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  • meg cumming
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    September 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm #1039

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    have found that am dissapointed with the quality of the uploads from my neg/slide scanner. Slides are ok some of the negs are ok, but feel this one appears a bit woolie. What doe members think and how do I improve uploads.

    • Ian McNab
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      Posts: 1387
      September 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm #1044

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      I just thought I’d insert your photo here, Meg so we can see it straight away.  I’ve said a few things about scanning underneath the image…

       

       

      That sort of ‘muddiness’ you’re seeing in the mid tones is fairly typical of shots with this kind of tonality when scanned with inexpensive scanners. (Is it also a bit out of focus? What camera & lens did you use?) You can improve things a bit if you use good software – assuming your scanner is compatible with it; and then judicious tonal and contrast adjustment and sharpening can enhance the results.

      But to have any chance of getting good results with scanning negatives ourselves, I’m afraid we have to be prepared to invest in some pretty expensive kit.

      I had the good fortune to be given a top-of-the-range Epson flatbed scanner as a present, and even that produces only just adequate results with 35mm negatives. (It does a great job with 120 negatives, because they are 6cm x 6cm so there’s a lot of information for the scanning engine and the fancy software to use.)

      People who do a lot of 35mm scanning seriously get a specialist 35mm scanner, at a cost of several thousand pounds. (Professionals use drum scanners costing tens of thousands.)  Or you pay a professional lab to do the scanning for you – ProAm Imaging and DS Colour Labs both offer this service, but it’s not cheap.

      You can improve your chances of good results by developing for fairly low contrast negatives. I understand many folk who who do a lot of BW and develop their film for scanning suggest using Diafine, a compensating developer.  The negs finish up looking fairly grey and low contrast – not what you usually want when intending to print;  but they scan well with a good flat-bed scanner and good software (and even better with a seriously expensive 35mm neg scanner!).

      The software? Well, most folk either use VueScan (cheaper but a bit more complicated) or SilverFast (more expensive, but pretty straightforward – at least once you’ve understood how to configure it to get best BW results.) I use SilverFast because the Epson 750 comes with it – indeed the inclusion of that software is the only difference between the Epson 750 and the cheaper 700: the hardware is exactly the same.

      If you can get hold of a good flatbed scanner that’s compatible with VueScan, that may be your cheapest bet if you plan to do this a lot yourself. But if it’s going to be a now-and-again thing, you may be better off spending some money on having your negs developed and scanned at high resolution by ProAm of DSCL.

      Hope that helps.

      • This reply was modified 8 years ago by Ian McNab.
    • Ian McNab
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      Posts: 1387
      September 28, 2012 at 9:13 pm #1046

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      I thought you might be interested to see the difference between different types of scans, so here are three of mine…

       

      This is 35mm film scanned with a £40-£50 scanner. Notice the muddiness in the foliage of the hedge and trees in the background. The scanner had great difficulty getting good separation between the tones in the middle to darker end of the tonal range.

       

      This is 35mm film scanned with an Epson V750 + SilverFast Ai software. It’s OK, but there are some limitations in the resolution of fine patterned lines in the buildings on the left and right of the frame.

       

      This is from a 120 film neg (6cm x 6cm), again scanned with the V750 + SilverFast Ai software. The scanner did a pretty reasonable job with this medium format negative.

       

    • D.Williams
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      Posts: 547
      September 28, 2012 at 11:16 pm #1047

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      I have a spare Microtek  scanmaker x12usl flatbed scanner (legal size) which was pretty expensive and came with silverfast if I remember rightly.  It is lurking somewhere in my back room and needs a good home before I consign it to the skip as long as it is still working of course.  I did use it with a Mac G4 (those were the days) but I think it is pc compatible.  Basically I just have no use for it since closing my business down.  Not sure how it compares to todays machines (Over to you Mac to advise Meg on this one)  but it was the best reviewed scanner possible when I got it and Microtek are always good.

    • Ian McNab
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      Posts: 1387
      September 29, 2012 at 6:50 am #1048

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      A quick search indicates that the Microtek  scanmaker x12usl was intended as an office scanner; but I see that some people did use it for scanning negatives. I know nothing about the scanner. (e.g.does it have carriers for holding the negatives flat?)

      I guess the best idea is for Meg to try it and see what results she gets.  There’s a good chance it’ll be better than what she’s using. It’s compatible with the VueScan software, so that should help a lot.  (Basic edition costs c.$40, Pro edition c.$80 – but download the free trial first before buying).

       

    • D.Williams
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      Posts: 547
      September 29, 2012 at 11:58 am #1049

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      Thanks for checking it out Ian.  It was mostly used by people as a high quality office scanner, because it has a huge legal size bed, but as I was using it in design as well as office I spent weeks checking reviews and comparisons especially amongst Mac user mags before choosing it so I think it might be up to the job despite its age.  It was expensive at the time.  I have never used it for negatives but remember something about a ‘lightlid’ option for negs which I think I went for and lots of spare bits and pieces I never needed. Anything missing will be on ebay for a fiver.  I know I used silverfast and it is installed on my old pc and I still have the disc somewhere. I always got the best I could afford and did a heck of a lot of research. My main concern is that it may not plug into a laptop.  However if I put it on the old desktop tower that I have or even the G4 tower (I never throw anything away lol) I am sure Meg could scan all her negs and download them onto a disc or flashdrive to take home.  It either works or doesn’t but I will have to leave it a few days before I can find it due to water pouring through my ceiling problems 🙁   This will cost you more cake Meg! Fingers crossed 😉

      • This reply was modified 8 years ago by D.Williams.
      • This reply was modified 8 years ago by D.Williams.
    • meg cumming
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      Posts: 416
      September 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm #1056

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      Thanks Mac and Dolores for your replies. The camera that I used was Pentax Super ME, Long lens cant remeber exactly which one. The tones may be lacking because of my post processing, chemicals not quite fresh enough etc etc and the scanner just being your run of the mill one. I may go back and try printing the neg out to see what results I get, just to put my mind at rest.

      But can see the difference in yours Mac. Its punchier and the tones are more dense.Will look into the sites that you have suggested aswell, so thanks for that. Dolores I think I’d better start the baking. But shhh don’t tell anyone!

    • Pete Robinson
      Keymaster
      Posts: 1075
      October 6, 2012 at 10:45 am #1180

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      I bought an Epsom FilmScan for about £300 about 8 years ago. It’s a dedicated film/slide scanner and worked quite well, but was very slow. Then I upgraded my OS to windows XP. The scanners driver wouldn’t work and Epsom wouldn’t produce a new one. So I bought the Vuescan software which worked, but gave poor quality scans. The scanner also has a ICSI interface that my upgraded PC won’t connect to unless I buy an adaptor. So it’s been an expensive paper weight for a few years. It might be worth me buying an old PC on windows 98 with a iscsi interface just so I can use the scanner again! I’ve heard the epsom flat bed scanners produce good results from negs.

    • D.Williams
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      Posts: 547
      October 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm #1184

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      I take it, it is a really expensive adaptor? 😉  If you do buy an old PC if you get one with a 1 or 2TB hard drive you can use it for back up and storage. The 1TB refurbs start at £95 on amazon but that is with xp pro so you would need one with no operating system and then install 98 yourself I suspect and do upgrade the amount of ram.

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Powerful-Dell-Optiplex-Desktop-Tower/dp/B004X7UBQ4/ref=sr_1_2?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1349529543&sr=1-2  Just an example of one with xp there are others but they are usually dell optiplex.  Not as many as usual on at the moment but worth looking out for.  These at least usually have a couple of months RTB warranty.  Rapid solutions seem to be a good seller to watch for.  Otherwise Bliss computers in Nantwich have loads of old towers in their back room and may have something.  Just ask for Phil and mention my name! 😉

      This compares well to the price of a 1TB back up drive so at least it has a dual function. Obviously the operating system steals some of your 1TB.

    • AnonymousPosts: 335
      October 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm #1186

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      IF  I can down load this image  Meg.   This is a negative     scanned by Ilford   while  processing   as Ian explained. I to have a rubbish scanner  35mm. But if  buying an expensive scanner is not an option–as Ian explained  its a good bet to hav e them scanned at processors.  See if I can put one up.

    • AnonymousPosts: 335
      October 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm #1190

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      TRY AGAIN TO POST THE IMAGE –SCANNED BY PROCESSORS.   WISH I  COULD SHOW YOU FULL   FILE SIZE MEG.   YOU WOULD BE PLEASED   –LOST IN THIS SMALL 600.

      (I’ve edited it into your post, Ken. Is that what you wanted?  I hope so! ::Ian)

    • meg cumming
      Participant
      Posts: 416
      October 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm #1195

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      Sorry ken had written out a reply to you then got kicked out, how annoying. Anyway thankyou for your reply, I forgot you had a supplier for your prints etc. Must remeber that for future reference. I must admit I love the smell of the chemicals when processing. I guss I just might have to go back to printing chemically for my negs and then use the computer for Digital work. So your information will be stored in my notebook that I use for Information/suppliers etc.

    • AnonymousPosts: 335
      October 6, 2012 at 9:57 pm #1196

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      Ian–Thanks for that–my old Werra   film camera.Looks much better Ian.

      Meg.–Very brave to go back to chemicals-but they are still all available.   I like the best of two worlds–scan the negs onto disc–and load onto computer. Ian has mentioned a couple of firms   and heres another you might like to look at– Ag PHOTOGRAPHIC    at Birmingham– had a very good service from them recently  and they also will scan your negs.  for you.

    • Ian McNab
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      Posts: 1387
      October 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm #1198

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      I think that Costco have a cheap-ish service for development and scanning, too.

    • meg cumming
      Participant
      Posts: 416
      October 7, 2012 at 9:21 am #1204

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      More information goody! Chemicals are hard to get but still available Ken, will have to decide against cost of restocking as opposed to doing it via third parties. But all useful information.

    • Pete Robinson
      Keymaster
      Posts: 1075
      October 7, 2012 at 9:25 am #1205

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      Thanks for the advice Dolores, Ken and Ian. I’ll have to blow the dust of my old scanner and see if I can get it working again.

    • Ian McNab
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      Posts: 1387
      October 7, 2012 at 11:32 am #1208

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      Sounds like Crewe Photo Soc may soon have a thriving ‘Analogue’ section!  🙂

    • AnonymousPosts: 335
      October 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm #1209

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      HI Meg–have just posted a b/w   36 exp    film to Ag   Photographic—-if of use as an idea– cost to process/ print to 6×4/ scan  to disc/contact print/ postage £16.91. There is cheaper about–but Ilfords   was not fine grain  at all–disapointed.  Will keep you posted about this one.

    • AnonymousPosts: 335
      October 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm #1210

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      Hi Ian–yes got a bit re-hooked again  with the Werramatic. Not mad enough to go back to dark room though–disc to computer  is great.