C41 - scanning difficult?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by raymondc, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. I am spending more time on photog and getting back into some film.
    I have a Epson V700 scanner with intention of doing larger formats. Anyway, I have Epson Scan, I have also downloaded Vuescan and Silverfast Ai HDR (Studio).
    E6 slides scans very easily, all 3 produce good results with Epson maybe a touch magenta and darker. Without any adjustments whatsoever.
    When I scan C41 all 3 provided very different results. Epson produce the best maybe but still needs some curve adjustments. Vuescan color was way off - cyan. Silverfast produced a very contrasty shot, with blown highlights when the other 2 didn't.
    I have tried selecting generic color negative profile thta didn't help, just gave a diff color shift instead. You cannot get color negative iT8 for calibration. So the simple question is how do people get decent scans off color negative film? Do scanners at home and at labs just choose one software they feel works best, scan it and try to adjust it prior to print and do this every time it is required.
    I am just scanning in normal 24bit, with filters turned off - sharpen - or ice etc...
  2. I do what I call check it like it scan it and then adjust it..... It is not too hard to scan in fact auto adjust with Epaon scan seems to get me close then adjust it in PS.
  3. Ray,
    I use Vuescan (but with Nikons), however, with Vuescan, for each neg type, I take a clear piece of the emulsion and scan that to lock both the exposure and the base then save this as a profile for that film. Firstly, locking the base will accurately deal with removing the orange mask, which is likely providing much of your colour shift; as well, locking exposure more or less sets your black point. I dont know what the true dynamic range is for the Epson but if its gives you much more than 2.0, you will need to set the white point later in post processing. See if this helps.
  4. Hi Craig,
    When you say a clear piece of the film. What do you mean? Do you mean a underexposed neg that becomes white clear physically? Also can you describe how you save the profile? Thanks.
  5. Ray,
    On a C41 neg (or even B&W negs) use the clear leader - with C41 this is clear orange but varies in shade across different emulsions. Vuescan calculates how to offset the mask so it can linearly subtract the orange mask across all your images. First do a preview scan and then ensure that the crop only contains the uniform blank area, which should be almost black. On the "Input" tab scroll down to find "Lock Image Color" and check it, I then tend to preview scan again then check "Lock Exposure". Now under the "File" menu, select "Save Options..." and just save it with a name that references that film type. For exposure lock, you need to have "exposure" set to "Manual". Also make sure all your other parameters for this film are set to your preferences before you save it - you can always resave again later.
  6. I think he meant a blank un exposed frame with just the orange mask... I have done that also.
  7. OOPS I was posting at the same time as Craig... I feel stupid now.
  8. This is why I'm in the hunt for an Fuji SP-2500/3000....
  9. What Craig said, and then if you want to do further adjustments you can save as a 16-bit DNG TIFF file that opens in Adobe Camera Raw.
  10. The closest you can come to a magic formula is to include a a color checker chart in one frame of your shoot, analyze the results with InCamera (Pictocolor) or Eye-One Match (X-Rite), and create a specific ICC profile for that situation and film.
    Most of the time, however, you find settings by trial and error that work for certain situations. That's why it is essential that you standardize on one, two or three emulsions and become thoroughly familiar with them. Sunny 16 shots are easy. If all else fails, zap the image with Auto Levels, which will maximize the span of each color (RGB). This is basically what a minilab will do unless instructed otherwise. If that's too snappy you can tone it down, but it makes a good starting point for beginners. That doesn't work well when there is a dominant color cast to the image, as at dusk or under a canopy of trees. In that case, it's best to scan so that the entire dynamic range is captured, in 16-bit mode, then use your eyes and sense of good taste to adjust the results.
    There are many paths to take for adjusting the image. One way is to adjust the luminosity, then balance the red and blue channels (leaving the green untouched) until you get the color temperature that works. Lightroom makes this easy since color temperature* can be adjusted directly. For oddball situations (e.g., under trees), look for white or neutral colors (e.g., tree bark) and tweak the red/blue until that color looks like the original. Using the color sampler seems like a good way to pick up neutral tones, but never really works in practice (unless you use a gray card in the shot). Try it! You may get lucky, but your eyeball is still the best option (short of the Color Checker route).
    * The color temperature in Lightroom (and most software) is that of the original scene. If you shoot in daylight, that's 5600K. In room light (incandenscent) try 2400K to 2800K. Alternately, use the slider until the scene looks "good" to your eye. There's no point in adjusting the green channel, since there are only two degrees of freedom in color adjustments. Luminosity takes care of the green adjustment.
  11. The vuescan scanning of clear strip is described here:
    I've followed this workflow with both a Minolta Scan Elite 5400 and a Nikon Coolscan V, and found it much easier to get more balanced color with the V, fwiw. In other words, I think the scanner can be a factor.
    Also, if I was still shooting film for scanning, I would likely stick with slides: just easier to balance. I know people get good results with color negatives, but for a duffer like me slides are easier, and you have a ready reference in the slide itself.
  12. What Edward Ingold said.
    I can't imagine ever failing to shoot a gray card / gray scale on anything important. I have a gray card and gray scale attached to the lid of my camera case and a little gray card on my key chain. A frame "waisted" on this saves tons of time and frustration in post processing.
  13. Yeah, I do find slides are easier to scan. Slides can get iT8 too.
    I sorta know how to color adjust the images in PS or LR but thought the film scanner for C41 should of been smarter like how digital cameras have now the ease of auto WB, that it just works for most situations.
    I will look into that Vuescan technique - thanks.
    I am aware of the color checker, I have the chart and the whibal card, but hardly use it because most times I don't shoot just in one location, it is either travelling around or walk and about photog.
  14. Shoot, then scan, slide film. Slides scan MUCH easier, as you can see here from all the "work arounds" required for negative film given in the responses here. Also, slides scan sharper and with much less grain than negatives.
  15. With SilverFast, make sure that when performing the scan, choose the correct icc profile in the CMS window for input icc profile. The correct one is the one you generate using an IT-8 target. Please see my earlier post "comments on C-41 and Silverfast" etc. Also, use the exposure slider on the negatix window to correct exposure. When done correctly, SilverFast should give excellent scans.
  16. Thanks, as I am still using the demo, haven't bought an iT8 yet, maybe future ....
  17. I'll third or fourth the Vuescan workflow where you lock the exposure and film base color. Nothing else I tried worked. Using this method with Portra I very quickly got color on screen that was pretty close to the what I got making optical prints of the same negative, which is a pretty reasonable benchmark.
    The Vuescan interface can make this a pain to do if you have to sample a narrow strip between frames, unfortunately. :(
  18. Here are some thoughts I put together based on my own experience scanning color negative film. http://www.jingai.com/scanningguide/sec%203%20balancing%20color%20film.html
    I find it extremely helpful to have a neutral reference to set overall color balance.
    Others swear by the color neg program: http://www.c-f-systems.com/Plug-ins.html
  19. Here are some thoughts I put together based on my own experience scanning color negative film. http://www.jingai.com/scanningguide/sec%203%20balancing%20color%20film.html
    I find it extremely helpful to have a neutral reference to set overall color balance.
    Others swear by the color neg program: http://www.c-f-systems.com/Plug-ins.html
  20. Roger I will check that out thanks.
    I tried Vuescan. I can do it correctly with slide film - reference the base color with an overexposed frame (pure see via colorless slide physically). But I cannot do it with color neg film.
  21. Number 2.
  22. Try the ColorPerfect/Vuescan combination. I routinely use it to get great scans from Ektar. The idea is to use Vuescan to create a raw scan (requires the pro version) and the ColorPerfect photoshop plugin to do the conversion. The results I get are excellent and consistant.
    I've got a gallery of Ektar http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=879042cans here:
  23. Thanks. Colorperfect and Vuescan works surprisingly well, but I still prefer Epson out of the box. Cheers.
    I have tried and tried scanning the base off a neg - I cannot do it. If I scan the base off slide it works. Dunno...
    I will see if my color checker works next time I shoot some film. Cheers again. I will look at Incamera and that Xrite Passport system in conjunction with ACR or LR.
  24. Colorperfect
  25. To get very accurate and consistent colors, YES, it is difficult. It can be done, but extra effort, knowledge, skills, etc. is required. To get decent, OK, color is not very hard. This is another of the reasons that direct digital capture is taking over.
  26. I am getting back into film because my interest are landscapes and of that I may shoot slide. Not into street style and sports or portraiture and for film I think its more harder because you need to correct WB with filters that slow you down and the grain assoc. with it and the expense of film for those mass shooting.
    I got into this topic of trying my scanner out b/c I have the time and want to do my research before I jump out with a film camera. I do have a couple rolls of neg film lying in the freezer.
    I agree, slide film and digital capture just works.
  27. I have tried the three programs you describe though I don't think I've used Vuescan for C-41.
    I found that after playing around a bit that Silverfast gave me more of what I was looking for. I still put all my images through ACR (you can put tiffs and JPEGs through ACR), but by creating my own profiles and saving my preferences I get closer to my goal the first time with Silverfast. There are some weird quirks to the programs I find that that I have to be careful in my area selection as well as sometimes clicking on and off the marque for some frames. But all in all it works well. Still not perfect.
    Out of the trio of Better/Faster/Cheaper, I would take a better/faster solution and happily pay for it.
    Although I too want to encourage the use of slide film (mostly so it is still there when I want to use it) I end up shooting a lot of C-41. So, a good C-41 would be very nice. I like the way C-41 holds highlights.
  28. Ray, if you are shooting landscapes, no need to fool around any longer trying to get negs to work. Basically no one (very very few) use negative film for landscapes. The colors, saturation, sharpness and resolution just are not there. Look at just about any landscape book or landscape photography magazine and all you will see are slide shots, and now, digital. I can think of only 1 time when there was a set of images shot on negative film - it was a photographer shooting large format beach scenes on overcast days, and he wanted a low saturation look.
    I'm not saying you CANT get good landscape shots on negative film, but landscapes are not really the area of strength for negative film. Instead, portraits and high contrast lighting situations are where negative film shines. Also great for snapshots and times you need iso 400/800 speed.
    Also, most negative films have reduced red sensitivity at certain (sunsets and pimples) frequencies, to improve skin tones, so beware of this when shooting sunsets.
    Get some Velvia 50/100 or Kodak E100VS/Elite Chrome Extra Color 100 or Elite Chrome 100 or Sensia 100 and start enjoying your slides and great and easy scan results.
  29. I'm not saying you CANT get good landscape shots on negative film, but landscapes are not really the area of strength for negative film.
    Nonsense! Just because scanning slide film is easier doesn't make it better. It's a rare scene that doesn't exceed the dynamic range of slide film. Besides, "Sunny 16" situations are easy to scan regardless of which film you use, because there are no surprises in color or exposure.
  30. Statements like "...slides scan sharper and with much less grain than negatives." are just crazy talk!
    There are some very high resolution, fine grain color negative films that are every bit as easy to scan as any transparency film. (Assuming good equipment and an understanding of the basic principals of photographic color.)
    Have you ever seen a Hollywood movie? If so, you've seen what can be done with color negative film.
    Shoot a damn gray card every now and then and your troubles will vanish. (The previous statement does not apply to marital or tax problems!)
  31. I've just got myself a V700 and have been trying scanning 120 negatives. I'll scan with EpsonScan, use auto adjust and then check the histogram to see it doesn't clip everything too much, but generally it is ok. I'll then import everything in Lightroom, which is where I do 99% of everything. I've so far made a preset for Portra 800 and 400VC which work ok, but these are only based on a couple of rolls each. Not sure if they'll stand the test of time, as more rolls get scanned.
    400NC for some reason has been trickier and I couldn't get rid of a cast, but, again, I've only scanned a couple of rolls so far which had been with flakey exposures and tricky lighting. So it might be just that.
    Bear in mind, I only scan for some web use, not for archiving or huge prints. I've just bought the V700 so so far haven't had the chance to scan high-res for a big print.

Share This Page