scanner?

Hello all. Newbie here to film scanning hoping for some wisdom. I apologize for a somewhat rambling, discordant post--I never know what details to include or withhold.

I was happy to find that the grocery store close to my house still develops and scans 35mm color film. Their prices are very reasonable, IMHO, at $1.99 to develop + $1.99 to scan to CD. But having limited funds (who doesn't?) and ultimately wanting to scan the B&W rolls that I have yet to (learn how to) develop, I wanted to see how well my Canon MP970 all-in-one printer/scanner could perform.

Top one is scanned at home, bottom is from the store. Let's just say that my home scans leave something to be desired. FYI, these are untouched (but resized for posting on PF) JPEGs. Even ignoring the glaring WB difference and dust in the home scan, it's just not as good. The difference is magnified looking at full-res images in Lightroom. I'm no pixel-peeper; I am mostly sharing my photos online and printing 4x6 and 8x10. Haven't yet printing side-by-side 8x10s to examine the difference, but it seems so obvious on the screen.

So, my simple question is--should I expect more from my scanner, or is this par for the course at this price level?

I am using the film strip holder that came with the scanner, and scanning at highest resolution.

Thanks in advance to anyone who responds!

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10-26-2012, 02:41 AM   #2
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I'm wondering if ,the top one, what was all the settings for the software for scanning?

I set up profiles of the type of films I am using. Not too big a deal for B&W, but very important with color negatives.
10-26-2012, 06:36 AM   #3
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The settings dialog box for this scanner is pretty basic...I selected 35mm color negative film and chose the resolution (4800dpi--not sure if that is the hardware res or some kind of inflated interpolation number). There was an option to apply an unsharp mask, however, which I did not select.
10-26-2012, 11:26 AM   #4
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Drugstore/supermarket/minilab scans are very much sharpened and auto-exposed/auto color balanced - and if the machine is set up right, these parameters are set to make the most common snapshots look good when printed on the manufacturer's paper.

I took the liberty of doing a bit of processing on your image - I just did a quick color fix to try to match the yellow of the lab scan, plus did some sharpening: low frequency (i.e. large pixel + radius and threshold- e.g 3.4 pixel radius with a 34 pixel threshold, an 8.n pixel radius with a 8n radius, finished with a 0.2 pixel 180% sharpen). The lab often applies a cruder, but maybe more effective 1 pixel sharpening.

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