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Your slides on a Super Nikon COOLSCAN 5000 ED (LS-5000)

leon chang

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I recently came back from a trip to China and shot some rolls of Fuji

Sensia 100 transparency film. When viewing them on the lightbox, they

look absolutely stunning. My exposures were spot-on, colours and

sharpness look very ok indeed. Then I scanned them on a Konica

Minolta Dimage Dual Scan IV and what did I get? Muddy colours,

(especially the darker and middle toned colours), hardly any detail

in the shadows (they have gone black). My slides just look unlike

anything I experienced before. Do you think that will improve when I

upgrade to a Super Nikon COOLSCAN 5000 ED (LS-5000, or must I be

using a drumscanner whenever I want to scan transparencies? The

scanner works fine. It's just that it doesn't seem to be able to get

all the fine detail into a digital file. Is it normal?

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Even if you have a +10.000 USD drum scanner to get all the detail out of the slide, you'd still be stuck with papers that just can't handle all of that. In other words, there is no way you can transfer what you see on a light box onto paper. So yes, dark tones that you can seperate on the light box become one big black mess on the paper. If all you want are prints, use print film.
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The Konica Minolta is a perfectly fine scanner. You just need to learn how to use it. Scanning is an art with many subjective judgments to be made. It's not as hard as color printing in the darkroom but putting everything on automatic and hoping that it works is like setting your camera on automatic and hoping for the best. There are color management settings to be set up on your computer, settings in the scanning process to be determined and Photoshop work to be done after the scanning, all necessary to capture as much of the range of the slide as possible. This is the same regardless of brand of scanner that you use.
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Yes, you'd get better results with the Nikon: Sharpness, shadow detail, and the ultimate in dust removal. But color should easily be very good with the Minolta.


And most find that current scanners and scanning applications are nearly totally automatic... adjustments to scans before Photoshop or whatever are rarely desirable in order to make fine prints,, one does one's tinkering in post-processing. IF you're selling scans or sending scans to a lab, the task gets slightly more complicated, but not much.

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I don't think upgrading to a Nikon Coolscan will help you much. The key thing is to learn about color management and use an ICC profile for your scanner. I use a Nikon 9000ED, but it does not automatically give me great scans. Here's what I do:


I first create a custom ICC color profile for my scanner. To find out how, Google the net and search for keywords like ICC profile, slide scanner, IT8 target etc. There are a lot of write up on this subject. Once I have the ICC profile, I can now scan slides without doing any color adjustment with the scanner software. Just use GEM to remove grain and ICE to remove dust automatically (these don't alter the color cast). Once you have the scanned file, ASSIGN the ICC profile to the photo using Photoshop or Colorsync Utility (for MAC only). In general, the end product is quite close to the original slide product. I would say it's about 80% there. The end product is usually very useable by itself without further tinkering.


I do notice that green color obtained by the Nikon Coolscan tends to be a little less vibrant compare to the original slide. This can be easily corrected in photoshop. Suppose say you have a landscape shot with a lot of green shrubs in the foreground, but the green color is a little dull compared to the slide, in Photoshop, use the color picker tool to select the greenish colors, then use the level tool to raise the GREEN midtone by a slight bit (values between 3 - 5 work well for me).

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  • 4 months later...



Since you also own a Nikon scanner, I would like to ask something. I scan the same as you (turning off my Nikon Coolscan 5000 ED's color management system and every possible auto exposure, etc.), and still, when I open the scanned image in Photoshop CS, I am told that my "raw scan" has an embedded sRGB profile. It should not have any. I use NikonScan. Is this why? Of course, I assign my scanned image the customized scanner profile before converting it to RGB. Results look generally okay, but I am still puzzled by this "sRBG" embedded profile when there should not be any. Any clue? Thanks.


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