Better Scanning with Rick Drawbridge

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by bradleycloven, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Phew! Thanks, Rick!

    I've re-scanned a few of my first 4x5s using your instructions, and the results are superior. Photos first ..... full processing / scanning / photoshop flow next.

    Sherars Falls, Deschutes River, OR


    Church, Grass Valley, OR


    Graveyard, Dufur, OR


    Bridge of the Gods, Washington / Oregon Border


    In Camera
    Calumet CC-401
    Caltar 215mm f/6.3 set at f/32
    Agfa APX 100


    D-76 full strength
    9 minutes
    4 sheets in the "Taco Method" with hair bands in a daylight development tank

    Epson V800
    Silverfast SE
    Transparency / Negative / 16->8 Bit
    3200 DPI
    Unsharp Masking: OFF
    Dust and Scratch Removal: OFF
    Picture Settings: 0 / 0 / 0
    Negafix Generally: Exposure set from 0 down to -3, depending on the negative involved; some needed the darkening
    Negafix Version 1: Ilford, Pan F, Plus 50 (this setting is good for a neutral negative)
    Negafix Version 2: Kodak, Tri-X, 320 6x6 (this setting makes things darker for a too-bright negative)
    CCR: OFF
    Auto Adjust: Use on one of the four; Three didn't need it. Auto adjust seems to have turned up the mid-tones on the Sherars Falls image.

    I suck. I may have used it to improve contrast and darken "Dufur Graveyard."

    Microsoft "Photos" software
    Dust and scratch removal

    I would be happy to learn anything else folks have used to improve their whole flow. Thanks!
  3. One of the most amazing things about these shots is the tremendous dynamic range and detail available in the scanned negative.

    For example, in the Church shot, I can zoom into the round window of the church, and that black hole isn't really black. You can see the rafters and beams inside that room. Wow. For the logs on the bottom left, you can almost make out the annual growth rings of the tree .....
  4. Here are Rick's original instructions that I largely followed:

  5. Aha, another bit: I tested the carrier height, and found that the lowest level was poor, the highest level was very good, but the second highest level gave me the best scan of the 3. So, the scanner's focus seems to have a sweet spot.
  6. A couple more shots, re-scanned:

    Chehalis Barn


    White River Falls, OR


    As Bill Bowes pointed out originally, the Falls is a shot where the negative held all the values from *Nearly* blown out on the right to *Nearly* blacked out on the left. But they held detail. Jeepers, there's some dynamic range in there. That was an 11:00 A.M. shot in late October in full sun.
  7. Lastly, Abandoned Farmhouse, Shaniko, OR. Developed by Blue Moon, Portland, OR. Scanned per the above.

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
    Julio Fernandez likes this.
  8. Hello Bradley
    Those are MUCH better.
    You said that the second highest height setting was best, is that second from lowest or second from top?
  9. Thanks, Don.

    That setting was second from the top. I didn't try the middle setting; so I haven't conclusively figured it out. YMMV.
  10. For comparison, here's my less-than-competent earlier version, before Mr. D. showed me the ropes:

  11. They're looking good, Brad, and I reckon you've earned your "Scanner, First Class" stripes. Anything you might want to adjust is easily managed in Photoshop, at this point. I've never used "Auto-Adjust" in monochrome; I must try it! Also, scanning 5x4 sheets at 3200 DPI seems a little excessive if you're only going to display your images on the internet; you must have created some very large files. 2400 or even 1200 DPI might suffice, and I wouldn't mind betting that, at the size you're posting here, you'd have trouble telling one from the other. Makes me hunger for a a view camera, once again....
    bradleycloven likes this.
  12. Why have a terabyte hard drive if you can't scan 150MB .TIF files? ;-) I'm an unreformed pixel peeper.
  13. There is something so fine about large format images.

    Well done!
  14. It is Soooo much fun seeing an adult behaving like a hormone driven teen. . . Go Brad Go !!!
  15. Apart from the scanning part, I just love the very first image - it's got great atmosphere. Lovely work.
  16. Early morning down river fog, a falls' mist, wet camera on a basalt outcropping, and craggedy old Native American men plunking for steelhead next to me .....
  17. This is awesome timing. I got my new scanner set up yesterday, and now I know where to go for expert advice on using it. Don't tell Rick, but I scanned some 35mm negatives at 9600. :)

    Really lovely shots. I'm glad you were able to get worthy scans of them.
  18. Wow ! It will be interesting to see if you can see much difference between scans at that DPI and scans at about 2400 DPI, Dave. I assume you're using a Plustec or Reflecta or somesuch... Don't be too optimistic about actually getting results at the 9600 level, though; most scanners perform at much lower levels than the indicated output. The Epson V700 and V800 that I'm familiar with achieve only about 40% of the 6400 they are claimed to be capable of, as shown in several independent tests. This is pretty typical for most prosumer scanners.

    I make no claim to scanner expertise! I've learned by the much-fumbling-in-the-dark method...Have fun, and good luck with the new scanner.
  19. Hi, Rick! Well, you're right, of course. If you're only viewing them onscreen, there is no visible difference once you exceed the capability of the screen. That used to be 72 PPI (pixels per inch) for Macs and 96 PPI for Windows, but is now around 100-105 PPI for both. Of course, then you get into all the conversion madness, because PPI is not the same as DPI (dots per inch, which is for printing, even though it's commonly used in scanning software), and neither PPI nor DPI is the same as SPI (samples per inch, which is really what scanners use).

    So, no, I can't see much difference between 2400 and 4800 onscreen, even when zoomed in. I can see a difference between either of those and 9600 when zoomed in to 300%. It's still useless for onscreen use, but it should be visible when printed large enough at 300 DPI or more. Of course, my printer died, so that may be a moot point, too.

    But, I'm with Bradley; when it comes to data, more is better. :) And I've got redundant 2 Terabyte drives, so I'm okay with the 300MB files generated by scanning at 9600 DPI/SPI for images I may want to print big. But, I'll probably dial it down for most scans, if only to save time. 2400 SPI (DPI) is roughly the equivalent of 100 PPI when you do the math, so it's perfectly adequate for the largest screen displays.

    I only included all that in case anyone else is interested, and because I've recently been refreshing my memory on the topic. It doesn't actually help produce better scans, just larger or smaller files. But, no, I don't have a Plustec. It's just a lowly Epson V370 Photo flatbed scanner, but its maximum (claimed) rate is 12800 DPI (SPI). I suspect a lot of the higher resolutions may be software interpolations, though. I'm not sure how useful that is. As you said, it may be mostly marketing hooey, and I might get equal or superior results by scanning at a lower resolution and letting Photoshop upsample the results as needed.

    I still need to figure out what to do about the graininess/noise I'm getting. Suggestions are welcome.
  20. Bradley, the pictures have come alive, well done!

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