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Thread: B & W scanning with Silverfast SE

  1. #1

    B & W scanning with Silverfast SE

    Hi,

    I have an Epson 4990 scanner running Silverfast SE on a Windows XP computer. I tried scanning my first TMax 100 negatives and can't find any explanation of the Scan Type options drop down box. I want to just scan in Grayscale for now, having read the articles on scanning in color and using just one of the RGB colors. I also used the Negafix feature for TMax 100. I may try wet scanning soon, but want to get the dry scan setup first.

    What is 16->8 Grayscale vs 16 Bit HDR Grayscale? Both are type options available. I used the 16->8 Grayscale type. Then, when I opened the file in Photoshop, the profile messages are:the customary Leave As Is, Assign working gray: dot gain 20%, and Assign Profile with dot gains from 10% to 30%, plus Gamma 1.8 or 2.2, and Black and White. I used Assign Profile button and the the Black and White option.

    I scanned at 2400 ppi and then downsized to 400 ppi in photoshop because of the 220MB large file size. When I locked the pixels locks the size went up to 330MB.

    The scans looked pretty good when I sharpened them with Focal Blade 1.04, but I don't know if I am set up for the optimal scan. Also, the Focal Blade wouldn't work and seized up on the big 220 MB files. It ran fine on the 25 MB files.

    Finally, would an upgrade to SE Plus with ME or Ai Studio give me better quality scans?


    I appreciate any suggestions as to the best setup for my B & W Scanning.

  2. #2
    I exist, therefore I am
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    Re: B & W scanning with Silverfast SE

    I'm using the same set up. 4990 and Silverfast SE but on a mac. One thing that helped me a lot was to include a Stouffer stepwedge in the scan as to have something to set the black- and white point with. Now everything (in the neg) is at least close to where it should be and easally corrected i PS. Before the stepwedge I got some strange results... I think the HDR is for negs with a lot of contrast but I could be wrong. The scanned result using HDR is pretty flat anyway. I scan in RGB. Seems to work for me.

  3. #3
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: B & W scanning with Silverfast SE

    You want 16 bit for all your adjustment work, 16>8 means it is computing the scan in 16 bit but downsizing it to write the final file. You want to stay in 16 bit while you are doing your adjustments in PS so scan in 16 bit grayscale or scan in 16 bit RGB and convert to 16 bit grayscale in PS.

    SE Plus and AI Studio give you multipass capabilites and some more tools but not necessarily better scans.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  4. #4

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    Re: B & W scanning with Silverfast SE

    16 Bit HDR Grayscale is appropriate only if you're working with raw 16 bit data and plan to work with it in Silverfast HDR. I've never used Silverfast HDR so I can't explain it.

    If you're going to stay with Silverfast you might consider buying the book "SilverFast - The Official Guide" by Taz Tally, about $30 at Amazon (chapter 12 of that book contains an extensive discussion of Silverfast HDR if you're interested). I use Ai rather than SE but I found the book invaluable for really understanding all the controls and features of Silverfast, much better IMHO than the instructions that come with the program or trying to stay awake while listening to that guy drone on in the Silverfast tutorials.

    If you're scanning grayscale image and plan to do any significant editing in Photoshop or another program then the "type" setting to use is "16 bit grayscale." If you don't anticipate any significant editing then you might use "16-8 bit grayscale" just to keep the file size down but I always use "16 bit grayscale" as a matter of course.
    Brian Ellis
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    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  5. #5

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    Re: B & W scanning with Silverfast SE

    Sorry, I forgot about your upgrade question. I upgraded from SE to Ai a long time ago and I don't remember SE very well. However, I don't think you'd get inherently better quality scans just because you use Ai, as I recall it just gives you more controls and options than SE, which hopefully would lead to better scans once you learned how to use them all. But someone who's switched more recently would be in a better position to answer this than I am.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  6. #6

    Re: B & W scanning with Silverfast SE

    I appreciate the information.

    Does anyone know if Silverfast SE plus or AI offers the 16 bit grayscale option? On my SE version 6.5, 16 bit grayscale is not an option as it is dimmed out and won't select.

    Also, it seems from the posts on the forum, that the multiple pass option doesn't work very well on the Epson 4990?

    Thanks, Steve

  7. #7

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    Re: B & W scanning with Silverfast SE

    I use the 16-bit grayscale "HDR" format exclusively with V700. The HDR term is just marketing speak; it is effectively a digital negative. It's the only way how to get scans with 16 bits per channel out of SE; but you loose all the sharpening & brightness & contrast & color balance controls in Silverfast. I do not mind, I prefer full control in a photo editor of my choice.

  8. #8

    Re: B & W scanning with Silverfast SE

    Well. based on all of this feedback, I upgraded my Epson SE to Ai Studio. As as Christmas special Lasersoft also upgraded the SE-Plus software on my Nikon LS 2000 to Ai, in the same deal! What a great customer service group! Thanks again.

  9. #9

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    Re: B & W scanning with Silverfast SE

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    If you're scanning grayscale image and plan to do any significant editing in Photoshop or another program then the "type" setting to use is "16 bit grayscale." If you don't anticipate any significant editing then you might use "16-8 bit grayscale" just to keep the file size down but I always use "16 bit grayscale" as a matter of course.
    Brian,

    I noted in a few other threads for B&W source material that you were evaluating 48 bit RGB scanning (discarding the red/green channels in PS) vs. scanning in 16 bit grayscale mode.

    Did one approach turn out better than the other, consistently? Can you share any thoughts or are your findings posted?

  10. #10
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: B & W scanning with Silverfast SE

    It depends on the scanner, but usually the green channel is the sharpest compared to greyscale Though I have seen blue. It has been green on all the Epsons that I have owned if memory serves. The difference is not huge but every little bit helps with scanners in this range.

    It is easy to test it yourself
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

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