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Slide Scanner  
User currently offlineIl76 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2004, 2239 posts, RR: 42
Posted (14 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1949 times:

I bought a slide/negative scanner 2 days ago. All excited I started scanning right away, but the results are not what I would have liked them to be. The scans are not very bright and it's not that sharp either. 100% image is approx 2200x1300 pixels, so that's ok. But still it doesn't look like other scans I see on Airliners.
It's a Prime scanner, 1800 dpi.

Does anyone know a good way to improve the pics using f.e. photoshop?


6 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineCkw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 813 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (14 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1914 times:

The first thing to note is while you can make minor enhancements to a scanned image, post-scan manipulation should not be relied on to save an image - GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out).

The second thing is that slide/film scanners are not simple plug 'n' play devices (regardless of what the manufacturer might say!) - sure, you can get them up and running easy enough, but optimising the various software settings to get the results you want, on your particular film, can take quite some time. I would consider a couple of weeks, not days, necessary to get everything in tune.

Thirdly, is your monitor calibrated? A mis-set monitor will can make the best scans look crap!

That said, you must be brutally critical of your originals before you look at the scanner. Are they really accurately exposed and sharp? Or do they just look ok on the prints? Study the negative/slide with a loupe - a film scanner will only emphasise any deficiencies in the orginal.

Assuming you have a good original - and I would strongly rcommend using a good portait shot (lots of flesh tones for colour balance checking) with bright highlights and shadow areas - both the highlights and shadows should be as bright/dark as possible without being totally white/black (ie. some detail should be visible). Use this as a test image.

Unfortunately, I don't know your scanner or its software, so can only make general suggestions.
Lack of "brightness" is usually indicative of too low a gamma setting - this should be between 2.2 and 2.8.

It may also be an incorrectly set black or white point - try experimenting with values of between 1% - 4% if possible.

Sharpness - I would expect a little softening in the scan process, but nothing that can't easily be corrected in Photoshop, but the softening should be barely perceptible. An obvious thing to check (but easy to get wrong!) is that the film is the right way round in the scanner. I beleive the Prime supports higher resolutions through interpolation - DON'T use this feature if you want maximum sharpness.


If you can set it, the color space can make a big difference - RGB is probably the default, but sRGB. CIE, Adobe etc. are other possible colour spaces which have a big impact on the final image.

Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineStaffan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (14 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1903 times:

Also "auto exposure" is a vital feature for good scans.


User currently offlineEDLP_TOM From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 20 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (14 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1900 times:

Can you show us an example???Because i also wanted to buy a 1800dpi slidescanner.

thanks ...

User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (14 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1896 times:

The main problem with the Primefilm scanner is focussing. I used to have one and many scans were out of focus. Exposure was all right, in my experience overexposed rather than underexposed, this is probably a software issue.

Mine proved rather unreliable and not very good quality, it gave out after a few months when the coating of the mirror let go. I now use a Minolta Scan Dual II which gives far better results (at just over twice the cost).

I wish I were flying
User currently offlineIl76 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2004, 2239 posts, RR: 42
Reply 5, posted (14 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1891 times:

Thanks for the replies guys.
This Prime is quite cheap, so I gave it a try. Beats a flatbedscanner and I save on photo printcosts.
Then again, if this thing will not satify me later, I'll go look for a more professional one. For my holiday pics it's fine. But I'm very critical when it comes to my airplane slides. I've uploaded a few pics... my first scans, so not optimal yet. Hopefully Johan will not reject them. They're not in the db yet, as Johan mentioned he has a delay with uploading new pics.

Thanks! I'll give it a go with your advice...

User currently offlineSkyliner From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 205 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (14 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1880 times:

I also have an 1800, and would agree with the comments about it taking some time to learn how to use it for best results. Obviously there are better scanners out there in terms of resolution, but for web use, the 1800's price warrants consideration. I generally use Adobe PhotoDeluxe (limited version of Photo Shop) in conjunction with the 1800, and have found that a moderate use of the unsharp mask is often helpful. Some examples in the data base:

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © George W. Hamlin

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © George W. Hamlin

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © George W. Hamlin

Hope that this is helpful!

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