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Thread: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

  1. #1
    SE Penna.
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    Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    Hello all

    Just entered the C-41 world and am pretty happy about it. I would like to go through a tutorial on color negative scanning. What are some good ones online? Anything similar to Mr. Ken Lee's site? Thanks for any suggestions.

    Specifically I am scanning Portra 400 in 4x5, so if that topic is addressed, all the better.

  2. #2

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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    Hmmmm, I have always struggled with Colour scanning! I'm going to follow this thread with interest (sorry, I haven't given you an answer).

  3. #3

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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    I've also struggled with getting decent color from C41 scans. The following are a few of my thoughts on the subject. They represent my opinions and experience and may not necessarily reflect your own experience or preferences. I'd love to hear what others are doing as well.

    I've found that Silverfast works better than Vuescan in terms of getting reasonable color straight out of the scanner. The built-in profiles in the newer versions of Silverfast are reasonable decent.

    I've also tried the ColorPerfect plugin for Photoshop. I've found that it often works well, but does cost about $70 and isn't a silver bullet. There is a trial version with watermarks if you want to try it out. The interface is truely terrible.
    http://www.colorperfect.com/colorneg.html?lang=en

    Finally, I've had some very good luck with the following tutorial. It requires a fair bit of manual work, and wouldn't be great for large batches of images. I generally reserve this for the trickiest images.
    http://4nalog.blogspot.com/2015/09/w...lat-scans.html

  4. #4

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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    Also, I saw this the other day which is a similar technique to the third option I mentioned.

    https://petapixel.com/2017/02/01/edi...ves-photoshop/

  5. #5

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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    I bit the bullet and upgraded to Silverfast AI Studio 8. I received a copy of Silverfast SE Plus with my Epson V850. For color negative scanning I was pleased but not completely satisfied. I read up on AI studio and saw that it offered auto IT8 color calibration which SE Plus did not have. I also received an Xrite 4x5 calibration slide with the v850. The upgrade was $70.

    I upgraded to AI Studio, calibrated and everything looks better. I'm satisfied. You can also edit the Negafix profiles in AI Studio. This could all be done by hand but I be worried about efficiency and consistency. It feels like a color calibrated profile system will save hundreds of hours of second guessing. I'd just buy the software. I'd rather focus on taking pictures and printing.

  6. #6
    Christopher Barrett's Avatar
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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    I also use Silverfast with a v850 and have been impressed with it, even compared to my drum scanner. I thought, though, that you can only calibrate for positives, not negs, right?

    -CB

  7. #7

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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    Yes, calibration is for positives


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8

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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    If that's true then the results I was getting from AI Studio were better as a result of 48 bit scans and or improved negafix profiles. I used the same setting for SE Plus and AI Studio and the latter was better. Can't think of any other feature added by AI Studio that would have made a difference.

  9. #9
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    Right. There's no IT8 calibration for negatives.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

  10. #10
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Best tutorial for color negative scanning

    Quote Originally Posted by chassis View Post
    I would like to go through a tutorial on color negative scanning. What are some good ones online?
    I've never seen a good one. Sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by chassis View Post
    Specifically I am scanning Portra 400 in 4x5, so if that topic is addressed, all the better.
    Color negative film is a different beast from B&W negative and color positive. The latter two respond well to setting the density range for the entire film (that is, finding the overall black and white points), and scanning for everything that's between them.

    Color negative film doesn't really like that. It wants the three colors to be treated separately. That is, each "layer" gets a separate black and white point from the other layers. This is impossible to do with most non-drum scanners, but easy to do with most drum scanners. It's just standard procedure for setting up the logamp parameters on a drum scanner. When actuated, it lets the drum scanner apply each channel's logamp's full digital range to just the space between the black and white points. That is, it spreads it's 12 bits (or whatever) over just the density range that carries the recorded visual information. All the bits used for valuable image data, none for empty shadows or empty specular highlights (deciding where to set the black and white points are part of the drum scanner's art; you get better at it the more you scan because the more you scan the more you understand how the settings translate into image quality in the final print).

    On top of this is that orange color correction mask. That's a complex beast, it requires some interesting software to make the most of it. If what you do is just strip it off and throw it away, it's no wonder that your colors come up looking weird -- you've thrown out the corrections and left what needs to be corrected. Note that the mask isn't a contrast mask -- it's about color correction.

    That mask is what makes negative film give you more accurate colors than transparency film does. Most people have a hard time with that concept -- that color negatives give higher color accuracy than WYSIWYG transparencies. I'll leave it to the interested parties to research that on their own -- I'm merely pointing you toward the right path.

    So... where does that leave you? If you're going to work with negatives (and I highly encourage this; I personally stopped using tranny film in the early 1980s) you need a scanner and software that's negative friendly. It's out there, but you have to look for it.

    Then, once you have that, you have to be willing to learn it. And I'm afraid that most of this is going to be trail and error -- scanning one piece of film over and over, varying one thing at a time and evaluating the results. It's a serious PITA, but climbing learning curves are like that. Sadly, the tutorials you'd like to help you up these particular learning curves seem to be absent. Not enough broad appeal I suppose. IDK.

    Still, learning scanning (even drum scanning) isn't any more difficult than learning how to use movements with a view camera. If you can do one, you can do the other.

    Bruce Watson

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