B&W scanning : Coolscan 5 and scanhancer

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by aeiffel, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. Hi,

    I noticed a large number of threads regarding b&w scanning recently, and the grain issue kept haunting them. There have been lots of points made, but unfortunately very few examples to support some statements. So here we go...

    Yes, the scanhancer can be used on a Coolscan V (LS50), not only on a Coolscan 5000. I managed to install it both in the MA-21 slide holder and the SA-21 film strip holder. Since I mostly shoot b&w I made most of my tests using the SA-21.

    The software I used is Vuescan (version 8.2.37). After lots of attempts with epson scan, nikon scan and silverfast, I finally settled on vuescan which lets me work with the coolscan and epson 4990 in a similar fashion. It's only a matter of personal preference, I've no particular reason to claim vuescan is better or worse than other softwares.
    So now, what can the scanhancer do for your b&w scans on your Coolscan ?

    The first picture, straight from scan then resized to 400px width :
  2. Dunno if it'll show in the body, I choosed to save it as a 100% jpg.
    On the left the scan using the scanhancer, on the right the "normal" scan.
  3. There's a very fine texture on the window, you can see it in both scans.
    Again, left is with the scanhancer, right without.
  4. 4000dpi scan resized to 400px width
  5. Below a link to a 100% zone of the scan, respectively with and without the scanhancer.
  6. Well, all I can say is the scanhancer works pretty well on the Coolscan V with B&W negs. The diffused light really reduces grain (and take care of some scratch too), the difference is obvious on the A3 prints made from these scans. I hope the examples here will help to convince you.<br>
    As for sharpness and resolution, I don't think the scanhancer reduce them. It looks like there's a slight drop in local contrast, as one might expect going from a condenser to a diffuser head.<br><br>
    Please be warned that vuescan behaves a bit differently with the scanhancer installed in the coolscan. You'll see a very crappy preview and a VERY narrow histogram. I was sceptical at first, but it doesn't affect the final scan. Just take some time to get used to this.<br><br>
    Hope that'll help some of you struggling to get good results as I am.<br>
    Regards, Fred.<br><br>
    PS: film is 24x36 Tri-x, rated @400, souped in Xtol 1:1.
  7. jtk



    With my Nikon V I routinely use a Vuescan setting you didn't mention: "light grain reduction." It keeps grain well defined, doesn't blur.

    I found my own Scanhancer too much trouble with SA-21 Vs frameline positioning (easy with MA21, but I'm not convinced that's worthwhile).

    *** Could you photograph your successful SA-21 Scanhancer installation? I'd like to try again.

    In my experience, and even without "light grain reduction", Vuescan immediately *eliminated* exaggerated B&W grain...considerably better than Nikonscan with B&W (also much better than scanning positive and inverting), no better with color neg or chrome.

    With my old Epson 3200 I did get good-looking B&W scans using Epson scan, but surely not as sharp as your 4990 would be (certainly no grain issues!).
  8. John,<br>
    I tried vuescan grain reduction and admit it does a correct job. However I'm much more comfortable with a physical/optical solution than a software one. I used to print traditionnaly on a diffuser head till recently and always wondered why the diffused light solution wasn't more implemented on scanners. For me it looked like an easy way to keep the exagerated grain under control.<br>
    I agree noise reduction programs do a nice job sometimes, but this is something one should decide to use later in the editing workflow, not during the scanning stage IMHO. Scanning is time consuming so I'd rather scan once (saving as vuescan RAW) with a reproductible modus operandi than spending hours fiddling with always-updated noise reductions programs at the scanning stage.<br>
    From my limited experience with the R2400 printer, I can say that the noise pattern and level are a lot more similar to the ones of a traditional wet print when I use the scanhnacer. It just makes me feel better to know I can print an A3 without making complex layer adjustments to smooth the grain and preserve sharpness. My problem is I probably try to mimic wet prints too much ;)<br><br>
    I'll post a picture of the SA-21 when I develop my next roll... of b&w of course.
  9. Yeah, on the Epsons there is no grain problem - they can't see the grain so no problem with it. :)
  10. I use Vuescan and Scanhancer on my Minolta MultiPro. I believe the Scanhancer makes some image quality improvement with prints from chromes. I can't tell any difference in prints from b&w negs but they are 6x6 or 6x7 so grain is not much of an issue. But I'm evaluating prints not PS enlargements.

    Using the Scanhancer does make a real difference in how the scanner reads the film. Eric pointed out one of my problems with profiling the scanner w/o the Scanhancer and then using it (of course this is with chromes not b&w)

    Scanhancer also has an effect on exposure. Without it, I get a Vuescan exposure reading of around 2 for a final scan. That's close enough to the preview exposure of 1.0 so that I just adjust the preview and save without bothering with a final scan. But with the Scanhancer, the Vuescan exposure reading jumps to 10. Sometimes then I go ahead and do the "final scan" (which has the exposure adjustment) instead of just saving the adjusted preview scan.

    Bob Michaels
  11. Frederic, I don't know if the scanhancer is doing _anything_ to the grain in this application. At least, it is _very_ subtle. In your comparison examples, the scanhancer version is typically slightly darker, and perhaps slightly lower contrast. But the grain itself seems about the same, to my eyes.

    I'm not that good at discerning fine detail, fwiw. I've looked at a lot of posted examples, where other members are vigorously discussing some defect in an image, and I'm darned if I can even see it.

    I have the elite 5400 with it's grain dissolver, and readily tell the differnce between having it off and on.
  12. Ok, on second look, maybe there is some taming of grain, especially the highlights.
  13. The face crop at 100% seems softer with the Scanhancer. I prefer the sharper image without it.


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