Cooscan IV - any grain issues?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by julien_boudreau, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. Hello,
    I was recently given a Minolta Scan Dual II and have had some limited success using the minolta software. BW blocks very easily in the shadows, and colour shows rather harsh grain.
    I have a friend selling a perfectly working Coolscan IV for $150 - is this a worthwhile purchase? Am I getting an improvement? Should I just save my money for the Coolscan 4000 or the Plustek 7600? I'm starting to have a lot of negatives and would really like to start scanning with the intent of eventually getting proper 8X12 prints. I mostly shoot colour negatives and TriX.
  2. I meant Coolscan IV in the title...
  3. I think that a Coolscan that is in working condition for that price is a great buy, even if only as an interim solution.
    Mind, I am working with a very fine, but very slow interface, Canoscan 4000FS, but everything I hear (admittedly from the Nikon crowd) is that the Coolscan line is pretty good.
    As far as 'grain' goes, many C/N films are actually still pretty grainy in real life, and it is no advantage if the scanner simply blurs out the grain that actually exists on the negative.
    Software problems are pretty much solved by the ability of VueScan to work with nearly any scanner, old or new.
  4. Digital ICE with the Coolscan should help minimize grain in color film scans. It won't help with b&w negatives.
  5. I have been using the Coolscan IV for years before turning to digital. I scaned mostly Kodak 100 speed Ektachrome slides and 160 Portra line negatives. I don't have issues with the slides but very tiny grain issue with the negatives. Since I don't have other scanner to compare with, so I cannot commnet which one is better. Overall, I have no complain with the Coolscan IV.
  6. I was surprised by the shadow blocking in the minolta - the lack of "exposure control" is what I find really frustrating. My negs don't have a lot of contrast, and I do this on purpose. In fact, there is lots of shadow detail. But the minolta seems to vary based on the image.
    I want to purchase the coolscan, I just want to make sure it's money well spent. As long as it's better than the V500 I had (I wasn't happy at all).
  7. Anyone have the chance to compare the Coolscan IV to some of the Plustek models such as the 7600?
  8. I haven't used the IV I have the 4000. Maybe the only diff is the higher reso on the 4000? I have a Epson V700 too. Noise is much lower cos the film is never in real focus LOL. The 4000 does get some grain, for C41 more so than slides other than maybe Ektar films and the film it has replaced like Kodak Ultra Color. Yes Digital ICE and GEM can help. If you don't you can see the grain off a 6x4 print but it might not be that objectional for many people. Slides are surprisingly good. 50/100 does get some grain from the aliasing if that is the right term from the scanner. But 100/50 speed slides are fine without it for me, even 400 speed slides are fabulous even after shooting digital compared to C41 - many IMO 100 speed C41 is grainer than 400 speed film Fuji Provia 400F which is the older one, the present 400X is said even better. Short story - C41 use software feature. CS will give you are very sharp image in focus though.
    V500 you mean you have the Epson? Well my V700, side/side at 5x7 300dpi sized on screen doesn't compare to my CS. It's a white wash if you compare the V700 to a 6MP dSLR. Not in focus, some things are just not there. V700 can print at 8x12 or even 16x12 if you are not comparing but since you are comparing for a purchase. CS all the way. The 4000 IMO that I have at a guess might be a 10MP dSLR. 35mm slides compared to my 6MP, you always gonna get the film look and the digital look. At 12x16 side/side 6MP begins to break up but it's still pretty good, at 24x16 it starts to show more .... I am assuming it's more to tha 10MP having not tried it. IMO 35mm with CS is v close, in pratical terms it is equiv to a 6MP but if you gonna push the print size, I think a 10MP is more plausible.
  9. I have a Coolscan IV and can honestly say it is much better than my Epson v700. You should have no problem getting good prints at 8x12. When you get it it will probably need the mirror cleaning. Dust will cause a loss of sharpness and blooming. It is not a difficult DIY job but you may prefer to have it done professionally. The Nikonscan Software is pretty good to use but takes a bit of getting used to.
  10. The Nikon scanners are good. I would get it and give it a try, you could sell it if you do not like it. But, I think you will find
    that it is a better tool.

    Shadows are troublesome, just because we can see detail does not mean that it will ever be picked up in a scan. A HDR
    type of approach can get you some results, but a lot more frustration. But that also means that the a wet print would also
    have extreme issues with it as well. It sucks, but not much to be done. A different exposure technique can help. Try not
    to loose highlights, but expose the shadows more and it will be easier to scan.

    Grain, grain = detail. The nature of film, it does not equate well to digital. The better the scanner, the better it can capture
    grain. Which means you see more of it. Grain reduction software is about all you can do.
  11. As Garth said, the Coolscan IV is superior to the Epson 700 - I have both. I've used the Coolscan IV for several thousands of slides and negatives, and its the 80/20 rule for the most part. The 20% that you have to fiddle with are largely high-contrast, or underexposed shots that need work. Underexposure leads to a lot of grain in my experience. ICE helps, and is absolutely required if you can't get the originals pristinely cleaned. A Coolscan IV for $150 is a good deal, and I'd take it just for the price.
  12. Thanks for all the replies!
    I will purchase the Coolscan IV - he had it running in pristine condition recently. He's a very meticulous photographer and keeps all his equipment serviced and clean. I am also purchasing Vuescan, so this will be a good opportunity to learn the software with the coolscan IV.
    The issue I had with the V500 was that it couldn't resolve grain at all - it was just blurry blobs at the grain level. This being said, it seemed to have a good dynamic range and I never had problems with blotchy shadows - is it possible that the V500/600 have better DR than the Minolta Scan Dual II and the Nikon Coolscan IV?
    Here's an example of the grain I'm talking about with the minolta;
    Is this excessive or am I just used to the V500/V600 blur?
  13. And to be clear, I don't mind grain. Just felt the minolta was a bit much, but then again I didn't use any grain reduction. Once I have vuescan, I'm sure I'll get a better appreciation for these scanners.
    Still curious about the Plustek 7600 compared to a Coolscann IV
  14. Re: that image, what film was it?
    That scan doesn't look that bad, I have some C41 that looks like that, particularly the older Fuji NPS 160. Is there a reduce grain and ICE on the Minolta?
  15. I had a cool scan 5000 and though it scanned well, it always tended to give me lots of grain in b/w film. Partially because I use Tri X or HP5 both tend to show grain. I sold that and got a CS 9000 and its a little better those films grain wise (35mm) but I still get strong grain. Much less grain with Med. Format b/w. In fact, I was thinking of going to a lower grain film, to get a little cleaner scan in 35mm.
  16. Again, I don't have a problem with grain, as long as it's "natural" to the emulsion. I even develop BW in Rodinal sometimes!
    That image was Fuji Superia 400 - not the best emulsion around but I generally get good results. When I get it scanned and printed at the local camera shop, there's very little grain. That being said, they might be using grain reduction software, so it's somewhat of an unfair comparison.
    Overall I just want the most detailed / accurate scan possible. If there's grain, then there's grain.
    Picking up the Coolscan on thursday,
  17. Julien - post some scans after you've tried the coolscan. It will be interesting to get your take on it.
  18. David,
    I will do so. I'll have Vuescan for both the Minolta and the Coolscan IV, so it might be interesting to compare. If the coolscan performs better, I'll probably sell the Minolta and purchase some more film.
    My friend has the V700 so we're going to try that one with the Coolscan IV as well.
  19. Might post a C41 shot tomorrow.
    For slides these are what I have done. 100% crops, Kodak E100VS film. No noise reduction.
  20. One other thing to consider is the use of unsharp mask. I always turn it off when scanning and then add the appropriate amount in Photoshop. Too much USM will make the grain appear much worse.
  21. Thanks,
    How does the dynamic range of the Coolscan compare to the new scanners such as the Epson or Plustek models?
    Even the Minolta gets more resolution than the V500, so the Coolscan IV will be sufficient. However, there's a lot of noise in the shadows (blocked) that I didn't see on the V500 scans.
  22. Julien - that (grain in the shadows) is a challenge with the Coolscan. I tend to use Gareth's strategy of adding what I need later in Photoshop (or some other tool). We used a lot of Kodachrome back in the day, and those deep shadows that look so great projected on a screen need some touching up. That's the 80/20 rule I mentioned above - hopefully it'll be a minority of the scans you make.
  23. Is shadow grain a problem with most scanners or specifically the Coolscan line?
  24. My experience is that it (grain in shadows) applies to any scanner I've used. I think that the Coolscan provides a higher resolution output, so the problem can appear to be more significant before touching up.
  25. In high contrast beach scenes I'd overexpose a stop or two with color negative film to keep the midtones and shadows clean. I don't think that's a scanner issue.
    Ways of mitigating the scanner grain issue is to scan at full optical resolution, apply noise filtering, and downsize.

    Shadow grain and dynamic range can be an issue for slide films only. It's possible to mitigate this with HDR software and scanning at multiple exposures and combining.
  26. Roger - one advantage you have now is that if you are still shooting film you can specifically shoot with the knowledge
    that you are going to scan the output, which should improve the outcomes as you describe. I used the coolscan for a lot
    of archive photos that went back decades and did not have that luxury. Kind of makes me wonder whether I shouldnt find
    some film amd make use of it.
  27. Does vuescan allow one to scan at different exposures? I wasn't able to do so using the minolta software, which was frustrating. With the V500 and the epson software I had more control on the exposure of the scan, or so it seeme.
    I will have to explore viewscan to see what I can do.
  28. Apparantly, it's a Nikon Coolscan V ED that I'm getting! He also has the bulk feeder adapter that comes with it.
  29. With the minolta and vuescan, it seems that I can use multi pass scanning. Is this possible with the Coolscan series? Is it a software issue or hardware?
  30. Thanks for all the replies and advice,
    I picked up the Coolscan V yesterday and purchased Viewscan professional - I didn't even think that scans of this quality were possible. To say that I'm impressed is an understatement. The resolution and tonal range that the Coolscan produces is the perfect version of a "digital negative". The only time I saw grain so sharp was in a darkroom.
    Now to learn about colour correction!
  31. Yes you can scan at multiple hardware exposures using Vuescan (check "lock exposure" and play with analog gain.) The Vuescan multisampling also reduces noise in slide film. On the LS-4000 and 5000 I believe it samples each pixel more than once on the same pass, so there are no film alignment issues.

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