Thread to discuss techniques, tips, and tricks to scan prints, negatives, slides

gjl711

Wait.. you can't unkill your own kill.
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I have become the default family archive and have inherited thousands of prints, negatives, slides for various family members. I have been scanning for over a decade not and have yet to find the perfect, fast, and easy method to get the highest quality images possible. I would love to hear what others are doing and the results they get. To get things started, this is one of my father somewhere in the late 1950s scanned from a 120 negative. It was scanned using my 5DII and a light table.
IMG_7452 by photog711, on Flickr
 
For 35mm film, I recently picked up a Valoi Easy 35 to scan my negatives. Would certainly liked to have spent less, but darn, its so easy to use and does a quality job.
 
following.... I have yet to ever scan a 35mm negative that I'm happy with. far less managed a repeatable process. TBH I don't really care how long it takes but having a system that worked would be great.
 
I've been using Epson flatbed scanners for years, starting with (I think) a 2400 and working up as they introduced new models until I arrived at my current V850, I am aware that many say that flatbeds don't work well with 35mm, simply because the resolution isn't enough. That said, I've been happy with the results to give prints up to A3 from Kodachrome slides. For what it's worth, I've only once in my career produced a 10x8 print from a black and white negative that I was happy with, but that is in part because unlike many (or even most?) photographers I don't like grain. I don't see it when I compose the subject, I don't visualise it when imaging the print, and I just don't want it!

I haven't used a 35mm camera since 2018, and probably only half a dozen films in the five or six years before that, so my experiences are effectively confined to roll film and large format, where the limitations of the scanner are less apparent. There was an article some years ago in Professional Imagemaker magazine, where an Epson V750 (the then top model) was compared with an Imacon drum scanner on a 5x4 black and white negative. The results (from memory) were that the Imacon did produce sharper results (which could be matched by sharpening in Photoshop) but also produce visible grain in the sky. As a result, the photographer (Paul Gallagher) preferred the Epson scanner.

I also have a Plustek 120 film scanner (the high end one. It does produce a better result with my RZ67 negatives than the Epson, but only by a very small amount, and not one that would bother me in practice.

I use VueScan software, and have done for over 20 years. The reason I moved to VueScan was because Barry Thornton extolled what was the software's then unique feature (it may still be as I haven't investigated) to save the raw scan data and reprocess it at any time with different scan settings. The computer I was using at the time meant that each scan of a 5x4 negative took five hours (typed in full to show no typo there!) and most times I needed to go back and adjust the settings. Switching the time to a new image from five hours to under 5 minutes meant I could learn how to do it, and get the optimal results, much more quickly. I have found that even adjacent film images sometime need different settings, even if the negatives look visually the same.

A few years back I was putting together an exhibition of the effects of the Great Gale (UK members will understand) on the local park. The images were on Kodachrome. At that time I tried a few other methods apart from the Epson - a slide copier and simple photographing of the slide using a Sony a7r as the camera. The Epson still came out top for me. Given that the Epson holder can take 24 slides and VueScan can automatically scan them all in sequence without intervention, it was easier as well.

I do have sample scans of the same (colour) negative from my RZ67 from the Epson and the PlusTek, but the sizes prevent any attempt at posting (the largest is 1.6 GB). If anyone is interested, I can provide a link to my OneDrive where they can be downloaded.

That's probably enough to be going on with, but any questions let me know. I'll add further thoughts as they occur to me, or are suggested by how this thread develops (no pun intended)
 
For a long time I was using an Epson 600 for my scanning. I was happy with the results but when I got into restoring them and started looking much closer (greater than 100%) I wasn't as happy. I tried different scanning packages and found that Vuescan did much better than Epson scan but then I build a DYI rig that allowed me to use my 5DIV. The results were pretty clear. I did have to do a bit of finagling to make sure all setting were as even as I could make them, mostly making sure sharpening and for the software, the auto restore setting were disabled. Keep in mind, these are displayed at 100%.

ScanComp1.jpg
 
THis was the 5DIV setup I used. About as primative as can be. :) 1701825399569.png
 
I used to use an old Epson Perfection 2450 that I got off eBay for all my scanning (using Vuescan software), but I later got some 8x10 negatives that I needed to scan so I bought an Epson Perfection 4990 off eBay and I'm fairly happy with it. Now I use the 4990 for all my scanning.
 
I've been scanning old negatives for a while now, but just on a hobby basis. I'm using an Olympus OMD EM1 mkiii using the high-resolution mode, which is great for getting large images form 35mm film, which I then reduce in size. after processing to get finer grain. I'd love to afford a Valoi, but the ROI would not be worth it to me. I just use a negative holder with a dark backdrop, a light table and a black paper mask over the holder to avoid any light leak or flare. I don't use fotoflo or any liquid cleaners, just cotton gloves, and do cleanup digitally.

I have to say it's a lot of fun. There aren't many birds here in the winter, so it's nice to have a project to work on. I'll post some shots of my setup later.
 
I had to look up what the Valoi was. Very nice, sort of what i built with a cardboard tube and duct tape. :)
 
For a long time I was using an Epson 600 for my scanning. I was happy with the results but when I got into restoring them and started looking much closer (greater than 100%) I wasn't as happy. I tried different scanning packages and found that Vuescan did much better than Epson scan but then I build a DYI rig that allowed me to use my 5DIV. The results were pretty clear. I did have to do a bit of finagling to make sure all setting were as even as I could make them, mostly making sure sharpening and for the software, the auto restore setting were disabled. Keep in mind, these are displayed at 100%.

View attachment 5791
Quite a difference. I did try scanning negatives but find the camera really is best, IMHO. I did not get good results with the scanner either. But I don't have a commercial (read expensive!) model so maybe that makes a difference.
 
What is at the end of the long tube that the slide holder is passing through?
I think it's the slide section from an old slide projector. I found it a American Science and Surplus a few years back. If I remember, it was really cheap, maybe a buck.If y'all ever in the Chicago area, It's a fantastic place to visit if your into tinkering or DIY. They have just about everything from tiny toy motors to bomb sights. :)
 
I bought a Plustek OpticFilm 7400 back in 2012 on sale at B&H. Life intervened and I did not set it up until August 2017, when we were isolated at home in Houston during hurricane Harvey. My wife said, 'you have no more excuses, we are stuck at home for the week...', so I set it up and proceeded in the next two months to scan (film mostly, but some slides). I have numbered sequentially over 3400 negatives and slides. The quality is near dSLR, the output is either JPG or TIFF. We have kept the negatives for our whole married life, so we have a fantastic record of our lives.

The biggest problem was that sometime in 1984, Kodak changed the emulsion for Kodacolor 100 and negatives from 1984-2000 have a yellow hue in the middle (remnants of developing chemicals?) which is near impossible to remove.

Here is scan no.1

1702916333313.jpeg

and here is an example of the emulsion deterioration

Scan3505UP.jpg
 
I bought a Plustek OpticFilm 7400 back in 2012 on sale at B&H.
I'm using the Plustek OpticFilm 8300ai right now. It's as good as a SLR, much slower but easier. I have it set up next to me and as I'm working (for my job) I kick it off, let it do it's think, slide it over to the next negative and so on. The reason I switched is that it came with SIlverfast ai Studio 9 and it has really outstanding automatic color correction. Before that I was using the ColorPerfect plugin as it has a lot of film presets, but using the Plustek just made everything much easier.
 
Oh, and for the emulsion deterioration, I found that using FilmGuard cleaner and lubricant and wet scanning, greatly minimized the deterioration effect. Not sure of the long term effect though it's suppose to help preserve as well, but it work well and i figure that this scan is the last as some of my negatives are fading fast and if someone pick them up an 20 years and tries to re-scan, the quality of the substrate will have greatly diminished.
 
Oh, and for the emulsion deterioration, I found that using FilmGuard cleaner and lubricant and wet scanning, greatly minimized the deterioration effect. Not sure of the long term effect though it's suppose to help preserve as well, but it work well and i figure that this scan is the last as some of my negatives are fading fast and if someone pick them up an 20 years and tries to re-scan, the quality of the substrate will have greatly diminished.
Wet scanning? Can you elaborate?
 
Scanning when the film has been coated (for want of a better term) with a scanning fluid. This can fill in scratches, and by equalising the refractive index (again, for want of a better term) reduce scratches. It can also have a beneficial effect on grain. Epson have a fluid mount accessory for their V700/800 scanners.
 
I use the Plustek 8200i. for B&W I'm very pleased. for color, I'm still working on that....
sample of Tri-X home developed and scanned with the 8200i
NYC 2019 by Chris B, on Flickr
 
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