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Thread: Dynamic range of scanners compared with photographic paper?

  1. #1

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    Dynamic range of scanners compared with photographic paper?

    I've got a question regarding the post title. I made a scan (with an Epson V700) of a negative recently and found that the highlights were close to being blown out. I managed to pull them back a bit with some tinkering in Lightroom. Managed to make a reasonable image out of them. Shortly after, I made a contact print and found the sky was perfectly exposed and there was plenty of detail in the sky.

    So, either a. I'm not very good at scanning or b. photographic paper has a much wider dynamic range than my scanner or c. a bit of both. I'm sure there's more to this question but just wanted to get your thoughts.

    Cheers

    welly

  2. #2

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    Re: Dynamic range of scanners compared with photographic paper?

    Welly,

    Did you do a preview and then adjust the resulting histogram? If not, I'd suggest trying that. Ken Lee has some useful scanning tips here http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/scanning.php

    Bob

  3. #3

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    Re: Dynamic range of scanners compared with photographic paper?

    Quote Originally Posted by biedron View Post

    Did you do a preview and then adjust the resulting histogram? If not, I'd suggest trying that. Ken Lee has some useful scanning tips here http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/scanning.php

    Bob
    This link was very helpful, thank you.

    David

  4. #4

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    Re: Dynamic range of scanners compared with photographic paper?

    I don't usually have to play with histograms or anything to get a fairly wide range with the Epson - practically never run into blown highlights if the neg looks good.

    What program are you using to make the scans?

  5. #5

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    Re: Dynamic range of scanners compared with photographic paper?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
    I don't usually have to play with histograms or anything to get a fairly wide range with the Epson - practically never run into blown highlights if the neg looks good.

    What program are you using to make the scans?
    I probably should have used more precise language. The histogram is not necessarily adjusted per se, rather the input and output clipping points of the histogram is adjusted, along with the location of the midpoint. I find the the Epson software often does a less-than-optimal job at setting these points. I'm not sure about Vuescan, though IIRC Ken has Vuescan tips on his website too.

    Bob

  6. #6

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    Re: Dynamic range of scanners compared with photographic paper?

    here's my problem with scanners

    in the olden dayz.. one would make contact prints of negs.. with normalized settings (exposure, lens , aperture, height - of enlarger...etc) so you could compare contacts and know what you had in the negatives.. and how hard they were going to be to print

    scanners have no 'manual' setting..so it's all automagic.. it always adjusts to whatever it is scanning

    so..in reality..you have zero way to compare two negs by their scans

  7. #7

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    Re: Dynamic range of scanners compared with photographic paper?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrTang View Post
    scanners have no 'manual' setting..so it's all automagic.. it always adjusts to whatever it is scanning
    This is true with Epson scanners if we use VueScan. The Epson software is superior in this regard: it does not impose a correction which can't be adjusted.

    Here is how I have addressed the problem of proofing with a scanner: http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/te...g.php#scanning. See the section on Printing/Scanning

  8. #8
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Dynamic range of scanners compared with photographic paper?

    If you use an on-board densitometer with any scanner you can read highlight and shadow to see if you have pixel information...With Macs I use a colormeter is in your applications and set it to the colour space you want
    to read in.. I prefer the cLab space.


    end points are critical for different papers and process and unless you have a way to read them you are hitting a golf ball in a snowstorm.. not much luck finding that ball.

  9. #9
    adelorenzo's Avatar
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    Re: Dynamic range of scanners compared with photographic paper?

    IME, Epson Scan will normally adjust for highlights and crush the heck out of the blacks. Worse is you can't make one adjustment and have to adjust each frame individually, which is fine for large format but something I can't be bothered to do with 35mm so I get terrible scans.

    Vuescan can do a better job, if you take the time to work through it's user-unfriendliness. It cannot detect frames automatically and trying to do multi-frame scans is worse than pulling teeth so I tend to stick with Epson scan software except when I'm trying to scan a single frame for print.

  10. #10

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    Re: Dynamic range of scanners compared with photographic paper?

    Quote Originally Posted by adelorenzo View Post
    IME, Epson Scan will normally adjust for highlights and crush the heck out of the blacks. Worse is you can't make one adjustment and have to adjust each frame individually.
    Epson Scan by default will offer corrections but we can remove them entirely. Unfortunately - as you point out - we need to adjust each scan individually.

    This is better than VueScan because VueScan imposes corrections which cannot be disabled. We can choose a profile and combination of settings to mitigate them, but we can't step around them, only choose the lesser evil.

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