CCD flare with Nikon Coolscan 5000ED

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by lex_harris, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. Hello everyone. I've just bought a new Nikon Coolscan 5000ED to scan my collection of slides, mostly Kodachromes. So far it has not been difficult to get generally nice looking scans (despite Kodachrome's reputation as being difficult to scan), but I'm very disappointed with the very noticeable flare that occurs in shadow areas wherever there is an adjacent highlight. I know that flare (or blooming) is characteristic of CCD devices but I didn't expect it to be this bad. It is more noticable on certain slides than others, but on close inspection it occurs on all scans to some degree. I've tried multi-sampling up to x16 and playing with analog gain but I can't seem to get rid of it. I wonder if other users have experienced this effect, or is my scanner faulty? Another (lesser) disappointment is lack of sharp edge-to-edge focus due to slight bowing in mounted slide film. Has anyone worked out a way to keep the film flat without removing it from the mount? Thanks, Lex.
    00CTcF-24013484.jpg
     
  2. If your slides are glass mounted this may be the cause.
     
  3. Thanks John. No they're not in glass mounts, just the standard white plastic mounts you get from the Kodak lab when the film is processed.

    By the way in desperation I tried scanning with emulsion side both up and down - it makes no difference to flare. And the flare is definitely not on the original slides.
     
  4. I had a similar effect on my Coolscan V. In my case it was caused by dust on the mirror that forms part of the optical assembly.

    Have you tried scanning something other than Kodachrome?
     
  5. Hi Steve. It's a brand new scanner straight out of the box so I'm assuming dust won't be a problem at this point. I just tried scanning some colour neg film (Kodak Gold 200) and I can't see the same sort of flare effect happening so this suggests it's actually something to do with the Kodachrome film. This is really disappointing because nearly my entire collection (around 7000 slides going back some 35 years) is Kodachrome and if this is the best the scanner can do then I get the feeling I've wasted my money! I wonder if any other people scanning Kodachrome with a Nikon scanner are having the same trouble with flare? Or am I just too critical? Or maybe doing something wrong?
    00CTgB-24014684.jpg
     
  6. My retired film scanner had this flare problem, so I can feel your frustration. You can find several threads here on it, but none of the scanner reviews or Bake Offs will address this issue. On many scans, flares like this cannot be removed easily with PS. In choosing a new film scanner, I paid particular attention to this problem. After detecting it quite prominently on a few Nikon Coolscans, I chose the Minolta DSE 5400 instead. After a year, flares on my slide scans are so faint that I can neglect them (nothing even close to your image). That by itself is worth the price of the DSE 5400.

    See my post and related links on this problem here:

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00A2Sh

    The DSE 5400 also has a shallow dof, but I have not done any comparison to conclude whether it is any worse than the Coolscans. Again, none of the reviews or Bake Offs will address this.
     
  7. My previous post is based on both Kodachrome and Fujichrome scans. I see little or no difference between film types. But the degree of contrast and/or kinds of colors between shadow and highlight do make a difference in the amount of flares in the scans.
     
  8. Lex

    Do you have ICE switched on? If so try switching it off.

    The only other suggestion I can make is try downloading a copy of Vuescan from www.hamrick.com in case it's a software issue.

    It's always possible that a new scanner has a dust problem, but if other media scan ok then it's unlikely.
     
  9. Thanks for all the responses so far. Robert, I had a look at the previous posts and see I am not alone with this problem. There is a lot of discussion about dust being the cause but I don't think that's the case here. I noticed the flare with the very first slide scan on the day I unpacked it from new. Also, although it does radiate in all directions from a highlight in extreme cases, it seems to be most prominent in certain directions only, typically strongest around 1 o'clock from a highlight area in my scans. This shows up very clearly when there is a small bright point of light in a dark area as in the following picture (patches of sunlight coming through a dark forest background). This image has shadow DEE up at around 70 to really show the effect. I agree that the severity seems to depend on contrast and the kinds of colours between shadow and highlight. I've noticed that histograms of the affected areas generally show the red and green channels (especially red) most affected. Blue is largely unaffected. Steve, I don't use ICE, GEM or ROC. I discovered early on that these just seem to degrade the image and it's better to make repairs/adjustments in PS. I do use some DEE (carefully) which does of course make the flare seem worse in the shadow areas. I've also tried Vuescan and the results are the same as with Nikon Scan.
    00CTmq-24019684.jpg
     
  10. jtk

    jtk

    That last "severe flare" example especially looks like a camera issue (eg hazy lens: fungus, condensation, oil mist or zoom).

    I don't think this is a scanner issue.

    Basic Ice seems not to affect fine detail at all, though Nikon says in documentation that the most picky level of Ice (not available in KM) may. DEE seems undesirable for normal transparencies.

    There's some concensus among HAPPY Nikon users (c'est moi ...a V) that Vuescan (or perhaps Silverfast) is crucial for some (not all) B&W films. I've found Nikonscan wonderful for all sorts of color films: C22, KII, E4, various E6, C41. Perfect with color, nfg B&W. I switched B&W to Vuescan, which solves that problem and doesn't increase grain.

    With the V and STRIP FILM I experience extreme sharpness, corner to corner, starting with typical curved film.

    Mounted slides will always have focus issues unless you use glass mounts. Kodak's out of the slide projector biz, an additional reason (in addition to scratch risk) to avoid mounting. I treat chrome strips like any other film...the Nikon transport is superb for that purpose.
     
  11. Lex, maybe look into reducing the analog gain. The flare could be caused by the light source being set to high for the image and causing light spill over. Be careful not to sacrifice the shadows though. IMO digital chips have less dynamic range than slide film, so you have to adjust your technique to compensate.

    I was playing around with my 9000 after I got it and on some really poor slides I could force significant flare by increasing the analog gain.

    Check out some of the tutorials at marginalsoftware.com, they have some good advice. Helped me a lot.

    You may want to un-mount your slides and let the scanners film transport flatten the film. I would suspect that lab mounted slides are not particularly well mounted.
     
  12. Most scanner flare is caused by the protective glass that covers the CCD. This glass is
    usually of very poor quality and uncoated. The CCD could do without it, but the CCD
    manufacturer glues it on for protection during shipping and assembly. Often these glasses
    are non-aligned which causes the kind of severe flare as seen in the above samples.
    Brands like Imacon use CCD's in their top of the line scanners where the glass has been
    removed. Removing the protective glass is very difficult and can only be done with
    specialized equipment.

    Try another LS-5000ED to see if the problems differ.
     
  13. You might want to try turning off the DEE and adjust in PS. I also have a new 5000 and it seems the DEE works best with lower adjustments. Just a thought.
     
  14. Thanks everyone for all the helpful suggestions. To answer some of the comments: "Be happy to try it out but I can't tell your whereabouts from your lack of profile?" I'm in Perth Western Australia. I'd welcome the opportunity to try some of my more troublesome slides on another 5000ED if there's another user nearby. "That last "severe flare" example especially looks like a camera issue (eg hazy lens: fungus, condensation, oil mist or zoom). I don't think this is a scanner issue." It's absolutely not the camera or lens. Under magnification the original slides are razor sharp with not the slightest sign of any flare. "DEE seems undesirable for normal transparencies." I've found that many of the Kodachrome slides I've scanned so far have a histogram with a big peak towards the bottom (shadow) end. In some the peak is clipped, in which case I increase shadow DEE to reduce the clipping and this seems to have a beneficial effect on image quality as long as I don't go too far and end up with distorted colours in shadow areas. Increasing analog gain would also lighten up the shadows but this would be at the expense of saturating highlights. "I treat chrome strips like any other film...the Nikon transport is superb for that purpose." Agreed, the film strip transport gives good edge-to-edge focus. I'm sorry now that I chose to have all my slides lab mounted, but who was to know of the problems ahead in the days when affordable high quality scanners were not even on the horizon? "maybe look into reducing the analog gain" I did play around with analog gain but it didn't seem to cure it. Reducing the gain and then correcting the image afterwards with PS still resulted in visible flare. "Most scanner flare is caused by the protective glass that covers the CCD." This is an interesting point. I'm not convinced that my problem with flare is due either to dust or to film type. If it was dust in the optics between the slide and the sensor I would expect a fairly uniform haziness around the highlight and this is not what's happening. There MAY be a contribution from CCD blooming as there are distinct lines above and below highlights in the previous image and this could correspond to blooming either side of saturated pixels in the linear CCD array. However if there IS blooming taking place I don't think it's the only mechanism contributing to the flare. The image detail below is from another part of the previous image and has smaller highlight areas which show a very clear bias in the position of the flare areas. It hadn't occurred to me before, but could this be consistent with scattering and/or internal reflections from a protective glass cover on the CCD sensor? "You might want to try turning off the DEE and adjust in PS. I also have a new 5000 and it seems the DEE works best with lower adjustments." I've tried completely neutral scans (no ICE,ROC,GEM,DEE,curves, balance etc) but the flare is still there after adjustment in PS. I too found that DEE works best in small doses, too much and you get unrealistic flat images and colour distortion. X16 sampling reduces flare slightly (but only slightly). It's interesting that some users have experienced exactly the same problem and others not at all. Perhaps I was unlucky enough to get a "Friday afternoon" build. I think at this point I should contact the local Nikon service agent and get them to have a look at it. It is after all under warranty.
    00CUPp-24040984.jpg
     
  15. "It's absolutely not the camera or lens."

    I concur and would add, "It is not on the film." In my troubleshooting, I carefully looked at the slides that had flares on the scans under a loupe to make sure that the glows were not on film. Then I scanned these same slides on several scanners (new and used) and found the raw scans (to eliminate any scanner sw interference) all had flares of different degrees. The flares on my DSE 5400 are by far the faintest, and are negligible for me.

    "I have not encountered any such issues in the thousands of frames that I've scanned. I would say this is not normal behavior..."

    As reported by many posts here and elsewhere, flares on scans are not isolated incidents. There may be a few explanations to why some users do not encounter them.

    1. Flares are only found on certain models. (I found them on all four makes and models I had access to.)

    2. On a particular model, the amount of flares varies from batch to batch.

    3. On a particular model, the amount of flares is so faint that they are not noticeable to the casual users.

    4. Flares are on the scans, but the users never notice them.

    I suspect that my experience with the DSE 5400 is probably due to either 2 or 3.

    There is an easy way to detect flares. Choose an image with a high contrast area (such as a piece of white chalk against a black blackboard). View the film under a loupe, and note that there is an abrupt transition from the chalk edge to the blackboard background, and there is no glow around the chalk. Scan the film and open in PS. Move the cursor from the chalk center into the blackboard. Observe how the rgb/cmyk values change in the Info Palette as you move the cursor. The numbers should change quite abruptly when the cursor crosses the chalk/blackboard boundary. If the numbers change very gradually, then flares exist on the scan. This method will eliminate flares not noticed due to poor monitor quality or user eyesights. Numbers don't lie.

    If the scanner Bake Off people are reading, their test image should include such a high contrast area.

    If an image consists of only a piece of chalk and a blackboard, correcting the flares in PS is simple. But flares shown in Lex' examples are not easily fixable, with either the scanner sw or in PS. I was able to give up on film scanning, until I luckily found the DSE 5400.
     
  16. Lex,

    I also encountered the same problem with my LS5000 out of the box, and am yet to receive a meaningful explanation, solution, or workaround. Nikon were particularly useless -- despite repeated emails I never heard from them.

    I'm also based in Perth, although I'm working in the U.S. on an extended project at the moment. I'll be back home at the end of this month and would be happy to compare notes.

    My original post is at:

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0082dN

    The one thing the guys at the store where I bought the scanner were able to suggest is to do the scan-time level manipulation (in NS4) using the LCH editor rather than the standard RGB sliders (refer to my post for full details).

    Back when I made my original post I'd begun to wonder if quality control might somehow be responsible, so maybe there's some basis to your "Friday afternoon build" theory.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful, other than to assure you you're not alone!
     
  17. "It hadn't occurred to me before, but could this be consistent with scattering and/or internal reflections from a protective glass cover on the CCD sensor?" Yup, it looks like it. Have a look at the attachment. It shows several flare samples at 4800dpi, caused by the CCD protection glass. Please ignore the ICE artifacts at the sharp edges. The test was performed with ICE turned on, but this has nothing to do with the flaring. One of the tests was to scan a tiny hole in a piece of black aluminium wrap. Each test was performed twice with the "film" rotated once the other way in order to see if the flare would point in the same direction. As you can see it did (since the image was rotated back in position in Photoshop the flare seems to point the other way).
    00CVcJ-24073784.jpg
     
  18. And now the same CCD, but with the protective glass removed:
    00CVcM-24073884.jpg
     
  19. Erik, that's exactly what I'm getting albeit a bit more severe than in your case. Have a look at this detail from a badly underexposed Kodachrome. Admittedly I had the analog gain flat out and used a lot of shadow enhance to get something useful from the slide so it's a pretty extreme case, but look at the multiple reflections from the highlights in the trekking pole. This has got to be a poor quality piece of glass between the image and the sensor. One thing's for sure, it's not dust or CCD blooming. You say you removed the glass cover plate. I'm not sure what scanner you are using, will my Nikon 5000ED have such a cover plate? I'm prepared to have a go at it, even though the unit is still under warranty (I doubt I'll get any satisfaction from Nikon anyway). Any tips before I start? And will the removal of the cover plate make the CCD array more vulnerable to damage/degradation?
    00CWw6-24112384.jpg
     
  20. Lex,

    The samples originate from a Minolta Multi Pro scanner, but I have to make a few remarks:
    first, most Multi Pros are better. This one was not mine and my own Multi Pro hardly
    suffers from flare the problem. In general the European units are better in this respect as I
    found out. It seems Minolta has sent the uncoated and unaligned units to the US (where it
    is now out of stock, while European stocks still last). The owner of this Multi Pro was close
    to ordering a unit from a European retailer because of the flaring problem. I had a lengthy
    email discussion with him and finally talked him into taking apart his entire scanner. I only
    dared to do so because I knew he was a highly trained scientific guy, working with all
    kinds of semiconductor equipment. He took out the CCD with the protective glass and
    placed it in an extremely specialized grinding machine where he could slowly grind off the
    glass. Then he used special equipment to suck away the smallest glass particles from the
    actual CCD surface. The whole operation took several hours.

    So I cannot recommend to you to try this for yourself. In Europe (and in the US too
    probably) there are specialized companies that remove these protective glasses from
    CCD's. Mostly they are glued on with some composite glue that cannot be solved, hence
    they have to be ground away.

    From tests with other scanners we found that the problem can be found in any "cheap"
    scanner make. Your Nikon will have such a cover plate too, undoubtedly. Worldwide there
    are only a few line-CCD producers. Most desktop scanners use Sony CCD's. They always
    come (and other brands as well) with these stupid cover glasses that aren't even coated
    mostly. Removing the glass does not give degradation problems (it is not a filter), but of
    course the risk of a small dust particle directly on the CCD becomes bigger. When dust
    is on the protection glass it is way out of focus.

    So in case you still want to pursue with this operation I suggest you find out if the glass
    can easily be removed or otherwise have it coated. But first I would try to have my CCD
    replaced. You might be lucky and get a well-aligned cover glass. Maybe even with optical
    coating, when Nikon has aknowledged the problem internally. (They will of course never
    tell the public.)
     
  21. OK, thanks Erik.

    The job is a little trickier than I thought. As you suggest, the best thing at this point may be to try and get Nikon to replace the CCD under warranty.

    BTW I have some experience working with precision optics but I don't think I want to attack my scanner with a grinder just yet :). Maybe if all else fails....
     
  22. Here's what a scanner expert have to say about this problem:

    http://groups-beta.google.com/group/comp.periphs.scanners/browse_thread/thread/98a9bb0dacf5ae9d/8f5f6b6b7808c353?q=flares+nikon&rnum=1&hl=en#8f5f6b6b7808c353
     
  23. My brand new Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED has the same glaring problem. As far as I can tell, the cause is flare in the optical path, not the CCD sensor nor electronics nor post-processing nor the slides I'm scanning. My Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III produces much less flare using the same slides (Kodachrome or otherwise), despite being 70% cheaper. True, my Nikon has finer resolution than my Minolta, accepts a slide feeder, and its ICE feature helps a lot. However, this much flare (about 40 levels more than Minolta) in the Nikon scanner isn't acceptable. I may have to contact Nikon service.
    00Fynu-29325584.jpg
     
  24. Those examples show quite prominent flare which I have never seen on my LS-5000. I would send it back for replacement and if it has the same issue, contact Nikon service. If you want to try my LS-5000, you can mail one of your slides to me and I will try to make a good scan out of it - that way we can verify if it's the slide or the scanner.
     
  25. "My brand new Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED has the same glaring problem. As far as I can tell, the cause is flare in the optical path, not the CCD sensor nor electronics nor post-processing nor the slides I'm scanning." Josip, You are right, it is not blooming in the CCD sensor, nor is it the electronics, post-processing or your slides. It is flare in the optical path, and it is definitely not acceptable for a scanner that is marketed as being capable of "superb image quality". I took this matter up with the Australian agent for Nikon, Maxwell Optical. I regret to say that they were generally difficult to deal with and although I presented them with mountains of indisputable evidence demonstrating a severe flare problem they refused to replace the scanner under warranty. Anyone interested in learning more about the saga with Maxwells can contact me off-line. To see if it occurred on other units I took three of my problem Kodachromes to a well known local professional photo shop and asked them to scan them on their workhorse 5000ED. The flare was also evident on their scanner, although it was slightly less in magnitude than on mine. I repeat that the flare was absolutely not on the slides, in both cases it was definitely a scanner artefact. My conclusion from all of this is that the problem is inherent in the Nikon 5000ED design, but is worse in some units than others. I suspect also that Nikon is well aware of this deficiency with Kodachromes but will not admit it. They have a Kodachrome setting in their NikonScan software, implying that Kodachromes are catered for, and promote the unit as being "designed for business users who require ... superb image quality and high speed" (see www.maxwell.com.au/products/nikon/scanners/index.html) . However as you and I know, "superb image quality" is simply not attainable with Kodachrome transparencies. With regard to scanning of Kodachromes, I think it's fair to say the unit is not fit for its stated purpose. To try and understand the problem a little better, I scanned a piece of black plastic (containing several pinholes) mounted in a standard plastic slide frame. In the scan a ghost image is clearly visible adjacent to each pinhole image. One can draw a couple of interesting conclusions from the nature and position of these ghost images. First of all it is NOT CCD blooming. In the LS-5000ED the film remains stationary and the light source / sensor assembly traverses across the long axis of the film frame. In the scanned image the direction of travel was from right to left. Since the ghost images are all to the RIGHT of the primary pinhole images, each ghost image was recorded by the CCD sensor BEFORE the sensor reached the primary pinhole image itself. Therefore the ghosting defect is NOT CCD blooming. There is some evidence of blooming (turn up the brightness and observe the vertical streaks above and below each pinhole) but this is secondary to the ghosting effect and typical for CCD sensors. The only way light from a pinhole can reach the sensor BEFORE the pinhole itself is being scanned is through unwanted dispersion or reflection effects in the optics. Second, the displacement of the ghost image varies depending on position. As well as lying always to the right of the primary pinhole image, the ghost images always lie on the side furthest from the horizontal centre line of the image frame. That is they lie increasingly ABOVE the pinhole as you move towards the top of the frame, and increasingly BELOW as you move towards the bottom of the frame. Since rays from the focussing lens would be increasingly angled as they approach the top/bottom of the frame, it seems to me that internal reflections in a non-coated CCD window could cause this kind of displacement pattern. Perhaps someone with a good knowledge of the optics design of the 5000ED can add some further comments.
    00G6RG-29505484.jpg
     
  26. Store exchanged my Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED for another brand new unit, which has exactly the same problem: flare in high contrast areas. My old Minolta at less than 1/3 the price doesn't have this problem, although its resolution is lower and it lacks some Nikon features. After two bad Nikon scanners, I must conclude that this is a design defect.
    00G6vP-29515784.jpg
     
  27. Josip, flares in scans from an older scanner drove me nuts. After much research to replace it (see my earlier posts in this thread), I chose a Minolta 5400. For two years, I have not been bothered by flares in hundreds of Kodachrome and Fujichrome scans from the 5400.
     
  28. "After two bad Nikon scanners, I must conclude that this is a design defect."

    Yep, I agree totally.

    Josip, at least your supplier did the right thing and exchanged your scanner, mine would neither replace it nor give a refund.

    Currently I'm stuck with a $2000 scanner that is useless for scanning my Kodachromes. I'm still interested in trying Erik's suggestion of removing or coating the cover glass on the CCD. Does anyone know the exact device type number for the CCD array in a 5000ED? I'm thinking of just buying a spare CCD and getting the cover glass coated to see if this reduces the problem. I'm hoping the CCD will be mounted in a socket rather than soldered into place and will therefore be relatively easy to replace. Can anyone confirm this?
     
  29. My post in the following thread has a link about disassembling and cleaning a Coolscan 5000ED. Disclaimer: I don't own a 5000ED and have never disassembled one. Good luck.

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00A2Sh
     
  30. The flare problem, especially with Kodachrome, has been around for a long time, unfortunately with no solution in sight. See some other postings at:

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00Bzm8

    In my experience Nikon seems to be totally avoiding this problem, and I've about given up with trying to get a decent scan from my Kodachrome transparencies, which are about 80% of my collection. I've had no problem with my few color negatives however, probably due to their lower contrast.

    As an experiment, I took my new Nikon D200 and copied some Kodachromes using my old slide-duping outfit (micro lens, diffused color head, bellows, etc.) The results (RAW) where generally superior to comparative scans with the Coolscan 4000, no flare, better color and range, less dirt -and it was a lot quicker! The only drawback lower resolution (although I do have the option to crop extraneous detail). Those of you with hi-res DSLRs may want to try this "scanning" method as a quick fix, especially if the final reproduction size is small.

    Frankly, I don't understand how the flare problem has gone on so long without more s___ hitting the fan. I think some manufacturers have a lot to answer for!
     
  31. My Nikon Super CoolScan 5000 ED returned from service. Nikon replaced the main PCB and the CCD board, adjusted the CCD board, did general check & clean, and even replaced the bottom cover. Post-service, flare is only marginally reduced, at the expense of increased sensor noise and loss of shadow detail. Nikon support people really tried to help, but the overall result is not that great: To match the original scan color balance without turning on ROC, I've had to apply significant amount of color correction, because the repaired scanner produces about 10-30 levels darker images. Despite Nikon's help, I'm not sure that repair of this problem is even possible without scanner redesign.
    00GeGw-30137084.jpg
     
  32. Josip, Frankly I'm not surprised that even the best efforts of your local Nikon service people couldn't eliminate the problem. Gathering together all the evidence, I've concluded it's definitely either an inherent design defect or an optics quality issue, neither of which can easily be corrected by a service facility. For me the solution will probably be either to go to a better quality professional grade scanner, or, as Robert Bohl has suggested, to a high resolution digital camera with slide duping attachment. Like Robert I've given up trying to get good scans from Kodachrome transparencies with a 5000ED. The scanner is simply not up to it. Each scan requires an enormous amount of time with PS to try and fix the flare defects the scanner introduces, and often the defects are so bad they simply cannot be repaired. To follow up on the CCD cover glass issue, I recently stripped my scanner to find out what we are dealing with. The photo shows the CCD from my scanner. The cover glass does have a slightly matte appearance and reflects a little less light than a polished glass surface, but it reflects a lot more light than a properly coated optical surface. Also the reflected light is not coloured as is usually the case with anti-reflective coating. It seems to me that the glass does not have a proper anti-reflective coating and this would go a long way in explaining the flare I am seeing in my scans. One final comment, it's interesting that no-one from Nikon has posted any comments. When I first approached Maxwell Optical about this problem, I suggested to the service manager that he simply view this thread to see the examples. His reply was along the lines of "I never look at forums, they're not worth looking at". Speaks volumes I think.
    00GeSd-30141984.jpg
     
  33. Yeah, that's the bastard allright! Will you tell us if you have managed to remove the cover
    glass? I'd like to see your pinhole test repeated. I bet you'll get the same improved results as
    the guy in my sample.
     
  34. Uhhh... Erik ... Might you be thinking of selling an after-market, upgraded version of this component? If you are, what might it cost? (It never hurts to ask. Really.)
     
  35. "Will you tell us if you have managed to remove the cover glass? I'd like to see your pinhole test repeated. I bet you'll get the same improved results as the guy in my sample"

    Erik, unfortunately I don't have the facilities to remove the glass cover. I'm not prepared to risk damaging the CCD unless I have a spare on hand (which I don't) plus the relevant service literature describing any setup/adjustments that need to be made if the the CCD is replaced (which I don't have either).


    "Uhhh... Erik ... Might you be thinking of selling an after-market, upgraded version of this component?"

    Looks like a nice little marketing opportunity here for someone... I for one would be interested in a coated or un-glassed retrofit if it can be shown to eliminate the flare problem. Coated would be preferrable I think, un-glassed seems a little risky in an un-purged environment.

    Physically removing and replacing the CCD is no big deal, it's a little fiddly but not rocket science. I suspect that fitting a replacement CCD might require some electronic adjustment, but without service literature I can't say for sure. Mechanical alignment does not seem much of an issue, in my case just a matter of small X-Y adjustment to centre the image in the NikonScan preview window.

    So, anyone interested in producing an aftermarket kit containing modified CCD and installation instructions?
     
  36. Scott, I'd really like to offer CCD's with the glass removed, but that is way out of my league.
    I'm a fulltime photographer/filmmaker, who has already invested too much time in the
    shortcomings of film scanners. Perhaps this might be something for a retired person with
    lots of spare time on his/her hands.
     
  37. ... Scott, I'd really like to offer CCD's with the glass removed, but that is way out of my league .....

    It's way out of my league, too, but I do wonder what it would cost Nikon to have a specialized version of this CCD manufactured without the window --- or with a better quality of optical surface if the window has to stay there --- and what the difference in price would be to the consumer. $20? $40?
     
  38. I have been using a coolscan 5000ED for 6 months now and have to deal with this problem
    in about 50% of my slides. This makes it a true lemon, because there is no way you could
    miss this flaw if you tested your product at all. The glory days for this brand are over, keep
    your eye out for more junk from them as they farm out more parts and engineering to
    china.
     
  39. Geoff, I can only agree. Nikon products are off my shopping list too. Apart from the flare, the build quality of my 5000ED left a bit to be desired as well. Take a look at the sheared screw on the back, it was even marked by the factory with a red dot (that's how it came out of the box) but the unit was still shipped anyway. And the front plastic cover has two securing clips, top and bottom, but the bottom one had been broken off (presumably in the factory during assembly) and it was just glued on with some kind of superglue instead. The local distributor, Maxwell Optical, was not interested when I raised these issues, they refused to replace the scanner under warranty.
    00HFXS-31106284.jpg
     
  40. Well, it's been a long time coming but here is a final postscript to the above discussion.

    After struggling with the Nikon for far too long I finally decided to stop wasting my time and bought an Imacon
    Flextight 646. The skeptics may be interested to learn that the awful artefacts illustrated above are completely
    absent in my Imacon scans of the very same transparencies. Dust on mirrors? Bad scanning technique? Defects on
    film image?...... I don't think so. The Imacon breezes through my toughest Kodachromes without any trouble at all.
    Excellent edge to edge focus, superb shadow detail and no "flare" even with the highest contrast images.

    It's not all bad news for the Nikon though, the 5000ED is pretty fast and makes rather a nice proofing tool if you have
    a large number of 35mm slides to get through. Viewing a 4000dpi image on your screen is better than any light
    table, you can very quickly assess image quality and decide if it's worth scanning on the Imacon.

    I will be happy to post comparison scans if anyone is interested.
     
  41. Lex,

    I have a Nikon Coolscan LS50, suffering from the same flare problem as highlighted in this thread.
    Following the advice of my fellow countryman Eric, i found a firm capable of removing the protective glass from CCD
    sensors. After dissassembling the scanner i had the protective glass removed and applied two more techniques to eliminate
    or reduce any cause of flare.
    To cut a long story short, THE FLARE ISSUE IS COMPLETELY GONE.
    The effect is quite similar to the differences as shown in Eric's contributions to this thread.
    The images also have more snap, the details in darker parts are better visible, which is quite logical as the local or micro
    contrast is improved.

    I am working on how to get some images uploaded to this thread, sofar not successful, but i will get it done.

    Jan
     
  42. Jan,

    Can you tell us the name of the firm that removed the cover glass? Was it expensive to do?

    "and applied two more techniques to eliminate or reduce any cause of flare"
    What were the other two techniques you used?

    I agree, the cover glass is the culprit and is causing the flare/ghosting as well as loss of contrast. But I think without a sealed cover the CCD surface will be very vulnerable to contamination and damage. It would be desirable to fit a new cover made of high grade optical glass, coated on both sides. This could be glued into place, preferably at a slight angle to the plane of the sensor so that any reflections from the underside of the glass would fall off the sensor array. The whole operation would need to be done in a clean-room I think.

    BTW the sensor in my Imacon 646 DOES have a cover glass. Since there is no evidence of flare or multiple reflections in any of the scans from the Imacon I can only conclude the cover glass must be of considerably better optical quality than that of the Nikon.

    Lex
     
  43. I'm also dying to know where the sensor glass removal was done and for how much money. What are the other things you did besides
    removing the sensor glass, and how much do you think those things contributed to the reduction in flare? I'd love as many details as
    you're willing to provide.

    I wonder if a place like this would work on a scanner sensor:

    http://www.maxmax.com
     
  44. Lex, thanks for the update. My Minolta 5400 is still going strong without any flares. Only those of us who experienced or noticed the flares know what a pain they can be.
     
  45. Lex,

    The modifications i applied are:
    Removal of the protective window, this was done by a firm in The Netherlands as a gesture to me, not on a commercial basis.
    A company that does this, on a commercial basis, is Eureca in Germany: www.eureca.de, the person i contacted was Juergen Beckers. The risk is there, they estimate it at a 1 out of 10 chance that the sensor gets somehow damaged or becomes unusable. Obviously they are on the safe side. Thy can also put some other glass, like coated glass etc on the sensor.

    Blocking of any entry of light in the "optical block", this is the plastic housing that holds a mirror, a lens and the sensor. This is covered by a thin flexible plastic cover. The lens is a metal barrel kept in place in a rectangular tunnel in the optical block, leaving openings that can let light into the chamber between the lens and the sensor. I blocked these with a putty that stays flexible, so it can be easily removed if needed. The plastic cover is kept in place and firmly fit with some self-adhesive tape.

    Covering of the chamber walls with a light absorbing material.I found a fabric with a very high light absorption. The light that is projected by the lens on the sensor is not all absorbed by the line-sensor, a portion gets reflected back into the chamber bounces around and at some point must fall on the sensor again, be it much less intense. The walls of the chmber are dark grey but not really absorbing light. The fabric used, a cotton velvet, reflects only about 0.47% of incident light, just looking at it really redefines black! If you put a piece of this stuff on top of anything else that you considered black, all of a sudden this becomes grayish in you eyes.

    All in all some work to get it done, i reckon that 60-80% of the result is achieved with removing the protective glass.

    The results are quite rewarding.

    Jan R. Smit
     
  46. Addition.
    I am somehow unable to post pictures as well, this weekend i will work on getting a site up so pictures can be downloaded.
    I also had one of my slides, from the front side of the Karlskirche in Vienna (a must visit whenever you are in Vienna) scanned at a professional labo, they used a flexscan Flextight II, an old model, and the result showed flare similar to the results i get from the coolscans ls50 and ls5000 and shown here in some examples in this thread.
    Actually my current scanresult is better. Next time i visit this labo, they do all my film development, i will compare the results with them.

    Alex, i would love to see results from your flextight 848, it should be way beter than the flextight II, do you have a site where i can donload from?

    Jan R. Smit
    IQ is technology, PQ is YOU
     
  47. Jan, Thanks for sharing your experience. Below is a comparison of scans from my Nikon 5000ED and my Imacon Flextight 646. The source image is a reasonably well exposed KR 64 taken about 7 years ago with a Canon A-1 and FD 35-105mm zoom. This image contains some bright white rails in front of a deep shadow area which is a good test. The flare and ghosting show up really well in the Nikon scan but do not exist in the Imacon scan. The Imacon scan also has vastly better shadow detail The Nikon scan was done in NikonScan v4.02 with Kodachrome setting, 16 bit, 4000dpi and 16x multi-sample. All other settings were neutral, ICE, ROC, GEM, DEE all off, analog gain 0. The Imacon scan was done in Flexcolor v4.86, 16 bit, 6300dpi with my own Kodachrome profile settings which include adaptive light and shadow enhance plus colour correction. Apart from cropping and applying auto levels in PS, no other adjustments have been made to either scan. The images below are: (a) the full size scans (b) crops of the white rails in front of the shadow area (c) the same two crops with 50% shadow adjust applied in PS (just to prove that there is nothing lurking in the shadows of the Imacon scan) Lex
    00QbJa-66347584.jpg
     
  48. OK, looks like I can only upload one image per post, sorry. Here's the Imacon whole image:
    00QbJe-66347684.jpg
     
  49. The Nikon crop:
    00QbJg-66349584.jpg
     
  50. The Imacon crop:
    00QbJj-66349684.jpg
     
  51. The Nikon crop with 50% shadow enhance:
    00QbJl-66351584.jpg
     
  52. And finally the Imacon crop with 50% shadow enhance:
    00QbJo-66351684.jpg
     
  53. sorry off topic: but couldn't find a better thread.
    Well... been trying to research for a while whether to buy the 5000ed of there is something better within fiscal reason... this blog really tried to put me off the Nikon big-time. Looked at the Imacon, but £4000 - £6000 is just out of the question.
    Have about 500 slides to scan all velvia and pro-v1 from '92-'98 all snowboarding and Snow/Mountains... and am about 6 days away from buying one on fleaBay. if anyone has a better suggestion, let me know.. if Not, I'll post how I get on.
     
  54. Rob, to put it in perspective, many 5000ED users seem to be quite happy with the performance of their scanner. The results I get with my particular scanner leave a lot to be desired as you can see from the examples, however that is just one scanner. As mentioned earlier in this thread I did have some of my problem slides scanned by a local Pro Lab on their 5000ED and got much the same flare results. So that's two examples where I have personally witnessed this problem. To muddy the waters even further, this Pro Lab claimed they could not see any flare problem in the scans so it seems people have different ideas about what is acceptable.
    On my scanner the problem is most pronounced in Kodachromes, and less noticeable in E-6 films like Velvia and Provia. But even with E-6, it is still there. Aside from obvious artefacts at light/dark transitions, it also manifests itself as general loss of contrast throughout. With my Nikon scans I find myself struggling with a general "muddy" appearance, while Imacon scans seem to leap off the screen in comparison. Part of it may be the respective software - Flexcolor has better control of colour than Nikonscan. Other users report better results with Vuescan or Silverfast vs Nikonscan.
    Anyway, the upshot is I probably have a "Friday afternoon" 5000ED that is at the bottom of the barrel for performance, you may be lucky and get a comparatively good one.
     
  55. Every LS5000 I've tested has, to me, unacceptable flare (I tested 9 of them in our lab here at the University of Washington).
    The LS9000 performed much better in this regard in a scan of the same slide.
    The Imacon 848 performed even better than the LS9000. But the Imacon, I believe, doesn't have glass over the CCD, which leads to other problems. Such as dust on the CCD which then shows up as noise in shadows. Pretty unacceptable to me so I'm inclined to work with the LS9000.
    Haven't tested my LS4000 yet, but I bet it's the same as the LS5000.
    Rishi
     
  56. Maybe a naive question, but can you multicoat glass yourself? At least on one side? And isn't the side accessible to us (the side facing the incoming light, away from the CCD) the most important side to coat, so that all the light is transmitted into the CCD housing?
    Reference on lens coating:
    http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-166.html
    Rishi
     
  57. "But the Imacon, I believe, doesn't have glass over the CCD, which leads to other problems. "
    Rishi, I've heard this said, but when I last had my 646 open it seemed the CCD did have a cover glass. In fact the service procedure for 646 and 848 scanners recommends cleaning the sensor surface with brush and/or isopropanol and/or lint-free tissue in case of dust accumulation. This would surely not be recommended if there was no cover glass, a naked CCD would be destroyed with such treatment.
    Probably not widely known is that Flexcolor includes a hidden diagnostics feature for testing the response of the CCD. This feature can be used to make sure light is reaching the CCD across its full length and to look for signs of dust on the lens, CCD or light source. Send me a PM if you want to know how to do it.
     
  58. "And isn't the side accessible to us (the side facing the incoming light, away from the CCD) the most important side to coat, so that all the light is transmitted into the CCD housing?"
    Based on the spatial orientation of the flares (I prefer to think of them as ghost images) which is dependent on location within the image, my conclusion is that these artefacts arise either from multiple reflections occurring between CCD surface and inside of the protective glass, or between the two surfaces of the glass, or both. Take another look at the "pinhole test" and you will see what I mean.
    So if this theory is correct you would have have to coat both sides of the glass.
     
  59. That hidden diagnostic feature -- are you sure it works on the Imacon 848?
    Basically, here's the problem I'm seeing with the Imacon 848:
    http://www.photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00RJ35
    Look further down, as I'm more worried about the subtle lines in shadows than the complete jacking up of the image which, at least, is fixed by rescanning.
    I'll PM you also for your instructions.
    Thanks!
    Rishi
     
  60. Rob.
    The problem with CCD sensor scanners is the glass window that protects the ctual sensor. It sits on top of the sensor housing as an earlier post in this thread shows. This glass causes this ghosting, and it reduces the contrast on the whole. When removed of course the ghosting is gone, but ( to my surpise) it als improved the cntract (micro-contrast), ie the pictures pop out of the screen. (While taken apart i also modified the "dark chamber" between the lens and the sensor by covering its walls with very strong light absorbing material(to remove any chance of reflecting light reappearing at the sensor).
    Off all ccd scanners i am aware of the nikons and the imacons are the best. Lex has an 848 that appears not to show ghosting. I had done tests with a much older model imacon and it definitvely had ghosting.
    What i suggest is : either get an ls5000 and i help you out in modifications, or if it is just 500 slides 35mm contact me to get them scanned (mentioing UK pounds suggest you are in the UK, i am in Holland). Scanning is one thing gettting the color correct can be another trying thing. At least i have sorted both the ghosting and the color out.
    Jan R. Smit
    IQ is technology, PQ is YOU.
     
  61. Jan, are you still working with no cover glass at all or did you have a new coated glass put on the sensor?
    Also, do you know where one can get a spare CCD sensor? I would be interested in sending one to Germany for modification but not the only one I have (in case it fails).
    Was there any adjustment required in your scanner (e.g. electronic adjustment) after upgrading the sensor?
     
  62. Lex,
    Still working with no cover glass. The "dark chamber" is really closed, so basicallyno dust from outside can enter the dark chamber therefore notget on the sensor.
    You have to deal with the local Nikon repair service on a spare, but it will be quite difficult. For the LS50 en LS 5000 the optical block (mirror-lens-sensor assembly) is replaced as one whole, and the old one has to be returned to Japan. The price tag to the optical block as about EU220. That is ithout any service labor cost.
    I did not do any adjustment (electronic), but basically because i noticed no adverse results and the nikon service manager talked me out of it, because of a possible risk that the automatic tool they use for checking and calibrating could go wrong because of the mod's, and did not know how to restore to the previous good state.
    IQ is technology, PQ is YOU
    Jan R. Smit
     
  63. thanks guys.
    Jan: Funny, I have a Ls50, and did some decent scans back in 2001, but unfortunately over the years lost the drivers... after much search I found some on the internet.. but could never get to work on the Win2000 or XP, Vista Operating systems I have. Hence my current search for a newer, much better? scanner.
    With regards to your offer: I have at least as dozen badly under-exposed shots I want to try and create usable images out of. I bought a copy of CS3 and figure between multiple tries re-scanning with different settings and then CS3 'air-brushing' , I should be able to bring out some of the detail in shadows, and then hopefully get some good 'poster' size prints made out of a few (deep red-orange sky sunsets, etc) . So figure I'll just start playing with it myself.
    I was going for the 5000ed as the research I could find talked about it being able to pick out a lot more detail in the darks than most scanners of camparable cost
    There are 2 on ebay right now and i figure I'll be able to pick one up for no more than £700. Unfortunately not with the extra adaptors I'm looking for (negatives, cartridge film etc) Yes, I am in England. Reading area.
    Now back to the subject of this Thread! - after a first scan of the images, figure I'll take the risk and have the company mentioned in Germany try work their magic on the CCD sensor, if needed. anybody know a rough estimate on the cost?
     
  64. Jan, are you saying that any time you take apart the optical housing, it may need re-calibration?
    I've taken apart my LS-4000, but not the optical housing... that seems a bit complicated to take apart. I only proceeded as far as illustrated here:
    http://www.pearsonimaging.com/articles/howto/ls5000cleaning.html
    In other words, I took it apart to this level:
    [​IMG]
    I did this to clean the mirror, and also I noticed that in the LS-4000, there's an area above the mirror housing that's partially 'open', i.e. leaking light, that serves no purpose. So I placed putty all around it. Now cleaning the mirror. Let's see if the scans get better.
    Rishi
     
  65. Rishi,
    Contrary to the peason approach it is not needed to take out the mirror for cleaning. As long as you have a clear access to the mirror. Be aware the mirror is very easily scratched, the mirror surface is quite soft.
    The top cover of the optical box is a thin plastic sheet, its front part is visible above the lens.
    Opening the optical box is no reason for recalibrating. Removal of the glass cover had more (positive) impact than just the ghosting. I had an extensive demonstration of the calibration process by a Nikon Service Center technician, they use a software tool for it that performs the steps with little manual interaction, including correcting for the infrared leakage. The removal of the glass cover could amongst others have altered the infra-red inpact on the visible red (fortunately i did not notice this, i even assessed it with someone knowledgeable on scanning and profiling of scanners, only to come to the conclusiion that recalibrating was not needed. Mind you if you disassemble the lightsource-assembly, a calibration is needed to re-alining this as misalingments can have a serious inmpact on the scan result.
    Removing the ccd sensor assembly and then assemble it again can easily lead to mis-alignment, minute diferences are quite visible. This is something the nikon service center cannot resolve (at least for the Coolscan V (LS50) and the LS5000), this is done in the manufacturing location in japan. So removing it, requires to carefully mark with a fine x-acto knive or similar, and using a loupe on two or three sides such that when assembling these marks help you in getting it correctly aligned again.
    Jan R. Smit
    IQ is Technology, PQ is YOU.
     
  66. Rob,
    In a telecon with Eureca, they mentioned a ball park figure of around 200 - 250 euros, the risk that the sensor gets contaminated or worse damaged beyond repair is for you, they stated the change of 1 to 10.
    Yes it appears that the LS5000 is better in the dark reas compared to the V(or LS50). I tried two LS5000, only to find that only if you scan multiple times (4, 8, or 16 times) it would reduce the scanner noise in dark areas and show more detail in the image result. But after removing the cove glass on the LS50 that difference is minimised. So yes modifying an LS500 should improve also the resolution in dark areas of the slide being scanned.
    I use Silverfast software as scanning tool, and their Multi Exposure does a good job too of retrieving the most out of dense or dark areas in slides.
    However a word of caution, the scanner profile you use could lead to "clipped" dark areas. This is a result of the profiling target being used (and the software), these target (IT-8) was not ment to go all the way to the darkest tones in slides(nor all the way in the highlights), they stop at D=2.4 or so, while i foun that my slides coud go in excess of D=3.2 . So i experimented a lot, even with different profiling software and only after the removal of the coverglass and modificaion of the scanned IT-8 image, i was able to get a correct color profile without blocking the dark areas. I use a profile inspection tool as well (Gamutvision) to visualise problems with profiles, which can be quite profound.
    The nikon scan software (i used the latest version) has profiles, but these are canned and you cannot add your own. So when still using this software i switched of color management to get the max in dark areas (and highlights), but at the expense of colors being not quite close to the real thing.
    IQ is Technology, PQ is YOU.
    Jan R. Smit
     
  67. Jan,
    Thanks. I'm trying to understand what you call leaks in the 'dark chamber'. Though I haven't taken the scanner completely apart, I can see one source of light leakage, below:
    [​IMG]
    Link to Full-Size Image
    That is, I think, the thin sheet you are talking about. It doesn't lay flat, so light can leak under it and into the lens. So I covered it up with putty:
    [​IMG]
    Link to Full-Size Image
    Are there other source of light leakage also? Everything else seems pretty well sealed to me. But, as I said, I haven't taken the optical housing apart.
    Hearing your description though, it seems a bit dangerous. I'm kinda close to giving up on the Nikon scanners. I just tested the horizontal resolution (along the CCD axis) and it came out to a dismal 10 megapixel equivalent from a 35mm frame of Velvia. The resolution in the other axis is significantly higher (15 megapixels-ish). The Imacon 848 pulled out a whopping 25 megapixels worth of data (1000:1 contrast test chart) from the 35mm Velvia... which exceeds even the stated resolution of Velvia film (160 lines/mm at 1000:1 contrast, which, for a 35mm frame, is the theoretical equivalent of 22 megapixels).
    I have access to an Imacon 848, but it has its own host of problems (see here: http://www.photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00RJ35 )
    Cheers,
    Rishi
     
  68. However a word of caution, the scanner profile you use could lead to "clipped" dark areas. This is a result of the profiling target being used (and the software), these target (IT-8) was not ment to go all the way to the darkest tones in slides(nor all the way in the highlights), they stop at D=2.4 or so, while i foun that my slides coud go in excess of D=3.2 . So i experimented a lot, even with different profiling software and only after the removal of the coverglass and modificaion of the scanned IT-8 image, i was able to get a correct color profile without blocking the dark areas. I use a profile inspection tool as well (Gamutvision) to visualise problems with profiles, which can be quite profound.​
    Wow. Jan, I'm so glad someone else discovered this problem also, though Don Hutch also mentions it in one of his manuals.
    Yes, profiles made from HCT or IT8 targets often lead to 'clipping' in dark areas of scans. It's quite unacceptable. Some profiling software tries to compensate this using their own proprietary techniques... by best guess at what they do is: they probably darken the scan of the target itself before making the profile. Of course, I don't know for sure... I mean, this is such an esoteric field and basICColor software itself costs a ridiculous $500 and I haven't found a way to even get in touch with the software engineers to talk about what they do with this clipping problem. If they'd even be willing to communicate that with me.
    I've had much more luck with the software devs for LPROF. They're very nice folk and we chatted back and forth about possible ways to avoid this dark clipping. Darkening the target scan seemed to solve the problem... however, I have not yet found a way to apply 'black clipping' in 16-bit (48 bit color) space... Photoshop only allows you to apply black clipping on an 8-bit scale... do you have any idea of how I could black clip the target scan on a scale of 1-65,536? I know Cinepaint does it, but for the life of me I can't get it to compile correctly on my Mac to safe the final TIFF file. Argh!
    I've confirmed that unexposed Velvia scans as significantly darker than Dmax on a HCT or IT8 target.
    Perhaps this is also due to optical flare (which'd be much greater on the IT8 target than an unexposed portion of film!), and perhaps this is why profiles made for the Imacon 848 show much less dark clipping than those made for the LS-9000 (which shows more optical flare).
    Don Hutch suggests some inane way to get rid of the flare by scanning the target in 4 different orientations... this is a dumb idea and doesn't work (just think about it... I myself also proved it to myself by trying... and failing). What DOES help though, is to take every individual dark patch in a scan, New Layer via Cut --> rotate 90 degrees --> set Blend Mode to 'Darken'... repeat for 90 degrees, 180 degrees, and 270 degrees.
    Of course, no sane person in the world would have the patience to do that for every dark patch by hand. Perhaps one could code some software to do it... I would if I had the time.
    Rishi
     
  69. thanks guys.
    Jan: Funny, I have a Ls50, and did some decent scans back in 2001, but unfortunately over the years lost the drivers... after much search I found some on the internet.. but could never get to work on the Win2000 or XP, Vista Operating systems I have. Hence my current search for a newer, much better? scanner.
    With regards to your offer: I have at least as dozen badly under-exposed shots I want to try and create usable images out of. I bought a copy of CS3 and figure between multiple tries re-scanning with different settings and then CS3 'air-brushing' , I should be able to bring out some of the detail in shadows, and then hopefully get some good 'poster' size prints made out of a few (deep red-orange sky sunsets, etc) . So figure I'll just start playing with it myself.
    I was going for the 5000ed as the research I could find talked about it being able to pick out a lot more detail in the darks than most scanners of camparable cost
    There are 2 on ebay right now and i figure I'll be able to pick one up for no more than £700. Unfortunately not with the extra adaptors I'm looking for (negatives, cartridge film etc) Yes, I am in England. Reading area.
    Now back to the subject of this Thread! - after a first scan of the images, figure I'll take the risk and have the company mentioned in Germany try work their magic on the CCD sensor, if needed. anybody know a rough estimate on the cost?
     
  70. Rishi,
    The mirror housing is the visible part of the optical box, you have put putty between the optical box and the frame. Better to remove it, as the optical box moves in the frame. It moves an innerframe holding the optical box and the lightsource to scan a slide, it does not move the slide. The putty will only cause problems.
    Wrt to the resolution, how did you measure this? Would like to be able to reproduce it on my scanner to se the results.
    Yes i also tried Don Hutchinsons advices, but with little success. What i did was do a straightforward scan of an it-8 target and in PWP (Picture Window Pro) stretched the dark end to maximum darkness (0,0,0) making sure it was not clipping either channel(RGB). Then the best reuslts are with PM (Profile Mechanic) of the same supplier as PWP (DL-C.com). Tried whatever profiling tool i could lay hand on(demo, evaluation, basiccolor, some open source stuff, oops i forgot some) even the profiling function of Silverfast, the tool i use for scanning. PM works best for me. I shoot mostly with Fuji, Don's targets arequite expensive and there is no Fuji version. Also i figured out that at best with these targets you can reduce the brand typcial color anomalities, which i close enough for me. All i want is to get the maximum out of the image into a digital master.
    IQ is Technoloy, PQ is YOU
    Jan R. Smit
     
  71. Rishi,
    The mirror housing is the visible part of the optical box, you have put putty between the optical box and the frame. Better to remove it, as the optical box moves in the frame. It moves an innerframe holding the optical box and the lightsource to scan a slide, it does not move the slide. The putty will only cause problems.
    Wrt to the resolution, how did you measure this? Would like to be able to reproduce it on my scanner to se the results.
    Yes i also tried Don Hutchinsons advices, but with little success. What i did was do a straightforward scan of an it-8 target and in PWP (Picture Window Pro) stretched the dark end to maximum darkness (0,0,0) making sure it was not clipping either channel(RGB). Then the best reuslts are with PM (Profile Mechanic) of the same supplier as PWP (DL-C.com). Tried whatever profiling tool i could lay hand on(demo, evaluation, basiccolor, some open source stuff, oops i forgot some) even the profiling function of Silverfast, the tool i use for scanning. PM works best for me. I shoot mostly with Fuji, Don's targets arequite expensive and there is no Fuji version. Also i figured out that at best with these targets you can reduce the brand typcial color anomalities, which i close enough for me. All i want is to get the maximum out of the image into a digital master.
    IQ is Technoloy, PQ is YOU
    Jan R. Smit
     
  72. Ok Jan, thanks for the tip.
    I removed the putty, and put in double sided tape instead. So, now, the setup looks like this (and seems to effectively, or potentially, block stray non-image-forming light from entering the lens):
    [​IMG]
    Link to Full-Size Image
    And here's another view of it:
    [​IMG]
    Link to Full-Size Image
    I put the scanner back together & it ran just fine, as that little flimsy piece of whatever (plastic?) moves along with the optical housing.
    I hardly see any flare at high contrast boundaries. These same areas show quite a lot of flare on 4 of the 6 LS-5000s at the lab. Not much flare on the LS-9000 either. But all still show a little more flare than on the Imacon 848 in the direction of the CCD axis. The Imacon, for some crazy reason unbeknownst to me, however, shows flare in the axis perpendicular to the CCD (temporal flare?)... as can be seen below:
    [​IMG]
    Link to Full-Size Image
    It is annoying though how often I have to clean the mirror. It's like a regular thing. Yet some people apparently pay people $250 to do it? LOL. It's really an easy job. Though incredibly annoying.
    Jan, do you think I could get inside the optic housing and apply a coating to the glass myself?
    Cheers,
    Rishi
     
  73. "The Imacon, for some crazy reason unbeknownst to me, however, shows flare in the axis perpendicular to the CCD (temporal flare?)"
    Rishi, I don't think it's a temporal issue. This looks like a dispersion effect, possibly due to dusty lens. Light from bright parts of the image is reaching the sensor when it should not be. I'd suggest you look at the IR filter that sits on top of the lens, it may need cleaning.
     
  74. Yeah, Lex, I think you're right. Basically, as the scanner approaches a dark area next to a light area, light from the light area leakes onto the CCD while it's still scanning the dark area. Probably a really dirty lens. Problem is, I'm not allowed to take it apart... *sigh*. Even though I've fixed much more complex equipment.
    Here's an even worse example of the flare:
    [​IMG]
    Link to Full-Size Image
    I must say, I absolutely hate the Imacon.
    I'm *really* hoping the Minolta Dimage Scane Elite 5400 turns out to be some sort of miracle. Haha. Oh brother.
    Rishi
     
  75. "I must say, I absolutely hate the Imacon."
    I have several customers with expensive analytical instruments who criticise these instruments because they constantly have problems with them. These same customers never want to spend any money on maintenance and they refuse to buy a service contract. So the instruments are chronically neglected, they fail or perform badly as as result, and the customers blame the instrument.
    It's not your fault I know, it's the lab manager who won't look after it ;-)
     
  76. "I'm not allowed to take it apart... *sigh*. "
    This is an absurdly easy job.
    Two screws to remove the main cover. 4 screws to remove inner cover. The lens is now staring you in the face. Clean the IR filter at the top end of the lens. Reverse the procedure. Cleaning a Coolscan mirror is advanced rocket science compared to this.
    00S6nt-105131584.jpg
     
  77. Yes let me rephrase what I said previously to: "I must say, I absolutely hate the Imacons that I do not own ".
    Cleaning a Coolscan mirror is advanced rocket science compared to this.​
    Haha. Yet, like I've said, I've done it 3 times without incident :)
    I wouldn't even know where to begin in proposing that I do it myself to the supervisor... by signing a contract that says 'if anything goes wrong, I'll pay for the full replacement?' :-/
    Looking at how simple the design is, one wonders why this device costs $13k to $19k. I realize the lens is expensive, but, geez.
    Any of you know how the Peltier element is cooled in these Imacons? Typically a heatsink + fan could be used... but I don't hear no fan. Which makes me question just how effective the Peltier element is and if its own heating up is causing the CCD more noise...
    Actually, Lex, why is there an IR filter above the lens? What's its purpose?
    Could be any of a number of things, but my hands are tied. Which is why I'm so frustrated.
     
  78. Rishi, heat from the peltier cooler appears to be dissipated into the CCD carriage via a heat transmission plate. Probably not a lot to dissipate, I believe the CCD is maintained at about 18C.
    Re the IR filter, I guess maybe the light tube emits some IR which might otherwise affect the CCD in some way. Being a curious type I tried a few scans without the filter but couldn't see any difference in scan quality.
    00S6sq-105157584.jpg
     
  79. Lex,
    Just read your bit about using the black plastic with holes in it... "To try and understand the problem a little better, I scanned a piece of black plastic (containing several pinholes) mounted in a standard plastic slide frame."
    Great idea!
    Guess I could do that with some overxposed Velvia leader that had some holes poked in it, yes?
    Will try that on my Nikon LS-4000... on which I hardly notice any flare.
    Then I'll try it on the Imacon 848.
    I'm really at a loss as to explain why most of the flare occurs in a direction normal to the CCD axis... as you yourself have mentioned above, this indicates that the flare occurs at a certain spot before the bright spot is lined up with the CCD! Which does point to bad optics. But why are the ghosts spaced a certain distance from feature, etc.... these are strange & interesting questions.
    Lex, you took apart your scanner & accessed the CCD -- did you ever look into if it is possible to coat the glass yourself with an anti-reflective coating? If my local eye-glass shop can do it for my eyeglasses... can't be that hard to do it to the CCD cover glass, can it?
    Rishi
     
  80. Actually, in that thread that is linked to above, a 'guru' (Kennedy) says:
    However, if it is just the presence of the CCD window that is causing the effect then you will see multiple images in your scan. If it is scattering from any optical surface in the scanner, including the CCD window, then you will see flared images.​
    Since, with the Imacon, I'm not just seeing flared images but, rather, multiple images (look at the '1' replica to the right of '1' in the Imacon scan of the HCT target above), wouldn't it indicate that the ghosting is resulting from reflections perhaps near the CCD window? Not just from a dirty lens?
     
  81. Lex, you rock. Thanks for being so helpful.
     
  82. Hmm, if only your lab guy would let you spend 10 minutes cleaning the scanner we could save ourself hours of speculation and discussion... :-/
    Yes it looks to me like a combination of the two, flare and ghosting, but mostly flare. It does not seem normal for Imacon, I don't get anything like that.

    Coating just the outer surface of the window may help but I don't think it will eliminate it completely because you still have a reflective underside. Remember that the surface of the CCD device can reflect light as well, and light rays will have a lovely time bouncing backward and forward between the two. This explains offset ghost images I think- any light rays not perfectly normal with the plane of the sensor surface (and window) pass through the window at an angle and could hit the sensor surface at a point not actually on the active array then reflect back to the underside of the window and subsequently back to a point on the array itself. If you had really good collimation you could suppress such ghosting in the direction normal to scan movement I guess, but you would still have the possibility of the diverging rays from the lens resulting in transverse ghosting.
     
  83. If you had really good collimation you could suppress such ghosting in the direction normal to scan movement I guess​
    Funny, now that I actually think about it -- doesn't that mean that more harshly collimated light sources would give you less ghosting/flare, whereas diffused light would give you more ghosting/flare? I must be missing something here...
     
  84. Interestingly enough, my Nikon LS-4000 is now pretty damn good with regards to flare/ghosting. After cleaning the mirror and sealing that little gap (though I should probably unseal it again & see if it affects the scan to be scientific), take a look at this:
    [​IMG]
    Link to Full-Size Image
    Note the small amount of flare in the vertical direction, which is along the axis of the CCD. Is this known as CCD blooming , or is it mostly optical flare? This is a worst-case scenario, given that the white you see above is the absence of film . I just purposefully misfed the SA-21 feeder. So this is about as bad as it could ever get.
    Note also the lack of horizontal flare or ghosting along the feeding axis (normal to the CCD). Lex, basically, contrary to your LS-5000 and my Imacon 848 results, there is not ghosting or flare before/after (temporaly) a sharp contrast boundary.
    Actually the lack of flare in the horizontal direction but the presence of flare along the axis of the CCD could just be dirty/bad optics, it's just that the former doesn't happen because the light source is more of a line and so doesn't illuminate the regions before/after a sharp contrast boundary... in which case the diffuse/broad fluorescent lighting of the Imacon would actually hurt it in terms of flare/ghosting.

    Does that make any sense?
     
  85. Hey Guys... yes, a little off topic again... but after chasing a few 5000 ed's i gave up and then chased a MINOLTA SCAN ELITE 5400 MK11
    and although paying too much for it. ( more than original price! ) I at least have something on it's way now.
    Pertty excited as it sounds like a good scanner to work with??
     
  86. I almost gave up on the Nikons, but a friend let me use his 4000 ED - first scan was horrible, so I started searching the net. After reading this thread and many others, I opened the 4000 ED and cleaned the mirror (major grime layer!), added some black gaffer tape everywhere in the light path where it was possible, damped the chassis with some audio-related damping sheets, and set the scanner flat on a concrete slab before covering it with about 5 pounds of play sand in zip lock bags.
    The result was amazing - the scanner now clearly outperforms my old Polaroid Sprintscan 35 Plus (which it didn't before these steps). The mirror cleaning was by far the most effective step of this procedure, though.
    I was ready to go into the scanner and remove the CCD glas myself (buddy who owns it gave me green light - he hated the results he got with it), but I think I won't need to do that. Another mod I was contemplating is to upgrade the power supply with some top shelf audio capacitors and better diodes (cleans up power and reduces noise), but that would be rather radical and require an external power supply housing. Given I am not very impressed with the speed of the 4000 ED, I may just go for a 5000 ED after all and then start over with all these mods on that unit...
     
  87. I am interested in purchasing the 5000ED to scanner to scan Kodachrome slides, and like everyone else in this forum, I'm concerned about the flare apparently caused by the cover glass over the scanner's CCD sensor, as well as from potential light leaks. I originally had the Minolta 5400II, but it died on me. Minolta (Sony) could not repair it but offered to buy it back for about $225. I took them up on the offer.
    I spoke to Precision Camera in Enfield CT (They are a Nikon factory authorized service center), and asked them if they would remove the cover glass from a 5000ED scanner. They said that they are not able to since it would change the unit's original specification, since the cover glass acted as anti aliasing spatial low pass filter. I am waiting to get a quote from Eureka in Germany.
    I have a question for the users who have removed the cover glass from their scanner. Have you seen any evidence of aliasing, even though the flare is gone? Norman Koren has a good tutorial on aliasing on his website, an provides some examples. However I am curious to know if this is a significant problem in scanning real world slides compared to resolution targets. http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF2.html
    If aliasing is a problem, maybe an AR coated version of the cover glass would solve the problem (I think it was mentioned earlier). I suspect that Nikon has included the cover glass refractive index and thickness in the optimization of their lens design, so I wouldn't aberrations are a problem. On the other hand judging by some of the the images posted without the cover glass, the aberrations don't seem to get worse.
    Sincerely
    Don
     
  88. Don Perrault , Apr 22, 2009; 08:08 a.m.
    ...since the cover glass acted as anti aliasing spatial low pass filter.​
    Well, maybe, maybe not. I don't have a spec sheet for the sensor in the 5000ED, but from memory it's around an inch or so wide. Let's say an inch, 4000 pixels, = 157pixels/mm. So the Nyquist frequency is 157/2 or ~80 cycles/mm. Above that aliasing is a risk, but few films would have significant MTF response beyond 80 cycles/mm. (The 5000ED scans the frame along the long axis, so the film width is also ~1" i.e. ~1:1 relationship).
    Personally I would be very reluctant to permanently remove the cover glass. The risk of sensor damage due to dust, humidity, mechanical damage etc etc would be just too high. Apart from any possible filtering function, the glass is there for a reason - to protect the sensor.
    If you did get Eureka to remove it, I would suggest looking into an AR coated replacement. Otherwise I would not expect the sensor to last very long outside a clean room. Imacon scanners use a Kodak KLI-8023 sensor. It has a flat, clear cover glass with AR coating on BOTH sides. This is the spec for the cover glass:
    [​IMG]
    I don't think a normal AR coating will turn the glass into an anti-alias filter. Such a filter would need to be some special material that spreads each optical point into a cluster points. Maybe there are special coatings that do that in addition to being AR, I'm not sure.
     
  89. I have a Nikon 5000 Coolscan. All the discussion about the flare being caused by dust, or the camera in the optic block...I
    still had flare after cleaning mirrors, lenses etc...I finally opened my Nikon, desoldered the sensor (Sony ilx142a) and
    ground off the glass using 220 carbide, on a glass sheet (wet sand slurry)in my kitchen sink. You have to be careful as
    soon as the glass begins to cut through as fragments will cut the gold trace wires. I switched to 220 water proof paper and
    switched to width wise strokes. Dip the sensor in water (face down) and tilt to allow glass bits to fall out. Next, carefully
    pot the wires with epoxy, allowing it to drain onto the wires. Minimize amount to prevent running out into sensor surface.
    Prop on end to let epoxy set without running out in surface of sensor. After one end is done, do the other end. I used a
    10x loupe to check progress. Finally, clean the surface of sensor by flooding with detergent, water jet and then wiping
    with a wet foam makeup applicator. The sensor itself is surprisingly robust. I soldered machine pins in place so I could
    easily plug the chip in and out as needed. The performance of the scan is amazingly improved. No flare at all.
    Pinhole tests had shown multiple reflections above and below main image of each pinhole. After deglassing, totally
    eliminated artifacts. Now I can take advantage of the 16 bit AD and boost shadows without leakage of highlights.
     
  90. Bravo Geoffrey, bold move but you have proven beyond doubt that the cause of the flare and ghosting with these scanners is the CCD window.
     
  91. The flare is caused by reflections from the protective glass cover on the sensor chip. I removed the glass from mine and
    all the flare issues are gone. Prior to this, point sources (lights a night) had a single primary ghost and several additional
    fainter ghost images. I desoldered the sensor, installed a plug mount. I ground the glass off using a loose silicon carbide
    water slurry on a piece of glass in my kitchen sink. I found extra OEM replacement Sony scanner chips (used in this
    Nikon model) just in case.
     
  92. Geoffrey, can you tell us the type number of the replacement Sony CCD chips and where you got them?
     

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