Scan file format when scanning negatives.

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by dave_g_2020, Feb 2, 2020.

  1. Hi all,

    I'm just getting started with film shooting and my plan was to develop the negatives and scan them for editing in Luminar. The scan file format options for my Epson v600 are lossy jpg and non-lossy ?? tiff files. I've heard that if you plan to process your images later, you should use a lossless format like tiff files if scanning film or raw files if shooting with a digital camera. Any comments appreciated.
  2. Absolutely correct.
    SSepan and dave_g_2020 like this.
  3. However, the better the file is, the larger the file is.

    A high-bit TIFF file can be HUGE, so you need to decide what you really need and how much storage capacity you have.

    For many purposes a high-quality jpeg file (set to 12) is good enough.

    For example, one image (4000 ppi) I have in both formats is 14.8 MB in jpg and 92.9 MB as a tiff file, and a low-bit scan at that.

    A 36-exposure 35mm film could be 3 to 4 GB in tiff.
    dave_g_2020 likes this.
  4. SCL


    I used to do tiff files in scanning negatives, but the size became an issue in storage, so these days I scan to Jpg for web use and only occasional tiff when I want large (30x40 inch) prints.
    dave_g_2020 likes this.
  5. Disk space is cheap and life is short. Scanning is a tedious process, which I would rather only do once. When I scanned about two thousand 35mm trannies some years ago, I preferred to scan in tiff with the highest bit resolution possible. Will never have to do it again. It's up to you.
    Tony Parsons likes this.
  6. Thanks for the feedback everyone. I forgot to mention that I am planning to scan 6x9 negatives so I expect tiff file sizes to be huge but I suspect the storage issue will be managable.
  7. Surely the idea is to have the highest resolution and bit depth available for editing? Then, after you have a result you're happy with, convert to a size and file-type that's fit for purpose.

    Archive or delete the lossless file as you see fit, just don't try to apply hefty colour or tonal changes to a crappy 8 bit JPEG.
    That means you can store 16 films' worth of scans on a cheap 64GB SD card or USB stick, or 250 films on a 1TB hard drive. Costwise, that's about €0.25 per film; film that'll have cost nearly 40 times as much to buy and process. Not counting the time cost in scanning and post-processing.
    dave_g_2020 likes this.
  9. I scan my color 6x7 MF film and save in tiff. I use a V600. At 2400bpi 48bit that's about 200+mb per shot. As rodeo joe says above, storage is cheap. I've got a 4tb WD Passport USB plugin drive for under $100. That's about 5000 pictures. I'll be dead before I snap that many. My wife will shoot me if I try. :)

    I use Lightroom which doesn;t need to make full pictures to save after editing. It just keeps a data base of the edits. So the photo storage capacity doesn't multiply. How does Luminar work? If it does the former, it will use a lot more storage.

    One suggestion I have. Come up with some sort of a file system with searches and keywords or whatever when you first start doing this. You want an easy method of finding pictures and it's a lot harder to correct later than getting off on the right foot with a system now. Good luck.
    dave_g_2020 and Charles_Webster like this.
  10. When considering storage, also think about what you'd do if your drive failed, your computer was stolen, there was a tornado, fire, accidental deletion, etc.

    I keep a set of backups locally but also in the cloud.
  11. You might also consider converting the TIFF's to Digital Negative after scanning. DNG's are smaller and preserve all of the raw data. I convert all of my NEF (Nikon raw) files to DNG when I import into Lightroom, and I don't have to worry about having the latest software update to read them, not to mention a smaller file size for storage and management.
  12. WHo has cheap cloud storage?
  13. I use Backblaze, which is $110/2 years. It has unlimited storage - as many hard drives as you want. The problem with cloud storage is the initial upload is SLOOOOOOW, even if you have a fast server. But once it is done (took about a month for me) you forget about it and it backs up automatically. It's saved me on numerous occasions when I lost a file or forgot to save or whatever. I haven't had a catastrophic failure yet but in theory it can restore you after a Katrina.
  14. If those are your only two options definitely Tiff. See if there's a driver software update that will allow DNG files. They are smaller but still lossless and compatible with most platoforms.

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