Looking at my log I see I started on this June 05. Here it is June 12 and I'm still experimenting. This is my first real attempt at scanning color negatives. Had a few heady false-starts, then crashed. Back to experimenting. I do think I'm making progress, but who knows what I'll be thinking tomorrow. Anyway: I'm attempting to wrestle a decent color negative scan (Fuji Reala 100) out of my Minolta Scan Elite 5400. I've been reading and experimenting. I would prefer to use Vuescan, for various reasons. However, with a pure Vuescan workflow, I have one major stumbling block: the quality and completeness of the infrared cleaning. I believe I've come up with a solution, involving the production of files through Minolta Scan Utility that are suitable to be used as Vuescan Raw Files. First though, some preamble: I've tried Erik de Goederen's (Scanhancer) pdf tutorial on the subject of scanning color negative film with unconventional use of Minolta Scan Utility, which you can find here: http://www.scanhancer.com/index.php?art=17&men=17 I've also researched Vuescan's advanced workflow suggestions, in greater depth than the cursory try I gave it before. One thing I learned, searching the archives of the Usenet scanner forum, locking film base color is a color balance function. Vuescan's locking exposure IS a good thing to do at the initial scanning stage. I think it essential for subsequent locking of film base color. However, setting film base color at this stage does not effect the Vuescan Raw File color balance. What can effect the raw file balance is hardware level adjustment of the red, green and blue exposure. In Vuescan, setting your media to "color negative" will do this. By design, it raises the exposure level of the green and blue channels significantly, to rough compensate for color negative film's orange mask. In MInolta Scan Utility, moving the red, green and blue Exposure control sliders by different amounts, will also affect color balance. As evidence that these adjustments to individual color exposure are hardware level, the scan times are affected, both in Vuescan and MSU. One thing I had never understood till now was how to use Vuescan's advanced workflow locking of film base color when following a scan- from-disk workflow. My understanding through research on the net, borne out by experiment: 1. When scanning Vuescan Raw Files (or any file to be used as a Vuescan Raw File)from one roll, with whatever software, lock your exposure, at the outset. 2. While doing these scans, with the exposure locked, also scan a blank frame from the leader. 3. When doing subsequent Vuescan scan-from-disk, preview the blank frame, crop to exclude the film holder portion around the edge, preview again, tick lock film base color, in the Input tab. This will add 3 red, green and blue film base values to the Color tab. Finally, getting back to my problem with Vuescan cleaning. I got to thinking, why don't I: 1. Scan a film frame with Vuescan, in a traditional color negative workflow. Go through the complete advanced workflow steps first, to be on the safe side, and output a 64 bit Vuescan Raw File. 2. Pre-scan the same film frame with Minolta Scan Utility, as a color slide, with ICE and Grain Dissolver on, and auto exposure off. Set output to be 16 bit linear. 3. Switch over to the MSU Exposure control tab. 4. Open the Vuescan Raw File from the previous step, in Photoshop (CS, preferably, for it's realtime histogram). 5. Meanwhile, in the MSU Exposure control tab, move the master, red, green and blue sliders to get the histogram displays roughly per the Vuescan Raw File's histogram display in Photoshop. (Note, what you see is NOT what you get at this stage. You are seeing what 16bit output would be. But since the MSU output will be 16 bit linear, the result will be much more squished to the left.) Anyway, follow through, do the scan. 6. Open the MSU output in Photoshop, and compare combined, red, green and blue histogram statistics. The MSU 16 bit linear file will likely be a lot darker. Note also the porportion of red to green to blue. 7. In MSU, adjust the Exposure sliders (invariably to the right), aiming to match the Vuescan Raw File histogram levels and proportions, and rescan. I had to repeat step 7 about 4 times to get a MSU 16 bit linear file that was extremely close to the Vuescan Raw file. Along the way, the scan times increased, though not quite as much as Vuescan color negative scan. Following are some of my Minota Scan Utility settings, for your reference: - Scan as a Color Slide - 16 bit linear tiff output - Exposure: Manual - Auto Focus (Or manual? Haven't made my mind up. Manual focus will not work in Custom Wizard.) - No crop or rotation - ICE/GD on Exposure Control Settings master: +0.4 red: -0.4 green: +0.9 blue: +1.4 This yields a file very similar to Vuescan Raw File, and useable accordingly, with the benefit of improved ICE cleaning, incorporated. I would much appreciate if any other Elite 5400 users have give this a try, and let me know how it works for you.