Nikon Coolscan V focus question

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by eye-of-searle, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. I have been noticing that alot of my B&W cause the Nikon Scan
    software to fail in the autofocus attempt during prescan. The
    Coolscan tells me the AF had failed and instructs me to remove the
    film by hand out of the carrier and try again. It seems to be hit
    or miss and I can't seem to pin point an cause. Color film seems
    to work fine. With B&W, I can prescan as positive or color mono in
    8 or 14bit and I still get the same problem.

    Is this a workflow issue or something inherent with B&W film?
    Mainly Tri-X by the way. And what can I do to correct this?
  2. I don't have that scanner yet but my guess is this. Ice should be turned off with black and white films. It does nor work with those anyway. Give it a try.
  3. Yep, ICE is off. I'm talking about the prescan and autofocus. The scanner disengages and I have to removed the negative feeder/holder and then remove the film manually. The scanner will not re-engage without doing this.

    I have no problems with color and B&W C41 films, just traditional B&W, Tri-X.

    I had a 5 negative strip of B&W with a useless 5th frame. I cut it off and loaded it as 4 negative strip and it worked fine. Could this be a film flatness issue or curl issue?
  4. While poking around over Thanksgiving, I stumbled across a thread or two
    concerning the curling issue, Jim. Unfortunately I was out of town and using a relative's
    computer, so I couldn't bookmark them. The discussions actually centered around
    whether the FH-3 film holder would better handle curled film. Searching for << "FH-3"
    >> should work. Maybe something there will help you, though I don't remember anyone
    mentioning the AF error message. I do recall someone suggesting flattening the strip (in a
    sleeve, placed in a book) and then scanning before the strip can curl again.

    I'm curious about this issue myself, since I will be acquiring a Coolscan V before the end of
    the year and much of I will be scanning is traditional b&w (mostly Ilford).
  5. Hey Noreen, thanks for the info. I had actually search those threads before but they just mention focus issues. I am not sure if that means bad or improper focus or an inability to focus problem like I am having. This may well be a curl issue. As mentioned above, when I cut off the 5th negative frame on a strip that had the focus problem, the focus worked perfectly. That makes me think it is a curl problem. If that's the case, I can deal with that.

    You mentioned you were getting the V at the end of the year. Even after having this issue, I would still recc. getting the scanner. The scans are simply amazing and the scanner is very easy to use. It's just taking a bit of time to get a good quality workflow established. That would be true for any scanner. The quality of the B&W scans are really nice. You need to do a little tweaking but once you get it down, it's easy to get great excellent results.
  6. jtk


    Jim, I've never had a problem like yours with mechanical issues of any type, other than end-frame curve/focus... I started that FH3 thread.

    Using Nikonscan I did just scan strip of B&W using the SA21 and autofocus during preview: no problem. I'll have an FH3 later today, will test, have no experience yet. I usually prefer Vuescan and I rarely prefocus with it...I use preview to position the focus, don't care if the preview looks sharp (I evaluate in Photoshop).

    Are you using SA21 or FH3? ...sounds like you're using FH3 because SA21 has no "carrier." Does SA21 work OK with your B&W?

    Is your B&W arched much more than your color film? I've seen others' B&W that's almost tubular (maybe thick emulsion stuff?)... mine's arched, but not extremelyisn't highly arched. I've scanned all sorts of stuff, in B&W mostly Neopan, XP2, Delta, and archived Ilford HP4...none is extremely arched: laid on a table the arch is about 1/4"
  7. John, I'm almost positive it's the SA21. Maybe "carrier" is not the best description. What ever came with the scanner. When I load the stip the scanner pulls the film in a bit and then stops waiting to be told what to do. Regardless of whether I hit "Preview" or "Auto Focus", the scanner will take the strip in and then start to eject it back out a bit when I get a pop up window telling me autofocus has failed and I need to focus manually. When I hit OK, I get another pop up window saying I need to remove the SA21 and then remove the film manually. When I hit OK, the lock releases on the SA21 and I can remove it. This is the only option I have when this happens. The software will not let me do another preview or any other funtion until the film is removed.

    I am starting to think it's a curl issue. However, the film is nowhere near as curled as you mentioned above. The film I was scanning last night had been in Print File negative pages with a larg binder for several years. They are pretty flat but the strips tend to still curl up after taking them out. I did notice the ends to be somewhat curled but not bad. Snipping the last frame off seemed to work fine but that's just not always an option. And again, XP2 Super and color film works flawlessly. However after looking at these films last night, they are flatter than the older Tri-X. I processed the Tri-X and some curl does seem to be present. When I do get a scan of th Tri-X, focus is spot on.

    I might try contacting Nikon to see what they say. I have good luck with their Email support in the past.

    John, just out of curiosity, once you insert the film, what do you do first after setting the film type and bit rate? Preview scan or Autofocus?

  8. jtk


    Jim, I either do the preview with or without focus. I don't focus separately.

    I don't need focused previews...but maybe somebody would like to evaluate negs before scanning (I just use a light box). When I scan mounted slides I often don't even bother to preview...system's very reliable and previews do take time. I guess if I shot high production color neg (weddings?) I might trust Nikonscan to do everything without any previews... Nikonscan's better than Vuescan for that one high speed task because it reads and accurately positions frame lines automatically, and Vuescan requires some visual (preview) adjusting with most strips.

    The standard motorized device is the SA21.
  9. Hey John,

    As always, thanks for the help. I will try doing some previews without focus tonight. I am at work right now so my memory is a little fuzzy but...... what's the difference between simply loading the film and then clicking the little film strip, then clicking the preview icon within the film strip icon that appears with each negative icon and simply clicking the preview button? Hope that makes sense. Is there a difference? One of these steps is the only way I know how to choose which negative to scan. Again, I am at work so I am going off memory.

  10. I really am looking forward to getting my hands on this scanner, all the more so when I
    hear about other people's good experiences with it -- even through troubles like you're
    having. Right now I'm limping along with an old (c. 2002?) Epson Perfection 1250 flatbed
    with a slide/neg converter. It was an enormous help when I needed a cheap solution for
    scanning a few slides for my MA thesis and then my web site, but I can't get a useable
    print from slides or negatives out of it.

    Will you post here what Nikon tells you if you contact them, or how it otherwise turns out
    with anything else you try? Not that I'm anticipating having this problem, but you never
  11. Hey Noreen,

    I will send Nikon an email tonight when I get home and I will post their response, if any. I really think it's a film curl issue though now that I have read a bit more about it. Regardless, it's not a huge issue just a little annoying.

    The Tomb Knocker and Grave Wall images in my PN portfolio were scanned at 8 bit before I knew what I was doing. Even at 8 bit, the detail is impressive in print at 8x10. To tell you the truth, I really could not see much of a difference between the 8 bit and 14 bit scans when printed. But, some images might benefit greatly from 14 bit scans.
  12. The Tomb Knocker is a great shot, Jim. I'm rather found of cemetery details and views,

    I don't think I'm going to wait for Christmas to put that order in. :)
  13. Noreen and John,

    Nikon email support was pretty much useless. He keep telling me to choose the film type correctly. I think I had that figured out(sarcastic tone). When I mentioned scanning as a positive it really threw him. Go figure. So I gave up with Nikon support.

    However, I did figure out AGAIN that using 4 neg strips works flawlessly every time. It seems my Tri-X 5 neg strips just won't work for some reason. Stange? When I snip off the 5th neg, everything works great. I went back through alot of my negs and this should not be a problem. Color 5 strip negs work fine as well as XP2. Very Strange? Oh well, I can live with this. Not a problem at all, really. The Nikon guy was stumped as well. He had no explanation. I work almost entirely with Ilford XP2 and Fuji color now so no problems.

    Noreen, get it now! That way we can both bother John and Ellis on how to work this darn thing. :)

  14. Purchase is looking likelier. Need to order ink for my HP 8450 anyway. :)

Share This Page