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Thread: New article by Scott Rosenberg: Scanning B&W on the Microtek 1800F

  1. #1
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    New article by Scott Rosenberg: Scanning B&W on the Microtek 1800F

    A new article by Scott Rosenberg has been posted,
    Scanning Black and White negative film with the Microtek Artixscan 1800F. Please feel free to leave any contructive comments in this thread.

  2. #2
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    New article by Scott Rosenberg: Scanning B&W on the Microtek 1800F

    Interesting about scanning as a positive. I will have to test that out. Definitely on mine the Green channel is superior.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "Vocation to Solitude -- To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over the land and fills its silences with light." Thomas Merton

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  3. #3

    New article by Scott Rosenberg: Scanning B&W on the Microtek 1800F

    It is not suprising at all. The only thing the sensors can do is scan as a color 'positive', it then post processes the information in the scanner to a negative. As you can imagine the scanner is not going to do as good a job converting it to a negative as you will in photoshop. The scanner postprocessing is based on a bunch of assumptions that may not fit what you are doing.

  4. #4

    New article by Scott Rosenberg: Scanning B&W on the Microtek 1800F

    Nice article, and a good help to explain what you can expect for this scanner.

    This is comparable to the testing that I advocate each person do with their scanner before getting into real image scanning. This type of testing is critical to ensure that the best results are achieved with whatever device you use. While a particular channel and method may be the best on one person's machine, I believe manfacturing tolerances will probably cause other channels to perform best on the same model machine owned by another. The better quality machines like the 1800f may have enough manufacturing consistancy that they consistantly end up being the green channel, but I'm sure the less expensive scanners will jump about a bit.

    I noticed that with the consumer scanners, scanning in positive mode may produce a tonally very different image than scanning in negative mode. I believe it has to do with the sequence in which the scanner software applies the film curve adjustment and then makes the pos-neg inversion. It's easy to see the differences when scanning a steptablet, but should be apparent in any full range image as well.

    ---Michael
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

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    New article by Scott Rosenberg: Scanning B&W on the Microtek 1800F

    No surprises here. I've been shooting with Astia and coverting to B&W for a long time as I can get lower noise and sharper detail than from B&W neg film.

    Didn't Paul Butzi do a test like this a while back looking into the different channels in a color scan?

  6. #6
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    New article by Scott Rosenberg: Scanning B&W on the Microtek 1800F

    "The only thing the sensors can do is scan as a color 'positive', it then post processes the information in the scanner to a negative."

    Totally logical.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "Vocation to Solitude -- To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over the land and fills its silences with light." Thomas Merton

    KIRK GITTINGS
    WEBSITE

    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  7. #7

    New article by Scott Rosenberg: Scanning B&W on the Microtek 1800F

    "The only thing the sensors can do is scan as a color 'positive', it then post processes the information in the scanner to a negative."

    Totally logical.


    Yes, but the sensors don't know anything about what they 'see'. They receive a light stimulus and output a signal. That's it. I don't believe there is any inherent reason that the simple mathematics of reversing the signal produces any image decline.

    I think the far bigger reason is that a chrome is the final result, and in the case of both color and B&W negatives, there is a substantial amount of tonal adjustment that happens in the printing process (with traditional printing) that the scanner simply does not do, as it generally is intended to attempt to faithfully reproduce the density and color of a chrome original.

    What I'm saying is that a good bit of programming goes into making a scan of a slide look like the original in some fashion, but those same adjustments do not apply to negative film at all.

    ---Michael
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

  8. #8

    New article by Scott Rosenberg: Scanning B&W on the Microtek 1800F

    I got sidetracked and didn't finish my point...

    Moreover, negative film is not the final product. That tonal interpretation is designed into the traditionally processed system. Rarely does a person print the full range of density in a negative. It looks flat and somewhat uninspiring most of the time. If you scan a negative and treat it like a slide, the tonality will not be the same as a traditional print without some considerable manipulation of the image in PS or in the scanner software. That's exactly what needs to be done normally to get a pleasing looking print out of a B&W scan.

    -----

    Sharper scans from slide film? That's a first. I can understand the impression of lower noise (it's called grain), but the die clouds in slide film just don't seem to result in a sharper scan for me. I've got some images here that I can do a direct comparison with and see if this holds true for my scanning methods. Still, slide film acts like a tonal sledge hammer compared to a properly exposed and processed piece of B&W, so I can't imagine choosing to go that route myself even if it does have a slight edge on sharpness.

    ---Michael
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

  9. #9

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    New article by Scott Rosenberg: Scanning B&W on the Microtek 1800F

    Actually Micheal,

    This mainly has to do with how scanners respond and focus different colors. You see quite often that different scanners have different amounts of noise depending on the channel chosen. Tonality has little to nothing to do with the differences we are seeing in this example. It has become quite common to scan B&W negs as a color positive and then select the channel with the best resolution and sharpness. You'll see this mentioned a great deal in photo.net as well.

    Regards,

  10. #10

    New article by Scott Rosenberg: Scanning B&W on the Microtek 1800F

    David,

    I perfectly understand that. Believe me, I understand that very well, and can show you graphs that confirm both the higher noise levels in differnt channels, as well as the differing performance capabilities of different channels. Even my drum scanner shows higher noise in the red channel, but it appears to be of equal sharpness with the other channels.

    My point is that slide film has complete tonal rejection on both ends of the scale and is limited to at most 5 stops in the middle, and much less if you look at the linear portion of the film. Negative films have much, much greater latitude, and remain linear as well through a majority of the scale that it can reproduce. Negative films are subject to a similar tonal rejection at the bottom as slide film is, but there is no fixed shoulder at the top.

    It means that with slide film as your source, you are locked in to a fairly specific possible intrepretation of the image, but you have more flexability with negative films. That's why I would not take that approach in general. Not that it doesn't work, but I would prefer more control of the image myself, rather than leaving it to the film to decide.

    ---Michael
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

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