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09-10-2018, 08:44 AM - 1 Like   #1
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How do you scan your film?

I have been using some Canon software to scan my 120 film up until now, but something happened and I somehow ended up with a version that doesn't give me much control. I decided to get Silverfast which I use with Prime XA for my 135 film. To make the long story short, I thought I'd scan the film and save it as a TIFF file. I know that the Canon 8800f that I am using right now has an max effective resolution around 1500 dpi (I think). Scanning it at the maximum resolution of 4800 creates huge files and a lot of redundant pixels. Yet that's what I have been doing all day yesterday. A colour negatives comes to about 230MB. That's a lot. At the same time I thought that as hard drives are becoming cheaper, I'd make these files "future proof". I remember back in the late '90s my dad was scanning some film and because storage was pricey, he was using minimum resolution or something close to it. Now you can't even look at those scans as they are just terrible. I'd like to avoid that, but I think 4800 dpi (and not 4800 effective dpi at that) is probably an overshoot. What do you guys do?

09-10-2018, 09:14 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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Pentax k-1 II with Pixel Shift on a DIY copystand
09-10-2018, 09:19 AM   #3
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Since I "scan" with my K-3ii, my images start off as 24 megapixel 14bit DNG files which comes to about 30-32mb. I try to use as much of that when framing so its still at least 20mp after cropping. When I import to photoshop I do so at 16bit per channel. Black and white is reduced to a single 16bit channel, color remains 3 channels. Then after I've done minimal processing (crop, color temp, invert, curves to get the histogram where I want it) I save it out as a 16bit TIFF with LZW compression. It balloons up in size, I forget exactly, something like 35mb for B&W and 100mb for color. Then it is imported into Aperture (still waiting for a replacement I like as much) and all other adjustments are done non-destructively in Aperture.
09-10-2018, 09:25 AM   #4
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K-5 II on a DIY copy stand made from a piece of PVC sewer pipe and some other bits and pieces. Processing done with Lightroom and Photoshop Elements. Pretty manual process although I'm getting faster as I do more of it. 24 black and white negatives "converted" and saved as TIFF's takes maybe half an hour or so now. Color is usually a little slower to make sure things are really correct as far as color balance and such.

There's always a bit of cropping and possible rotation required to get things square. My method still seems to get me better quality images than having the negatives scanned by the lab that's been doing my film development.

09-10-2018, 10:26 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Epson Scan with the V700 flatbed (mostly for medium and large format)

Nikon Scan with the 5000 ED (35mm only)

I have used VueScan and Silverfast. Both work well and both are worth the money if the manufacturer's software is unsuitable or no longer works with your hardware.

******************

That being said, your experience with medium format film scanning are not unusual. Large files and long scan times are the curse of larger negatives. It may be argued that a scanner upgrade might be a good idea, so that you get more "real" resolution per scan, but I won't go there. What I have done for my personal work is:
  • Treat the negative as your "archive" copy and scan "proofs only" as part of the routine flow. Do these at fairly low resolution suitable for onscreen display. JPEG may work fine for this purpose.
  • For those frames to be scanned at higher resolution, say for print output, scan at 4800 dpi and down-sample the scanned TIFF to the 1500 dpi or less using one' favorite tool
  • For higher resolution scans, keep in mind the target display resolution and pixel dimensions. For 11x14", 2800 pixels on the long axis (200 dpi) is adequate for printing.
The first point above may be the hardest to accept. The negative is the original and should be treated as such. It is archival, assuming proper storage and avoidance of flame. It is amenable to higher resolution scans as well as optical enlargements at a future date. A scan, on the other hand, is less flexible and much less permanent.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 09-10-2018 at 02:33 PM.
09-10-2018, 10:39 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrea K Quote
Pentax k-1 II with Pixel Shift on a DIY copystand
QuoteOriginally posted by abruzzi Quote
Since I "scan" with my K-3ii, my images start off as 24 megapixel 14bit DNG f
QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
K-5 II on a DIY copy stand made from a piece of PVC sewer pipe and some other bits and pieces.
A dSLR capture of a medium format negative is a decent solution, though the final pixel count will be somewhat less than that of the sensor due to loss from cropping. For 6x6cm captured with a 24Mpx camera, the nominal capture resolution would be 4000px per side for a total of 16Mpx. Calculating back to lineal resolution, that comes out to about 1700 dpi before deducting for optical loss. The nice part is that the RAW files are generally much smaller than 16-bit TIFF and much easier from the storage perspective.


Steve
09-10-2018, 10:53 AM   #7
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Most things I have scanned at the lab, giving me 6 megapixel JPG scans. These are perfect for web use and moderate prints.

I do also scan at home. 120 is scanned on an Epson Perfection V500. For most scans I use the Epson software - I find it handles exposure and colour balance decently without much intervention. I also have and use Vuescan, mostly for 35mm scanned by a Minolta Dimage Scan Dual IV. With glassless scanning of the film and adjustable autofocus, the scans are sharp, even if the resolution is "only" about 10 megapixel.

I agree with Steve about treating the negative as your archive.

I do scan to a big .TIFF, but can't consider the .TIFs to be "archival". They are too big and unneeded. The .TIF can be disposed of once it has been imported in Photoshop and saved to .PSD. In Photoshop I do the usual - crop, flip, exposure, dodge and burn, spotting dust, curves and tonal adjustments. When all is done, I will output a clean, finished .JPG at full quality, and possibly scaled down to 6 or 10 megapixels. Personally, I end up keeping the .PSD file and the .JPG -- but I'm not sure why. The .TIFs and .PSDs are pigs, and I have yet to go back and "reprocess" a scan. If I did, it's probably because I would have scanned it with a better scanner, and so would redo the whole process anyway.
09-10-2018, 11:30 AM   #8
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Epson v600. I scan 35MM @3200 ppi, color 48-bits and b+w 16-bits using the Epson software, do initial post for exposure and curves, convert to 24-bits sRGB (both color and b+w), and save to zip-compressed tif files in CS3. I scan 120 (6x6) @ 2400 ppi, otherwise same process.

09-10-2018, 11:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrea K Quote
Pentax k-1 II with Pixel Shift on a DIY copystand
'Almost' the same setup - K-1 without Pixel Shift and DIY stand. I scan 6x7 negatives and slides.
09-10-2018, 11:54 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrea K Quote
Pentax k-1 II with Pixel Shift on a DIY copystand
Nice! and you save them in RAW, JPEG, or both?

---------- Post added 09-10-18 at 11:55 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by abruzzi Quote
Since I "scan" with my K-3ii, my images start off as 24 megapixel 14bit DNG files which comes to about 30-32mb. I try to use as much of that when framing so its still at least 20mp after cropping. When I import to photoshop I do so at 16bit per channel. Black and white is reduced to a single 16bit channel, color remains 3 channels. Then after I've done minimal processing (crop, color temp, invert, curves to get the histogram where I want it) I save it out as a 16bit TIFF with LZW compression. It balloons up in size, I forget exactly, something like 35mb for B&W and 100mb for color. Then it is imported into Aperture (still waiting for a replacement I like as much) and all other adjustments are done non-destructively in Aperture.
I assume you convert it to JPEG in the end, right? If you do, do you still save the TIFF? I am saving both in hopes that I may decide at some later point in time to work more on the TIFF. Highly unlikely as I am behind with my post processing as it is...
09-10-2018, 11:58 AM - 1 Like   #11
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For years I've been scanning 35mm and 120 negs and slides on a Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro. Like the OP, at 4800 ppi res it is slow and the 645 TIFF files are huge. I've found that VueScan is fairly easy to use, but also offers many options and is acceptable in terms of glitches with an iMac running OS 10.12.6 Sierra.

In January, I'll be upgrading to OS 10.13.6 High Sierra replacing the Minolta with a Plustek OpticFilm 120. Not sure yet if that will be with SilverFast or VueScan, and if this turns out to not be an "upgrade", I"m just hoping it won't be a downgrade!
09-10-2018, 12:21 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by IgorZ Quote
I assume you convert it to JPEG in the end, right? If you do, do you still save the TIFF? I am saving both in hopes that I may decide at some later point in time to work more on the TIFF. Highly unlikely as I am behind with my post processing as it is...
I retain them in TIFF format, unless I'm exporting for display. My goal was to have a "raw" film. i.e. a storage format that changed the original pixels as little as possible so gave me the most leeway for adjustment. However I didn't want to store the out-of-camera raw because Aperture doesn't have a concept of adjustment layers. Each adjustment you add is added to the base image, and I haven't seen a way to order adjustments. So if I import a negative into Aperture, then use "curves" to invert the negative, it will look like a positive. But if I add another adjustment, say "levels" (I know you wouldn't use both, but as an example), the histogram still looks inverted, and the adjustments are all backwards.

So, generally, the adjustments I bake into the TIFF file are: crop to the negative frame, invert, maybe adjust the black and white points. If color negative, I remove the orange mask too, though I'm still experimenting with the best way to make that happen. All that is currently done in Photoshop. Then its imported into Aperture, where all adjustments are non-destructive, and I finalize levels, remove dust, crop for composition, make color adjustments, sharpen, etc.

Aperture has a concept of "versions" where any master can have multiple versions that include different adjustments to the master. I then export the version for online posting, or other uses. That will usually be JPEG.
09-10-2018, 01:10 PM   #13
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I use DIY copy stand for macro photography in general but mostly for film scanning:
Drill Guide As Copy Stand: 9 Steps

As far as I do not have K-1 I have to choose between K-5II and K-01. I usually choose k-01.
Mechanically I am satisfied with the method. For negative conversion I still look for improvement.
09-10-2018, 02:46 PM   #14
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Here's how I do my 6x6 negs...

Benbo tripod above 230V a.c. fluorescent light-box, with neg held flat by a stiff card mask. Copied using a Sony RX100 II on manual focus, ISO100 and 2-sec self-timer, in RAW. Camera aligned flat with a bubble-level, just visible there; the little orange thing. Errant curly negs sometimes disciplined with a sheet of picture glass (watch for teflections!).

Images converted to 8-bit TIFF files in Sony's ARW file-handling software thence to Lightroom 3 with Photoshop 7 for inverting to positive. Negs filed in those translucent paper sleeves and put away in A4 files as the master copy.

Apologies for the crap photo. Hand-held at > 1/10 sec!
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09-10-2018, 04:33 PM   #15
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I don't want to hijack this thread from IgorZ, but this question might help the OP as well: when you scan negatives using the K-1 (or any other camera), how do you handle the orange mask?
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