Negative Conversions in DxO

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 15,527
Re: Negative Conversions in DxO

Scanning B&W negatives is easy and the negative to positive conversion is simple.

Scanning color negatives is more difficult because the orange film base makes a simple inversion of the color impossible. Fading is also a major problem.

Color slides usually show much less fading than color negatives but they can show fading if not stored properly.

With the proper scanning software you can scan to 48-bit TIFFs. Scanners add up the number of bits for each color so what scanner software calls 48-bit TIFFs are what a photographer would call a 16-bit TIFF. The 16-bit TIFF is just as good as a RAW file from your camera.

Proper scanning software will let you adjust factors like contrast for B&W so that the scanned image is nearly as good as possible straight from the scanner.

Proper scanning software will correct for the orange base color of color negatives and very, very importantly allow you to adjust the colors for faded color negatives.  Proper scanning software will also allow you to make corrections to the colors of faded color slides.

The reason adjusting the colors during the scan is so important is that if you don't do that then you can easily wind up with a much reduced dynamic range for some of the colors vs the other color/colors. This means you have to stretch the dynamic range of the/those color(s), which introduces the possibility of posterization or banding in the/those color(s).

The way a scanner corrects colors is by adjusting the time used for scanning each color, which gives you a full dynamic range for each color in the scanned image.

Using a camera makes it impossible to correct the colors for faded color negatives when capturing the image, which is why using a camera to make digital copies of color negatives is not as good as using a scanner.  I simply can't recommend using a camera to capture images of color negatives.

The scanner software I recommend is VueScan Scanner Software for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, which works with a wide variety of scanners.

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