Recommendations for negative scanning?

Discussion in 'Cameras and Photography' started by mhedges, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. mhedges

    mhedges Super Member

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    I have some color negatives I want to get scanned, but it seems like I'm about 5 years too late as far as finding anyone local to do it. So I guess I have to send them out. Anyone have any recommendations?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018

     

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  2. Redikilowatt

    Redikilowatt Audio Understudy Subscriber

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    There are several relatively cheap products available for moderate to low quality scans.
    The are good for scanning a lot of film quickly so you can figure out which ones are worth sending to pros.
    The quality is OK for viewing on monitor and perhaps up to 4x6 printing. However, they lack resolution for high quality print.

    If you pass through my neck of the woods I will be happy to let you borrow one.
    The Wolverine F2D Super was purchased from another AKer.
    I found the ION PICS 2SD at a local thrift and couldn't resist. Both will scan slides and negatives (110 & 135).
    Roger
     
  3. mhedges

    mhedges Super Member

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    Thanks but my friend already has something like that. I want a high quality scan, usable for larger prints.
     
  4. Redikilowatt

    Redikilowatt Audio Understudy Subscriber

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    Got 'cha.
    I was in prepress in print industry. High end drum scanners were common in print shops but not so much anymore.
    Good luck!

    Roger
     
  5. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

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    Many years ago (I'm thinking 15 years now), I picked up a Minolta Dimage slide/film scanner on eBay. Never worked right--it had a bright line through the photo about a third of the way down from the top. Naturally, couldn't find drivers for a modern OS to try it again. That's when I tried VueScan, and it actually cured the issue I had with the scanner. Works perfectly now. It's very slow, especially if I scan something in two or more passes, but it seems to do well with quality. What's cool is that it also scans using infrared, so it has a way of using both the infrared and color scan to help eliminate dust and scratches. When I bought the scanner, it was refurbished, so I would think it's pushing maybe 17-18 years old. Probably would be tough to find one now. They were more popular back then. I only wish I had found the APS-C attachment so I could scan my APS film cartridges. (It was a $100 option at the time.)
     
  6. leesonic

    leesonic Hold on, here comes the bass. Subscriber

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    I know nothing about this, so this might be a basic question. How do you alter the color of the negative to become a positive, or does the software do that for you?

    Lee.
     

     

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  7. mhedges

    mhedges Super Member

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    I believe the software reverses the color and removes the amber tone.
     
  8. jbailey930

    jbailey930 AK Member

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    hmm, around 6 years ago I borrowed a friend's older NikonCoolscan for approx 300 negatives. It was cumbersome and time consuming. When I shoot film not, maybe 1-2 rolls a year, I have the processor print as well as make digital copies.

    I heard about www.scancafe.com on photog forums I frequent. You pack up your negatives and send overseas. My recent Google search shows some not so great review though. This link appeared in my search http://www.digmypics.com/pricing.aspx

    Let us know what you end up doing.
     
  9. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

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    Yep! Usually in the scanning software, you specify what it is you're scanning. (If I'm not mistaken, VueScan might even ask which brand/type of film or slide you are scanning, such as Kodachrome or Ektachrome.) Then the software knows what to do with the scan output. I know we could make those adjustments in Photoshop/Lightroom if needed, but having the scanner take care of it just takes some of the fuss out of it. Same with any noise (dust/scratch) reduction--better to have the software handle it, but only if the software can do a better job than any Photoshop/Lightroom filter. (Surprisingly, Polaroid used to offer a Photoshop plugin which worked better than those Adobe provided.) Gotta admit the infrared trick works better than any other I have tried, and any remaining blemishes are easily fixed elsewhere.

    Definitely. Scans take a while. If I know I want to scan something, though, I can do it while I'm working on other things, and stop every so often to reload a new negative or set of slides. I cringe, though. I have a few dozen sets of my own to scan, plus my dad left me with dozens more that have many long-departed family members in them.
     
  10. mhedges

    mhedges Super Member

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    My friend tried to do some scanning for me. I'm not sure what he was using. Some of the file sizes were insane. Like almost a gigabyte. But I didn't think they looked all that great. I may just be expecting too much. I'm not sure what is reasonable.
     
  11. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

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    I think my TIFF scans were in the neighborhood of 56MB each. 1GB seems awfully large. Unless the resolution was kicked up to some extreme value, I can't think of any other reason an individual scan should be that large.

    @mhedges As for quality of the scan, what did you find disappointing? It might depend on the scanner, but I know that a film scanner should have a micro-focusing ability so that any wrinkles or warps in the film are accounted for. (Otherwise you would see large areas that were blurry.) Even with that, scans look...well...different from digital photos. Whether it's better or not, it's hard to say, and also highly dependent on film used. The last few scans I tested came out well, but needed a little massaging in Photoshop to tweak levels, color balance, etc. Here are two of those, from 1989 (Kodachrome):

    upload_2018-1-16_15-54-21.png

    upload_2018-1-16_15-54-54.png

    upload_2018-1-16_15-57-33.png


    I should point out that in my dad's old slides, the Ektachrome really had a lot of color shift into the maroon side of the spectrum. Took some heavy color balance changes to correct it, but it worked--all the natural colors were still hidden in there. An incorrect color balance can make or break a photo, especially when it's bad to the degree these were. (The old Kodachrome slides, 60 years on, were still pretty much color-correct!)

    There used to be ways to scan negs/slides on a flatbed, but never tried them. I didn't think the scanning engine had the resolution to do them properly.

    -----------------------

    FWIW, I was just kicking around in VueScan for a moment here. If I choose 35mm film as a source, that is where it gives me choices in film.

    upload_2018-1-16_15-42-1.png

    And this is under the Color tab (there is a "Generic" option for vendor, along with a handful of major film brands):

    upload_2018-1-16_15-42-38.png
     

     

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  12. old_tv_nut

    old_tv_nut See Yourself on Color TV! Subscriber

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    By the way, how many is "some?"

    Edit: And what film size?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  13. mhedges

    mhedges Super Member

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    Not many. 5-10, I think. They are all 35mm.
     
  14. SaSi

    SaSi Seriously Illogical Subscriber

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    For 5-10 rolls of films it's not perhaps worth while to make a big investment.
    I have a Canon FS4000US film scanner for 35mm negatives and slides and works fine 14 years now. Still compatible with Windows 7 and 10. I only use Vuescan for serious image scanning ever since I discovered it.
    If you can justify the price, you can get a high-end Epson flatbed scanner (V550 or higher). There are several models ranging from good to not affordable but even better. The can scan larger negative formats, just in case you may need them. I do have some old 6x9 negatives and find that a good flatbed scanner is good enough for my purposes.
    For a dedicated negative scanner for 35mm you should have a look at Plustek 8200i, perhaps the best value for money currently.
    You may also want to check availability of older filmscanners, like the model I use. It may appear on ebay for very little money. Similar Nikon models, for some reason, have prices up in the sky.

    Avoid the cheap $100 Chinese film scanners that claim to scan 35mm, 110, super 8 onto SD cards. Their claimed resolution is, well, not possible to confirm in reality and their optical path is toy grade. An entry level HP or Epson flatbed with negative scanning capability easily outperforms these.

    Once you scan, you can either process the entire flow down to jpg with Vuescan or use other tools, like lightroom. VueScan is not an image editing software, it is an advanced scanning tool, but for basic scanning, reversal and color correction, it's good enough.
    And only scan in the highest optical resolution offered by the scanner. In some scanners it's 4000dpi, and in the case of the Plustek 8200i, it's 7200dpi.
    If you want to read more about scanners, check out this site:
    https://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN1.HTM
    and this one:
    http://www.filmscanner.info/en/PlustekOpticFilm8200i.htmll
     
  15. DKMI

    DKMI Active Member

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    Use a digital camera with a good lens. Blows away any scanner. Google it and you'll see.
     

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