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Thread: Professional flatbed scanners?

  1. #251

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    Re: Professional flatbed scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by audioexcels View Post
    I'd be interested to hear from more that can manipulate digital files to look like film shots...if digital looks like film, we may as well have adapters made so that we can retrofit bellows to the 5D and have the movements of LF in order to have the same look of film up to a certain enlargement size.
    I am sure these techniques must exist, but most of us are trying to do the opposite, i.e. control our scans to diminish film grain as much as possible. Grain is one of the distinguishing features of many digital images that result from scans of film. Some film photographers are perfectly happy with grain and accept it as part of the film process, so long as it is not obtrusive, which it can be in some scans.

    Much that can be done in scanning to minimize grain to the point where a film capture and digital capture image can look very similar.

    In drum scanning grain is minimized by setting the aperture so that it is about equal to film grain, and then adjusting pitch (pixels per inch) so that it is slightly larger than the aperture. As one can tell by looking at the varying quality of drum scans from there is a lot of art in this that is learned from experience. Fluid mounting is also often used in drum scanning, and this also minimizes grain.

    Grain can be minimized in scanning with flatbeds by several methods.
    1) Fluid mount.
    2) Scan at a resolution too low to capture film grain, and then rez up in Photoshop. This method has the disadvantage in that it wastes some of the resolution of the scanner.
    3) Scan at a very high-interpolated resolution and then reduce the file size back to optical resolution in Photoshop. This is the method I use for scanning MF B&W negatives with an EverSmart Pro scanner. The exact procedure is as follows.
    1. Scan at 8000 ppi in RGB in 8 bits. (The scanner will not allow 16 bit B&W saves).
    2. In Photoshop change the Mode to 16 bit RGB.
    3. Change the Mode to 16 bit grayscale.
    4. Save this file as the Master.
    5. Downsize as needed for the size print you want to make.

    Attached are a couple of files that show the results of this method.
    File 8000 was scanned at an interpolated resolution of 8000 ppi, and then downsized to 3175 ppi.

    File 3175 was scanned at optical resolution of 3175 ppi. The area represents about .1" X .1" on the original TMY negative. At the crop size shown the entire image would be 135" X 165".

    Grain is much smoother in File 8000, and detail is also better since grain size does not break up the image patterns. All scanner driver setting were the same for the two scans. No smoothing filters were used, and sharpening was set at default.


    Sandy King
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 8000.jpg   3175.jpg  
    Last edited by sanking; 11-Feb-2008 at 10:36.

  2. #252

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    Thumbs up Re: Professional flatbed scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    I am sure these techniques must exist, but most of us are trying to do the opposite, i.e. control our scans to diminish film grain as much as possible. Grain is one of the distinguishing features of many digital images that result from scans of film. Some film photographers are perfectly happy with grain and accept it as part of the film process, so long as it is not obtrusive, which it can be in some scans.

    Much that can be done in scanning to minimize grain to the point where a film capture and digital capture image can look very similar.

    In drum scanning grain is minimized by setting the aperture so that it is about equal to film grain, and then adjusting pitch (pixels per inch) so that it is slightly larger than the aperture. As one can tell by looking at the varying quality of drum scans from there is a lot of art in this that is learned from experience. Fluid mounting is also often used in drum scanning, and this also minimizes grain.

    Grain can be minimized in scanning with flatbeds by several methods.
    1) Fluid mount.
    2) Scan at a resolution too low to capture film grain, and then rez up in Photoshop. This method has the disadvantage in that it wastes some of the resolution of the scanner.
    3) Scan at a very high-interpolated resolution and then reduce the file size back to optical resolution in Photoshop. This is the method I use for scanning MF B&W negatives with an EverSmart Pro scanner. The exact procedure is as follows.
    1. Scan at 8000 ppi in RGB in 8 bits. (The scanner will not allow 16 bit B&W saves).
    2. In Photoshop change the Mode to 16 bit RGB.
    3. Change the Mode to 16 bit grayscale.
    4. Save this file as the Master.
    5. Downsize as needed for the size print you want to make.

    Attached are a couple of files that show the results of this method.
    File 8000 was scanned at an interpolated resolution of 8000 ppi, and then downsized to 3175 ppi.

    File 3175 was scanned at optical resolution of 3175 ppi. The area represents about .1" X .1" on the original TMY negative. At the crop size shown the entire image would be 135" X 165".

    Grain is much smoother in File 8000, and detail is also better since grain size does not break up the image patterns. All scanner driver setting were the same for the two scans. No smoothing filters were used, and sharpening was set at default.


    Sandy King

    Thanks Sandy. I had a feeling you or someone would interpret my response about film and grain, but I don't care for grain in my prints. Even using a an extremely grain free emulsion (color wise), I can get perfectly clean/grainless 8X12's from 35mm using the grocery store mass chain which doesn't exactly use high tech for the scanning part of things. The thing I do not see is the same "look" when I take this 8X12 and compare it to a digitally shot 10MP DSLR file of the same thing. In other words, I cannot seem to replicate the look of the colors which to my eyes look precise and with digital, look dynamic (not real), with the foliage around the object, along with the look of the ocean having a much different look. BTW, I don't think photoshop has a plug-in to replicate the look of negative film either...

    I am sure that if I took this file and scanned it myself, I could see the grain on my computer screen and associate the look I am seeing on the print as being grain rather than pixels, just as I can see the pixels from my digital files. But my goal is to see the final print as I can care less about what things look like structurally/physically/objectively on a monitor. I want the look that is best to my eyes, and on the print where I hold it in real life and do not stare at my monitor to enjoy what is virtual reality until it is onto whatever paper it will be put on.

    Another thing that I see, and I know this is going to sound silly...but I see a way more 3-dimensional rendition of a scene, even with a tiny 4X5 polaroid shot than I do with any other sized film that I have used, or any other digital camera that I have used (I have only shot with 6 different cropping type DSLRs so I cannot say what full frame would give me in terms of the lacking dimensionality vs. a 4X5 and better yet, larger sized contact print). In other words, with 35mm, things look "flat"...they have no dimension to them by comparison to large format (just my own eyes and experience and this is comparing the best 35mm setups both SLR and rangefinder to LF). It isn't to say they lack dimension all-together. Surely, they have fine rendition of space, but it there is a plane in this space that makes it flat rather than put the hand into the picture type feel. More of an analytical way to describe the picture and say yep, this was here, that was there, etc...whereas LF film you can say these same things, but you can also get more of a sense of being able to touch those things. I don't get this same sense with smaller film or DSLR images. I have unfortunately never seen an MF print...it's either 35mm/Digital or LF...have had wonderful MF stuff in my hands, 15 or so rolls of Tri-X and Provia 120 film, but....nothing on print.

    Is it that my eyes are strange seeing film look grainlessly different than digital on print, and furthermore, LF contacts looking see-through/highly dimensional (surreal by comparison to 35mm/digital)? Maybe to achieve this same dimensionality with digital, one needs to use a full frame camera in the minimum, carefully manipulate everything, and then print carefully onto paper that enhances the dimensionality of the print?

    Thanks a lot for your post. I wouldn't expect to see any grain in your 5X7 shots.

  3. #253

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    Re: Professional flatbed scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by audioexcels View Post

    Thanks a lot for your post. I wouldn't expect to see any grain in your 5X7 shots.
    Just to clarify, these were scans of 6X7 cm TMY negatives shot with a Mamiya 7II camera with 43mm lens.

    Sandy

  4. #254

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    Re: Professional flatbed scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter J. De Smidt View Post
    Sounds like a topic for a new thread.
    Well...it is definitely off-course, but I think the points about different scanners has been made:

    1) Either use a consumer flatbed for smaller enlargements or as a proofing device.

    OR

    2) Use a pro-flatbed or good drum scanner if you want to enlarge to any size and achieve the best results possible.


    Price of good, but not best consumer flatbed is $200...price of used pro scanner equivalent is $2000 plus that mega buck for shipping. So a 10X difference. Price of the best consumers are around $400-$500...price of best pro scanners are around $4000-$6000....again, 10X the price.

  5. #255

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    Thumbs up Re: Professional flatbed scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    Just to clarify, these were scans of 6X7 cm TMY negatives shot with a Mamiya 7II camera with 43mm lens.

    Sandy
    Yes, I know

    I can imagine you could spot some grain in 5X7 shots in some rare situation, but knowing you have the Mamiya setup, I couldn't think these were 5X7 negatives.

    Still, a fine example of what to expect from the different scanning techniques, types of scanners, etc. I bet that shot looks very good on print.

  6. #256

    Re: Professional flatbed scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Harris View Post
    Joe, you will find that very little learning is required to start to get super scans using yoiur new scanner and the Color Genius software (make sure you upgrade to the latest version and that you have the correct SCSI card ... btw if you want to run on OSX 10.4 instead of 10.3.x you will need a different SCSI card). The learning curve to master the software is much much steeper .

    Sung, a few are PC compatible but most that I know of are Mac specific but, since many of them run just fine on older Mac's you can get the needed computer for little money. As for computing power, they don't take that much. I have actually run the IQSmart 3 on a Mac Mini (although that is way less than recommended and the hookup almost gave the ?tech rep a heart attack) but wouldn't recommend it. Right now I am running both the Cezanne and the IQSmart 3 on a Mac dual processor G5 with 5 GB Ram. The machine has two hard drives, both bootable, and the Cezanne boots off of OSX10.3.x on one drive and the IQ Smart 3 boots off of OSX 10.4 on the other drive. The Cezanne is hooked up via a SCSI connection and the IQ Smart via Firewire. Both of these machines like to know that they are the only thing running so it is imperative that only ONE is actually turned on at a time. The G5 is networked with 4 other machines in the studio. One of the other machines, the one I am sitting at now, also has the Cezanne's client software installed as the Cezanne can operate in a client/host mode as wsell as on a single machine. So, for ~ 4K you may well be able to get a machine and a 'puter to run it.

    Ed, of course the answer "it all depends" is the mpost important one. It depends on how beatup the negative is and how concerned I am with reducing/eliminating grain. Brian, who posted above, for example, prints very large and needs to pay a lot of attention to grain and, thus, he always wet mounts. To answer your specific questions, the negatives sit directly on the glass but both scanners use specially formulated glass with an anti newton ring coating (the IQ Smart 2 uses a different glass than the 3 but also Anti Newton Ring formulated). I have not yet had a single newton ring problem with either scanner. When not wet mounting I:

    1) tape large negatives to the glass using painter's tape that is formulated for delicate surfaces.

    2) for up to 5x7 on the Cezanne just carefully position the negative and then carefully place the cover glass over it (or them if more than one). This is a glass that is supplied with the scanner that runs the width of the bed and fits in grooves on the sides, also anti newton ring treated.

    3) for up to 4x5 on the IQSmart 3, i fI have more than one or two to do, I tape the negatives to the back of the supplied mask that can handle six 4x5's, etc. The scanner came with a bunch of blank masks to cut other sizes and I have cut masks for 8x10, 6x12 and 6x17. Larger than 8x10 it is back to the tape. The Masks fit precisely on registration pins on the scanner.

    When wet mounting I use the lightest liquid that I think will do the job so as to minimize the cleanup process. I seldom use Kami fluid. Prazio products are my choice and they vary from the anti-newton ring spay (the lightest) through anti newton ring oil to montage gel (the heaviest). I don't use a mounting station for either scanner, don't find them necesssary in my particular workspace. The scanning surfaces are easily removable and meant to be removed (they have handles at each end). Given that, I simply take the glass off of the scanner and carry it over to a worktable where I have a large sheet of mylar spread to insure the bottom of the glass stays clean and then proceed to mount and then carry the glass back to the scanner and go to work. Brian, I believe is now using the Creo mounting station with his scanner so perhap he can chime in with more details on that.

  7. #257

    Re: Professional flatbed scanners?

    Hi Ted
    I see that you're just using the supplied glass on your iqsmart3 and not the oil mounting station to oil mount your film. After having mine for the last 2 years i've just tried oil mounting. initially i placed the film inbetween 2 bits of mylar with oil eitherside of the film. This had 2 purposes as it helped keep oil off the glass (sometimes a little did get on there) and also i could easily place my image under the mask and line it up. unfortunately i noticed i got newtons rings - i think because no oil was between the bottom sheet of mylar and the scanner glass. I would like to try it your way but would like to ask how, when you take your glass off to mount, you register the film exactly under the mask when you place it back on again? I use kami fluid and would like to know what you use to clean any remaining off your glass. I know you have to be careful with what material you put on the glass.
    A second quick question is do you add sharpening when oil mounting? My tests showed that just oil mounting with no sharp meant the image was soft. When oil mounted the tonality and detail defined was dramatically improved. I think dry mounting (obviously depending on format) showed chunky grain, softness i.e lack of detail and uneven tonality. The thing is it's a lot of playing around with variables in sharpening depending on format and the size you're scaling up to - you can oversharpen.
    any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    many thanks

  8. #258
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Professional flatbed scanners?

    Jack, Ted passed away a few weeks ago.
    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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  9. #259

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    Re: Professional flatbed scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by jackcarter View Post

    After having mine for the last 2 years i've just tried oil mounting. initially i placed the film inbetween 2 bits of mylar with oil eitherside of the film. This had 2 purposes as it helped keep oil off the glass (sometimes a little did get on there) and also i could easily place my image under the mask and line it up. unfortunately i noticed i got newtons rings - i think because no oil was between the bottom sheet of mylar and the scanner glass.

    I am surprised that you got newton rings with the film sandwiched between the mylar. I have made a few scans with this type of fluid mounted sandwich with the Eversmart Pro and so far have not get any newton rings. I would expect newton rings with most scanners but the Eversmart (and I believe the ISSmart as well) has an anti-newton coating on the glass of the bed that should prevent newton rings.

    Sandy King

  10. #260
    jetcode
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    Re: Professional flatbed scanners?

    I get great scans without mounting fluids. A client came by with a fluid mounting kit and never used it. I now have film ICC profiles for the major transparency films and the reflective ICC worked wonders this last week for a local artist.

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