Scanning an ektachrome with Super CoolScan ED 5000 for 23.6x35.4 inches (60X90cm) print

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by lzo_lzo, May 10, 2009.

  1. hello,
    I have some trouble scanning an Ektachrome slide with my Nikon Super CoolScan 5000 ED.
    I can't produce the 23.6x35.4 inches (60X90cm) 300 dpi file my lab asks me in order to print the said file on a 23.6x35.4 inches (60X90cm) paper.
    Any tips ? Am I at the technical max of my scanner ?
    Thanks for the help.
  2. What res are you scanning at?
  3. Am I at the technical max of my scanner ?
    yes ... simple and good enough solution is to resample file to size and resolution, requested by lab
    bit more complicated, (and lot more $ consuming) solution is to scan your chrome optically at cca 8000dpi, using dedicated hi-res scanner like flextight or even better some drum scanner
  4. The scanner cannot scan at a high enough resolution to give you 60x90 cm at 300 ppi. One way to look at it is that the 4000 ppi scan resolution is only 13.3x the 300 ppi print resolution, so the maximum enlargement you can produce at 300 ppi is 13.3x the film size, in this case 32 x 48 cm.
    But the bigger point is that, contrary to the suggestion "to scan your chrome optically at cca 8000dpi", doing so is a waste of time. The highest resolution color transparency films have a 50% MTF response point of about 45 lp/mm, and virtually no response above about 70 lp/mm, which correspond to about 2300 ppi and 3600 ppi respectively. When you scan color transparency film with a Nikon 5000 at its fully resolution, you are probably getting all of the real detail that's on the film. If you bump that up with a different scanner from 4000 ppi to 8000 ppi, you are likely to get essentially no additional image detail, and you'll just resolve the grain more.
    I'd bet heavily that if you send the lab a file at the 5000's native resolution and ask for a 60x90 cm print, you'll get one just fine, even though the lab may suggest more. If not, find a new lab!
    Last but not least, this is a 25x enlargement. Don't expect super high quality regardless of how you scan and process. If you want 60x90 cm prints on a regular basis, you're likely to do much better with a medium-format (or even large format) camera. But then, of course, your Nikon could not handle the film.
  5. The LS-5000 will has an optical resolution of 4000 ppi. Nikonscan will not allow anything which would exceed this value. The maximum resolution in your case would be 4000/23.6 = 169. If you entered a larger number in the resolution field, it would revert to 169 when you hit ENTER or clicked on another part of the window.
    Some programs, notably Silverfast, let you enter any number, and will resample as needed to achieve it. However, Photoshop does a better (and more predictable) job of resampling, which you can do using the "Image Size" tool (or Cropping tool).
    That said, you won't get a very good print at 24x36 inches from 35mm film - that's a 24x enlargement while even 12x is pushing the envelope. If you want big, clear prints, you need to start with larger negatives. It's your choice to skip the "clear" part.
  6. Lzo,
    Yes, you are reaching the limits of the Nikon scanner. The true optical resolution is approx 3800ppi. Regardless of the resolution however, you have many things against you in the processing chain.
    Assuming perfect handling during capture with good optics, your scan will still be scanner limited. I have compared Imacon scans at 6300ppi vs my old Nikon 9000. While there is definitely more information on the Imacon scan, the benefits on a 24x36 inch print are lost in the grain. Yes, you’ll see finer texture and better Dmax on the Imacon scan, but the deal breaker is simply the size of the film. For a 36” print, I would not normally use anything smaller than 6x7 MF….and preferably 4x5.
    If you want the best, get a drum scan from a reputable company like West Coast Imaging. Ask for a 5400-6300ppi scan in 16 bit. Fluid mounting on the drum will lessen the appearance of grain. As you’ve already pulled virtually everything off the film, scanning at higher resolutions than 6300ppi will offer no benefit. At this point, use your favourite interpolation routine to upsample to 300dpi for 36”. If you’re sending to a pro-lab for printing, see what they use for a RIP and you may not need any interpolation at all.
    If you want to print this size on a normal basis, I’d recommend looking at a decent MF system, fine grain films like Astia or Provia, or Pro160, and a decent scanner like the Nikon 9000 or Imacon.

    Best of luck.
  7. I run a LightJet 430 and the RIP the sofware it uses is very good. Some say better than Photoshop's interpolation. If you can scan it at size and at least 150, have it printed on a LightJet and you will most likely be happy with the results. I just printed a scan from a 35mm Kodachrome, up to 40x60 and my client was very happy. I think when you deal with 35mm, most people expect it to be a bit grainy when enlarged a lot and they are more willing to accept it. I agree with previous posts that once you get to a certain point, scanning a 35 larger is a waste of time. You will not see any more detail and a larger neg as a starting point is better. I really have seen some amazing enlargements from 35mm and the lightjet. I print my 35s to 24x36 all the time. While a scan at size and 300ppi is best, as long as your scan is between 150 and 300 then you should not have a problem as long as what you see on your screen is acceptable to you. Just my thoughts.
  8. I have to agree with Dave - I own both the Nikon 5000 and 9000 (long story) and I find that 2880 dpi and 4000 dpi scans are essentially indistinguishable. My suggestion is to scan at 4000 DPI (just to get the pixels up) and then use a interpolation program to increase the number of Pixels. there are a range of options from just using Photoshop up to Geniune Fractals which is probably the best and most expensive software. I am not sure why you need 300 DPI I have had good results at 240 DPI with large prints - these are done by a lab since I only use a 13" wide printer at home. My big suggestion is to try and print from the 16 bit Tiff file if possible as you get better results at lower DPI than using a JPEG file.

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