Increasing shadow detail causing strange artifacts

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by jammer_jammer, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. I ran into a new strange fringing problem. At first I was blaming it on my scanner software because I noticed it was happening mostly when I used the Nikon DEE for increasing shadow detail. So then I made a completely unedited scan, opened it in Elements and used the Elements software to increase the shadow detail instead of the Nikon Scan DEE but I'm getting the exact same results. So, no matter which software I use to increase shadow detail, it's causing this strange fringing artifact. This is a real problem for me as the majority of my Kodachrome scans DEFINITELY need some amount of increase in the shadow detail.
    Has anyone else experienced this problem and or found a solution, other than having to actually go in surgically and remove it? This is going to cause me a tremendous amount of extra work.
  2. Increased shadow detail
  3. Jammer, what is it exactly you're trying to illustrate here? It's hard to to tell what's amiss on my monitor, my eyes aren't that great *and* I'm a slow learner. Can you describe what and where?
  4. Jammer. Here are my thoughts.

    First, Kodachrome basically contains no shadow detail. It's just black, or "more blacker" as the guy in Spinal Tap says. Other slide films are similar. Trying to crank up the gain or use shadow-highlights in Photoshop to open up detail-less shadows is only going to cause problems.

    That's because there?s a real limit to how much you can open up shadows, and with Kodachrome, you reach that limit really fast. Even with Tri-X, which has wide latitude, you get to a point at which you simply have to stop and say, whelp, that's as far as this sucka is gonna go.

    It's also possible that you're making 8-meg scans, which can't be mucked with as much as 16-meg scans. I don't get that impression from looking at the picture you posted but it's a possibility.

    I, too, love Kodachrome, precisely for its high contrast and wonderful color. But high contrast generally means low shadow detail. We also have to remember that Kodachrome is old, far older than scanner technology. I've been able to scan it well but it's not easy.

    Good luck.
  5. Jammer, have a look at the train headlights, near the bottom of this page:

    This is typical at sharp light-to-dark transitions with Kodachromes with the Coolscan 5000 (and I would assume the V). I believe the 9000 doesn't exhibit this feathery edge effect, but not sure. A scanhancer diffuser may help, if it's compatible.

    Also check my response, and particularly the link to the german web site with the sailing boat scans, here:
  6. I think the Scanhancer's a good idea.

    Here's something to try- if you deliberately overexpose using Analog Gain, do you see the same effect? If so, you're out of luck because it's a light source issue and should consider the scanhancer. If not, and is a capture issue, you might be able to combine exposures in a program like Photomatix. The free trial of Photomatix lets you combine 2 images with no watermark.
    Scan once for the highlights and once for the shadows, and combine. I do this to get around noise limitations of my scanner with dense slides.
  7. BTW, I started my 7:50 post before seeing the second example you posted, where the dark/light transition artifacts *are* very evident.
  8. Roger,
    I tried a no ice/cranked analog gain/increased shadow detail and I do not get the artifacts. Thanks for the tip on Photomatix. I'll have to check into that.
    J Sevigny,
    Thanks for your response. I completely understand what you're getting at and since all of my slide are Kodachrome, I've found out in short order that if they are even slightly underexposed or too contrasty, that I'm having problems with flair and or this feathery edge/fringe problem. The thing is, in this example, I have only slightly increased the shadow detail and still see this problem. Without this slight increase in shadow detail, the scan would be worthless to me. I'm only talking about trying to bring out some of the detail that is very obvious in the slide itself.
    When doing my research before buying this scanner, I had see where people were complaining about flair issues is areas of the scan with high contrast but I had not read about this feathery edge problem. It is in fact a problem with the ICE. Based on the info you gave and in the links you provided, I went back and did a scan without any ICE, opened it in Elements and increased the shadow detail as before and as you can see, there is none of the feathery edge artifact present.
    So, this is just peachy. I guess my only choices are:
    1. Scan with ICE and surgically remove any feathery edges and or flairs.
    2. Scan without ICE and do the dusting with my spot healer.
    3. Return the scanner and buy a one that cost $1000.00 more than this one did. I've only got three days left before my 30 day return policy ends.
    What to do? What to do? Arrrrrgh!
    This is just WONDERFUL! :-(
  9. Jammer, I got similar artifacts with my 5400 when scanning thru Vuescan with it's infrared cleaning and *without* the scanner's "grain dissolver": a device similar to the scanhancer.
  10. You scanned with ICE, while you can't do that with Kodachrome. This is typically the kind of
    artifact that's caused by that combo. Roger is right: in most cases the Scanhancer will allow
    you to scan with Kodachrome on, without getting the artifacts. But for the Nikons 5000/V I
    only have a non-supported version available, which means: it might work for you but if it
    doesn't I won't be able to do much of trouble shooting with you as I don't have a Nikon
    scanner available for back checking.
  11. What I would do:

    1. Scan well-exposed, non-contrasty shots with ICE and surgically remove any feathery edges and or flairs.

    2. Scan the rest without ICE and do the dusting with my spot healer.

    3. Strongly consider a scanhancer for stubborn slides. It should reduce apparent grain and other artifacts, but at the expense of time- expect scan times to double or triple
  12. Thanks for all the feedback folks. I appreciate it. <p>

    I timed myself with two different approaches on the slide in question. I hand spotted a scan that I had not use ICE on. That took me 5 minutes and 45 seconds. I then used ICE on a second scan, hand spotted the minimal amount of spots that are left behind and surgically removed all of the fringing effects. That took 7 minutes and 46 seconds. So, depending on the AMOUNT of feathery artifacts, it looks like I'll be better off just doing the hand spotting. I haven't been blowing off or even brushing off dust from any of these slides thus far. I could experiment with that and maybe that would cut down the spotting time for those pesky slides that I am not able to use ICE on.<p>

    1. I've done no real amount of printing of any of these scans thus far and was wondering about something. The example that I showed you of the artifacts was a crop of the image at 100%. How large of a print would it have to be before anyone would even notice these artifacts? If you'd have to go pretty large for them to be noticed, then it would be foolish for me to even bother fixing the scans of a lot of the family snapshots that I'm scanning just for sake of having them archived.
  13. I was rushing in my last post (supposed to be working). The last workflow I mentioned was Vuescan with infrared defect detection on but "grain dissolver" (Minolta's euphimism for their light source diffuser) turned off. This combo gave me those feathery edges.

    My reason for using Vuescan to try this is that Minolta, through their "Minolta Scan Utility" software (MSU), will *not* allow you to have ICE on and the Grain Dissolver out of the light path. I would suspect this was because they encountered problems with this combo.

    Also, as others have mentioned, the grain dissolver at least doubles your scan lengths. Maybe you will have luck with the Scanhanser. I believe John Kelly has one, for his V. And if I recollect, he handn't really tried it out. Perhaps he can comment.
  14. Jammer, reading the options you've listed above, particularly option #3, the exchange: I believe the only "reasonably" priced scanner capable of scanning Kodachrome, and available new, is the Coolscan 9000. Even then I'm not convinced, particularly looking at the price tag.

    Just from looking at those back of the sailing boat scans posted on the german site (if you found that in my links), The 5000 was eroding out portions of the actual image, while the 9000 was not. This is the behaviour you see when trying ICE on silver emulsion black and white. And the reason for this: there *is* some silver in the Kodachromes.
  15. And the answer is... in a snapshot size (4x6 inch) print, you likely wouldn't see the problem at all. In an 8x12, maybe if you looked for it. At 4000dpi (@ 300dpi you get 13x19 inches) it's apparent.

    I really wouldn't return your excellent scanner but rather work with its limitations. Try the Giotto Rocket Air for all your dust blowing needs.
  16. Thanks again everyone. I really appreciate all of the help and information.
  17. jtk


    Jammer, you've gotten superb advice from everybody. Impressive.

    A tiny bit more: "Kodachrome" is not one phenomenon. Between Kodachrome batches I've found variations in ability to benefit from (or tolerate) Ice. Nikon's documentation is totally candid about the erratic Kodachrome/Ice issue, and it's been discussed repeatedly (probably weekly) in this forum.

    I do think you'll get better results with Vuescan, if only because it's got more subtle control over infared.

    While Nikon 9000 MAY have Ice/infared advantages (I've never seen such a claim), it has disadvantages Vs 5000 and V in terms of its 35mm film handling, and perhaps its focus. You might gain something with a 9000 if you invested in a wet mount carrier . You might also solve your problem with an Epson 750 and wet mount. Unfortunately I've seen no credible reviews with 35, though they must be out there somewhere.

    In any case, you don't appear to be trying to "increase shadow detail" so much as to invent it.
  18. "While Nikon 9000 MAY have Ice/infared advantages (I've never seen such a claim), "

    What I've heard is that the 9000 uses a new "pro" version of ICE and may have a slightly differently implemented IR LED system. Who knows if it really works better.
  19. John, Thanks for chiming in. Always good to hear from the folks using this machine on a daily basis. As far as your last sentence though, I'm not sure that's the case. If I see detail in the shadow when projecting the slides, should I not be able to bring that detail out when scanning the slide? Maybe I'm asking for the impossible. I don't know? Thanks again.
  20. I've had this problem several times when scanning high contrast photos from e-6 film. I
    believe this is a function of the light source bleeding through the bright area as the scanning
    head is passing the dark area causing the halo area. Fireworks were most notable for me, as
    I not only had a single bright area, I had a prism-like effect from it. Unfortunately, no matter
    how I scanned, I couldn't get ride of the problem - even using scanners from two different
    manufacturers. While one scanner, the Canon FS-4000, showed the flaring to a lesser
    degree, the loss in shadow detail capture in normal slide scans and increased noise were
    enough for me to move to another scanner and relegate the Canon to backup.

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