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Does my Coolscan need cleaning?
Old 03-14-2017   #1
sanmich
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Does my Coolscan need cleaning?

I have a Coolscan 5000 since 2010, that I have never opened and cleaned.
I wonder if it is due...

I keep it in a zipped camera bag with silicagel.
The exposure on vuescan went slowly from 1 to about 0.5, but I have changed my development technique, and vuescan is so full of little tweaks... who knows?

What do you think?

Thanks!
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Old 03-14-2017   #2
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Vuescan set exposure automatically based on the density of the film you're scanning.

These scanners do need their lenses and mirror cleaned occasionally. The mirror is especially vulnerable to getting coated in dust, which reduces image sharpness and increases flare (which looks like halos around edges where very dark and very light come together in an image).
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Old 03-14-2017   #3
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So exposure went DOWN (1 -> 0.5)? Did you mean up to 1.5?

Anyway, you won't know until you open the scanner. I've opened up a few scanners and never found it necessary to clean the light path because of general dust accumulation (but some people do run the scanners in less than perfect environments). And exp. of 1.5 is something that is perfectly normalor for negative film (if you set the exposure on an unexposed frame).

The way to test if scanner needs cleanning is to scan a slide film with high local contrast area. Observe how much light leaks from bright into dark area. Don't panic, though. You'll be surprised how much flare there is even on perfectly clean Coolscan. Keep the scan as a reference and repeat it after a year, you'll know if you have a problem of dust accumulation then...

Another telltale would be if even after calibration you get uneven scans (streaking). I once bought a scanner sold as defective (quite noticable horizontal line running through the entire width of the scan) because even calibration routine couldn't zero out a dust particle on the sensor protective cover. After a few blows of air the line was gone.
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Old 03-14-2017   #4
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I thought my coolscan must have needed cleaned as it had never been, but once I opened it up it was not really needed at all.
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Old 03-14-2017   #5
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Cleaned my Coolscan 9000 last year. At first look, when I opened it up, it looked pretty clean. But once I removed the mirror and looked at it under proper light, it was filthy.

Just be super careful cleaning the mirror if your Coolscan has one. They are front silvered, and you can destroy the silver very easily.
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Old 03-14-2017   #6
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opening a Coolscan and cleaning the optics, is this something that can be considered DIY job? my V ED is probably 10 years old, although havent used it for years.
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Old 03-14-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarski View Post
opening a Coolscan and cleaning the optics, is this something that can be considered DIY job? my V ED is probably 10 years old, although havent used it for years.
yes its a diy job if you are VERY CAREFUL !!!, i wouldn't touch the mirror with anything just a bit of cleaning fluid or warm water then use a blower to dry.
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Old 03-14-2017   #8
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This site has a lot of great info on Nikon scanner maintenance (with walkthroughs on how to clean the mirror on various models):

http://www.shtengel.com/gleb/Scanners.htm

The link was posted here in another thread about cleaning the mirror on a Coolscan 9000.

This page has some examples of scans from dirty optics:

http://www.vad1.com/photo/dirty-scanner/

Last edited by sakrafd : 03-14-2017 at 13:58. Reason: added dirty optics link
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Old 03-14-2017   #9
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thanks for information, bookmarked.
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Old 03-14-2017   #10
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Wouldn't even use tap water on the mirror. I used distilled water, and lens cleaning fluid. Keeping it very wet, and using a bulb blower to dry it, never wiping it with even lens tissue.
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Old 03-14-2017   #11
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When I maintained and repaired medical equipment chlorofluoromethane (freon 31) or distilled water was used to clean front surface mirrors (silver or gold). The freon did an excellent job but is not eco-friendly (ozone depleter).
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Old 03-14-2017   #12
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Thanks to all for the answers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
Vuescan set exposure automatically based on the density of the film you're scanning.

These scanners do need their lenses and mirror cleaned occasionally. The mirror is especially vulnerable to getting coated in dust, which reduces image sharpness and increases flare (which looks like halos around edges where very dark and very light come together in an image).
I know that vuescan set the basic exposure automatically, but with time the picture got increasigly bright (it's BW negative), so unless I am getting increasingly heavy negs, there is less light reaching the sensor (??).
I don't see any other effect like flare or halos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbo View Post
So exposure went DOWN (1 -> 0.5)? Did you mean up to 1.5?

.
No, I mean the exposure slider in vuscan needs to be set to lower values to compensate for brighter preview images on the screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Cleaned my Coolscan 9000 last year. At first look, when I opened it up, it looked pretty clean. But once I removed the mirror and looked at it under proper light, it was filthy.

Just be super careful cleaning the mirror if your Coolscan has one. They are front silvered, and you can destroy the silver very easily.
Since I keep my scanner in a closed bag I don't know if dust is an issue, but I thought pollution could be a problem.
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Old 03-15-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanmich View Post
No, I mean the exposure slider in vuscan needs to be set to lower values to compensate for brighter preview images on the screen.
Are you talking about RBG exposure slider in Input tab or Brightness slider in Color tab? RGB exposure is "hardware" exposure (longer/shorter time the sensor will read one line of data before moving to the next line) and Brightness is post scanning "software" adjustment.

Now, if you don't lock RGB exposure in Input tab, Vuescan will adjust the exposure based on per frame basis so it doesn't blow the highlights (blacks on negative film). Since individual frames might not include just base fog (pure black) Vuescan will bump up the hardware exposure (probably to be sure to get through the densest parts of the negative - highlights). Now, since Coolscan is a good scanner it is highly unlikely that it will have problems with negative film density even at default hardware exposure (1.0).

I'd just tick the "Lock exposure" box and set "RBG exposure" at 1.0 (or a bit more if you notice that your highlight are clipped) in the Input tab. One benefit is that you will get an approximation of an index print (Vuescan won't try to change exposure at scan time to lighten the underexposed or darken the overexposed frames) and the other is that the scan times will be reduced (always welcome as film will stay cooler and flatter that way).

Many will suggest to lock exposure on a blank frame, but I find it unnecessary with good scanners (16bit and good DMax).
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Old 03-16-2017   #14
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I was talking about the Brightness in the color tab. I wasn't aware of the RBG exposure setting. I'll look at it next time I scan.
But I wonder how it works, since I am scanning from preview...
Vuescan would need the preview as a measure to adjust the illumination during the scan. but since in my case it's a one pass process, does it even happen?
Quote:
Originally Posted by brbo View Post
Are you talking about RBG exposure slider in Input tab or Brightness slider in Color tab? RGB exposure is "hardware" exposure (longer/shorter time the sensor will read one line of data before moving to the next line) and Brightness is post scanning "software" adjustment.

Now, if you don't lock RGB exposure in Input tab, Vuescan will adjust the exposure based on per frame basis so it doesn't blow the highlights (blacks on negative film). Since individual frames might not include just base fog (pure black) Vuescan will bump up the hardware exposure (probably to be sure to get through the densest parts of the negative - highlights). Now, since Coolscan is a good scanner it is highly unlikely that it will have problems with negative film density even at default hardware exposure (1.0).

I'd just tick the "Lock exposure" box and set "RBG exposure" at 1.0 (or a bit more if you notice that your highlight are clipped) in the Input tab. One benefit is that you will get an approximation of an index print (Vuescan won't try to change exposure at scan time to lighten the underexposed or darken the overexposed frames) and the other is that the scan times will be reduced (always welcome as film will stay cooler and flatter that way).

Many will suggest to lock exposure on a blank frame, but I find it unnecessary with good scanners (16bit and good DMax).
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Old 03-16-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanmich View Post
But I wonder how it works, since I am scanning from preview...
Vuescan would need the preview as a measure to adjust the illumination during the scan. but since in my case it's a one pass process, does it even happen?
If you do a preview and only "scan" from that then Vuescan can't do per-frame exposure adjustments. Do you run the calibration in Vuescan at the start of every scanning session?
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Old 03-17-2017   #16
sanmich
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The more you help (Thanks!), the more I understand I am using my scanner like a neanderthal
Calibration? I had to google it...
Do you mean with a calibration slide?

My workflow is:
Feed the film, set the offset based on the second frame (from some obscure reason, the first is wrongly positioned vs the rest of the film), run a full film preview, go back and do individual frames adjustments, hit the "scan" which just writes the adjusted previews to files.


Quote:
Originally Posted by brbo View Post
If you do a preview and only "scan" from that then Vuescan can't do per-frame exposure adjustments. Do you run the calibration in Vuescan at the start of every scanning session?
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Old 03-17-2017   #17
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I meant "Scanner | Calibrate" function. Now, I don't have Coolscan 5000 so I don't know if it is needed with that scanner (or maybe the scanner does it every time it's powered on), but if the option is available in Vuescan - run it.

If you set preview resolution to a high enough value (or preview resolution is all you need from a scanner) then you can scan from preview, sure.
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