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film scanning in 2017
  
 
carlitos
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p.4 #1 · p.4 #1 · film scanning in 2017


I thought I'd bump this thread since I just got an update of my Silverfast SE software. I'm using it to run my PrimeFilm XA slide scanner. Silverfast had an upgrade special for $29, from SE to SE Plus. The reason for the upgrade was to add a multiple exposure module so that the software can perform an HDR-like function during scanning.

So, the upgrade seems to have fixed some other problems as well. The scanner seems not as clunky in operation, and the scans are faster. The resulting image does seem to have more dynamic ranger, or at least the steps within the dynamic range are smoother, not as contrasty. The upgrade does seem to have improved the software's ability to pull darker slides up to a usable level.

Prior to the upgrade, I had been running the scanner at both 5000dpi and 10,000dpi. I know that 10,000dpi is just an interpolation routine, but it behaved as sort of a filter. I'd get color balance, et al. correct at 5000dpi, then scan 10,000dpi. Sometimes the 5000dpi image looked better, sometimes the 10,000dpi. After the upgrade, the 2 images look more alike. Unfortunately, now there seems to be a red-green color shift between the 5k and 10k scans on some images.

All in all, though a worthwhile upgrade.



Nov 06, 2017 at 06:28 PM
Dustin Gent
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p.4 #2 · p.4 #2 · film scanning in 2017


carlitos wrote:
I thought I'd bump this thread since I just got an update of my Silverfast SE software. I'm using it to run my PrimeFilm XA slide scanner. Silverfast had an upgrade special for $29, from SE to SE Plus. The reason for the upgrade was to add a multiple exposure module so that the software can perform an HDR-like function during scanning.

So, the upgrade seems to have fixed some other problems as well. The scanner seems not as clunky in operation, and the scans are faster. The resulting image does seem to have more dynamic ranger, or at least
...Show more

So i looked at the Silverfast website... Is the $119 version really worth it over the $49 version? I can add contrast in LR or PS. I was going to get Vuescan, but am still not 100% sure.



Nov 07, 2017 at 02:51 AM
edwardkaraa
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p.4 #3 · p.4 #3 · film scanning in 2017



Dustin Gent wrote:
So i looked at the Silverfast website... Is the $119 version really worth it over the $49 version? I can add contrast in LR or PS. I was going to get Vuescan, but am still not 100% sure.


Apart from the multiple exposure function there is nothing in the SE version that might interest me. I have both basic and SE versions and keep on using the basic version just to have less buttons available to click on.

Also if you buy the basic one, silverfast will inevitably make you an upgrade offer later on



Nov 07, 2017 at 08:44 AM
retrofocus
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p.4 #4 · p.4 #4 · film scanning in 2017


Dustin Gent wrote:
So i looked at the Silverfast website... Is the $119 version really worth it over the $49 version? I can add contrast in LR or PS. I was going to get Vuescan, but am still not 100% sure.


I have the latest Silverfast software since it came with the Plustek scanner which I bought this year. I am not familiar with the cheaper predecessor version - from what I was reading here it seems they added the multi-exposure/HDR feature. In all my usage of scanner with latest Silvervast 8 software, I have never used this feature for scanning purposes and have it inactive. I tested it in the beginning once and found that the final image looks too different from the original. Since I am interested to get the closest digital look of my negatives, this feature is not useful for me.



Nov 07, 2017 at 12:34 PM
Gary Clennan
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p.4 #5 · p.4 #5 · film scanning in 2017


I wished Silverfast was a bit more simplified. It has taken me a long time to figure out how all the functions perform... I looked on Youtube for a reputable video showing a walk through, start-to-finish, scanning of film but couldn't find anything decent. I am happy with my scans but know I can do better.


Nov 07, 2017 at 02:54 PM
retrofocus
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p.4 #6 · p.4 #6 · film scanning in 2017


Gary Clennan wrote:
I wished Silverfast was a bit more simplified. It has taken me a long time to figure out how all the functions perform... I looked on Youtube for a reputable video showing a walk through, start-to-finish, scanning of film but couldn't find anything decent. I am happy with my scans but know I can do better.


Problem with Silverfast is that you get easily overwhelmed with many options at once when starting with it. It took me a few days to understand that I could pretty much leave my "setup" and only change according to the type of film used and if I need additional scratch/dust removal when scanning color film. It is not advisable to start every time all over again with a new set up from scratch - fortunately the program remembers the last setting, so I am always good to go when I reopen the program.

What Silverfast misses is a simplified scan option within the program which just lets you manually choose resolution (which is also unfortunately a bit hidden in the menu when first using it) and NegaFix film type, histogram adjustments, potential dust/scratch removal - that's it. I barely ever need the other 70-80% of options.



Nov 07, 2017 at 04:23 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.4 #7 · p.4 #7 · film scanning in 2017


That's right. All the "features " in silverfast should be turned off, except the infrared dust detection for color negatives. I might correct luminosity and contrast when needed but that's about it.


Nov 07, 2017 at 05:31 PM
carlitos
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p.4 #8 · p.4 #8 · film scanning in 2017


edwardkaraa wrote:
Apart from the multiple exposure function there is nothing in the SE version that might interest me. I have both basic and SE versions and keep on using the basic version just to have less buttons available to click on.

Also if you buy the basic one, silverfast will inevitably make you an upgrade offer later on


Yep. In my case I'm glad they did, since the upgrade improverd the behavior of the scanner.



Nov 07, 2017 at 05:39 PM
carlitos
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p.4 #9 · p.4 #9 · film scanning in 2017


In the year or so that I've been using Silverfast for scanning, it has been a good piece of software. It hangs up occasionally, but usually when I've been scanning at 10,000dpi, so they've got an issue there.


Nov 07, 2017 at 05:46 PM
retrofocus
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p.4 #10 · p.4 #10 · film scanning in 2017


carlitos wrote:
In the year or so that I've been using Silverfast for scanning, it has been a good piece of software. It hangs up occasionally, but usually when I've been scanning at 10,000dpi, so they've got an issue there.


Why would you ever use 10 000 dpi?! I always scan with 3600 dpi, and it is more than sufficient even for larger prints from digitized files. I compared the scan resolution with 3600 dpi with photos of negatives taken with my 36 MP FF sensor (A7R), and the result is exactly the same.



Nov 07, 2017 at 05:59 PM
 

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Dustin Gent
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p.4 #11 · p.4 #11 · film scanning in 2017


i wish silverfish had a 30 day money back guarantee like Vuescan does. That way I could see what would work best for me, since reviews are mixed of both.

For the next several months, all i am shooting is film, so i want the best i can get



Nov 07, 2017 at 06:08 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.4 #12 · p.4 #12 · film scanning in 2017


Dustin Gent wrote:
i wish silverfish had a 30 day money back guarantee like Vuescan does. That way I could see what would work best for me, since reviews are mixed of both.

For the next several months, all i am shooting is film, so i want the best i can get


Don't they have a 30 days trial period? I'm sure they do.




Nov 08, 2017 at 09:00 AM
edwardkaraa
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p.4 #13 · p.4 #13 · film scanning in 2017


retrofocus wrote:
Why would you ever use 10 000 dpi?! I always scan with 3600 dpi, and it is more than sufficient even for larger prints from digitized files. I compared the scan resolution with 3600 dpi with photos of negatives taken with my 36 MP FF sensor (A7R), and the result is exactly the same.


It's always best to scan at the scanner's highest optical resolution, to minimize grain aliasing. I doubt 10,000 dpi is the true optical resolution though. It's most probably interpolated. The real number should 5,000 dpi.



Nov 08, 2017 at 09:02 AM
edwardkaraa
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p.4 #14 · p.4 #14 · film scanning in 2017


carlitos wrote:
Yep. In my case I'm glad they did, since the upgrade improverd the behavior of the scanner.


I don't think it's the upgrade. It's more probably the software update that they did back in July or August. The software is exactly the same, they just "unlock" some features when you pay more



Nov 08, 2017 at 09:07 AM
carlitos
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p.4 #15 · p.4 #15 · film scanning in 2017


I wasn't aware that they had a software update. IIRC that was shortly after I had purchased my scanner. So you're probably right.

My scanner's optical resolution is 5000dpi. Before the upgrade, there was a difference in the look of the 5000dpi and 10000dpi result. The only word that I can think of that describes the difference is that the 10000dpi result looked flatter. There was little to no difference in scan time; the time to save was slightly longer, so there was no penalty for scanning at 10k. The file size is larger but I've got plenty of terabytes. After the update, the files are much more similar.

I've only had the upgrade for less than a week, so I'm still exploring the output with various interesting transparencies. The multi-exposure "effect" is sort of apparent. Trying to decide if it's useful for all images.



Nov 08, 2017 at 05:32 PM
dswiger
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p.4 #16 · p.4 #16 · film scanning in 2017


Thought I would join the conversation.
I've been scanning with an Epson 4990 for about 7 years.
My workflow has evolved & now get very good results
BUT, the scan times are a bit much, especially on large format.!
Also, there is some tweaking going from scanner output to Photoshop.
I use the Epson scan software but recently a Win 10 update has broken support for the 4990.
Checked user groups/online & such & its a real problem.
The suggestions offered are a one shot deal.
In other words, it works the 1st time after re-install and quits after that.
I have resorted to running my old Win 7 Netbook to keep using Epson software.
I've never been satisfied with either Vue Scan or Silverfast.
Both have less clear tools usage. The Epson is just more straightforward.


So now after thinking about it, I've taken the plunge on using my A7R w/macro like many here.
Picked up the Canon FD 50 macro for $50 on Ebay & its a gem

I also use the ColorNeg plug-in.
As others have mentioned, the other advantage to a DSLR "copy" method is better dynamic range, especially for shadows.
The old scanner sensor with the mirror path leads to a compromise that I don't have to deal with now.

My current lash-up is my slide viewer light box under the camera on a tripod. Not very elegant.
But I have the column from an old enlarger ready to mount up.

Haven't got a light pad yet but have eyed a few on Amazon.
The concern is the number of reviews that show the LED ones offered seem to be flaky or die, like 5-15%.
There's the Logan models, but they are fluorescent based & some complain about uneven lighting.
Haven't decided if & can get by with a 4x5 or 8x10 sized light source.

I've added a compendium bellows to the setup to block stray light.

I haven't settled on a tethering setup. The A7R unfortunately doesn't support live view for tethering.
Apparently the A7RII does. I am playing with the Capture One software which seems OK for the price ($50).
The nice thing about a PC based tool is the direct transfer to working folders.

I really want a bigger viewing screen than the camera's LCD for focusing/exposure so I have experimented with the Sony remote app.
Currently on an iPhone but soon to try it with a Galaxy tablet.
The Sony App method doesn't help with the file transfer situation.
Just means I have transfer the cameras card contents after a session.

I of course tried combining the Sony App & Capture One, but the camera won't support both operations.
I doubted they would but had to try.
I of course can get a small HDMI display to have a more integrated setup with Capture One.
That may win out just on the work-flow question

Dan





Nov 17, 2017 at 02:52 AM
dswiger
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p.4 #17 · p.4 #17 · film scanning in 2017


I thought I would update the "tethering" experiments.

There is a free app that still in "development" call Digicamcontrol.
It can connect with just about any USB I/F camera. Certainly Canon, Nikon.
I had trouble getting it to work with USB connection to my Sony.
Then I discovered that it supported Wifi control from the Playmemories app "camera remote"(?)
Sure enough, it connects WiFi relatively easy and therefore supports LIVE VIEW!
Just like with an iPhone or tablet. This allows for focusing on a big screen.
While it doesn't show the "zebra" focusing assist, it has an "outline" feature" that gives a similar result.
The only problem is the current release seems to have issues with transferring the resulting files.
I will test this feature also with the 5DMkII, to see if it is a generic issue or Camera type w/WiFi
This is a minimal problem as the files are still recorded on the cameras SD card.
I submitted a response on their forum.

Next I tried Capture One. At only $50 for a 2 seat license, I will get it as an alternate tool.
This one reliably connects with USB. But live view doesn't work via USB on an A7R.
And it doesn't support WiFi. Not sure why not. I will ask them
My workaround is to connect the camera's micro-HDMI to a desktop monitor for large screen focus assist.
Sort of a kludge but workable.
Now when I take scan/picts, the file is transferred to the target folder on the PC.
This is actually slightly better for the workflow. No waiting to transfer of the camera's card to the PC.

Now it's time to lash up the enlarger column to a base and decide on a light pad.



Nov 18, 2017 at 06:12 AM
retrofocus
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p.4 #18 · p.4 #18 · film scanning in 2017


dswiger wrote:
I thought I would update the "tethering" experiments.

There is a free app that still in "development" call Digicamcontrol.
It can connect with just about any USB I/F camera. Certainly Canon, Nikon.
I had trouble getting it to work with USB connection to my Sony.
Then I discovered that it supported Wifi control from the Playmemories app "camera remote"(?)
Sure enough, it connects WiFi relatively easy and therefore supports LIVE VIEW!
Just like with an iPhone or tablet. This allows for focusing on a big screen.
While it doesn't show the "zebra" focusing assist, it has an "outline" feature" that gives a similar result.
The
...Show more

Really helpful advice! I was also missing that my A7R was not able to stream a LiveView image to my monitor screen when I photographed negatives. I was able to manage by focusing just with the camera's back screen, but it would be much more convenient to see it on the monitor screen similar to connecting my 5D MkII camera to the PC via USB. I will keep this new app in mind - hopefully it will get rid of the bugs in the future. I currently don't need this kind of workflow anymore for digitizing negatives since I bought a dedicated Plustek scanner for this purpose. But I could certainly make use of this app in combination with PlayMemories app when taking photos with my microscope which has the A7R mounted on the trinocular tube.



Nov 18, 2017 at 02:28 PM
Peter Figen
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p.4 #19 · p.4 #19 · film scanning in 2017


"My scanner's optical resolution is 5000dpi. Before the upgrade, there was a difference in the look of the 5000dpi and 10000dpi result. The only word that I can think of that describes the difference is that the 10000dpi result looked flatter. There was little to no difference in scan time; the time to save was slightly longer, so there was no penalty for scanning at 10k. The file size is larger but I've got plenty of terabytes. After the update, the files are much more similar."

If there's no increase in either quality or detail between 5000 and a clearly interpolated 10,000 ppi, then why bother. In fact I'd be really surprised if that Plustek came anywhere near 5000 ppi in real resolution and is probably closer to half that. The now discontinued ICG drum scanners claimed 12,000 optical but they used a 3 micron aperture, the same as the Howtek 8000 I use, which, when properly aligned can hit an actual res of a little over 7000 ppi. Now try and find a film that sharp and you're only choices are old old Kodak Tech Pan or possibly Adox CMS 20, which I might just pick up today as I have to get paper at Freestyle here in L.A.



Nov 18, 2017 at 05:33 PM
carlitos
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p.4 #20 · p.4 #20 · film scanning in 2017


Peter Figen wrote:
"My scanner's optical resolution is 5000dpi. Before the upgrade, there was a difference in the look of the 5000dpi and 10000dpi result. The only word that I can think of that describes the difference is that the 10000dpi result looked flatter. There was little to no difference in scan time; the time to save was slightly longer, so there was no penalty for scanning at 10k. The file size is larger but I've got plenty of terabytes. After the update, the files are much more similar."

If there's no increase in either quality or detail between 5000 and a clearly
...Show more

Why not? The output between 5k and 10k is different. I understand the math involved. Apparently the specs of my scanner can't even be believed, so film resolution is not relevant. The only the only relevant issue, then, is interpolation. The interpolation yields a different result - sometimes better wrt the subject matter, sometimes not. I used a Nikon LS-2000 for years (nominally 2700dpi), and printed 22"x30" from it. This modern scanner is clearly better.



Nov 19, 2017 at 06:36 AM
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