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08-21-2009, 01:03 PM   #46
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you might also want to get some of those fancy glass holders to maximize sharpness

08-21-2009, 02:30 PM   #47
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Some beautiful shots. Great tonal range, and preservation of highlights

QuoteOriginally posted by Clarkey Quote
I will say that using the Minolta 5400 Elite II is a bit slow. One other thing to consider (especially when trying to scan underexposed slides) is getting software to remove scan noise. I use Neat Image, which I have found to be excellent.

The minolta is capable of some good results, and the lab I bought it off only got rid of it due to the speed of scanning not being as quick as the coolscan.


(MZ-5N + 28-200mm 3.5-5.6 IF AL)

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Well, here is my first slide scan with the Coolscan 5000 ED:



Ricoh XR7 with Tamron 28/2.5 (02B), Kodachrome 64

I am pretty pleased with the results. On the 4000 dpi scan you can see the film's grain structure. That is impressive with Kodachrome.
Where is this mountain one from ?
08-21-2009, 05:49 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonson PL Quote

Where is this mountain one from ?
That picture is of Mt. Adams in Washington State, USA. I was climbing the mountain with friends and was about 1/2 way up the mountain on the the northwest side when I took the picture. The climbing route snakes up the spine of a steep ridge (North Cleaver) to the ice cap on the summit. The ground drops off about 150 meters from where I was standing. Here is a link to a Google Map:
Mt. Adams on Google Maps
Steve
08-21-2009, 11:27 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
If you were "batch" processing in the darkroom, you would use the same settings for each print and your results would reflect the care you put into the process.

The scanning/pp step is similar to things you could be doing in the darkroom. When scanning negatives or slides the issues of exposure, contrast, and color balance are part of the mix just as much as if the image was being projected onto paper with an enlarger. The main difference is that you have quite a bit more control with the scanner and pp software. This is particularly true in regards to contrast and color balance. One of the main reasons I gave up on color darkroom work was effort it took to get a decent print.

Steve
Thanks for the insight, Stevebrot!

I thought I was supposed to get the right exposure / color balance with a simple "all tweaking off" scan.

At one moment in time, I was stroked by the same idea: in the analogue darkroom, there is (must be) some processing, so digital editing is similar (and therefore OK).

BUT if you digitally process / enhance a photo, don't you guys lose something in terms of film's personality? I know Kodakrome is different from Velvia and Superia Xtra is different from Kodak Gold... but it seems to me (as inexperienced as I am) that scanning / pp is "leveling" the films somehow.

And a last question - what do you think is better: enhancing a photo in the scanning phase OR scanning with all tweaking off, then enhance it in Lightroom / Photoshop? It seems to me this is similar to digital in-camera processing as opposed to RAW pp: the camera and the scanner are dumber than the dedicated software.

Thank you for helping a beginner!
MFO.

08-23-2009, 10:31 AM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by MeFirstO Quote
Thanks for the insight, Stevebrot!

I thought I was supposed to get the right exposure / color balance with a simple "all tweaking off" scan.

At one moment in time, I was stroked by the same idea: in the analogue darkroom, there is (must be) some processing, so digital editing is similar (and therefore OK).

BUT if you digitally process / enhance a photo, don't you guys lose something in terms of film's personality? I know Kodakrome is different from Velvia and Superia Xtra is different from Kodak Gold... but it seems to me (as inexperienced as I am) that scanning / pp is "leveling" the films somehow.

And a last question - what do you think is better: enhancing a photo in the scanning phase OR scanning with all tweaking off, then enhance it in Lightroom / Photoshop? It seems to me this is similar to digital in-camera processing as opposed to RAW pp: the camera and the scanner are dumber than the dedicated software.

Thank you for helping a beginner!
MFO.
Well, you really hit the main issues there. When I figure the answers out, I will let you know! I think I can sum up my approach in a few points:
  • Get as much data in the scan as possible
  • Avoid "in-scanner" sharpening
  • Avoid "in-scanner" smoothing
  • Use other built-in scanner features (ICE, curve modifications, multi-pass, DR expansion, etc.) judiciously
  • Do most manipulation in PP
To support the above points, here is a set of maxims:
  • Garbage in...garbage out...there are limits to what you can do with a bad negative or slide
  • All manipulation generates artifact
  • All enhancements, if applied too heavily, will look fake
It would be nice to be able to offer a step-by-step set of instructions. The difficult thing is that there is quite a bit of variability in terms of what the hardware will support. Ditto for software in PP. At some point in the future, someone may be able to generate a "sticky" for this forum that outlines a sure recipe.

In regards to changing the characteristics of a film in PP to "level" the differences...this is possible, to a point. You can take a Velvia image and de-saturate it to match a less intense medium. You can also bump the saturation of a more subdued film to a limited extent. Ditto for contrast. On the other hand, you can't expand dynamic range that does not exist. You cannot "create" tonal gradation that is not there. You cannot remove grain without artifact. You cannot convincingly create grain either.

I guess it would be enough to say that the negative/slide determines the hard boundaries of what you can translate with a scan. If it was not captured, it cannot be enhanced. This is true regardless of what film is used. The challenge with a scan, as in the darkroom, is to properly interpret the image on the film for display.

Steve
08-23-2009, 10:44 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by MeFirstO Quote
I thought I was supposed to get the right exposure / color balance with a simple "all tweaking off" scan.
I know you used a smiley but to expand on this comment... you could use one set of scanning parameters if your slides or negs were identically exposed (and developed). I used to do this regularly (hardly scan anything these days) where I'd get the 1st one 'right', then scan the others one after the other using the same settings. Worked fine when the negs were the same but if the scene/location changed, for the best results, new parameters would need to be determined. The same works in the darkroom.

Cheers, Nige
08-24-2009, 12:24 AM   #52
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*Bowing respectfully*
Thank you, guys!

@Steve: Those are some common sense (and true) considerations, indeed! I checked the scantips.com too in the meantime, and it's very consistent with your advice.

@Nige: I don't change the settings from frame to frame, when scanning, and I have photos made in identical conditions (same light, same settings). I only left the "calibrate at every scan" button checked. Now... there are two situations:

1)
Scan as batch of 4 frames: the scanner calibrates only once, and it seems to average the tones for the entire scanned area (of 4 frames), so all similar tones look the same, but different from what it should be.

2) Scan frame-by-frame: the scanner calibrates for each frame, and the output is very different for each one. Sometimes it's closer to what I intended, sometimes is waaaay out.

(However, there is always the option not to calibrate, but that produced some really dull results.)

At this moment, I try to figure out the similarities between the digital RAW work flow (that's where I'm coming from) and film scanning, then adapt accordingly. Just like in RAW, there is the option to enhance exposure, white balance etc. right from the scanning stage, in order to give the PP software the best possible input file.

But in the end, everything seems to come down to this: "The challenge with a scan, as in the darkroom, is to properly interpret the image on the film for display. (Stevebrot)"
08-25-2009, 06:47 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
from a purist point of view, i would highly suggest you scan at maximum everything, then downsample as a batch through Photoshop, rather than scanning at lower settings.

PS, congrats on the scanner, it is a fine piece of technology.
Thanks. I'm really enjoying the memories while fixing the scans as well.

The maxed out Jpegs on a scan of a 35mm slide are as big as a raw file from a K20. I saw no difference whatsoever in an 8 bit and a 16 bit TIFF, but there was a very slight improvement in the 8 bit TIFF over the jpeg.

The sad fact is that many if not most of the really old slides just don't make a scan of the quality where bit depth and raw files make a difference. There isn't any info in those shadows where more bits make more sense. The grain that is exposed by scanning some films is also a big limiting factor.

There is also the question of whether the slide is any good from the standpoint of composition and technique. I've been using the thumbnail preview feature to pick my candidates for TIFF and Jpeg treatment.

08-26-2009, 05:35 PM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
[LIST][*]Garbage in...garbage out...there are limits to what you can do with a bad negative or slide[*]All manipulation generates artifact[*]All enhancements, if applied too heavily, will look fake
I couldn't agree more. The same maxim applies to taking slide photos (or even negs - I've had some good results with Reala in particular) - prevent underexposure!

I'm pretty much always shooting with half a stop compensation extra to really burn things in. I've found it helps to prevent grain really showing as noise when scanned.

Like you said - If an image contains a lot of noise I find that the corrections applied by software will render the image different to captured or intended.
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