Workflow for Color Negative scanning with Elite 5400 - comments?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by mendel_leisk, Jun 12, 2005.

  1. 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

    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:

    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

    - 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.
  2. Or if you're already doing something like this. Or you've tried it, it doesn't work, and why.
  3. Mendel, like you, I've been struggling to get decent negative scans out of my Elite 5400, given the terrible highlight and shadow clipping its proprietary software produces.

    After countless hours of online research, trial and error and frustration, I've come up with a method that I believe gives the best results --and using only the Minolta Scan Utility and Photoshop CS, as VueScan simply lacks a good implementation of ICE.


    1. Scan as color positive, 16bit (NOT linear), autofocus at scan

    2. At the Exposure Control tab, set:





    -This helps to balance the histogram and eliminate most of the negative orange mask. Some difficult images may require different settings, but these cover most situations.


    1. Load TIF file

    2. Invert

    3. Assign profile "Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite5400" (installed along with the Minolta software)

    4. Convert to either ProPhoto or Adobe1998
    -I personally prefer to work on 16bit all the time, so ProPhoto is my choice for colorspace given its fantastic wide gamut; but most people prefer to work in Adobe1998.

    5. Get rid of the remaining colorcast: Image>Adjustments>MatchColor>Neutralize
    -I've found that with night shots or very dark images this step is not necessary, and in fact it can be counterproductive. However for most daylight photos it works like a charm at correcting the histogram.

    6. Create a Curves Adjustment layer. Open its Options, under Algorithms select "Enhance Per Channel Contrast", check "Snap Neutral Midtones", and on "Target Colors & Clipping" select 0.01 both for shadows and highlights.

    7. At this point the image still looks too bright, so create a second Curves Adjustment layer on top of the previous one, and use it to correct the overall gamma --a simple pull down on RGB (say Input around 200, Output around 180) is usually enough.

    Having done all this, you should now have a decent file to begin working on, with no clipping and neutrally balanced colors. At this point what I do is create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer and use it to increase saturation, and create a Levels Adjustment layer and use it to clip the shadows and highlights as necessary (for contrast.)

    Hope this helps.


    Marcos Rodriguez /
  4. Nice one Marcos. I have an Epson but i have saved your steps as an action and is very useful. Thank you!
  5. Thanks for the coments and workflow, Marcos. I have dabbled with MSU to Photoshop workflow, but I'm still going to try work atleast the finishing steps in Vuescan. I agree, Vuescan cleaning is not good enough, that is why I'm attempting to make Vuescan Raw Files thru MSU, to incorporate true ICE.

    The way MSU exposure controls seem to be working at hardware level (as evidenced by variations to the scanning time) can allow you to optimize the color balance at time of scan, before any software deals with it. At least, I think so. Also, I'm still just getting my head around what can be done by scanning a leader, how it can be used to calibrate things. Some more notes:

    Last night I tried Vuescan scan-from-disk with the dozen or so "quasi" Vuescan Raw Files I had produced through MSU, per my workflow above. Using the color negative setting, I first locked film base color, after previewing the leader frame I had scanned.

    Based on the finished gamma tiffs I got, I would say these MSU produced raw files are close, but do not appear to be what Vuescan would normally expect to see. If I set color balance to "white balance", there is a nasty cyan cast. D.O. for neutral, or manual with 1/1/1 values.

    Setting color balance to manual, and right-clicking on supposed neutral grey, I was able to get a half-decent color balance, but it required a heavy adjustment of the red/green/blue neutral settings, and a lot of back forth between various frames, hunting for true neutral greys.

    This morning, out of curiosity, I tried another Vuescan scan-from-disk as "image", of the MSU generated leader frame raw file. To my suprise it looked exactly the same tone as the leader itself. Then I realized I still had the heavily adjusted manual color balance set. When I set the 3 manual settings back to 1, the color got a lot closer to clear, but there was a definite cast still.

    My sleep-deprived brain cells could not sort this out, but I suspect it is not coincidence. Flipping from negative back to postive, while retaining the manual adjustment set in manual scan-from-disk, seems to have brought me full circle. Hmmm.

    Anyway, still in Vuescan, with the manual balance set back to 1/1/1, I moved the mouse around the preview of the leader raw scan, observing the (quite uniform) r/g/b values. I fed perhaps 1/2 dozen of these readings into a spreadsheet, and averaged them, just for an exercise. In the un-reversed scan-from-disk with this leader frame raw file, the red was still too high, and the green a little high. Taking measurements like this, I think I can further optimize the MSU exposure control settings, and look at raising all 3 channels, to be just under 255.

    Having fired up the scanner at least 20 minutes earlier, I restarted MSU and and adjusted the exposure control sliders in a rough attempt at this, to decrease the red exposure a moderate amount, and a slight decrease in green as well. I did a quick low res. scan of a regular frame, a daylight scene, outputting another 16 bit linear, and tried Vuescan scan-from-disk with this. Much improved color balance. Using Vuescan's white balance, or neutral, the result is almost cast free. Still, I think I have a bit of tuning to do.

    Tonight, I'll scan the leader with MSU a few times, finetuning the exposure settings, and assess by doing scan-from-disk as "image" on the result. My object is to get the raw file as neutral as possible, at the hardware stage. It may be impossible to dial it in exactly, since the MSU exposure sliders only allow 20 increments (from -1 to +1 in increments of one tenth). I think this scan of the leader is the key to producing good Vuescan Raw Files through MSU, and for minor subsequent tweaking, within Vuescan.
  6. Marcos, after playing around with MSU's exposure levels some more, I finally tried your workflow, step by step. The result is very good! The balance looks very natural, and the histograms look smooth and unclipped. Thanks for sharing.
  7. My pleasure, Mendel. Glad to know you found my method useful. As I said, it took me endless hours of tweaking, trials and research on the Internet to finally arrive to this approach, and so far I have not found anything that can top it. Best of all, it does not involve spending even more money on third party software like VueScan or SilverFast.

    Too bad Minolta bundled a fine piece of equipment like the 5400 with such lousy software, otherwise the Elite 5400 would have been a real killer. Now I hear that the new 5400 II is way faster than the 5400 and comes with a much improved algorithm to process negatives; I haven't tested it myself, but if true it only makes me madder: Just months after having provided Minolta with a bunch of my hard-earned dollars for a scanner that I might not have bought had I known of its software flaws, they come up with a much improved version and I'm stuck with this "beta", so to speak.

    Unless Minolta comes up with a major software update for the 5400 --and pretty soon-- I am going to boycott them for good. In fact, one reason I didn't even consider the Konica line of digital cameras was precisely this. Now I'm shopping for the Canon 350D, and saying goodbye to film --of course, I still have my negative archive, and it needs its scanner...

    Anyway, glad to have been of help.


    Marcos /
  8. Excellent thread, with scan acquiring workflow by Bart van der Wolf here (usenet):

    and search for:

    Scan workflow for negatives using Minolta 5400
  9. Marcos, regarding MSU wish list, a few things I'd like:

    1. Ability specify off-center autofocus focus point.

    2. Readout of focus result, and the ability to key in a focus setting.

    3. Ability to decouple Grain Dissolver from ICE. (Though, I think cleaning quality would take a hit. Still would be nice to have the option, to see for oneself.)

    Here's my (rough) take on the thread I linked, with a little tweaking. The main tweak, I DO think you can scan full frame and not have the auto exposure screwed up by the frame itself, using the Auto Exposure Crop function (not sure if I've got the language exact, it's described on page 39 of software manual). Tried it this a.m., very promising.

    The object is to optimize the scan itself, as much as possible. To extract max info, and negate the mask. The approach is very objective; I can't fault it.

    Workflow for scanning color negative film with Elite 5400

    In MSU:


    * Scan as color slide type

    * Auto exposure on (to get base exposure, adjustment will be made)

    * 16 bit linear output (or 16 bit?)

    * Manual focus


    1. Scan a frame containing just leader.

    2. In PreScan tab, set crop to maximum. (assuming you want a full capture, safest)

    3. Set Auto Exposure crop to be a little inside the actual image. (hold shift key down while dragging crop edge) (to ensure exposure isn't influence by holder)

    4. Depress the Auto Exposure crop button. (to use the AE crop from previous step). Do another Prescan. (This, coupled with step 3, will for sure exclude the holder from the exposure calc)

    5. In Exposure tab, set master slider to 2. (max. brightness)

    6. Move mouse around the image and note the red, green and blue values. Should look just like the leader: orange in color.

    Move the red, green and blue sliders off of the default 0 values, to bring the values as close as possible to being equal, and also to bring them all as close to, but under, value of 255. After each slider(s) adjustment, hit the exposure refresh button. It does not do a second prescan, just recalculates with the software. Probably 245 is a safe highpoint target, since there will be some errant readings you won't notice, which may otherwise blow-out to 255.

    If you still have clipping to 255 on any of the channels regardless of pulling the individual color sliders, move the master slider down a bit. It really doesn't matter, the effect is the same. The object is just get all 3 colors as equal as possible, and comfortably close to 255. Move the mouse around, watch the values carefully.

    When sastisfied, you can save these settings (with a name), and also apply them to all frames (with the buttons across the top), if you like.

    You have now neutralized the film's orange mask, and the image (just leader) should look plain white, if you've done things right.

    7. Switch back to Prescan tab and do a careful manual focus. Choose a light, smooth tone area, somewhere near middle or a bit off center. Click ok, and a prescan will start.

    8. Switch back to Exposure tab to verify the red, green and blue values are still near balanced, and not clipping to 255.

    9. Scan. Note, this is a scan of a blank leader, for reference. Perhaps make it's name's numeric suffix "-00".

    10. To scan subsequent "real" frames, repeat the above steps, but omit step 6, the exposure adjustment process. The master/red/green/blue auto exposure adjustment values set on the leader, which apply an adjustment to MSU's autoexposure, will eliminate the orange mask effectively, on all frames of the same film, and will probably be very close for any other rolls of the same film type, though you should check. Also, verify these values have indeed been carried over to all frames. To repeat, in the Exposure tab, the "apply to all frames" button should accomplish this.

    Also, I believe the auto exposure crop window will be remembered once you've used it once on a frame, so the process of setting that and doing another prescan can probably be avoided. Just press shift in the preview tab, to verify AE crop is still a bit inside the actual image area, and verify the Auto Exposure crop button was depressed, PRIOR to prescan.

  10. Ok, I've tried to tidy up my method, and added the use of Photoshop's level dialogue, to increase accuracy. Hopefully someone's still reading. Any comments greatly appreciated.


    To optimize the scanner's response to a roll of color negatives. To this end, the goal is to set the scanner's exposure settings so that each of the three color channels is recorded with maximum brightness values as close as practically possible, but not at, pure white (255), when scanning the film's leader.

    Accomplishing this objective will neutralize cast caused by the film base color, and ensure maximum extraction of detail from the darker areas of the film (the highlights in the inverted, normal image).


    In Minolta Scan Utility, prescan a cropped frame of the film's leader, as a color slide, with auto exposure on. Then, adjust the exposure controls to equalize the red, green, and blue channels as closely as possible, and to bring the average reading of all 3 channels fairly close to pure white, say a starting value of 225.

    Make a scan with these settings.

    Open a levels dialogue on the resulting file in Photoshop. Set clipping to be 0.0 per channel, and note what Photoshop intends to clip from the white end of each color channel. Ideally, each channel should be clipping an equal value, very slightly below the highest value of 255. Significantly lower white clipping numbers indicate exposure was too low for that channel. Clipping value of 255 (no clipping), indicates the exposure was too high for that channel.

    If low or no clipping of white point is the case, repeat the scanning process in MSU, adjusting exposure to suit, and re-evaluate in Photoshop.

    After setting the exposure bias satisfactorily, and for the remainder of the roll, continue to scan with Auto Exposure on, with these bias values. If you want to scan full frame, use AE exposure cropping window, as described on page 39 of software manual, to exclude the frame from the autoexposure calculation.


    Minolta Scan Utility operations:


    media: Color film

    auto expose for slides: yes (will be adjusted, through adjustment in Exposure Control tab)

    focus: manual (preferred, for greater accuracy and control)

    output: 16bit tiff (not linear, for now. Once the exposure values are established though, it is ok to output 16 bit linear if you like.)

    dpi: 5400 (For maximum accuracy of calculation. With ICE/GD off, it's still quite quick.)

    ICE/Grain Dissolver: off (just for efficiency, when you have gone through all the steps and determined optimum exposure, repeat the process, with ICE and GD. Some further adjustment may be needed)

    crop: crop to completely exclude the frame (For now. Full frame can be captured, without skewing the autoexposure calculation, with the use of MSU's AE crop area, per page 39 of software manual)


    1. In MSU, Prescan leader. Crop to exclude frame. Manually focus (forces second prescan)

    2. Go to Exposure tab. Move mouse around the image and note the red, green and blue values.

    3. Move the sliders to get the values as close to equal as possible, and around a value of 225. Be sure to press the exposure refresh button after each adjustment.

    (The object is to equalize the scanner's response to the three channels, and to get the values as high as possible without clipping. Since moving the mouse over the image will likely not find the highest values, 225 is a reasonable, somewhat arbitrary, starting target)

    4. Scan.

    5. Open the resulting file in Photoshop, and open a levels dialogue. Click the options button, set white and black point clip both to 0.0, per channel (no "snap neutral midtones") and click ok.

    6. Back in the main window of the levels dialogue, review what Photoshop proposes to clip from each of the individual red, green and blue channels:

    If any of the channels shows a white point clipping value of 255, the scanner exposure you set for that channel, in step 3, was too high.

    If any of the channels shows a white point clipping value quite a bit below 255, the scanner exposure you set for that channel, in step 3, was too low.

    Ideally, each of the channels would show white point clipping of 254.

    Exit the command without completing the process.

    7. Repeat the process from the beginning, adjusting the exposure settings you make in step 3 in an attempt to achieve the ideal white clipping values from step 6.

    (Of course it is impossible to get exactly 254/254/254, but try to get as close as possible without going over)
  11. Marcos, it's not clear in your your first posting, are you using manual or auto exposure in MSU? The exposure controls will work with both.
  12. Hi Mendel, sorry for not replying sooner, I hadn't checked this thread.

    Regarding your question. I've tried both auto and manual exposure, and find the results vary little. Having said that, perhaps on the overall auto gives better results.

    Also, I think a lot depends on the original image and the emulsion type --this as some film brands seem to have a heavier orange mask than others. For instance, if you have a well-exposed frame to begin with, the results are not likely to vary much with or without auto exposure; however, with heavily under- or over-exposed frames, auto-exposure seems to yield somewhat better results.

    As for 16bit linear, I never use it for negatives as it crams all the histogram on one corner, thus greatly reducing the file's color information and quality. Normal 16bit seems to be the way to go with negatives.


    Marcos /
  13. Thanks for responding, Marco. I'm continuing to experiment. One of your suggestions, to use adjustment layers wherever possible, I have really taken to heart. You did not mention adjustment layer for the inversion step, I see you can do that in an adj. layer as well. Doesn't hurt.

    Did you read the Usenet thread? Here is the direct link:

    Very interesting. Bart van der Wolf recommends autoexposure, with exposure control overrides. I followed workflow to the letter, with fairly good results.

    Yesterday though, I started experimenting with complete manual exposure. Per Bart's workflow, my first step was to scan the leader, as a slide. I adjust the sliders to show r/g/b values all around target of 235 in msu, then output 16bit scan. Open in PS, see I have any pixels at 255, or none above 245. If either is the case: back to msu, adjust exposure again. Then I lock on these settings for scan of rest of roll.

    Note, this is esentially the same as Vuescan advanced workflow for raw file output.

    Ideally, you should do this dial-in for each roll, but perhaps if you're shooting all the same film, and taking to the same processor, once is enough. Something to verify.

    So that is where I stand now. Regarding output format, I still wonder if 16 bit linear is not better. You can convert thru use of the supplied Minolta posi-linear profile. One benefit, it works quite well as a Vuescan raw file, and I really would like to have that option.

    Last night I output both a 16 bit, and a 16 bit linear of the same frame. The 16 bit linear, converted thru the posi-linear profile. Then I ran the same levels/curve on both. The 16bit linear had better saturation, and cleaner whites, to my eye. The one thing I didn't do though, was convert the 16 bit version thru the regular minolta profile (non-linear), so that could explain the difference.

    One thing I found with the pure manual exposure, my times per scan dropped dramatically, from 23~25 minutes per, to 14 minutes (consistant) per. This is with all 3 channels in 16 bit output having pixels above 245, but none by 255. Of course, when I then ouptut 16 bit linear, these numbers drop, but I do not alter the settings.

    I'm wondering, how are your times?
  14. Hi again, Mendel,

    I've been wondering too if 16bit linear is the way to go. Essentially, I think it boils down to which software can be trusted the most to make the best conversion from the scanner's raw data: Minolta's Dimage or Photoshop in combination with the posi-linear profile.

    After reading what you've written so far I've done some extra experimenting, and indeed, in most exposures, colors look more saturated using 16bit linear (with its corresponding posi-linear profile applied in Photoshop.)

    One definite advantage of using linear is the markedly shorter scanning times; I was able to reduce a 2700 dpi scan (with ICE on) to a "mere" 5 minutes, down from the 18-20 minutes it used to take.

    About adjustment layers: I did not suggest using one for the inversion step as it would have messed with the applying of the profile, as this has to be done after inverting (otherwise you get a gamma that is way off.)

    However with 16bit linear this problem is solved --as the profile is applied as a first step-- so one can also use an adjustment layer for inverting the image.

    Another thing I do is convert the background to a layer (simply double click on the background at the layers palette), that way I can use the "hide" option while cropping, thus keeping the entire original image.

    I'll keep experimenting for a couple of days and will get back to you.

    Best regards,

  15. Carlos, a few more comments:

    1. You've mentioned a few times that you are scanning at 2700 dpi. I've found I save little-or-nothing in scan time doing that. If your prime motivation is to save disk space, why not scan at 5400 dpi, and downsample later, when the disk space crunch comes, bicubic downsample in Photoshop? Also, this is one of those irreversable decisions. Perhaps stay at 5400, and hope storage technology will catch up with you?

    2. Not sure if you're doing it this way, or not, but I would recommend you save the as-scanned file, and do your Photoshop work on a copy. The steps you take in Photoshop are easily documented, and reproducable. If, again, space is a consideration, convert your Photoshop output to jpeg. Pls excuse if this is an obvious measure.

    3. I do believe I've got the (totally manual) Elite 5400 exposure dialed-in now, atleast for Reala. The workflow of setting the exposure in prescan of leader to have all 3 channels just under 255, is working very well. 16 bit linears work up nicely in photoshop.

    4. Regarding the first curve adjustment that you describe in your workflow, I think you can get the same result with levels. At any rate, with the levels adjustment, I've found (following your levels guideline, as a base) that increasing the white point clip from .01 to .02 does a significant amount of beneficial "aligning" of the 3 channels. Also, simply setting the mid slider in rgb to (say) 0.9 negates the need for a second, curve adjustment of overall gamma.

    5. Now that you brought it to my attention, I think I'm getting faster scans outputting 16 bit linear, vs 16 bit. I'd never noticed or thought about it, up to now. Will have to do some testing. At any rate, I'm partial to 16 bit linear, even though I don't have a clear understanding of it.

    Anyway, I'll be away on vacation for 2 weeks commencing sunday, so will be sort-of out of the loop. Will check in on once in while, if and when I get the chance, but I don't want to push it.
  16. Hi Mendel,

    Thanks for your continuing update. I spent all afternoon doing tests --mainly batch-scanning as 16bit linear at 1350dpi and doing bulk, quick-fixing in Photoshop, to see if the workflow holds for most images. So far it does, although I want to re-check the results tomorrow and see how everything looks after a good night's sleep.

    Regarding your comments:

    1. I also work on copies, leaving the original "raw" scan as a backup should the need arise to re-process again. When I'm done scanning, I also compress the final image to high-quality JPEG, to save space --as I set Photoshop's preferences to store a detailed history log as metadata on the file, I can always re-trace the steps that led to a good image.

    Also, I'm currently scanning the entire roll at 1350dpi (which only takes a little over 2 minutes per frame using 16Bit Linear), just to see what images came out fine and make a contact sheet; then I re-scan the best frames at higher resolution for printing and archiving.

    2. I've also noticed that scanning either at 2700 or 5400 takes practically the same amount of time, so for the "keeper" images (that is, those going into my portfolio) I will probably scan at top resolution, even though I'll only be able to fit some three files on a CD.

    3. About the first curve adjustment, since it is an automatic step (using Photoshop's auto-color) it is indeed the same to use curves or levels. However I prefer curves for the second adjustment layer (whose blending, by the way, I set to "luminosity" in order to avoid introducing any color cast) as I think it does a finer job than levels --it is my impression that levels tends to darken the shadows too much, whereas curves does a finer job at preserving detail there.

    And you are quite right that setting the white clipping point to 0.02 (and sometimes even higher) instead of 0.01 does a good job at aligning the three color channels when these differ in size or placement significantly --on images taken under generally neutral lightning conditions and good exposure, however, the effect is not as dramatic.

    I set a clipping point of only 0.01 for both shadows and highlights merely as a starting point, with the intention of increasing it further along the way if need be.

    I currently have the second curves adjustment on an action (which I call gamma), with the following settings: Input 217, Output 197, blending as "Luminosity". I think it provides a good starting point from which to work on later.

    4. About 16bit Linear versus 16bit. I find the two take practically the same time to scan, providing that you don't make any manual corrections on the Exposure Control; if you do that, then there is no telling how long the latter will take to scan --as I've said on other threads, I usually get scanning times of up to 20 minutes per frame when fiddling with the Exposure Control. (Right now, scanning 16bit Linear at full resolution, I'm getting a little over 5 minutes per frame, including auto-focus time.)

    I'll probably spend much of the weekend scanning and doing yet more tests. I really need to nail the workflow, as I want to scan my entire negative archive --this in preparation for my planned move out of film and into the dSLRs. I'm saving to get my hands on the new Canon EOS 350D (a.k.a. the Digital Rebel XT), which seems to be a good choice for my budget range.

    In any event, I'll post any new developments here, and in the meantime have a great time in your upcoming vacation.


    Marcos Rodriguez
  17. Hi Marcos,

    Regarding increasing the clip beyond .01, I'm seeing too it depends on the image. If there's a persistant cast, the extra .01 or .02 will make a difference. On other images, cast is minimal/gone by .01.

    Thanks the tip regarding luminosity mode with curves. I really am a novice at Photoshop. I'll experiment with this. Well, probably 2 weeks from now, with pending vacation.

    It's seems there is always something to bug you when scanning. By that I mean, if you resolve one issue, something else will come along that seems to need improvement. For me, having dialed in the exposure issue (I think/hope), I turned my attention to focus. Some points:

    1. I suspect the scanner is not able to "return" to a previous focus setting, with 100% accuracy. For example, if you gang focus frames 1 through 6, in prescan, and then tell the scan all the frames, it has to adjust the focus from frame to frame. This adjustment is a little sloppy, I think. Also, all the extra back-and-forth travel of the holder can't help matters. Accordingly, I'm elected to do careful manual focus, frame by frame, followed immediately by scan of the that frame. Followed in turn by verifying the focus of the output in Photoshop.

    2. I think I prefer manual focus with the case front knob. There is a feeling of direct connection that seems absent when clicking the slider arrows.

    3. A good focus point seems to be about 1/3 distance from center to either upper corner, in a smooth, light tone. This gives me the most consitant corner to corner sharpness, with little or no apparent softening of the center.

    4. It's kind of interesting to observe, after you've carefully dialed in the focus: tapping the holder gently will make the black bar "shiver" away from the max. extent white bar, then return to full length.
  18. Hi again Marcos,

    A digital Single Lens Reflex camera is something I'm contemplating also. It's a little depressing looking at the massive grain on 5400 dpi scans of Reala. And scanning is getting WAY too time consuming and finicky.

    The Canon 20D seems to be the "Honda Accord" choice, and likely this is what I will (would) get. It's not TOO much higher in price than the dig. rebel, and I think worth the extra change. Will need to read up more.

    It's more expensive counterpart the 1D MkII is tempting, with the 1.3 crop which opens up your lens choices somewhat, more solid build, more exposure controls (spot metering, which the 20D doesn't have, I think). But then I come down to earth, look at the sticker price, and consider that it's the same pixel dimensions as the 20D.

    The 1Ds MKII? Would love to have one. With the some L series lenses... Oh well, if I win the lottery.

    Some ideas, in order from most sensible, to most desired:

    Canon 20D with Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM*

    * This lens seems a fairly good comprimise between quality and price. The are some trade-offs, compared to the following lens, max. aperture, for one.

    Canon 20D with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM

    Canon 1D MKII with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM

    Canon 1Ds MKII with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM, and?

    This site has extensive canon lens summaries:

    Also, google "fred miranda <lens name here>", for lot's of feedback.
  19. Marcos,

    Nother breakthrough: I've been using sRGB as my working space. And when converting the 16bit linear files, first assigned the Minolta posi linear profile, then convert to sRGB.

    The results were often cyan cast, and the cast would persist with autolevels, unless I tweaked the red, green and blue.

    Just now, was working on a particularly difficult to balance image. Our granson had a bright red hooded top on, in bright sunlight. Autocolor was producing a murky cyan result. And his red top appeared to be "bleading" on some edges.

    On a hunch, I shut it down, set my working space to Adobe RGB, and took it from the beginning. And of course, the step after posi linear assignment was to convert to Adobe RGB.

    Now, autocolor worked flawlessly, it felt like I was looking through a window into the scene. Major improvement. My son's telling me now, I should be calibrating my monitor, to really be seeing the true results. Oh well, I'll keep on plugging.

    Of course, one of your first bit's of advice was regarding color space. Takes a while for things to sink in with me :0
  20. Regarding step 4 of your orig. workflow, and your mention of ProPhoto, I had a look at this:

    Oh well, about 4 hours to take-off, I better take a break.
  21. Hi Mendel,

    Just wanted to let you know that I'll be going out of town for a week, on vacation, and should be back around July 21st.

    Very briefly, though: I've been experimenting and tweaking with a Photoshop action I found on the Internet, and have obtained *great* results with it (scanning as 16bit linear and applying the corresponding profile while opening in Photoshop.)

    I'll post more detailed instructions on how to use the action (as well as further comments regarding digital cameras, etc) when I'm back. In the meantime, I thought you might want to start playing with the action, so I'm attaching it to this post.

    As you'll see it's all pretty self-explanatory and automated; I only included a couple of stops, one for adjusting the cropping (assuming an image of 1350dpi,) and another one near the end to adjust curves for gamma correction.

    Hope you find it useful and look forward to your comments.

    A final note: I would NOT reccomend using this action on files scanned at a resolution higher than 1350dpi, as the action contains numerous steps that require tons of RAM.
  22. Hi Marcos, gave it a try. Not bad results, though I think I'm satisfied with the levels/curves/saturation workflow we've been discussing. For me the main hurdle has been dialing in the exposure in msu. I've found with that optimized, the rest is always doable in photoshop.

    Well I got a 20d with a 24-70 f2.8 canon lens while on vacation. It really put things in perspective. When we got home I put the color negatives in high gear, outputting 16 bit linear, then processing them in ps. So I think I'm done. The scanning times for color negs are a killer! I hate the thought of shooting any more color negatives. Also, when you see the crisp detail from an 8 megapixel slr... Funny, they're not really that far apart, but the grain of films scans really is distracting.

    I'm getting back into the scanning of slides now, about 2000 worth, taken over the last 30 years or so. I think I will concentrate on getting the best 16 bit linear output I can achieve, with accompanying photoshopped finish gamma images for viewing, and follow up with cleaning later, when time permits.

    One thing I've found lately, I can create an icc profile similar the the Minolta supplied posi linear profile, but with Adobe rgb (or whatever) as a starting point, but setting the gamma to 1.0. This can in turn be used th bring the 16 bit linear file's gamma up to normal, but the color balance is different (a little warmer) than the posilinear route.

    Oh well, keep on plugging.
  23. Did you try with vuescan under the "Filter" tab the "restore color" and "restore fading" ?
    it works quite well with FUJI Reala and FUJI SUPERIA.

    Brgds -Gilles
  24. I've experimented with the restore color functions a bit, though not with color neg's up to now. I'll give it a try. Though as I say, I think my days with ANY kind of film are numbered, due to my new toy (20d), and I'm pretty happy with my Reala results now.

    Also, I'm kind of browned-off by Vuescan: it's frustratingly *off* white balance, and poor cleaning. Plus it's toasted my work so many times, so for now I'm trying to work within Photoshop.
  25. Hi Mendel, sorry for taking this long to reply. I got back from Puerto Vallarta a few days ago, but between the accumulated work load and an ear infection I caught for swimming in the sea, I haven't had much time for Photoshoping.

    I completely agree that scanning times are a killer, which is the reason I try to avoid any tweaking with the MSU and, instead, do all the work in Photoshop. So far, scanning as 16bit linear (without touching the exposure settings in the Minolta software) I'm able to get acceptable times: about 2 and a half minutes per frame at 1350dpi, with ICE on.

    I used to worry a lot about getting the best possible exposure in the Minolta software, but after many tests it looks to me that this is not very important, as the final scan contains all the data and then some --which gives Photoshop plenty to work with (this when scanning as positive, of course.)

    Also, Photoshop's "Neutralize" function seems to be better than the MSU at compensating for the negative's orange mask. Moreover, considering that any tweaking with the MSU can double or triple scanning times, this approach seems to be the most practical.

    I've finished polishing the action I mentioned in my last posting, and I'm quite satisfied with its results --I'm attaching it at the end of this posting. I added a small routine towards the end, using a Selective Color adjustment layer to counteract the remaining cyan cast in the warmer colors, as well as neutralizing the blues (particularly useful for sky scenes,) which tended to be shifted towards yellow/cyan.

    Also, after some experimenting, I think levels work best for the final gamma correction, giving a more "contrasty" look to the image than curves; with this in mind, I also added a final levels correction with a stop dialog (pre-set at 0.75) for the user to select the desired amount of gamma correction according to each individual image.

    So, now that I'm finally getting acceptable results, I've begun scanning my entire negative archive at 1350 dpi, 16bit linear ("keeper" frames are scanned at full resolution, of course.) I then use the action in Photoshop --in batch mode-- for a quick post-processing.

    I'm saving the processed images as JPGs (compression level 10 in Photoshop), while keeping the original 16linear ones as "negatives".

    On the Digital Camera topic, congratulation on your recent purchase of the Canon 20D. If money was not a concern, that's the camera I'd go for. However, since money *is* a concern, I'll have to settle for the 350D, which I'm sure you know it's very similar to the 20D.

    There's a lot to be said in favor of digital cameras. For one thing, they have finally (in my opinion) come of age and are able to compete with film, especially the ones in the 8 megapixel league and above. And when one considers the lack of grain, and the much faster workflow of working with RAW files versus scanning/processing negatives, I think digitals win the day.

    I guess we won't be discussing film scanning much longer. I've really enjoyed this thread, and thanks to all your input I've been able to greatly improved my workflow and reduced scanning times. You and I seem to share a meticulous attention to detail which is not very common, as well as the patience to try time and again the different techniques we have discussed -- all in the quest for the "perfect scan" :eek:) Because of all this, I must say: it's been a real pleasure.

    Hope you have fun with your new "toy", and if I come across any new method of getting the most out of the Scan Elite I'll be sure to let you know.


    Marcos /
  26. Hi Marcos,

    Well just by chance I checked on this thread the same day you posted. I agree we've run this thread to ground. I'll download your latest version of that action, and give it a try (though right now I'm getting really sick of color neg film).

    Also, on the subject of color neg conversions, have you seen this thread:

    I'm back to scanning old slides, which is a lot easier. Per the negs., I'm outputting 16 bit linear thru MSU, but just with autoexposure.

    My biggest difficulty here is optimizing focus, with my old mounted slides. I've ended up doing manual focus on each slide, just prior to scan, with the manual focus knob. There are some benefits to this. You can do several focus attempts, and see where the notch on the knob is landing, for each.

    I then use these as a Vuescan Raw File. I profiled my scanner thru Vuescan, with a Wolf Faust slide target, and am getting very nice results using the Vuescan workflow, coupled with the MSU 16 bit linear for source file. I'm on roll 2, only about 55 to go, so this will take a while.

    I'm getting familiar with my 20D, taking a lot of pictures. Definitely the future for me, I love the immediacy. And the 24-70 f2.8 makes a very nice combo. I have a Pentax MZ-5n with a 50mm f1.4, but I don't see it getting much use now. Maybe some Velvia100F for fun, once in a while.

    Hey, thanks for all your advice! You obviously run circles around me in the Photoshop department, and appreciate your guidance.
  27. Hi once again, Mendel,

    Well, looks like my quest for the perfect scan is far from over, but more about that in a minute.

    First some comments about scanning linear with autoexposure on, as you've been doing. I made some tests and found it can actually worsen things --and this without taking into account that, when autoexposure is on, scanning times can almost triple, going from two and a half minutes per frame (at 1350 dpi,) to nearly seven!

    More importantly, however, scans made with autoexposure on showed some bad shifts in color. For instance, I scanned some landscape images, and rocks had a nasty magenta cast, while green vegetation showed an unreal blue/cyan cast. When scanned without autoexposure, rocks had a nice neutral, perhaps a bit warm tone, and vegetation showed in a bright, yellowish green hue. Scans of other subjects showed similar results.

    About scanning negatives, I share your feelings. Unfortunately for me, all the photos I've taken in my life are in negative film, so I'll just have to endure and keep on scanning.

    I saw the thread you mention, and even downloaded the NegPos Photoshop Plug-In. I gave it a try and it looks promising, however I found it a bit awkward to use. Moreover, settings had to be tweaked individually for each image in order to get good results, something which, given the large amount of files I need to process, for me it's a "no go."

    Now to the bad news: unhappily (I say "unhappily" because, just when I thought I was finally getting acceptable results with the Photoshop action, this makes me re-think the whole thing) three days ago I tried SilverFast DCProStudio --and loved it.

    A friend of mine who recently got it had been recommending it to me, and I finally listened to him and downloaded a demo. To wit: The results were fantastic, especially in the gamma correction department, where SilverFast's sophisticated curves provided the best results I've seen.

    Now, Silverfast alone didn't do the trick, but it provided excellent "basic" files for final correction in Photoshop where, among other things, I applied the Minolta regular profile, which gave the perfect touch to an already fine scan (the profile lightens the shadows a bit, makes the skies bluer and gives greens and yellows a fantastically warm, pleasant hue.

    So, as I said, having tried SilverFast made me rethink the whole workflow, and now I'm doubtful that the action I've been using (and recommending) is the best method --actually, I think it is not, at least for most exposures.

    So, lacking SilverFast (I don't plan on spending that kind of money), I think the best "generic" method is:

    1. Scan 16bit linear, with autoexposure off

    2. Apply the linear profile while opening in Photoshop, and immediately convert to ProPhoto (much wider gamut than Adobe 1998)

    3. Invert

    4. Crop to eliminate the white edge, so that "autocolor" can work its magic

    5. Use Curves' autocolor ("Enhance Per Channel Contrast", with "Snap Neutral Midtones" checked)

    6. Correct gamma with curves again

    Talk about going "back to basics"!


  28. Hi Marcos. You're color shifted 16 bit linears, were they neg scans? I'm assuming so. Minolta actually suggests not to "bother" with auto-exposure with slides. It is "off" by default. I'll look into that. Auto exposure seems to be behaving, but perhaps it varies, slide to slide.

    Good luck with Silverfast. I'm curious, I believe it does employ proper ICE: does it allow you to decouple the grain dissolver?
  29. Hi Mendel. Yes, the color-shifted scans I was referring to were from negatives. In fact I decided to make the test following your comments: Per the negs., I'm outputting 16 bit linear thru MSU, but just with autoexposure.
    About Silverfast, the version I tried (DCProStudio) does not do any actual scanning, but rather it works directly with the files from the hard drive --which, in my case, were produced by the MSU scanning as 16bit linear, with ICE on.
    SilverFast does have a scanning version for the ScanElite 5400, which I tried shortly I first got the scanner. I remember it produced good results (much better than MSU's, with cero clipping,) and with outstanding implementation of ICE --a clear contrast with VueScan. However, given its high price I quickly took it off my mind. Oh, and it does allow de-coupling of Grain Dissolver, but the scans took nearly the same time and grain visibility was greatly increased, so I would not advise this path.
  30. Hi Marcos. Well I tried a slide scan with/without auto-exposure, outputting 16 bit linear both times. As I'd noticed in past, the main noticeable difference was additional compression of the histogram towards the left, with no pixels higher than 200~225. With auto-exposure, there are pixels virtually all the way to 255 in green and blue, and slight clipping of red at 255.

    As far as color balance, I could see no difference. Accordingly, with slides, I see no reason to not use auto exposure. For today ;)

    I think you are right about decoupling ice/gd, and the excessive grain. It's nice to try though. I believe just using grain dissolver tends diminish dust and scratch appearance, by it's nature.

    I'll look into the Silverfast version you mention.

    Well, I'm sure this is not the last of this thread. Probably not the longest on, but quite long, none the less. Lot of ideas!
  31. Hi Mendel, Marco,

    I read your post with a lot of interrest ... I've a Minolta5400 and many negs to scan.

    I clearly understand the position of Marco with its last workflow (or using Silverfast), however I would like to know Mendel what is your workflow .... now.

    On my side I was mainly using vuescan for negs and the DSU for slides.

    Brgds -Gilles.
  32. Hi Gilles,

    This is how I'm doing things with my current slides scanning project:


    Minolta Scan Utility settings:

    *auto expose for slides: ticked

    *manual focus with knob at time of each scan

    *output 16 bit linear


    Vuescan (used for finished files, scan-from-disk with above):

    Vuescan version: 8.1.29

    Startout settings:

    Input|Media: Image

    Input|Mode: Transparency (setting to Elite5400 had NO effect)

    Color|Color Balance: neutral

    Color|Black point (%): 0

    Color|White point (%): 0

    Color|Brightness: 1

    Color|Scanner Color Space: ICC Profile

    Color|Scanner ICC Profile:

    E:/targets/icc profles/Fuji Provia, Sensia, Astia_F040521.icc

    (Above file produced Friday, April 22, 2005 (10:28pm) by physically scanning the Wolf Faust target in Vuescan. Note, this icc profile seems to work fine regardless of slide film type, so far.)


    And if you're still with me, this was my final workflow for scanning color negatives:



    -scan as color slide


    -slide auto exposure off (see exposure control settings below)

    -16 bit linear

    -manual focus (with front knob) on smooth, fairly light, grainy area of interest, about 1/3 to 1/2 the distance along diagonal line between center and one of the upper corners of image. Do the focus PER FRAME, and scan immediately. Do not gang-focus all the frames first. Verify focus accuracy is satisfactory before going to next frame, viewing 100% in Photoshop. NEAR Corner-to-corner sharpness IS achievable with relatively flat film strips.

    Exposure control:

    -mas: +2.0

    -red: -1.3

    -gre: -0.2

    -blu: +0.8


    *Clean and crop

    Then, on a copy:

    *Assign Minolta's posi linear icc profile, then convert to Adobe rgb

    *adjust. layer: invert

    *ajdust. layer: levels:

    find and dark colors

    snap neutral midtones: no


    *ajdust. layer (luminosity mode): Curve: (normal mode)


    *adjust. layer: hue/saturation:

    saturation: +20 <maybe a bit toooo much, reviewing later


    *convert to 8bit


    Please comment, and if there's any blanks you'd like filled in (obviously there's a ton more settings), just ask.
  33. thanks for your feedback meindel.
    I've not scanned for more than 2 weeks now.... i'm working on my website !
    however I've print this threads I will try to follow you process when I will need to scan another time (very soon).

    Brgds -Gilles.
  34. Giles, one thing:

    The object of those settings in exposure control was to get all 3 levels close to 255, even have a few "stray" pixels at 255. This was determined scanning the leader. So some experimentation is necessary to really optimize.
  35. Hello,
    I'm reading this tread for long time course I'm very interested.
    I own a Minolta Scan Dual IV, it lower model that yours 5400, but anyway i have the same problems with scanning.
    I finally find some time and i tried Marcos work flow (i dont want to spend money on vuescan) and I'm still not sure with some things.
    So i would like to ask about some details, to i can write whole process step by step.

    1. Scan 16bit linear, with autoexposure off (by Marcos) or On (by Mendel)

    2. Apply the linear profile while opening in Photoshop, and immediately convert to ProPhoto (much wider gamut than Adobe 1998)
    -with apply you mean assign profile?
    I have 2 minolta profiles:
    DIMAGE Scan Dual 4 and DIMAGE Scan Dual 4 (Posi LInear) should i use posi linear?

    3. Invert

    4. Crop to eliminate the white edge

    5. Use Curves' autocolor ("Enhance Per Channel Contrast", with "Snap Neutral Midtones" checked)

    6. Correct gamma with curves again
    --How exactly you correct gamma with curves? I was using levels for this and curves just for contrast.

    thats it?
    i dont forget something?

    I'm looking forward for answer, anyway i would like to thanks for whole this tread course its the most useful what i found on Internet.
  36. yeah,
    i would like to ask why is that photoshop action so complicated when this workflow look more easy?

    or Marcos do you use this action after that 6steps?

    sorry if i missed something, i just get out of mind from scanning.
  37. sorry but i find other thing
    do you use corol matching in MSU ?and if,which profile?
  38. Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for posting. I'll have a more thorough read tomorrow, and respond (it's late, getting sleepy).

    One thing, with color neg scans I did have autoexposure off. I've actually just started up again, this time with lots of old films. At the scanning stage, the most important thing for me is to test scan the leader with MSU, and get all 3 channels so there is little or no pixels by 255, but very close. Then output 16 bit linear, of a few real frames, and verify levels in ps.

    Suprisingly, I'm able to get pretty good color balance with these older films, thru Vuescan scan-from-disk.

    Your choice, but it's not much to spend, getting a Vuescan Pro License. And it's good for life. With me it's love/hate, particularly the infrared cleaning, which is why I acquire the "raw" file thru MSU.

    I'm just experimenting still, like a lot of people, I think.
  39. hello,
    and how is the process to get all 3channels close to 255 ?
    i was thinking that when you scan on 16linear you can not adjust levels and etc.
    i go to play with that.
  40. You definitely _can_ adjust exposure levels. I was more-or-less following Bart's guidance here:

    with the exception of not having "auto exposure for slides" ticked in preferences.

    So, with auto exposure off, I:

    1. Prescan a frame having just leader.

    2. Go to the Exposure control tab, and observe the red/green/blue values while moving the mouse around the image.

    3. Adjust master, red, green and blues sliders, hit the "refresh" button. Move mouse around some more to see the result.

    Typically, I would move the master slider up to raise them all, then move the red down, and the blue and green up, some more, aiming for around 250. You can then click "apply to all frames", and also save the settings, for convenience.

    The down side is increased scan time, usually governed by the longest, blue exposure.

    Open 16 bit linear scans, with different exposure settings, to verify your levels are getting you just under 255. A few pixels over is ok.

    You can do similar but with Auto Exposure on. Then the Exposure Control sliders shift the exposure from the auto exposure base.
  41. Hello,
    i already find that i can correct exposition (master, R,G,B), but not levels in 16linear mode.Actually i can but change levels settings in image correction makes no difference.
    Anyway, so i was trying adjust RGB exposition to get the best values close to 255 but not too much, in all 3 channels. But i found it very complicated and setting was totally different for each different light .
    I was also trying play with auto exposition off and on but i found that autoexpositon makes too big differences so its not good for batch scanning and adjusting what i want finally get to.
    So after few hours playing with that i left it and scaned around 12frames of superia 200 with this settings:
    corol positive
    autoexpo off
    correction non
    16bit linear

    Than i was trying to use Marcos method

    -- 1. Scan 16bit linear, with autoexposure off

    2. Assign the linear profile DIMAGE Scan Dual 4 (Posi LInear) in Photoshop (i'm scanning directly to photoshop CS), and immediately convert to ProPhoto

    3. Invert

    4. Crop to eliminate the white edge

    5. Use Curves' autocolor ("Enhance Per Channel Contrast", with "Snap Neutral Midtones" checked)
    6. I dont correct gamma in curves becouse i dont know how.

    anyway the results what i get

    some fine, mostly too saturated (this i think have something with icc profiles, I'm working in adobeRGB, if i assign AdobeRGB saturation comes down), without contrast.
    So nothing great.

    I also had tried that last action what Marcos post,by mostly why are there so many steps and the results was mostly very similar.
    Now i quickly tried your method, but i dont understand some parts>

    And if you're still with me, this was my final workflow for scanning color negatives:



    -scan as color slide


    -slide auto exposure off (see exposure control settings below)

    -16 bit linear

    -manual focus (with front knob) on smooth, fairly light, grainy area of interest, about 1/3 to 1/2 the distance along diagonal line between center and one of the upper corners of image. Do the focus PER FRAME, and scan immediately. Do not gang-focus all the frames first. Verify focus accuracy is satisfactory before going to next frame, viewing 100% in Photoshop. NEAR Corner-to-corner sharpness IS achievable with relatively flat film strips.
    >>>i use auto,but that is not a point

    Exposure control:

    -mas: +2.0

    -red: -1.3

    -gre: -0.2

    -blu: +0.8


    *Clean and crop

    Then, on a copy:

    *Assign Minolta's posi linear icc profile, then convert to Adobe rgb

    *adjust. layer: invert

    *ajdust. layer: levels:

    find and dark colors

    snap neutral midtones: no

    .01bp>>> whats this?

    .01wp *ajdust. layer (luminosity mode): Curve: (normal mode) >>> whats this?

    198>186 >>> whats this?

    *adjust. layer: hue/saturation:

    saturation: +20 <maybe a bit toooo much, reviewing later


    *convert to 8bit
    excluding that last steps, which i dont understand (i just put adjust layer levels -find and dark colors-snap neutral midtones: no )
    i get with this method a little bit better results.less saturated and more neutral colours.
    But i tried it just on one frame.I'm going to play with that now.

    I also tried to scan blank holder now , like slide, autoexpo off, 16bit linear and i get 100perc pure white. R G B 255 without any compensation.

    Also i would like to know if you use corol matching in MSU ?and if,which profile?

    Sorry for so many questions (and my English maybe too), but i'm fighting with that scanner my whole day off (excluding that few hours before, i had this scanner 3months already) and going crazy.
  42. i now found that i need to corect empty strip of negative not empty holder without everything.i go to play with that.sorry for spaming
  43. Yeah, that is the key: previewing a piece of the leader. This is how you neutralize the background color of the film. I'll look over your other questions, regarding my excessive shorthand, mostly, when I get home from work. Have to run!
  44. .01bp = .01 black point, in Photoshop levels dialogue

    Curve (normal mode) = Setting when initiating a Curves adjustment layer. Marcos advocates luminosity.

    198>186 = an adjustment point in the curves dialogue, in other words 198 in to 186 out.

    saturation adjustment : I've been skipping that now.

    By the way, I'm finding I get much better highlight tones, just taking the 16 bit linear over to Vuescan, experimenting with different color neg profiles it provides. Generic color negative not bad. This is similar to my experience with Tri-X. Working the raw file in Photoshop, I was getting washed-out highlights. Vuescan, on the other hand, recovered a lot of subtle shading there.

    I suppose there's nothing magical in Vuescan, with more skill I could do the same thing in Photoshop, with curves I think. But in the meantime...
  45. Mendel, Thomas,

    I happened to check this thread and saw it was still alive, which is probably a record :eek:)

    I feel obliged to tell you that, after much experimenting and tweaking, I have given up on trying to achieve good results with Photoshop alone. I'm afraid that the curves, color balancing and gamma corrections involved in successfully inverting a negative image are too complex to be achieved in PS. Therefore, my recommendation (for negatives) is to scan 16bitLinear (without tweaking the exposure tab, and with ICE on) and then post-process the raw images in either VueScan or SilverFast HDR, depending on one's budget.

    VueScan does not support ICE technology, hence the need to use Minolta's software for the raw image. With SilverFast, considering it is such a hefty investment, I think the best option is to buy the generic HDR version which, albeit more expensive than the ones tailored for a specific scanner, has the added value of working with any number of files (independently of the scanner that was used to obtain them) therefore offering more flexibility for the future.

    Anyway, those are my two, probably last cents on this fantastic thread,

  46. Hi Marcos. Your guidance is what I did lately with Some decades old Kodak Gold: output 16 bit linear thru MSU, then scan-from-disk thru Vuescan. Worked quite satisfactorily. Same workflow with Fuji Reala gave me some problems with color cast, which I haven't resolved, to date. So anyways, works quite well with my old stuff.

    Haven't done any color neg recently though, I'm pulling my hair out trying to get corner-to-corner sharpness, with mounted slides (or whatever). I've sufficient new mounts on hand to remount the lot, and am experimenting with various mounts that are supposed to help in this regard, with and without glass. Also, considering "home-brew" mount, glass or not.

    Also considering alternative scanner that might have better depth of focus, but suspect that does not exist, short of REAL high end Imacon/Hasselblad etc.

    You know, I think there's a few other long-term threads, maybe longer than this one, but still, I bet we're "in the running" ;)
  47. Did the Kodak Gold 16 bit linear with my usual manual exposure set with scan of leader.
  48. Hello Guys...first of all I would like to thank you both for all of the wonderful information that you have both contributed towards my understanding of the Minolta 5400 and the scanning process. I purchased a 5400 II a few months ago and I have been struggling (like everyone I now realize) to obtain high quality results with my scanner. I have read as many posts as I can and this has been one the most helpful. I have adopted a workflow for color negatives that resembles the one that you describe above using a blank frame to adjust the RGB channels in MSU to compensate for the Orange cast. I haven't made the jump to 16bit linear but I plan on giving it a try in the next few days. What workflow have you two adopted for B&W NEGS? I have just purchased VUESCAN and I have begun to tinker with the B&W workflow that VUESCAN describes. Up until now I have been scanning B&W negs with MSU as Color Positives (16bit), Autoexposure:ON, completely desaturated (as described in the manual for chromogenic films). Open the file in Photoshop, Invert, convert to Grayscale, adjust:levels, adjust:curves, and I have come up with a pretty good image. Are you both using VUESCAN for B&W negs...what are some benefits that you see using VUESCAN?

    Thanks in advance...

  49. Hi Andrew, many thanks for your comments, it's nice to know someone else might have benefited from this long and interesting thread.

    The entirety of my archive consists of color negatives, so I'm afraid I cannot be of much help as far as your question is concerned. Nevertheless, based on what I've read on the Internet, VueScan seems to do a great job on B&W film, so that would be the venue I'd take.

    As for the benefits of using VueScan (or SilverFast), as I've said above, it would be the proper gamma correction, as merely inverting the image in Photoshop and adjusting Curves and Levels is not enough, given the complexity of the algorithms involved.


    Marcos /
  50. I have another question...I have started using Vuescan in my post-processing workflow...when working with slides I am using ICC profiles that I have created using Wolf Faust targets for Provia, velvia, etc...but here is the question: I created the profile in Vuescan by scanning the slide via the Vuescan scanner driver, I then scan my slides in MSU and create a 16bit linear tiff file, then work the file in Vuescan with the "scan to file" option. Would it be better to Scan the target in Linear mode in MSU, and then post- process the "target" file in Vuescan and create the profile that way...I am going to give it a try to see if it makes a difference in my color reproduction. I assume that it may when you take into account the GEM and ICE tools that I am using in MSU and the effects that they will have on color rendition...

  51. Hi Andrew.

    Some time back, with a Scan Dual II, I did a massive black and white scan project. Most of it was tri-x. I used a complete Vuescan workflow for that. Here's my notes on Vuescan settings. My first "phase" was to acquire Vuescan Raw Files, essentially the same as 16 bit linear. Then scan from disk. So you have to "pick" thru the settings, some are for the raw phase, some for scan from disk. Sorry, not much time right now, will drop back. Also, re your question on profiling with 16 bit linear, have a read thru this (current) thread of mine:

    Hi Marcos. Didn't you say something up the page about avoiding MSU's auto exposure, (especially?) in conjunction with slides? I'm just trying manual exposure in above linked thread, for 16 bit linear output. Seems much less detrimental for highlights. Also, I suspect it may be the only way to go, if you want to scan a target and get consistant scanner profiling results thru Vuescan. Auto exposure is just throwing a monkey wrench into things, I think.

    Cheers all, late for work!


    Vuescan Black and White Settings:

    Input|Media type: B/W negative

    Input|Bits per pixel: 48 bit RGB

    Input|Lock film base color: ticked, settings per list below

    Crop|Buffer%: 0

    Color|B/W Vendor: Kodak

    Color|B/W brand: TMax400 (unless noted below)

    (TMax100 for Panatomic X, roll 52, noted)

    Color|B/W type: D76 CI:.55 (unless noted below)

    (D76 CI:.40 for xp1, rolls 40 thru 49, noted)

    Color|B/W curve: manual

    Color|black point: 0.02%

    Color|white point: 0.02%

    Color|brightness: 0.7 (unless noted below)

    (bri.65 for xp1, rolls 40 thru 49, noted)

    (bri.75 for Panatomic X, roll 52, noted)

    Output|Raw file type: Auto (48 bit rgb)

    Output|Tiff file type: 8 bit grey

  52. I see my workflow is ref'ing to to things beyond the cut-and-paste. Try to ignore those. I'll have another read thru when I get the chance. Also, the mention of lock film base color could be ignored, for starters. It just cleans up minor shadow block-up.
  53. Thanks for all the insight you guys are sharing. I just found this thread and am just responding to thank you for your work. I've been struggling with my 5400 II for a couple of months with varied results and am sure this thread will help tremendously. I hope this thread continues with some of my results as well as others. Thanks again.
  54. To Andrew, regarding your Nov. 02/05 posting (I've posted after this, but seem to have "not noticed" your color slide workflow description):

    Your idea for slide scanning: to scan an IT8 target through Minolta Scan Utility (MSU), and then follow the Vuescan scanner profiling procedure doing scan-from-disk from this previously scanned file, is exactly the workflow I follow.

    I started my slide scanning project by scanning my Ektachrome Wolfe Faust target at the beginning, with MSU, then proceeded to scan my slides. FYI, I leave "auto-expose for slides" unticked, output 16bit linear, then scan-from-disk with Vuescan, both for the target, and for the slides, giving me apples/apples I think. Very occasionaly, I move the master slider up a bit, for grossly underexposed slides. I then calibrate the scanner using the 16bit linear target scan (with scan-from-disk), then set this profile in the Vuescan Color Tab, and carry on: scan-from-disking with the MSU 16bit linear slide scans. Essentially as you described.

    One wrinkle, Vuescan appears to have a bug (or did, haven't checked with the latest releases): if you used "scan-from-preview", or even just did a preview first, and then scan, the profile did not seem to "take" properly. The output image and markedly different color balance than if you just jumped right in with a scan.

    I have somewhere north of 50 rolls of slides to scan. I've done 15 rolls worth of 16 bit linear scans through MSU so far, but have just shut down the scanner for the last month or so. I want to go through these files with Photoshop first, cloning out the defects ICE has missed. Once that is done (I am making progress), I'll scan another 15 rolls or so.

    At around roll 13 I rescanned the target. My logic is that the color temperature of my scanner's light source may be changing over time. So far I haven't bothered comparing the two target scans, but it's cheap insurance: I can alway generate some extra ICC profiles thru Vuescan for the latter rolls, if warranted.

    So, executive summary, yes, MSU scan ouputting 16 bit linear, for *both* the slides *and* the IT8 target, followed up by Vuescan scan-from-disk, both for scanner calibration and finished slide images, is working for me, very well.

    Here's (some of) my latest Vuescan Color Slide settings:



    *Using the MSU 16 bit linear as a Vuescan Raw file, cleaned and un-cropped

    Vuescan version: 8.3.12

    Input|Media: Image

    Input|Mode: Transparency

    Color|Color Balance: neutral (unless noted)

    Color|Black point (%): .02 (unless noted)

    Color|White point (%): .02 (unless noted)

    Color|Curve low: .25 (unless noted)

    Color|Curve high: .75 (unless noted)

    Color|Brightness: 1 (unless noted)

    Color|Scanner Color Space: ICC Profile

    Color|Scanner ICC Profile: Ektachrome-EO50302.icc (11/25/05 6:53)



    To Joseph, thanks for checking in. Someone recently was discussing color negative scanning, and it got me revisiting my latest (paltery) c.n. scans, again, MSU 16bit linears, exposure calibrated per the C.N. discussions above (red, green and blue exposures determined by scanning the leader). I found I was getting better color balance results doing Vuescan scan-from-disk with these files with the (near) latest Vuescan version. Vuescan's new curve feature helps give the results a bit more punch. I also tried setting "lock film base color", and a manual color balance.

    I'm really just (still!) spinning my wheels with this. I have a glut of color negatives to scan, sometime, but I want to get my slides (similar glut) done first. Still, it's been a good exercise to scan a few rolls, and experiment, and keep abreast of what's possible.

    Here's (some of) my latest Vuescan Color Negative settings:


    VUESCAN COLOR NEGATIVE WORKFLOW: <new suffix: tried Tuesday, December 27, 2005

    *Using the MSU 16 bit linear as a Vuescan Raw file, cleaned and cropped

    Input|Mode: Transparency (note setting to Elite 5400 seems to have no effect)

    Input|Media: Color negative

    Input|Lock film base color: ticked

    Crop|Buffer: 0%

    Color|Color balance: Manual

    Color|Neutral red/green/blue: .7/.1/.8

    Color|Film base color red/green/blue: 1.4/1.4/1.4

    Color|Black point: 0.02

    Color|White point: 0.02

    Color|Brightness: 1<.9?

    Color|Curve low: .3

    Color|Curve high: .7

    Color|Negative vendor/Brand/Neg type: Generic/Color/Negative

  55. "Color|Neutral red/green/blue: .7/.1/.8" should read:

    "Color|Neutral red/green/blue: .7/1/.8" (not decimal 1)

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