View Full Version : advice on nikon coolscan 9000 ED
Hi all I have a nikon super coolscan 9000 ed negative/slide scanner at my disposal through my school. Noone seems to know anything about how to use it at school so I thought I'd ask you guys. I want to scan 35mm slides taken with Fuji Velvia 50 there mounted. I'd like to make extremely high quality scans to get the most information possible out of them, for printing at 11X14 or even 16X20 and also make smaller files for quick viewing on my computer probably by compressing the large files. So I really just wanted to know opinions and advice on a profile. Also while I'm asking how do you suggest scanning black and white negatives Fomapan 400 with the same quality. I think that they just have the standard program that came with the computer. Hopefully I can these things digitized and finally post my pictures with my new bessa r.
Thanks a lot.
You'll be able to pull an honest 4k of resolution from your slides, so 16x20 at 360 DPI of output resolution shouldn't be too much of a struggle.
Be conservative with your curves in the scanner application -- the goal is to pull as much information as possible out of the slide and not to make it look "snappy." That's what photoshop is for.
The coolscan 9000 supports fully 16 bits per channel of resolution, so make sure you set that option in the Extra settings of the tool palette.
Turn on super fine scan mode, put digital ice on "fine" (for E-6) and turn on multisampling, maybe 4x.
You can batch-scan 5 slides at a time with the coolscan 9000. Use nikon scan as a standalone program rather than importing through photoshop; occasionally nikon scan will crash when you try to exit and if that happens it'll take down photoshop with it. With multisample, digital ice, and with the super-fine scan mode turned on, you can easily lose an hour right there, so remember to scan in Nikon Scan as a standalone application.
Watch your color profiles and make sure to convert to the Adobe RGB colorspace when you open the files in photoshop. You're using a color-managed workflow, right?
Getting the most out of B&W negatives isn't much different, but there are two things to bear in mind:
1. No digital ice with b&w. The scanner thinks every silver particle is a speck of dust and tries hard -- really, really hard -- to remove it all. The result is a total train wreck.
2. When working with thin, crummy negatives (specifically, the kind that come out of holgas) the scanner sometimes presents you with a weird histogram, where it's clear it's losing a lot of shadow detail. If that's the case, scan it in as a positive transparency and invert manually in photoshop.
Thanks a lot Conor you pretty much answered all of my questions,
Some quick questions- how do you batch scan with the program?
Also shamefully I won't have any kind of color manged system as I'll scan the slides onto my schools computer, put them on a disk and then put them on my computer at home. I assume that I would still do everything the way you suggest right?
In nikon scan 4, on the leftmost palette (the one that has the preview / scan buttons) there's a little tab near the top that pops out as you mouse over it. Click on it.
I have no idea why they "hid" this; it's like a core feature of the program.
When you click on it it'll show you smaller thumbnails of all the images loaded onto whatever film holder you're using. Set the scan settings for each image individually (this is maddening; you can't select all the frames and turn digital ice on, for example. You have to do it for each image separately). Control-click the images you want and hit "scan."
Make sure to bring ample storage to save these images -- a 16-bit full-color .tif at 5900 x 4000 is about 135mb.
Regarding color management:
Not having a calibrated monitor isn't a total show-stopper, so long as you're willing to print off several (smaller) test prints until you get your color balance right. Presumably if you're trying to make a high-quality 16x20 you're prepared to spend some cash, so it should be worthwhile to get the color and contrast right.
If you have a calibrated monitor and an ICC profile for your output medium + printer, photoshop can show you a soft-proof with a high degree of accuracy and can warn you against out-of-gamut colors.
Color management is a really delicate practice. Virtually everything has to be calibrated and taken into consideration. I've done tests with our in-house large format epson printers and have seen first-hand the difference that proper color profiling makes, and the whole chain is broken if the monitor isn't calibrated.
I have seen one interesting trick for b&w images that might help you out. It's a .tif file that has gray patches for the values of 255, 254, 253, etc. and 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. You send it to the printer and then visually inspect to see where you can no longer discern the difference between values. Then you take these numbers and adjust your output levels in photoshop to squeeze your grayscale image into the "real" value range of the printer. The file is about 650k, send me a PM with your e-mail if you're interested.
Good luck with your scanning. :)
Thanks again Conor, you figured out for me what probably would of taken me years of trial and error. I´m actually scanning right now and I'll let you know how everything comes out.
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