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Thread: Scanning slides

  1. #1

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    Scanning slides

    I have a chrome I shot recently that looks ok when I put it on the light box but after several scans, it looks really bad. Has anybody else run into a similar problem?
    On the chrome, the foreground grass & flowers are clearly visable yet repeated attempts to bring this out don't cut it. I think that a Cibrachrome would look good, comparable to the chrome but night low light with chrome can be tricky!
    Last edited by Clay Turtle; 7-Feb-2008 at 17:52. Reason: no photo

  2. #2
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning slides

    Have you had it drum scanned?

    Bruce Watson

  3. #3
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning slides

    Clay, like Bruce hints, that is a near impossible chrome for a consumer scanner to work with. Even a high-end scanner may have a tough time but that is what you need to get the shadow detail.

  4. #4

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    Re: Scanning slides

    Hi!

    Sorry for cutting in here, but now I really have a question: Given that I just own a consumer scanner, would I be overall better off with negatives instead of slides?

    It was my understanding that for best results I should shoot slides. However, as soon as I want to get deep shadow detail I need a drum scanner.

    What is the trade off between scanner quality (cost), tonality and resolution in slides vs. negatives?

    Regards,
    Arne

  5. #5

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    Re: Scanning slides

    Arne...

    The problem resides in the fact that transparency film (slides) has very little latitude in exposure compared to neg film. Therefore if you underexpose or if you have a scene that is wider in latitude range than the film can handle you will either blow out your highlights or block in your shadows. Once that happens, there is very slim hope that you can retrieve this info even on the most advanced scanner.

    However, if you expose correctly and have retrievable info, a high end scanner will definitely be able to help "dig out" image information that is there. With a consumer flatbed, you're usually relegated to the shadows/highlights function of Photoshop, which works well for small adjustments before you start getting an unnatural effect and grain in the scan. Some scanning software packages, like Silverfast, have features (multi-sampling) that also help in this regard.

  6. #6

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    Re: Scanning slides

    If you choose your transparency film wisely, and know how to expose transparency film, using fill light for some shots, then you can get good results from consumer scanners. I still think transparency film is best for scanning overall.

  7. #7
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning slides

    Arne, all of what has been said above is correct. Bottom line, properly exposing your film is the key. No scanner can capture information that isn't there. The high end flatbeds and drums will dig deeper into shadow detail and capture all that is present.

    Negatives and positives scan equally well on any kind of scanner as long as the person operating the scanner knows how to work with film. Negatives require a bit more knowledge perhaps but there is no technical difference.

  8. #8

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    Re: Scanning slides

    Ha . . Ha . . . Hee . . Yah?
    Know that I didn't do a drum scan. Yet?
    But I did ask the local proces/print lab, they were not sure that it would drum scan (at least w/ their equipment) and suggested another lab.

  9. #9

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    Re: Scanning slides

    Asking scanners to exceed their reasonable limitations may be a dead end approach.

    Perhaps you could put the slide on a light table, and make a new photograph of the slide.

    By making several exposures, you could perform an HRD merge.

    It should be fairly easy to recover as much as possible, with as much control as possible.

  10. #10

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    Re: Scanning slides

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    Asking scanners to exceed their reasonable limitations may be a dead end approach.

    Perhaps you could put the slide on a light table, and make a new photograph of the slide.

    By making several exposures, you could perform an HRD merge.

    It should be fairly easy to recover as much as possible, with as much control as possible.
    Why not do the same with the scanner, adjusting exposures for each version accordingly?

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