I guess I must be one of the ones who does most with negatives and slides and some (a lot) have marginal quality.
Firstly I must say that I wish that the screeners had been far harsher (yes, harsher) with me on my earlier uploads. I frequently see photos accepted where with a bit of guidance they could be so much better. I know that this is also an area of contention for others here who submit oldies. Rare or not, I feel that where there are correctable errors such as large colour casts etc they should be rejected. Scanning from film means that, due to fading, the colours out of the scanner cannot be relied upon. I think that where someone appears here as a first time contributor but where it looks as though they need a bit of help, they could be passed to someone who could help them, someone like me. Where I do see these errors I often contact the photographer and offer my help. Some accept, some not, presumably taking the view that if it has been accepted, why bother. I am slowly re-scanning most of my old stuff and re-uploading it with a massive improvement in quality.(go on, tell them Gary)
My early scans were all done on a Nikon Coolscan III and I am now wondering if it ever worked properly. When it packed in I got the Konica Minolta Dimage ScanElite which has a maximum resolution of 5400DPI. File sizes are however massive and I usually scan at 2700, the same as on the Nikon. Where the Minolta one scores is in the shadow detail. The shadows are far less likely to block up making for more acceptable scans.
Scanning from colour slides or negatives I use the Digital Ice feature which helps to soften dust and scratches. My worst negatives are black and white where many have grown bad mould, but unfortunately the Ice function does not work and I have to clone a lot.
Some Flatbed scanners have a facility to scan slides and negatives and I also have a Canon 9950 which I use for 120 rollfim. Having the 35mm dedicated scanner, I have never tried it with 35mm but it has a resolution of 5400DPI and should give excellent results with well exposed slides or negatives. Epson have the 4770 and 4990 models which give similar results, though shadow detail is reportedly not so good for any of these as for the dedicated 35mm scanners.
Once the image is scanned the workflow is fairly standard. I use the curves to correct the tonal quality and level etc in a full sized JPG file.
If the negative was from a well-exposed low speed film I then crop. resize to 1024, use the magic wand to deselect areas I do not wish to sharpen and then use the CS
Smart sharpen function, generally about 50% @ 0.3. Before getting CS
I used about 300% @ 0.3 USM
but I raised the threshold to 4 (from the more usual 0) to avoid sharpening the grain.
If the negative was of poorer quality as many of my very early ones are, with reticulated grain, after the scan and levels are corrected, I save a full size scan and apply Neat Image. I use the auto function to assess the grain but turn it back to 10 or 15 %, occasionally 20%. If it needs more than 20%, no matter how good the subject, you will never see it !
After Neat Image I then save the file again and treat it as normal. If you have a grainy image there is little point in sharpening the grain so areas such as the sky should be deselected before sharpening, I sometimes, in an emergency use the dust and scratch filter in photoshop CS
on the sky but the negative has to be very bad and the aircraft very good before I do this as I do not like the effect for example.
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Photo © Mick Bajcar
I am pleased with most of my recent scans and re-uploads and ashamed of a lot of my early ones. The photography was not generally bad, the scanning and processing appalling.
If someone had guided me more earlier a lot of my time and that of the screeners would have been saved.
One of the Head Screeners has an excellent guide to scanning but I do not want him to be inundated with requests so have not named Tim, sorry him.
I do not understand the processes behind what I am doing and would welcome advice from anyone. I now feel that I am getting the best out of images that I can, something that was certainly not the case before.