View Full Version : Epson 3200 & 4x5 Transparencies/Negatives...
I know there are a LOT of very experienced Epson 3200 users on this forum and this postings is addressed to you folks.
I'm brand new to the world of scanning both 4x5 transparencies and negatives on an Epson 3200 flatbed scanner.
My question to all of you is, "What settings do you use most often when scanning 4x5 transparencies. And, are there different settings used for different transparency films?
The addendum to the above questions is, "What settings do you use most often when scanning 4x5 negative film? And, are there different settings used for different negative films?"
Lastly, what about 4x5 B&W negative films?
I know this is one of those "non-consensus oriented question" but I'm soliciting answers in terms of "what and why" did you choose the settings you did... In other words, are there settings used for the different film types that will maximize the quality of a scan in such a way that enhances the level of information available to software such as Photoshop.
Thanks in advance to all of you who respond.
I haven't done a great deal of color scanning with my 3200, Henry, but the color negative presets seem to be pretty close (using the Silverfast plugin). For B&W negatives, I have much better results scanning them as color transparencies, and then inverting in Photoshop. Also, contrary to the Epson instructions, I scan with the emulsion side down, and then flip the image in Photoshop. Much sharper results that way.
As to settings, I keep the white point slightly outside the image data in the histogram, but snug the black point up fairly close. (Remember, these are reversed when scanning a B&W neg as a color positive.) Mid-point adjustments depend on the individual images. I also adjust the contrast curve to give what appears to be a "good" B&W negative in the pre-scan. After scanning, inverting and flipping, I make refinements to Levels and Curves in Photoshop, and apply unsharp masking gently to return the scan to the same sharpness as the negative.
Ralph, I'm glad to see that I'm not alone on scanning emulsion side down. It doesn't make that much of a difference with my 2450 at home, but it makes a BIG difference with my 3200 at work.
I'm using Vuescan to run my 2450 and find I get consistant results leaving the film oriented settings constant (ie those that simply make up for the specific film's characteristics). I do change the image end points for each image I scan. Same deal for B&W.
I recommend getting Vuescan, by the way. It lets you "train" the progam for each film type and even for a single batch or single sheet. There is a work flow that tells the program how to make up for the film base characteristics and remove them from the image file. Once you've "trained" the program, you can save and re-use those settings next time you use the same emulsion.
I am another who turns the film "up-side-down" - it stops Newton's Rings from forming.
You boys got any advice on how to get it to detect the presence of an overexposed, but what I would consider usable, color negative? Sometimes it can't recognize that it is there on the bed...
I use my Epson 3200 with Vuescan to scan 4 x 5 negative film, both color and bw.
Here is what I do. I first preview the image and choose the area I want scanned, almost always the full frame except for a very small margin on the edge. Vuescan tries to compensate for the edges when determining the exposure and color balance, but if you include too much white space outside the frame, it can get confused.
Next I go to the color tab and choose a film reasonably close to what I'm using. There are a lot of settings for color film, but not too many bw film settings. For bw you can also set a contrast index to reflect how you developed the film.
I then examine the preview and the preview histogram and set the black points and white points so that the important shadows and highlights are safely within range. Usually, I find RGB values of about 25-35 for the shadows are appropriate and values of 235-245 for the highlights. For color I next choose some region---possibly very small---which should be neutral, and I right click there. That gives a reasonable color balance in most cases, but in other cases I have to play with the sliders. I then choose a brightness value which produces reasonable brightness and contrast in the displayed region. Sometimes this process has to be iterated.
After the preview looks right, I scan. Sometimes there is a significant shift, so I may have to repeat part of the process for the scanned image. If you make modifications of the image, you have to remember to save the new image before exiting.
What I get from this is a good first approximation, which I work on further in my photoeditor. I use primarily the curves command for this purpose.
This procedure works as well for transparency film. But transparency film may easily exceed the dmax of 3.4 of the scanner, particularly if it is overexposed. I don't use transparency film much, and usually I follow the rule of thumb which says it is better to slightly underexpose than to overexpose. As a result, I haven't had any problem with the dmax.
I assume you are using the Epson software? If so, you will need to change the setting that sets the preview option to manual (not automatic).
Thanks for all the information and advice.... and my apologies for not getting back here sooner to respond. This working for a living really gets in the way of LIFE!
Ralph... I'd heard that recommendation before in regards to scanning the transparency shiny side up (or emulsion side down) instead of vice versa. It makes sense to me too.
Graeme... I currently use Silverfast SE but will look into getting a copy of the Vuescan you've suggested.
Leonard... your explanation is thorough, as usual. I've much to learn about this "digital" tech stuff!
Thanks again... I'm thinking that the best way to learn about this new tech stuff is to jump head first into it, make some mistakes, and move onwards and upwards.
So MUCH to learn and so LITTLE time!
All of your information is very much appreciated.
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