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Thread: Challenges with Highlights in Scanning Process?

  1. #11
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Challenges with Highlights in Scanning Process?

    I scan BW in color settings

    Makes is very different

    Example with X-Ray selfie 8X10

    1-Color selfie by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr
    Tin Can

  2. #12
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Challenges with Highlights in Scanning Process?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    When you say "highlights" are you referring to the negative or to the final print? IOW, are we talking about high density on the negative or low density? Just need some context here or people will be talking at cross purposes and confusion might reign.



    The limitation is probably not in software. It's the hardware in the flatbed scanner. The scanner is scanning a line at a time. So it can not be optimized for each pixel -- for that you need a drum scanner. What this means typically is that pro-sumer flat bed scanners were designed so that everything is scanned using a set density range. If what you are scanning fits in that range, great. If not...

    Second limitation is that all the pro-sumer flatbed scanners I know of were optimized for color materials. So... dye clouds, not metallic silver grain clumps. The difference here is that the dyes are translucent. The metallic silver is opaque. So the metallic silver exhibits Callier Effect. This in turn decreases contrast in high density areas, what most scanner operators call highlights.

    Callier Effect is the same thing that effects enlargers in darkroom printing. It is more prevalent in cubic grained films like Tri-X, HP-5+, etc. and less prevalent in tabular grained films like TMY-2, Delta, etc.

    Many years of experimenting, and working with, a scanning workflow taught me this (and yes, this is just me and may not apply to anyone else): for capture, tabular grained films. If you aren't going to print in the darkroom ever, then bring your Dmax on your negative down a little, maybe a stop. If your scanner is having trouble reading the opposite end, bring your Dmin up a little. These two things may make it difficult to print this negative in the darkroom, which is why I'm warning about that.

    If you shrink the density range a bit, the scanner will probably like it, and you'll be able to print however you print a little easier with less corrections in your photoeditor. But every scanner is different, as is every scanner workflow. So you'll have to do some experimentation to find your own personal sweet spot.

    Else, if you *are* going to darkroom print these negatives, optimize for darkroom printing. If you can easily print your negative on a #2 printing paper and get the results you want, your scanner should be able to scan it without too much trouble.

    It took me the better part of a decade to learn enough (in large part thanks to many on this forum, and others) to be able to reduce it all into a couple of paragraphs like the above. Do with that what you will.
    Kodak promotes some of their films for easier scanning such as Ektar and Tmax.

  3. #13

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    Re: Challenges with Highlights in Scanning Process?

    Try using "tone curve adjustment" instead of (or in addition to) "histogram equalization" -- if your software offers that. They might call it something else.

  4. #14

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    Re: Challenges with Highlights in Scanning Process?

    I sort of hate to say this, but there are better scanners out there. They tend to be old, huge, heavy, and expensive and require old Macs to operate them over "modern" protocols like Firewire or SCSI or Tight String Transmission Protocol (Remember making a "phone call" with two halves of an oatmeal box and a string???) - but they are better. I bit that particular bullet a few years ago and moved up from my 750, and am a happy scanner.

  5. #15

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    Re: Challenges with Highlights in Scanning Process?

    What others said : scan the film as you see it - in positive mode and do the conversions by yourself in PS or other editors.

  6. #16
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Challenges with Highlights in Scanning Process?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Kodak promotes some of their films for easier scanning such as Ektar and Tmax.
    In my experience Kodak did not lie, nor did they exaggerate. The easiest to scan films for me turned out to be the two Tmax films, and the two Portra films. I never got to scan any Ektar, but have no reason to think it wouldn't scan about as easily as Portra, if not easier.

    Bruce Watson

  7. #17
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Challenges with Highlights in Scanning Process?

    Long time ago I was shooting T-Max 100 and developing at home for the first time. Highlights were out of control. Those early days I was scanning with an Epson V700. Come to find out I was way over-exposing my film as well as over-developing the film and nuking the highlights. Once I fixed my process it was all good.

    My negatives scan nicely now and I can make silver prints as well. I think my negs are maybe a bit thinner than some would prefer but works for me.

    Still possible you have some digital processing issues. Many folks will give you advice on that but mostly I think it helps to just keep practicing.
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  8. #18
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Challenges with Highlights in Scanning Process?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    In my experience Kodak did not lie, nor did they exaggerate. The easiest to scan films for me turned out to be the two Tmax films, and the two Portra films. I never got to scan any Ektar, but have no reason to think it wouldn't scan about as easily as Portra, if not easier.
    Frankly, I find converting color negative film difficult and prefer scanning chromes. Tmax is nice to scan and digitize.

  9. #19

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    Re: Challenges with Highlights in Scanning Process?

    Last weekend I happened to make a mistake when developing one of the rollfilms and the result was very dense, unprintable highlights. I was thinking about reducing it with Farmer's or whatewer would work. However as I am not able to make prints in the darkroom now and "only" scan I gave it a try. I made two or three exposures of the most dense frames and merge it togethter as HDR in Capture One. This was my first attempt to use this technique andthe result was really good. I scan with digital camera and change the exposure according the histogram shown live on display to reach unclipped highlights and shadows.

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