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Interesting Film Scanning Info

Discussion in 'General Photography Discussion' started by ysarex, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. ysarex

    ysarex Premium Member

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    I believe I've noticed this community has an above average interest in film so I thought I'd share a fairly recent discovery I made regarding film scanning.

    Background: I have 30 years of film piled up around the house and no way will I get it scanned before I'm gone. But I'm working on it.

    Problem: I want a decent scan. I want a scan that I can pull a 16x20 print from that's as good as the prints I used to make in the darkroom; target = 7000 pixels on the long side. Problem complication: I can't afford to spend $10.00 per scan (1000 + negs) and even if I did what I've seen doesn't really meet my standard. Problem complication: I'm not prepared to purchase a multi-thousand dollar scanner. I have mostly 120 roll film and I have an Epson V600 scanner here at home. Problem complication: The Epson V series scanners really aren't that good: Please login or register to view links Bottom line Epson claims 6400 PPI for it's V series scanners but in reality 2000 PPI is realistic and that's just not really enough. Problem complication: You only get 2000 PPI from from the Epson scanner if you can get the film in focus and that's worth a big LOL.

    Ironic twist: I have access to better scanners at work. I have a Braun FS-120 and Nikon Coolscan 9000 at the lab -- I just have to drive over there. That's too much trouble and only lessens the time I don't already have. I've run comparison tests between the Epson V series scanners and the Braun FS-120. The Braun has double the resolution of the Epson scanners and works well but it also costs approx. $2000.00. I'm not driving to work on my off time and I'm not buying one for home.

    First work around: Must fix the Epson scanner focus problem. You can buy one of these: Please login or register to view links or you can do what I did and shim the film holder until you get it in focus. I've permanently glued shims to my Epson film holder to raise the film up into the focus plane -- PITA! Next step: Overscan and then downsample with multiple sharpening passes in process. I was doing that and getting results that I thought I could live with. I'd scan a 120 neg at 4800 PPI and then sharpen, downsample and again output sharpen the final result. Fact is I was convincing myself the result was passable but really I wasn't happy.

    And finally here's the punch line: I was demonstrating to some of my students the newest anti-blur software included in PS and explaining how it could help if you had an image that was just off a bit due to camera shake when it occurred to me that the same type of algorithm might be able to provide an assist to a mediocre scan. A little research and I settled on this product: Please login or register to view links from Franzis. I've incorporated it into the process and my Epson V600 is now producing results that I'm happy with. Here's an example: The entire image for reference:

    [​IMG]

    And now a side by side at 50% final res of the gentleman's face with and without the anti-blur software:

    [​IMG]

    What I'm doing is still overscanning the neg at 4800 PPI. I take that scan and hand it off to Franzis's anti-blur process which does an amazing job but with the negative effect of pretty severe artifacts. Since it's film after all and I don't mind grain I then use the excellent grain simulator in C1 which does a nice job masking the anti-blur artifacts. Proceed to then downsample and sharpen to the final result. I think this time I really am convinced that I'm happy with the result.
     
    beakhammer, rixpix, Codda and 6 others like this.
  2. Dirk Offringa

    Dirk Offringa Premium Member

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    Graet post! I just spent the last few days on the subject. Thanks for sharing!
     
  3. Arjay

    Arjay Admin Staff Member

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    Very interesting! I purchased the same software a while ago, and never managed to appreciate it or use it well (In fact, I think it was one of my worst software investment I've made during the last 10 years).

    I have loads of 135mm film negatives , including historic ones shot by my father all over Europe during WWII, and I observed similar problems although I'm using a fairly high-res scanner (Nikon V). I used Nikon Scan as scanner front-end, but since that software is rather clunky, I'm trying to learn Vuescan now. However, my results directly out of Vuescan leave a lot to be desired when comparing them to the files I get from any digital camera. Your PP workflow could be the answer to my problem.

    I'd really appreciate if you could find the time to put together some kind of a tutorial of your scan PP workflow - I'm certain that would be appreciated by many readers in this forum!
     
  4. Muggs

    Muggs Premium Member

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    +1
     
  5. visorvet

    visorvet Premium Member

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    This is super-cool. Are you individualizing all of that for each slide, or can you run that process as a batch once you’ve done your initial scan? Also, what is the value of the overscanning beyond your scanner’s true optical resolution, if that is what you mean by overscanning? Is that an ad to the anti-blur processing?

    So many questions! I use a Pacific Image XE with reasonable results, but what I didn’t realize at time of purchase is that it does not have any manual or automatic focus, at least as far as I can tell. So if the film/slide is not in precisely the right plane focus us not as crisp as I woukd like.
     
  6. ysarex

    ysarex Premium Member

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    Glad you all found it interesting. I'll take some screen shots with the next scan I run (maybe this afternoon) and post more details.
     
    imagesfromobjects likes this.
  7. ChiDN

    ChiDN Fujiholic Cub Fan

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    I have the Coolscan V and have had it for 10 years now. I also use Vuescan. I find it very useful for batch processing, just sitting on my butt and running negs or slides through it but for more difficult images I've had better luck with the native Nikon SW. Now I haven't used the Nikon SW for a long time so I don't know about compatibility issues with newer OS's which is another reason to use Vuescan. I have found the scanner to be much better with slides than negatives especially negs that have any exposure issues. Unfortunately, before I sort of knew what I was doing, I shot a bunch of Ektar 25 and 125 gen 1 in the late 80s early 90s. When the exposure is spot on the scans are gorgeous but off a bit or too contrasty or low light underexposure not so much. The article he linked to with an in depth review of the Coolscan points out some salient points regarding focus especially on negs but applies to slides as well. I recommend reading it...I'll return to it in greater depth when I have more time.

    Vuescan has some cool features but when I let it sit for awhile I find the learning curve a little daunting. I just picked up some scanning jobs for old negs recently and after a large batch I finally figured out what some of my problems were. Darn!
     
  8. ysarex

    ysarex Premium Member

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    No batch -- time consuming hands on step by step process with each scan treated individually. That's why I'm going to die before I finish. The value of overscanning is minor but seems to suppress artifacts from sharpening. Sharpen while overscanned and sharpen again once downsampled. Trying to squeeze out the last drop.

    Same problem with Epson. I also have multiple Epson scanners at the lab and none of them ship from the factory holding film in focus. In most cases the film holder has to be shimmed up but we have one V 750 where we have to lay the film on the glass. No good answer for that. in your case.
     
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  9. Dirk Offringa

    Dirk Offringa Premium Member

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    The result is stunning, from what I see. But does the background blur/desired softness/bokeh not suffer too much in those sharpening processes? I mean, there are people willing to spend 1000's to get even a slight improvement in "bokeh" because it's less busy/softer transitions/ creamy etc. Some legacy glass is highly sought after because of those qualities... I mean you know all that better than I do....just wondering!
     
  10. imagesfromobjects

    imagesfromobjects Remember

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    Looks awesome!

    I also use a V600, and it's definitely my "good enough for now" solution for my application. On a good day, I've printed 18x24 from a 35mm negative and been happy with the results. When there's any sort of curl or the negative doesn't lay completely flat in the (fiddly, sub-par) holder, I'm less than thrilled, but I'm mostly ok with it.

    I scan with VueScan at 6400 to tif and resize by a factor of 3, which gives the effect of multi-pass scanning with less time and a reasonable file size. I've tried different combinations here, but this is the one which seems to get the best results - at least with my machine.

    I'm curious what your grain settings are in C1? I'm enjoying the software a lot, but haven't done tons of film edits with it yet, and this seems like a good method. The other software you mentioned looks promising too, but I'm just a wee bit over my photo budget for a while.
     
  11. Jalandiso

    Jalandiso Well-Known Member

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    +1
     
  12. imagesfromobjects

    imagesfromobjects Remember

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    Also (and you may be aware of this already) a great way to save time on a V600/VueScan workflow is to scan multiple frames in a strip in one go.

    Especially if all of the frames are the same sort of lighting, it's WAY simpler because VueScan will average everything out. I right click around the frame to get a white balance, tweak if necessary, raise the white point depending on how much sky etc is in the frame, draw a curve and export to tif. Done! You can do as many different versions as you like without re-scanning, just by hitting "save." If I'm lucky, I'll get a full six frames, then it's just a matter of cropping and doing minor tweaks.

    Examples:

    2018-02-13_10-24-10.jpg 2018-02-13_10-27-18.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
    ysarex likes this.
  13. Dirk Offringa

    Dirk Offringa Premium Member

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    You mention "downsample" several times, but what do you downsample to exactly?
     
  14. ysarex

    ysarex Premium Member

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    Downsample -- downsize: I mean reducing the size of the original to a lower res file.
     
  15. ysarex

    ysarex Premium Member

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    Here's as requested more details of what I did above.

    I start with a 120 6x6 or 6x7 negative and an Epson V series (600) scanner. The Epson scanner does not deliver it's advertised resolution and is mediocre at best.

    For final printing purposes I want a scan that is 7000 pixels on the long side. I start by scanning at 50 to nearly 100% more than that. Scanning a 120 6x6 neg at 4800 PPI I get about 10,500 pixels and with a 6x7 neg nearly 13,000 pixels on the long side. I disable the scanner unsharp mask function which sucks and scan to a somewhat flat result that captures all the tonality in the neg. I scan to a 16 bit greyscale TIFF file.

    That scan is then loaded into Please login or register to view links where I apply the anti-blur function provided by that software. I have the year old version of that software (don't see a need to upgrade) and here's a screenshot.

    sharpen_prj.jpg

    The only function I use is the de-blur function. It took me some experimenting to get the settings I like. My most used is 65% Correction, 60 Radius, 125% Quality, 140% Fineness and 65% Denoising. I pushed up the correction, radius and quality on this example so the effects of the software are obvious.

    Here's a side by side of the full-res scan and the result created by the Franzis anti-blur function:

    [​IMG]

    I noted that the anti-blur function creates severe artifacts. Dealing with those artifacts is a multi step process. In this scan of a 6x6 neg the long side of the scan is 10,290 pixels. I'm going to use Photoshop to downsample that to 7000 pixels using a sharpening bicubic algorithm (provided by PS) but first I take the output file from Franzis Sharpen prj. into Capture One. I like Capture One's grain simulator. I think some other grain simulator would work as well but I like this one and so I apply C1's Silver Rich grain effect with the values 60/35. This goes a long way toward masking the anti-blur artifacts. I add the grain first and then downsize.

    That gives me a final result that will allow me to pull a 16x20 print -- too big to show here, but here's the above image at 25% of my final 7000 pixel result:

    [​IMG]

    On the left is what I used to do with the Epson scanner. I would overscan at 4800 PPI (still doing that) but in place of the Franzis de-blur and grain sim I would unsharp mask sharpen the scan, then downsample the scan and then output sharpen the smaller (7000 px) file. I'm replacing the unsharp mask sharpening with Franzis de-blur and added grain sim from C1 -- it's better. I'm an old film photog from 40 years ago and I like grain so that's not a problem for me. The de-blur algorithm get's me a sharper cleaner looking end result than what I was able to get just trying to conventionally sharpen the Epson scans.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. ysarex

    ysarex Premium Member

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    I really like the grain sim in C1. For my money it's the most realistic. I'm especially fond of the Silver Rich sim and I apply it to a noticeable degree with values around 60/35.
     
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  17. gyoung

    gyoung Premium Member

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    I too am still using the Nikon Coolscan V. Officially there is no support for newer versions of Windows, and certainly simply running the Nikon install software didn't work, but there are modified versions of the install programme available 'on line' and I have succesfully got it working with that on Windows 8, on Windows 10 if I remember correctly I installed a third party driver and software and then the Nikon software installed ok.
    I also have a flatbed Epson V750, which does very well, but the Nikon is very much faster than the flatbed.

    Gerry
     
  18. Dirk Offringa

    Dirk Offringa Premium Member

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    This a most helpful thread, many thanks, sincerely.

    I'm in a somewhat opposite situation than many: I don't have years of film waiting to be scanned (I actually lost most of it during a flooding) but I'm about to acquire a Hasselblad 500C (actually an early C/M) with a kit of lenses and am considering getting a scanner in the process: having my "production" scanned by a quality lab is quite expensive and I might give up shooting film due to financial constraints. I have some savings to fund this project, but my monthly income can't support even a roll/week @ around 40/45€ all-in, postage paid. I have no clue how many rolls I will shoot on average, nor how many will make it to print.

    So my concern is not tomanage to process 10ths of 1000's negatifs and slides before I kick the bucket. Many review's final notes are biased by the need-for-speed because scanners-on-a-budget market is, understandably so, aimed at people who just want to digitize their analog past for screening at family gatherings and social media.

    I'm hesitating between your process (I initially ruled out the V600 based on the reviews) and getting a better scanner (the Braun FS120 and the Nikon 9000 are on my shortlist). I can get a like-new V600 for 150€, and a used 9000 for 1400€. That's 10 times more expensive. But I'll have to get licenses for the additional softwares you used, which add up to the total investment quite bit (although I could swap C1 for SilverEfx pro from the Nik collection, I think the grain sim isn't so bad, to keep expenses down, I can always re-process later)

    But I'd really like to preserve the character of the original film, and not lose to much of it in the process. (BTW, what film you used for the photographs above?).

    Since you are familiar with all 3 scanners I mentioned, finally, how does your (remarkable in all respects) workflow with the v600 compare to the Braun or the Nikon results?
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  19. Arjay

    Arjay Admin Staff Member

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    This sounds most interesting as I'd prefer to continue using Nikon Scan since it's far more user friendly than Vuescan. Can you provide links to the appropriate software and drivers for running Nikon Scan?
     
  20. ChiDN

    ChiDN Fujiholic Cub Fan

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    +1
     

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