View Full Version : Wet Mounting on Flatbed Scanners
I am starting to see some mention of this on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DigitalBlackandWhiteThePrint/ .
There is a compay called SCANMAX that is quietly selling products for this. The man responsible for this has posted a lot on Epson 3200 group on Yahoo during the last year. This makes sense to me in some ways. I don't mean for every scan, just the "special" ones that I want to extract everything that is on the negative/slide.
Amother of his points is unwanted light getting into the scanner head from places other than the desired frame. That also makes sense to me. A search on 3200 group provides his early thoughts on what medium to use for mounting.
I know I should just buy the latest Nikon film scanner, but if that was my way I would not be posting here but in LUG(no slight intended) or some other high bucks place.
Has anyone had any experience with this process? I know that drum scanners use wet mounting.
I have printed 35mm negatives in the darkroom that had scratches and blemishes on them, and used Edwal NoScratch liquid to coat the film both sides, and have achieved excellent results. This fills in the imperfections. You then have to thoroughly clean the negative in a suitable solvent to remove the liquid. I have also used "nose grease" sourced from the outside sides of your nose, rubbed onto the negative with a finger for similar results.
The "wet scanning" technique is a valid one, and of course this is done in a glass carrier on the scanner, and the issues of dust on the glass, all four surfaces is one that has to be dealt with.
Even the best scanner (and I have a Nikon 9000ed) cannot deal with curled negatives very well, and to use a glass carrier that presses the negatives flat is sometimes the only way to get edge-to-edge grain sharpness, and having a wet technique used in conjunction with glass may be the best way, and certainly an enhancement on dry glass carrier scanning.
It is called oil mounting. It is a quick drying oil that does not harm the film in any way. I would not use it in a scanner that was not designed for it. I have used a Creo Scitex and it involves laying out the transparencies on a special scanning glass, covering the transparencies or negatives with oil, placing a special clear mylar sheet over them, and squeegeeing out the excess oil and bubbles. Oil mounting ensures the film is perfectly flat. One does have to watch out for air bubbles and dust.
I own a 3200 and I have tried wet mounting with no discernable success. I'm lucky that I have access to a Heidelberg scanner at work to make comparisons.
The 3200 is a great deal if you shoot medium or 4x5 format.
Frankly, I don't think the 3200 is very good for 35mm slides and negs for anything other than web quality or small (5x7) home inkjet prints wet mounted or not.
It can be messy and more trouble than it is worth for that scanner, and I don't like the idea of putting liquids on my negs/slides and the glass of the scanner, and then cleaning them off.
Drum scanners are a different beast, built to extremely high tolerances and the people who use probably use them everyday and know usually know how to eek-out the most detail. I would consider paying these guys to scan your "special" images.
Great site for technical issues about highend scanning, check out:
I personally would get and am saving up for a Nikon scanner for my "quality" 35mm scans. I love my 3200 for what it does, but not for 35mm.
Just a personal opinion.
What is the depth of focus (DOF) on your flatbed? My 4870's DOF is enough to handle small variations in film distance from the glass. As a test, scan a solid object and see how far off the surface the DOF extends (sort of like how deep is deep enough). Your 3200 should be similar and good enough for 8x10 prints, anything larger needs more money to achieve.
I think a cheap dedicated film scanner would be a better choice for extracting more info from 35mm film. But then you need a wider more expensive printer to see the difference.
If you send your scans away to a lab for large prints, color matching becomes a problem. Then you have to buy (several hundred dollars) or play around with getting and keeping your monitor matched to the labs printers...... and the endless cycle begins. An easier way of color matching is to use transparency film.
My low cost solution for larger sharper prints is MF. Pick up a large rangefinder, an Iskra (made by our old nemesis) for around $100 and solve the problem :) You won't believe the difference after your first scan. There is no replacement for displacement (or film size) :)
Thanks for the replies. My problem is that my Kodachrome slides from 30 years ago scan better on the 3200 than my new slides and negs from today. This atarted me looking around for a method of flattening the film. Here are two examples taken with my FT and 135/2.5 over 30 years ago. I converted them to B&W for printing.
Edit...well they are not large enough to see the sharpness that is there sorry.
In the interest of saving hard drive space, I deleted the pictures.
Here is one in a larger size.
New Kodachrome/Astia and Portra 160VC scan well for me. I do have problems with other transparency films and correct colors. Fuji Provia curl will not scan or flatten. I don't use it anymore. The attached recent Kodachrome pic printed on my $79 Epson 820 at 8.5x11 looks pretty good. :)
What's wrong with your attachment, looks great to me?
What film do you use with the Iskra? I have an old Yashica TLR A that I might break out just to try scanning.
On my posted picture, there is still a lot of detail that is not shown. In the print and on screen at actual pixels, all the signs are readable. The railings are all deliniated also. That is what I am looking for with modern equipment.
I found some Rollei 6X6 slide holders that have anti Newton ring coating. I will play with them for 35MM after I clean them up. Bought 24 for .75 Cents in Naples in 1972, been hauling tham around since, over half the world...just because they are Rollei.
Here is a center section of that slide. I have about twenty from that period that I can just keep zooming in and seeing more.
Your web pic size is 215k bytes and will never show detail like a print or larger file. Remember, web views and digital display is only good for cartoons and other non-real world images and colors. :)
I like Portra 160VC in the Iskra. A lot of exposure latitude to match the old selenium meter and it scans nice. I'm trying Astia in the RB67. It "gooses" the colors like the other E6 films but not as much.
The Yashica TLR pics will be a surprise. You might want to "roam" the PN medium format forum.
Have you tried Kodachrome in your current rangefinder?
Here is a center section of that slide
This thread is starting to remind me of the movie "Blow Up"?
Your scans look fine for a 3200, about what I would expect. Iskra is right, what you see on a computer screen is a hand drawn facsimily compared to a print
How much sharpening are you applying? What scan software are you using?
I use Vuescan for both Heidelberg at work and 3200 at home. I have a copy of SilverFast AI, but don't use it much. I tend to scan raw tifs with no sharpening with Vuescan and do all my teaking in photoshop.
I've done things like scan the image twice with a bias for shadows and another scan for midtones/highlights to try and draw more shadow detail and combine the scans in photoshop, works great on the Heidelberg, but it sometimes works and sometimes doesn't with the 3200.
Ain't Kodachrome nice? :) This is becoming more and more evident as lower cost scanning equipment unlocks the old images.
You, I and others who suffered through the long ago Kodachrome processing hassle can now appreciate what the film does. Just out of curiosity, how long did it take if you were on/under the high seas? Probably more than 4 or 5 days.
Gratification delayed vs gratification denied. :) I can't understand why all the pricey rangefinder/35mm users interested in the highest quality don't use it exclusively. Oh well......
No, I have lost track of what is available and it is just a jumble of marketing hype words to me now. I did shoot a roll of EB100? the other day, came out almost underexposed in the Bessa R. I might have been too worried about blowing out the hilights, but I think I was close in exposure. With the way I convert to B&W, I almost prefer to begin with color tiffs. I have a plugin that gives me control of what color filters I want to use and also emulates certain film types. The latter is more subtle, but it is great to apply the equivilant color filter in real time and look at results, depending on what I am looking for.
I print to an Epson C86 using MIS EZ inks designed for it, to produce great, trouble free B&W with no problems so far in about 350 prints. Not all were keepers, it was a learning process, but I seldom throw on away now. This is the cheapest way to this kind of print.
Joe, I use Silverfast AI 6 also, but do minimal preprocessing with it. I use Power Retouche Light in PSE 3. When I did that slide, over a year ago, I just used USM till it looked right. This is one slide I want to rescan now that I know more of what I am doing. PR has a very good sharpening routine that is almost undetectable in moderation. I use Qimage to resize to print and also applies the final sharpen to the print.
ISKRA 2, you have convinced me... I bought an Iskra today, now waiting for brown paper wrappings. :cool:
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