Black and white scanning

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by john_ashby|2, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. I am trying to scan a roll of film I just developed and am having trouble getting a useful image. Many years ago, I used to do my own developing and wet printing, but this is my first time trying to scan the film to print digitally.
    The film is Ilford HP5+ 35mm, expired in 1995 but kept at a fairly constant -20C the entire time. I bought it fresh back when I did this regularly. The film was exposed for ASA 400, and I processed it in fresh Ilfosol 3 (1:9) and Iflord Rapid Fixer (1:4). Because of the age of the film I increased development time to 9 minutes to compensate for possible decreased sensitivity. The film actually looks slightly overdeveloped but not too bad. The Dev Chart suggests 6.5 minutes for ASA 400 and 13.5 for ASA 800. All liquids were at 21 degrees, I used a big bucket of water for everything to ensure the temperatures never changed between baths.
    When I try to scan the film on an Epson V100, it comes out with a very dark negative so there is not much range for the actual image, and what I have is very, very grainy so there is no detail in anything. I'm scanning in transparency mode with the built-in holder, 2400 dpi, color positive mode (I tried all the choices and this was actually the best one).
    I'm attaching a sample file. From top to bottom, it shows a full frame as it came from the scanner, the frame inverted to a positive, my effort to correct it, and an actual pixel crop of the 2400 dpi image.
  2. Have you tried scanning with a negative (maybe from an older roll) you know to be well exposed and correctly developed?
  3. That's a good idea. All my negatives are 20 years old and in my parents basement somewhere so it will probably be a week before I get a chance to dig them up though. I can't think of any i can get my hands on faster.
  4. I find that negatives do scan dark and the range is truncated. I use Levels or change Black and White points to bring back the full range and proper exposure. Then tweak the contrast and other sliders to fine tune. Good luck. PS: Good idea to scan with known, non-expired, properly exposed and developed film so you can eliminate side problems to scanning which can be challenging enough. You have to start with a known quantity and quality.
  5. In the software, go to the "Histogram" dialogue, and set the endpoints as you would in a Levels layer in Photoshop (or other editor). This should give you an excellent scan to work with.
  6. When I first started scanning, I found this site and some "101" tips. It's a good place to start. For your specifics, try to set the black and white points manually in the scanner after the pre-scan, but leave a little gap between the points and curve so you don't clip anything. You'll have a better place to start with. Once it's reversed, adjust the levels in the same manner, but try it on the individual RBG channels separately for fun. It takes a little more time, but I find it gives better results. In PS, you can create the B&W image from any (or all) color channels, and sometimes one gives a better (or more differenter) result than the others. Also, you need to maybe hit "despeckle" to clean up noise, then get some Unsharp mask on that thing. I use the curve tool to make more refined contrast and levels adjusts, but it takes a lot of eye-balling.
  7. Dumb question, and please kick me if you feel it necessary -
    you have taken the cover off the transparency lamp under the lid, haven't you ? I did this myself once..... :)
    Not sure about the Epson, but with my CanoScan 9000F you need to remove the white cover from under the lamp to scan negs...
  8. Thanks for your responses.
    Les, I did that, and the brightness is much better but the picture is still very blurry. It looks more like a blurry scan than a bad negative, I don't see any grain pattern. I'll attach another image. The top is straight out of the scanner this time and the bottom is a 100% crop of the pixels at 2400 dpi.
    Allen, I didn't know I could set the histogram in the scanning program. That is very useful. I'm used to doing black and white conversions with the channel mixer but hadn't thought of that for B&W scans. It may be helpful when I get a bit farther.
    Mal, No such thing as a dumb question. I did take off the cover. On my Epson scanner, the negative frame is hidden under that cover. The negative frame for my Epson also holds the film a bit above the glass (supposedly at the optimal distance for sharp focus).
  9. All scans have soft edge looks to some extent or another, depending on the scanner. Especially for 35mm, you will need to sharpen the scan. And sometimes in more than one way to get a sharp image.
  10. What scanner do you have? There is AFAIK, no "V100". Did you mean V700? The scan is really much blurrier than I get from my Epson.
  11. Oh. You aren't using ICE or other scratch removal?
  12. Another dumb question (must be the season for them !) - have you tried the negs the other way up, so that the emulsion side is either closer to or farther from the glass ? The thickness of the film may be enough to affect the results. Good luck.

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