Epson Perfection V600 Photo and B&W negatives

Started Aug 11, 2012 | Discussions
bartbrn
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Epson Perfection V600 Photo and B&W negatives
Aug 11, 2012

I've been using my Epson Perfection V600 Photo scanner for some time, mostly on flat art and continuous tone images. I'm now trying for the first time to scan 35mm B&W negs, and I have no idea what I'm doing, and hope someone here could give me some guidance. Below is a screen grab of my EPSON Scan settings, and a screen-res image, showing the problems I'm having. Maybe I'm expecting too much, being an old chemical-head, but I used to get beautiful 16 x 20 prints from these negs and my Omega D2V enlarger. These scans are just crud, and I highly-suspect it's something -- some setting or combination of settings -- that I'm simply doing wrong. In the accompanying image, I've thrown in some white arrows to show the kind of halo-ing and what looks like solarization/posterization I'm getting, especially at sharp edge transients in the darker areas. The bright sunlight areas don't look too bad; they look overexposed to me, but setting levels gives a full range of tonality and excellent detail, EXCEPT in the darker transistion areas.

I have the neg strips securely mounted in the carrier, but the strip from which the image below derives does have a slight convexity when viewed from the substrate (bottom) side.

Can anyone help me figure this out?

Thanks!

Bart Brown

Epson Perfection V600 Photo scanner settings:

Typical messed-up image (click twice to fully open to see how bad this is):

hotdog321
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Re: Epson Perfection V600 Photo and B&W negatives
In reply to bartbrn, Aug 11, 2012

Others know far more about this stuff than I, but I would try a test scan without the unsharp mask on, then sharpen in the computer. That may be causing your "solarized" edges.

Also, recently I got really superior results after someone suggested scanning my 4x5 negs using the transparency ! setting, then reversing the image in Photoshop. The shadow detail was markedly improved.

I'm using a wonderful old Epson Perfection 4870 Photo scanner and doing PP with CS6.

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markkuk
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Re: Epson Perfection V600 Photo and B&W negatives
In reply to bartbrn, Aug 11, 2012

Turn off Digital ICE, it's not compatible with silver-based B&W films. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_ICE#Limitations_of_Digital_ICE

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DenWil
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my settings
In reply to bartbrn, Aug 12, 2012

under destination:
Image type - 24bit color
resolution 400 dpi

target size : 13 x 10.5 inches (that is from a 2.24 x 2.77 original document)
which works out to a file size of 4200 x 5200 pixels
65MB

Unsharp mask - on / low

with properly exposed positives or negatives no further adjustments are required.

In Adobe I remove artifacts, adjust brightness and contrast less than + - 10 . No sharpening on any of my scans. They don't need it. Color positives I often lower file saturation a bit for the site. B&W I manually remove color then add in a tiny amount of magenta to approximate selenium toning of cold head, dbl weight graded fibre prints.

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camperbc
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Un-check the Digital Ice setting for b&w film
In reply to bartbrn, Aug 12, 2012

As Markkuk stated, it's because you are using Digital Ice. It must be turned off for silver-based b&w negatives. I'm sure that once you've un-checked ICE, you will be very pleased with the results! Also, you may want to try not using the unsharp mask, and do any sharpening in Photoshop.

Let us know how you make out.

Glen
http://www.FocusOnNewfoundland.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fogoislanders/

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Phil1
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Re: Epson Perfection V600 Photo and B&W negatives
In reply to bartbrn, Aug 12, 2012

I always used to scan 35mm slides at a high res (5,400 dpi) with a dedicated film scanner. I’m not sure what the max resolution of your flatbed is, but mine (V700) is 4800. If possible try scanning at a higher res as 35mm requires a higher res scan than medium format does.

The suggestions about not doing the digital ice and sharpening in the scanner are very sensible as Photoshop, Elements etc are usually better at sharpening than scanner software.

I use ‘Vuescan’ software to run my scanners & find it to be excellent. If you still can’t get the results you want and are interested you can download a trial copy – just Google Vuescan for details.

Happy hunting & good luck

Phil

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bartbrn
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Re: Epson Perfection V600 Photo and B&W negatives
In reply to hotdog321, Aug 14, 2012

hotdog321 wrote:

... I would try a test scan without the unsharp mask on, then sharpen in the computer. That may be causing your "solarized" edges.

Also, recently I got really superior results after someone suggested scanning my 4x5 negs using the transparency ! setting, then reversing the image in Photoshop. The shadow detail was markedly improved.

Sorry for the delayed reply -- typical household mini-cataclysm over the past couple days. I'm going to reply to hotdog321's post with my tests and results in minor detail, then address the rest of the replies to my post with individual re-replies where necessary -- my heartfelt thanks to everyone who responded.

Thanks very much for the advice on unsharp mask. As for the "transparency" setting. I'm using the regular Epson Scan 3.81US app in "Professional" mode, and I can't find anything in the Epson Scan panel or that panel's "Configuration..." button that allows "transparency" as a choice.

The only mention of "Transparency" I can find in Epson's online Help for "Professional Mode" are two mentions of the scanner's actual "transparency unit," the top scanner "lid" with the transparency mask pulled out for scanning transparencies and negatives. I can find no mention of a "transparency" setting or option anywhere in Epson's online Help. I certainly DID wonder why my scans of B&W negatives through Epson Scan were giving me B&W POSITIVES.

Sorry for the delayed reply -- typical household mini-cataclysm over the past couple days. I'm going to reply to hotdog321's post with my tests and results in some detail, then address the rest of the replies to my post with individual replies where necessary -- my thanks to everyone who responded.

Please check my settings as outlined below and in the attached window grab, and advise/comment if I'm on the right track

For those who are in a hurry and would rather wait for the movie version than read through the tangled undergrowth of my timeless prose:

I ran some tests, and simply turning off Unsharp Mask cured the main problem -- one of the things I don't like about the Epson Scan app is its disconcerting way of slipping back into a "default setting" mode after each scan is finished, so I have to make sure to remember -- with my mind, no easy task -- to check the Epson Scan panel to make sure it has my saved settings.

So I took your very helpful advice, and ran a test of just one representative neg frame, with settigs as described below

Please check my settings as outlined below and in the attached window grab, and advise me if I'm on the right track:

Document Type: Film (other choice is "Reflective")
Film Type: B&W Negative Film (other choices: "Color Negative," "Positive Film")

Image Type: 16-bit Grayscale (other choices: "48-bit Color," "24-bit Color," "Color Smoothing," "8-bit Grayscale." "Black & White" is grayed out
Resolution: 2400dpi (other choices: 50 to 12,800dpi)

Document Size W: 2.70 in. H: 9.54 in [selection size of both film/neg carriers with cut -- NOT full length -- neg strips in carriers -- BB]
Target Size: Original
All adjustment buttons unchecked, except as noted below:

The tests:

1. Scan with both USM (Medium) and ICE ON

2. Scan with both USM and ICE OFF

3. Scan with USM OFF and ICE ON

4. Scan with USM (Medium) ON and ICE OFF

Here are the tests in numerical order corresponding to 1. 2. 3. and 4 above:

1.

2.

3.

4.

Please open these to full size to view (if you like...) -- these are, of course, screen grabs of images (all at 100% view) that were identically processed in Photoshop Elements: 180° rotate, cropped, resized 50% with plain Bicubic -- NOT "Bicubic Smoother" or "Bicubic Sharper."

To these old eyes, it seems USM was causing all the problems I was having: the scan with both USM and ICE OFF (#2), and the scan with USM OFF and ICE ON (#3) were, to my eyes, practically indistinguishable, with the ICE-enabled scan seeming just a scoche lighter. ANY use of UnSharp Mask seemed deleterious to the image (though, for simplicity's sake, in the tests where USM is on, the level was always set at "medium.")

Please tell me what you think.

2nd and 3d question:

I had a problem consolidating the many iPhoto libraries that resulted from a dying iMac, Migration Assistant, and other various fright pigs, including Time Machine. I called AppleCare again. The snake-oil salesman "Senior Tech" I got told me there was only one way to get at the contents of iPhoto Libraries (he lied), and that was to buy Apple's "Aperture," which I did. I've since found out that all I had to do consolidate iPhoto Libraries was to simply open one, and drag-and-drop the others on it.

The scattered iPhoto problem is halfway fixed -- I still have to complete the tedious grunt-work of finding and deleting duplicate "Events" and their contained images.

There's gotta be a better way, perhaps it's through Aperture, perhaps not -- the problem here is my unfamiliarity of the new-to-me apps, Photoshop Elements 10 and Aperture. So my 2nd and 3d questions are:

1. Anyone know how to tame the kludgey iPhoto Libraries and incorporate them with Aperture's more open-folder-like way of organizing images?

2. While Epson Scan works -- after a fashion -- is there no way I can scan directly into Photoshop Elements 10 and/or Aperture? Or should I be looking at another scanner app more sophisticated than Epson Scan?

Truly sorry for the long message -- brevity is not one of my more outstanding virtues.

I'm now going to read the rest of the replies to my original post, and see what I can synthesize from everyone's suggestions.

Thanks very much for your patience and expertise.

Bart Brown

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bartbrn
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Re: Epson Perfection V600 Photo and B&W negatives
In reply to markkuk, Aug 14, 2012

markkuk wrote:

Turn off Digital ICE, it's not compatible with silver-based B&W films. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_ICE#Limitations_of_Digital_ICE

Thanks for the tip, and thanks for the Wiki-link!

Bart Brown

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bartbrn
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Re: my settings
In reply to DenWil, Aug 14, 2012

DenWil wrote:

under destination:
Image type - 24bit color
resolution 400 dpi
Unsharp mask - on / low

I want to understand this correctly: Do you use Epson Scan? Are you saying you scan B&W negatives in 24-bit color at 400ppi, using Epson's Unsharp Mask algorithm, take the images into PS and discard the color information, making a B&W image that you then add a bit of magenta to approximate selenium toning?

In regard to sharpening, I have to say that, though Photoshop Elements is a considerably less sophisticated sibling to PhotoshopCS, it has one control I really like for sharpening, Enhance > Adjust Sharpness...

It doesn't just sharpen edge transients like Unsharp Mask, which I find sometimes a bit much (like my first scan attempts using Epson Scan with USM checked on and set at Medium);I find "Adjust Sharpness..." a much more subtle and controllable tool, with its "Refine" and ability to set angularity.

Thanks for the info!

Bart Brown

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camperbc
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WOW...this DEFINITELY proves ICE is the culprit!!
In reply to bartbrn, Aug 15, 2012

Yikes, I really must disagree with your take on the findings. It is very clear to me that USM is not at all the issue here. The two images that are completely destroyed are the two in which you used ICE. Just look in #1 and #3, at those awful artifacts you showed us earlier. (it's everywhere, but look at the roll bar; you will see what I mean. (and it's everywhere else too... gauges, steering wheel, etc)

Pics #2 and #4 do not have any of that at all. Obviously #4 is the best one... by far. As I said before, ICE is definitely the culprit; you just proved it. But I must say I'm a bit concerned that you are unable to see the weird artifacts in the two shots where you used ICE.

Of course, #2 is soft, as is expected, because you didn't use USM to sharpen; but at least it's free of those weird markings. #4, where you chose to NOT use ICE and you sharpened with USM, is very good. Problem solved, I'd say!

Glen
http://www.FocusOnNewfoundland.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fogoislanders/

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bartbrn
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Re: WOW...this DEFINITELY proves ICE is the culprit!!
In reply to camperbc, Aug 15, 2012

camperbc wrote:

Yikes, I really must disagree with your take on the findings. It is very clear to me that USM is not at all the issue here. The two images that are completely destroyed are the two in which you used ICE.

... I must say I'm a bit concerned that you are unable to see the weird artifacts in the two shots where you used ICE.

I don't know what I was smoking when I wrote that comment -- all I can figure is I got the 1-2-3-4 descriptions wrong. You're absolutely correct, and I verified it by looking at the full size .psd images: 1 & 3 are totally hosed, 2 is better, but soft, and 4 looks best of all.

Just wait till YOU get old!

Thanks for the head-rattling...

Bart

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bartbrn
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Re: Epson Perfection V600 Photo and B&W negatives
In reply to Phil1, Aug 15, 2012

Phil1 wrote:

I always used to scan 35mm slides at a high res (5,400 dpi) with a dedicated film scanner. I’m not sure what the max resolution of your flatbed is, but mine (V700) is 4800.... Photoshop, Elements etc are usually better at sharpening than scanner software.

I use ‘Vuescan’ software to run my scanners & find it to be excellent.

Max res in my V600 Photo is 12,800 -- I just scanned the same neg at that resolution, with NO ICE and NO USM, and it yielded a 390.9MB image, which I'm going to attempt to open in Elements. I'll let you know how it works out.

I've used Vuescan and need to D/L it again. One of the things I REALLY don't like about Epson Scan are the limited file-type choices, which DON'T include PSD -- the best you can do being TIFF.

Thanks again for everone's help!

Bart

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camperbc
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Re: Epson Perfection V600 Photo and B&W negatives
In reply to bartbrn, Aug 15, 2012

I'm afraid your 12,800 image will not be one iota better than a 2,400 one, as this is the true maximum resolution for these scanners. You can save a lot of time, and space, by just scanning at 2,400.

Glen
http://www.FocusOnNewfoundland.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fogoislanders/

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bartbrn
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Re: Epson Perfection V600 Photo and B&W negatives
In reply to camperbc, Aug 15, 2012

camperbc wrote:

I'm afraid your 12,800 image will not be one iota better than a 2,400 one, as this is the true maximum resolution for these scanners.

How right you are, Robin! Here's the image (this is the entire image -- the others were just a slice down the middle, to see shadow detail on the right, and highlights on the left -- scanned at 12,800ppi -- no USM, no ICE -- resampled down in Elements to 10% (!) of original size with "bicubic sharper" selected, a very little fooling about with Levels, then some "Adjust Sharpness." (100% at a 1 pixel radius, Remove Gaussian Blur), then screen grabbed (with Grab, which also only yields TIFFs), the Grab was opened in Elements and then saved as a JPEG (medium) -- probably more steps than I needed to take, but I find Grab a great "leveler," as compared to saving the original PSD image out of Elements the same way to make an image of a compact-enough file size to upload here:

Hope this looks a little better...

Bart

And, thanks again!

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