Using the Scanhancer with the Nikon CoolScan V

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by rafael_franco, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. For those of you wondering about using the scanhancer with the Nikon
    scanners here I?m posting some examples. All are straight scans with
    no post-processing (see how flat the vuescan files are), full size,
    4000dpi resolution. All the names are pretty much self explanatory but
    I forgot to mention that the Kodak ultracolor is ISO 400. Oh yes, I?m
    using the Nikon CoolScan V, with an additional MA-21 adapter as
    suggested by Erik.

    Just a couple of observations: First the time it takes to scan
    increased significantly (2 or 3 times longer than not using the
    scanhancer). Second, the nikonScan utility seems to have problems
    focusing with no film inserted (?), no problems reported by vuescan on
    this regard.

    The kodachrome is about 20 years old so please bear with it.

    Valuable comments are welcome here, my two months old daughter is not
    giving me a lot of free time these days so I haven?t really dig into
    the details.

    Here is the link, please let me know if you have any problem
    downloading the files.

    Sorry but I didn?t find any ultra sharp shot to include.

  2. jtk


    Rafael, I'm about to install my Scanhancer a Nikon V and I'll show my own results sometime next week.

    I'll make observations and then I'll ask you some questions:

    I just downloaded your image with three people and ferns...

    Those Kodachromes are with and without Scanhancer...correct?

    The image appears equally soft in both...I don't notice any Scanhancer difference in sharpness.

    There's color shift, which is irrelevant (they are probably 5-10cc different, Y Vs B).

    The image isn't grainy to begin with (its Kodachrome 64) so Scanhancer's possible benefits wouldn't be seen in any scan...something grainy, such as a fast Ektachrome or fast Kodacolor might show a difference.

    There is a black flaw that looks like a spider-web on the young man's chest and the older man's appears slightly reduced with Scanhancer but not enough to be a significant improvement.

    Scanhancer does not seem to have affected sharpness (the only sharp details may be in plants and masonary ... perhaps this was a slow shutter speed).

    The B&W scans look bad...I don't think Scanhancer caused the muddy highlights. I don't know enough jargon to say why, but it looks like the scanner is trying to find highlight details in extremely underexposed negatives. I think the scanner needs better exposure settings. I'd rather see much higher contrast and accept blown-out highlight details than have all that mud. The photos need white somewhere, and white is entirely absent.


    1) Do you see some benefit or some negative to Scanhancer in your early work with it?
    2) Have you used the Nikon extensively without Scanhancer?
    3) Have you scanned anything grainy, sharp, and properly exposed, either color or B&W, with Scanhancer? What was your experience? I'd like to see your results.

    4) Is it easy to install and then remove the Scanhancer? This is a simple question about the two-sided adhesive strips :)
    Or must I get another MA21 due to difficult insertion and then removal of Scanhancer due to the adhesive?

  3. Thanks for doing this test. The Yahoo-album photos are so small
    it's hard to see much. In the color 400UC images, the main thing
    I notice is that the non-Scanhancer scan looks underexposed, and
    the ICE+Scanhancer seems a bit less sharp, maybe owing to ICE.
    In the B&W images, I see improvement in grain without loss of detail.
    It would be nice to have a color image with continuous-tone areas,
    such as blue sky, to compare.

    So far, what do you think of Scanhancer?
  4. jtk


    On the's Leica forum there will shortly be a "massive shootout" of various scanners and techniques, in which Scanhancer and Coolscan V will certainly be present (me, for one). We;re scanning a chrome and a B&W of the same subject in the same demanding lighting.

    This was set up by Lutz Koenerman (sp...sorry).

    This is the second such "massive shootout" as far as I the first, Erik was one of several dozen participants...he used Scanhancer with an older dual format Minolta...looked effective, which is why I ordered one for my Nikon.
  5. John you?re right about the kodachrome. The b&w shots look all muddy or flat due to vuescan so you can control highlights/shadows better during post-processing (they have less dynamic range but no clipping). Note that I?m also including with/without scans for every single picture. Now back to your questions the main reason to use the scanhancer was to get better scans from damage b&w film (fungus, scratches) and I think there is an improvement in the mom/baby shot. I?m not a pro but I think you can get better grain from Ilford delta 400 than the one shown (this particular one was developed by some inexperienced people at my local lab ? not going there again), but I?m not sure if scanhancer is helping me here. Same for the Kodak ultracolor. And yes, is easy to remove the scanhancer but if you?re going to be using it seriously I?ll recommend the additional MA-21.

    Bill, click on each image and then the ?download? button, you should be able to get the full size picture.
  6. jtk


    fyi I have Vuescan and I'm not impressed that it offers anything over Nikon's application. The many scanning "controls" are amusing, but I think they mainly add complexity.

    I don't think it's necessary to produce muddy scans in order to get great B&W prints. I like to scan with default settings unless there's something seriously wrong with the film. If I can scan with default and produce a print with minimal post-processing (always a little USM), that's what I want. If my film's bad, that's another story.
  7. Hi... the scanhancer website says that the Scanhancer is only for the Minolta scanner, I
    thought. Is there a scanhancer for Nikon scanners??

  8. Here's your answer about other scanners

    I have the Lutz targets and a Scanhancer on my Canon FS4000 and am looking forward to the shootout.
  9. How do I access the shootout?. I was looking for Lutz's posts but I didn't find anything.
  10. jtk


    I don't know where/when on the shootout. I think the targets (slide and slide-mounted B&W neg) were first distributed a week ago and are still available (email Lutz).
    The earlier shootout was very informative, comparing many different scanners and approaches up to but not including (as I recall) the very most recent generations.
  11. Roger Smith,

    You said: "I have the Lutz targets and a Scanhancer on my Canon FS4000 and am looking forward to the shootout."

    Can you report on your results with the Scanhancer on your FS4000? Is there a noticeable improvment in grain? I have this scanner also and was wondering if the scanhancer might help.


  12. These scans are very interesting. Thank you Rafael. I don't know if anyone else actually
    looked at them at 100% magnification, but I have some observations:

    - the Ultracolor samples made with the Scanhancer are not tagged with a color profile,
    while the sample without Scanhancer is in Nikon Adobe RGB This explains the
    differences in saturation and density. It would be better to correct this issue.

    - the Kodachrome sample made with the Scanhancer looks considerably less grainy and
    also a lot better in shadow and highlight detail. This is quite remarkable, given the fact
    that the Scanhancer takes away some of the scanner light. The color balance of the
    Scanhancer sample seems much better to me too. And finally the fungus is less

    - the B&W samples show a huge improvement in the reduction of fungus with the
    Scanhancer. I didn't know it could be that effective. The grain is much softer too. The
    traffic picture shows very effective grain reduction and improvement of tonality with
    Scanhancer (look at the bus!). This should give you a good basis to start with before
    increasing contrast by using S-curves and applying some USM to enhance local contrast.

    Rafael, did you also try to scan the Kodachrome with ICE and Scanhancer? This works well
    9 out of 10 times on my Minolta Multi Pro with Scanhancer. Then we would really see the
    benefit of the Scanhancer for Kodachrome scanning.

    Thanks for posting these results anyway.

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