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Thread: Epson V850 work-around for scanning 5x7 negatives.

  1. #11

    Re: Epson V850 work-around for scanning 5x7 negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Zhang View Post
    Is it possible to lay 5x7 negatives on the scanner like prints and simply scan them? I was told to use 24-bit-color and at 300 dpi. I just want to digitize all my 45, 57, WP and 810 and larger negatives and won't do large digital prints.

    I struggled for a few hours this afternoon and don't know what to do.


    Yes, you can lay the 5x7 negatives on the scanner, emulsion side down facing the glass. Then, put Anti-Newton Ring glass on top (mat side down on to top of negative) to hold the negative flat. I found that worked well enough with Epson Scan up to 2400 dpi, but the makeshift 5x7 film holder worked somewhat better with Epson Scan and much better with VueScan. I would urge you to do some consistent, documented scanning tests before deciding upon your final workflow specs. Epson Scan is a good start because it produces decent results without a lot of fiddling.

    If you lay your negatives directly on the glass, then use the setting for film guide and try to center negatives on the scanner glass. The Epson Scan software that comes with the scanner is best for this setup. If all you're doing is digitizing old photo negatives or prints, then those minimum quality settings that you mention will work but not very well. You'll likely be better off at 1200 dpi or 2400 dpi and 48-bit color for two reasons:

    You extract much more data from the higher resolution and higher bit depth negative scans, and that data may be of value some day to others - if you don't get that data when you can, then you've precluded any higher level use that may be desired in the future, either by you and by those to come; and,

    Even if you just print same size, the downsizing and higher bit depth will result in a better print. When digitizing an analog process like a negative or paper print, a higher sampling rate ( higher resolution and bit depth) than the intended final output will minimize the inevitable loss of information in the final digitized result, resulting in better apparent sharpness and less banding.

    Disk storage is now very cheap and inexpensive, so there's no practical reason to do tiny scans unless you 1.) don't have the time, or 2. ) store everything "in the cloud".

    Scanning an analog item like a negative or a paper print at 300 dpi will result in effective resolution that's lower than 300 dpi. I've forgotten most of the math to calculate the actual loss of effective resolution but higher sampling rates result in much less loss. I've found that 1200 is good enough for a lot of 5x7 negatives on a flat bed scanner and that 2400 dpi high bit rate scans seem optimum. ( As I mentioned in my original post, higher than 2400 dpi scans don't seem to capture any additional real resolution, tend to reduce micro-contrast somewhat and quickly result in excessive file size.)

    When I started doing large format photography back at MIT with Minor White back in the early 1970s using the Zone System, we had to go through a lengthy series of camera, lens, and exposure meter calibrations and then calibrations of our film and print exposure and development. These were, and remain, fairly tedious and time-consuming but are unavoidable if you want to do high quality film photography.

    Digitizing analog film and paper prints introduces into the final workflow yet another step requiring careful calibration of your monitor, of your scanner settings and technique, and of your printer in addition to the same equipment and film developing calibration tests required for Zone System.

    These are just optimized starting points and if you're after the highest quality output, you'll still need to make tweaks for different images and also in your digital post-processing with Lightroom or a similar program. Ideally, a scanned film negative image will have a full and well-differentiated tonal range without being too contrasty. That allows you to optimize afterwards in post.

    However, once you have your complete system dialed in, digitized storage and final printing is much easier and more consistent than making a final wet print and you only have to spot the print once, digitally. It's ultimately worth the effort when you're intent upon exhibition quality results.

  2. #12
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    Re: Epson V850 work-around for scanning 5x7 negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Kashi View Post
    Then, put Anti-Newton Ring glass on top (mat side down on to top of negative) to hold the negative flat.
    I get artifacts in my V700 scans when I have AN glass on top of the negative, I think generated by reflections from the extra glass surface. Often my film stays flat even without; otherwise the negative needs to be held down some other way.

    I may try again at some point with antireflection coated glass. It's a pain to find large pieces without subtle flaws, but perhaps that will matter less when the glass is being used to hold down a negative for scanning than it does in a negative carrier or in contact printing.

  3. #13

    Re: Epson V850 work-around for scanning 5x7 negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    I get artifacts in my V700 scans when I have AN glass on top of the negative, I think generated by reflections from the extra glass surface. Often my film stays flat even without; otherwise the negative needs to be held down some other way.

    I may try again at some point with antireflection coated glass. It's a pain to find large pieces without subtle flaws, but perhaps that will matter less when the glass is being used to hold down a negative for scanning than it does in a negative carrier or in contact printing.
    I've found that anti-glare glass from a picture-framing shop also works OK if the mat side is down and in contact with the negative. It's also much less expensive. I bought commercial ANR glass for this purpose but later found that mat glass is OK. It appears that as long as the rougher side is in contact with the top of the negative and the emulsion directly on the scanner glass, then Newton rings are less likely.

  4. #14

    Re: Epson V850 work-around for scanning 5x7 negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by djdister View Post
    I would avoid setting the negs directly on the glass if possible. In addition to Mr. Kashi's excellent solution, I made a decent 5x7 neg holder out of two pieces of mat board.
    I first tried the mat board approach with corner holders but could not get a scan that was in sharp focus on the V850. That's why I hacked the dual 4x5 4990 holder into a 5x7 holder. There was probably only a small difference in thickness but that was too much for sharp focus.

  5. #15

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    Re: Epson V850 work-around for scanning 5x7 negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Kashi View Post
    Scanning with both VueScan and Epson scan produced very good to excellent edge to edge sharpness when using the makeshift 5x7 film holder at 2400, 3200, and 6400 resolutions and at most VueScan manual focus ranges from -.36 to +.74.

    Using this makeshift 5x7 film holder, I judged that VueScan's manual focus seemed best at +.56. Scans at 2400 dpi and at 3200 dpi resolutions seemed to work best. I judged that the 2400 dpi scan had marginally better tonal separation on Delta 100. 6400 dpi scans had excellent sharpness but low acutance, even after strong post-processing in Lightroom. The test images, made with a Fujinon 210/5.6 NWS lens were sharp at 1:1 even when scanned at 6400 dpi inherent resolution but I did not particularly like the tonal quality at 6400 dpi.

    Hence, my judgment was that the best 5x7 BW negative scans on the V850 scanner with VueScan seemed to be at manual focus +.56 and 2400 or 3200 dpi. With Epson Scan, setting the film holder setting, with or without setting 6400 dpi (which activates the high-resolution lens system), resulted in good focus.

    On a 5x7 negative, 2400 dpi works out to making 40"x 56" digital prints at full native 300 dpi print resolution without any interpolation needed. Luckily, Delta 100 and the Fujinon NWS 210mm lens had ample native resolution.
    Joseph,
    Thanks for posting this!

    Did you apply any post-scanning sharpening in PS/LR? If so, how much and what were your conclusions?

    Thanks,
    Michael

  6. #16

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    Re: Epson V850 work-around for scanning 5x7 negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Roberts View Post

    Did you apply any post-scanning sharpening in PS/LR? If so, how much and what were your conclusions?
    Let me say my view.

    Some Pro scanners provide a very good digital sharpening, with the V850 you also may activate a (less good) sharpening in the scanning software but I find that doing it manually in Ps is better.

    The amount of sharpening you should provide depends on several factors, a main one is the scanned dpi, if scanning with V850 at 6400dpi a good start point would be 2.5pix radius and 50% settings. If dpi is lower then the radius should be lower.

    Sharpening is a complex matter, shadows, mids and highlights may require different local settings, in a portrait we may sharpen eyes different than skin... A good sharpening often require a dose of manual adjustmets, anyway today some automatic tools do an amazing job, in a protrait they detect gender, age, race and face features, also they detect overshot to adjust ideal settings locally...

    But, "technically" speaking the image provided by the V850 always (IMHO) require some sharpening manual adjustments. Software in Pro scanners required better automation in that to save manpower, and had a number of image enhancing features, a particular (not LF) case are scanners of the digital minilab era (Frontier, Noritsu...), which had an extensive array of very well automated enhacements (color, etc), which included a good automated sharpening.

  7. #17

    Re: Epson V850 work-around for scanning 5x7 negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    I guess that the scans (and prints) have to be impressive... the V850 shines is 5x7" format if a holder can be provided !!!

    That solution (hacking 4x5 holders for 5x7) is not new, but it's really great to know that the solution works nicely, and having the details.

    It would be great if you would post a LowRes sample image with a HighRes 100% crop. That scan has to be 230MPix "effective" worth... which is an insane amount in "effective" terms.
    A full 16 bit grey scale TIFF scan of the 5x7 negative at 2400 dpi is about 340 megabytes on disk when using both Epson Scan and VueScan. My next set of calibration scans is focused upon tonal range and Zone System development, etc. All of these calibrations are idiosyncratic to each person's technique and systems, so I see those as merely starting points for each person's own tests.

  8. #18

    Re: Epson V850 work-around for scanning 5x7 negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Roberts View Post
    Joseph,
    Thanks for posting this!

    Did you apply any post-scanning sharpening in PS/LR? If so, how much and what were your conclusions?

    Thanks,
    Michael

    Yes, I sharpened quite a bit in Lightroom as part of my calibration tests. I also used Clarity +26 slider. The raw scanner output was not as clean and sharp as one would like for an end result, but responded very well to post-processing, yielding a very clean and sharp final result. LR sharpening, exposure and tonal adjustment, and clarity were all needed for best final result. Neither Epson Scan nor VueScan output was suitable for high-quality final use without post-processing.

    I sharpened quite a bit because I used standard high-contrast resolution test targets for the underlying test negatives. I needed a maximally sharp and high acutance/crisp result because the underlying tests were made to determine the comparative and absolute sharpness of a variety of large format lenses.

    Thus, I first had to determine optimum scanning setup and post-processing technique for best sharpness so that the lens resolution test results were not seriously affected by sub-optimum scanning technique.

    Sharpening the initial scans was needed to determine the end-result maximum resolution of the overall workflow system of lens/film/development/scanning/post processing. Now that I've determined the scanning part of the equation, I can scan and review my 5x7 negatives made with the various lenses.

    The scanning technique and post-processing tests were all made with a late-model Fujinon 210mm/5.6 NWS lens, which seems from highly magnified inspection of negatives to be one of my sharpest lenses. Before the scanning tests, I first did tests for camera alignment, initial exposure accuracy and development, and then individual lens resolution, contrast, and shutter accuracy testing.

    The next and final set of tests will optimize exposure meter accuracy for better shadow tonality and adjusting development time to avoid Delta 100's tendency toward highlight blocking. Carefully designing the tests and targets can allow several different items to be tested in one shoot.

  9. #19

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    Re: Epson V850 work-around for scanning 5x7 negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Kashi View Post
    A full 16 bit grey scale TIFF scan of the 5x7 negative at 2400 dpi is about 340 megabytes on disk when using both Epson Scan and VueScan.
    At 2400dpi you don't extract all possible information the V850 is able, see table C.2: https://archivehistory.jeksite.org/c.../appendixc.htm

    For best result you may scan (for a 5x7" sheet ) to a +1 GByte file and later downsampling ("bicubic, special for reductions", choice in Ps) to the point that not much information is lost, depending on if the negative is more or less sharp and on your print size you may notice more or less going well beyond 2400.

    The V850 takes 2900 dpi optically effective in the horizontal axis with the HiRes lens, but one has to scan beyond taht (4800 or so) to take that effective resolving power.

    In the past PCs had problems with big files, today with an SSD or an M.2 disk it is less a problem !!

  10. #20

    Re: Epson V850 work-around for scanning 5x7 negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    At 2400dpi you don't extract all possible information the V850 is able, see table C.2: https://archivehistory.jeksite.org/c.../appendixc.htm

    For best result you may scan (for a 5x7" sheet ) to a +1 GByte file and later downsampling ("bicubic, special for reductions", choice in Ps) to the point that not much information is lost, depending on if the negative is more or less sharp and on your print size you may notice more or less going well beyond 2400.

    The V850 takes 2900 dpi optically effective in the horizontal axis with the HiRes lens, but one has to scan beyond taht (4800 or so) to take that effective resolving power.

    In the past PCs had problems with big files, today with an SSD or an M.2 disk it is less a problem !!

    As I noted in my original post, the 2400 dpi was, for me, the best overall compromise.

    The amount of additional resolution beyond 2400 dpi is fairly minimal but the file size is much larger and contrast and tonal quality are somewhat (but visibly) reduced.

    You may also start bumping into Lightroom's file size limit, and Epson Scan sometimes has difficulty saving the file beyond a 5x7 2400 dpi scan, which results in a 340MB or so file size at 2400 dpi.

    Then, of course, effective resolution is greatly affected by your lens, film, and developing choices. If the effective resolution isn't on the film, scanning at a higher dpi makes little difference except perhaps in a totally theoretical as opposed to practical way.

    Perhaps that's why I found not much practical benefit going beyond 2400 dpi, using 5x7 Ilford Delta 100 in XTOL 1:2 intermittent agitation for high acutance and a super-sharp Fujinon 210mm NWS lens, which resolves as good as my CM-W lenses and better than the Sironar N lenses, and noticeably better than any of my Dagor and Protar VII optics that I also tested at the same time.

    The scanning at 2400 dpi was good enough to see sharply rendered film grain on this very fine grain film, which suggests little real improvement beyond that 2400 dpi point. Beyond that point, one is creating artifacts, not real data.

    FWIW, the computer used to make these scans does use an M.2 SSD and an extremely fast Ryzen CPU, 32GB fast DDR memory, and a very fast GPU video card. I built the system for maximum photo post-processing performance.

    That's how things worked out for me, but others may find different approaches work better for them, hence the suggestion to make one's own tests, perhaps with these starting points.

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