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03-01-2009, 02:56 PM   #1
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scan MF slide

how do you guys do it? i took some really nice pix and they look awesome on the light table. but my lab did noritsu scans and the colours are faded and the results aren't that great. was it that i missed the exposure?

edit: the gamma on their scans was totally off. but if i underexpose a slide film, does it just come out dark?


Last edited by k100d; 03-01-2009 at 06:33 PM.
03-01-2009, 10:33 PM   #2
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If you want full-on expert advice, then I must bow out as I'm a complete computer dolt stumbling my way through it. But as such, I've had very important learning curves and have been scanning 6x7 transparencies today so it's fresh in my mind. Note that I don't have one of the dedicated medium format scanners nor a killer drum scanner (drool), but just a plain jane decent quality flat bed scanner. Today I was scanning at 5040 x 3960 pixels, so it is capable of fairly decent resolution. Note that these scans will not be used for digital printing as I use direct transparency to Ilfochrome--chrome to chrome--printing for wall art. My scans are just a way to submit to magazines and I have sold some scanned images despite my naivete--including one published two months ago in a full-color glossy annual photo issue...and another used as a full page in a glossy color mag., so the scans are apparently acceptable.

My Epson Perfection 3200 PHOTO allows for some edits while scanning, one of the best for most of my images has been the Auto Histogram Adjustment which I believe resets the white and black points and really brings that dull, flat look up to a fairly colorful and bright contrasty appearance. The second control that I tinker with is the choice of what type of scan: linear, brighten, darken, decrease contrast, increase contrast and fill shadows. These choices make big differences in the the image and are visible on the preview image with each mouse click. There are other controls like saturation, brightness, contrast and color adjustments, but to "fix" the dull and washed out look, the first two things I mentioned make the most difference on my unit--presuming a nicely colorful and well exposed transparency to start with.

Good luck! If I can do it most assuredly you can do it!
03-01-2009, 11:19 PM   #3
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thanks Ron, looks like maybe an epson flatbed would be the way to go.
03-02-2009, 06:04 AM   #4
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The Noritsu scan of most labs were design as the proofing workflow. They are low quality high speed scans to enable proof prints to be made on the digital printer.

Like Ron mention, after you have master the art and science of it you can get a very good quality scan from resonable equipment. I used to use Epson flatbed until I was given a Polariod/Microtek 120 scanner.

03-02-2009, 08:36 AM   #5
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of course i'd love a coolscan 9000, but that's a bit too much
i think the epson v500 is prolly more to my requirements
03-03-2009, 06:54 AM   #6
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Consider looking out for a CoolScan 8000. I picked one up for well under $1000 and it came with the anti newton glass 120 carrier as well as the glassless 120 carrier. Add Vuescan for under $100 and you have a nice, dedicated scanning solution.

QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
of course i'd love a coolscan 9000, but that's a bit too much
i think the epson v500 is prolly more to my requirements
03-04-2009, 01:22 AM   #7
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Even an Epson v700 (750)

I have got reasonable results form them, but at the moment i am getting my scans done at work on an Imacon scanner
03-04-2009, 09:11 AM   #8
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8000 for <$1000! ... wow, that's a really good find.
mmmmmm imacon

03-04-2009, 12:29 PM   #9
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Some Learning Curve Examples

OOOooo, Imacon (heart flutter)...any dedicated medium format scanner (120) would be preferable to my workflow...

Since I'm scanning today, thought I'd show a few examples of how my learning curve has proceeded...(this is a several month learning curve--not just today)

NOTE: due to my severe inexperience and complete computer incompetance, DO NOT take this as a tutorial. This is simply a few observations that may help others new to scanning their 120 film.

NOTE 2: This is an extreme example--flourescent green colors don't reproduce well on film or in scanners--you may have seen this with lichens and/or mosses in your own photography as well--or perhaps when shooting flourescent green products, kids' toys etc. The moss was a very bright flourescent green color and the now defunct Fuji Velvia 100F that I was testing did not reproduce the color very well. My scanner reproduces it even worse, so this was a somewhat challenging scan to make appear as I saw it. BTW I prefer Velvia 50 or 100 no "F".

NOTE 3: The scanner is an Epson Perfection 3200 PHOTO which was when it was released years ago considered to be a fairly decent flatbed scanner with 120 holder etc. for tasks such as mine. I scanned at 5040x3960 pixels (11x14 at 360 dpi) and resized for this post. No other post processing was done...just the in-scan edits. The image was 6x7 shot with Pentax 67II and 100/4 Macro. The scanner was set to medium on the unsharp mask filter...NO COLOR ADJUSTMENTS were made in the scan. That's better left to Adobe...

NOTE 4: Not all scanners offer the same controls for "tinkering". These are just the controls I used on my particular scanner. You will likely need to study your scanner a bit. I did not read the manual or study beyond playing with the unit and investigating menus myself. Color channels and color cast controls were not used...though I do sometimes counter flat, blue lighting in the scans by adding some yellow and some red.

Hope these shots come out in order:
1. Top Left--Raw scan with no tinkering of any kind. I perceive this to be somewhat like the dull scans received by the original poster.
2. Top Right--One click change from first scan--Auto Histogram Adjustment--which resets white and black points. On many images this one click makes even more difference than it does on this image.
3. Bottom Left--Boosted Tinkering with the three controls most folks mention: brightness, contrast and saturation. Note that I'm not condoning overly contrasty or overly saturated images...just showing what many people--including myself--have a tendency to do when scanning.
4. Bottom Right--Adjusted to my own eye. This rendering is closest to what I recall viewing laying there in the moss in Alaska. Surprise...I got this by decreasing the contrast rather severely, then boosting the brightness and saturation to bring the image back to life as the lowered contrast really washed it out. Cleaned off the dust a little better too. Perhaps a finished scan, though that may change as I go through other images from that trip shot on other emulsions...
Attached Images
       

Last edited by Ron Boggs; 03-04-2009 at 12:34 PM. Reason: label image locations
03-04-2009, 06:03 PM   #10
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thanks ron! how come the bottom right scan seems a bit more blurry compared to top right?
there seems to be so many adjustments, hard to know when to stop or when i'm satisfied with the results
03-05-2009, 03:43 AM   #11
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I would avoid using contrast and brightness. It's destructive. Try using levels or curves instead, and always do the work on an adjustment layer. That way the underlying scan is untouched, and you can go back and readjust the tweaks countless times without any loss of quality.

Obviously you'll need Photoshop or similar to achieve this.
03-05-2009, 09:37 AM   #12
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Curves and levels are photoshop issues. My scanner offers neither, though there are some similar controls available.

I don't think contrast or brightness is destructive since the scan hasn't been created yet? It's in photoshop that these processes are destructive. Lightroom is nondestructive and perhaps a better alternative to photoshop for overall changes like contrast and brightness. Someone with more experience can chime in at any time please!

My goal for this exercise is to create scans that don't require additional photoshop time--ready for sale scans, somewhat similar to the idea of getting the shot right the first time with film. Over the past couple years, I've sold more than a dozen images to magazines without doing any post processing...just edited scans. That's the workflow I prefer for my archives of slides--both 35mm and medium format. I don't enjoy spending time in photoshop, so I find ways to sell images without using photoshop. Thus, my comments on this thread. (It could be argued that the stuff I'm tinkering with in the scanner is pretty similar to the controls I'd choose in photoshop. That's true to an extent, but the point is I have to scan anyway as most magazines no longer accept my transparencies as submissions. For me scan and sell is better than scan, photoshop and sell.)

K100d--the reason the final scan looks soft is because the contrast has been severely "dialed down". This is a good illustration of the fact that extra contrast gives the perception of sharpness. I did another version bringing the sharpness back up to baseline and reduced the other controls. I'll resize that one and post...man the light flourescent green is tough to reproduce--on film, digital, scans whatever.
03-05-2009, 11:33 AM   #13
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didn't realize contrast made such a big difference!

QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Boggs Quote
For me scan and sell is better than scan, photoshop and sell.)
just like my mentality, less time doing PP work the better
and not spending any time at all is the best when someone scans for you
03-05-2009, 11:52 AM   #14
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Having quality scans done for you is the best option for guys like us!

Just for fun, if you are using a laptop, view that low contrast image while tipping your screen to darken and increase the contrast. It's surpising how much sharper it looks.
03-05-2009, 12:53 PM   #15
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I use an Epson V500 for both MF and 35mm negatives, slides and prints. I retired my HP as a document only scanner.
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