View Full Version : Any tips on scanning BW negatives on a coolscan scanner?
for those who use the coolscan scanner..
are there any tips/suggestions/things to look out for when scanning bw negatives?
i hear that one should remove ICE when scanning...
thanks in advance
I use Vuescan which I find much more customizable/tweakable than the Nikon software though the quality of scans it delivers is pretty much the same.
I tell Vuescan to use the "B/W negative" setting, output into 16 bit Gray mode, 1450 dpi (which I find is plenty for monitior viewing & web posting), and I save all scans as .TIF files with no compression.
I don't use any of the special filters like Digital ICE, Grain Reduction, Restore Fading, etc. as I find that I get better results editing the images myself in Photoshop after scanning, if I edit them at all - most of the time the results I get straight out of the camera/scanner are good enough to post without any adjustments.
Oh, and I like to manually set the crop area rather than let the software do it for me, since it will often make strange selections leaving portions of the negative unscanned.
I find it is important to select only an area of the negative itself, and not include any of the black border around it since doing so will make the software automatically change the white balance so that the image looks washed out.
I also make a point of setting Scan From Preview to "Always", and setting the preview resolution to 1450. That way the software only scans each negative once, rather than scanning a seperate Preview.
I'm pretty much a heretic where scanning is concerned. I don't like Vuescan - I'm pretty happy with the standard software. A lot of people recommend scanning the whole roll of B&W negs at 100% resolution, in full colour, 14-bit, and saving as 150MB tiff files. That's OK if you have lots of spare storage and a computer with plenty of RAM.
I save the full treatment (as above) for the negs I've identified as being worth printing. For the first pass through the roll I'll scan them all at 25% (of 4000dpi) in grayscale and save as high-quality jpegs. That gives me a file that's fine for displaying on PC or web, and lets me see which negs (if any!) are worth further effort. I don't mind pulling a strip of negs and running it through agaion. I turn off all the optional bits and take a straightforward scan, as I prefer to do all the adjustments with Photoshop.
For the negs worth printing I'll go for the high-bit, high-res scan, again aiming for a well-exposed scan with full information to work with later in Photoshop.
And yes - especially for silver-based B&W film, turn off digital ICE.
Try a few different approaches and see what works for you! Good luck.
Digital ICE is incredible when used on color negatives and slides. It simply doesn't work on B&W negatives except for the C41 processed B&W films (Ilford XP2).
Dust is your enemy when you don't have Digital ICE. You must have flawlessly clean negative if you don't want to spend 15min on each image with the healing wand / clone stamp tools. For the settings, I put greyscale on, I use the TIFF format. I scan to get about 8mp files. I don't use the other digital processings. Just like Bosk, I prefer to process the images in CS2.
... just curious: How to set up Vuescan, that it automatically stores all selected frames in the batch-scan mode ? I tried "Auto-save", file-numbering with the "plus" sign, combinations of both ... After every single scan Vuescan stops, waiting for me to enter the desired filename.
ICE won't work because the silver grain is interpreted as dust. Best is to use an antistatic cloth or brush immediately before scanning to eliminate the biggest parts of the dirt.
In my opinion there is nothing better on the market than Silverfast, it extracts more information and provides better control over the whole process than Nikon Scan. Depending on the scanner model it makes sense to use the maximum optical (!) resolution for scanning, in the case of the Nikon 9000 this is 400dpi and the resize during the postprocessing.
I also get better results by scanning bw negatives as positive (I'm better used to this look) and correct after the scan in photoshop. This doesn't include histogram and curve adaptions, which I do a first time in the scan software to optimize the exposure range.
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