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Thread: Fluid mount on Microtek 1800f

  1. #1

    Fluid mount on Microtek 1800f

    I noticed a marked improvement by wet mounting my 5x7, fp-4+ negative on the glass platen of the MT 1800f. Silverfast, 1800 PPI, 48 bit positive, green channel and 8x samples. Roughly a 550 MB image and 22x33 inch at 360dpi.

    There was a very small improvement in sharpness in the raw scans but the big improvement came in the sky area. Not as much "grain" visable. I use the word grain loosely as I'm not sure that it is grain that I'm seeing at 1800ppi, scan resolution. Nevertheless the sky is much smoother overall, no Newton rings, hardly any dust but a few air bells.

    I have found that I could sharpen more aggresively without the sky becoming "noisy" and then using Noise Ninja there was this WOW factor. As I noted above, there was a noticable improvement sharpness wise in other areas of the scan but one has to compare scans ,with and without fluid mounting side by side to see the difference.

    Aztec has a short video on wet mounting. I copied their procedure. Except I used heavy mineral oil. I could not find light Mineral oil, I don,t know if it is made. But I'd use it instead.

    Basically it is ; Glass platten, oil, film, oil, mylar. I did not use any tape but spead the oil from the center of the mylar/negative sandwich out to the edges, pushing the air out from the negative at the same time. Take the time to make sure all components are as clean & dust free as possible and that the calibration window on the glass platten is spotless.

    I was lucky, the local printer gave me a sheet of 4mil ( .004" ) Mylar. This stuff ain't cheap.

    Clean up with dish detergent and water. Then a bit of distilled water and photo flow for both the neg and Mylar.

    It is worth the extra effort.

    I want to thank all of the previous posters on scanning/wet mounting in this forum for doing all of the hard work. It made my effort go very smoothly.

    Thanks, Richard Martel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Frisco, Texas

    Re: Fluid mount on Microtek 1800f

    I made the same discovery a few weeks ago.

    Watched the Aztek video and ordered their wet mounting kit.

    I am now wet mounting all of my negatives (120 roll-8x10 sheets) in the drawer of my Microtek M1 and getting amazing results. Sharper, clearer, and less time spent with the healing tool in Photoshop. Images seem to print easier.

    Slightly more time spent mounting and cleaning up, but I'd rather do that than chasing dust spots.

  3. #3

    Re: Fluid mount on Microtek 1800f

    Don't bother using a cover layer. It wiill reduce the number of airbells you have, and keep the film a litle cleaner due to fewer layers of materials and oil.

    Mount like this:


    Tape the film on one edge and then flip it up and put oil down under it near the hinge. Put the film down into the oil and with a cleaning wipe, push the film into the oil from the hinge towards the opposite edge. Then look at it and look for airbells. Use the wipe to push them out from under the film. When done, clean the edges well and tape down all the way around. Then, use a little film cleaner to clean the top surface of the film of excess oil, and insert into the scanner.

    Time to scan...

    Mount the film emulsion down.

    You might get better results if you DO NOT multisample. It will increase the grain a little, but it should sharpen the image a bit as well. On some images, that may be preferred over the smoother grain.


  4. #4

    Re: Fluid mount on Microtek 1800f


    Thanks for the tips.

    I'm wondering though, what benefit one gets from taping the other three sides down? The reason I ask is that when I mounted without tape, the film and Mylar was very tight to the glass, held in place by air pressure ?. I really had to pick up a corner of the film and Mylar with my fingernail in order to remove same. I can see this procedure being needed when mounting to a curved surface though. What am I missing?

    I'll try a 4 scan pass also.

  5. #5

    Re: Fluid mount on Microtek 1800f


    Held in by surface tension and the potential for a vacuum, actually, which relies on the air pressure to keep it there.

    If you scan quickly, you could probably avoid taping down, especially with mineral oil. The scanning fluid I use is more volatile, so it would start to evaporate more quickly and may cause you some trouble if you left the sides open.

    I would at least tape the two opposite sides down to avoid any curling or lifting of the film corners. That could result in film damage when you go to remove it from the scanner.

    I also want to mention that I would consider getting a proper scanning fluid (but I would definitely not use the Kami fluid from Aztek, it's too volatile in my opinion). I would worry about the mineral oil and the possible effect it may impart on the archival keeping qualities of the film, since it is not really defined in it's composition.

    I prefer the Prazio products for that.

    My testing on a Microtek M1 (and every other scanner I've tested, for that matter) is that the single pass is going to be the sharpest, and at about 4 passes the benefit of multipass scanning is at it's limit, and the sharpness will decrease as the passes increases, but the benefits of the grain smoothness do not seem to substantially improve beyond 4 passes. This is all personal preferences, though, and not absolute in this respect.


  6. #6

    Re: Fluid mount on Microtek 1800f

    Thanks for the clarification Michael. I'll also try the prazio mounting fluid you recommend.

    Regards, Richard

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