Flatbed negative scanner. Have I been ripped off?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Sash[DSL], Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Sash[DSL]

    Sash[DSL] TPF Noob!

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    I bought a HP scanjet 4470c scanner a while ago hoping to use it to scan negatives as it came with a negative carrier. It has a pretty decent resolution -1200dpi, yet the results I get scanning with it are pretty bad:
    1)Blur - I use highest possible conrast and yet the images look blurry anyway
    2)Grain - when you zoom in, you can easily see the grain on the image itself. I think it is the grain, im not sure. It looks very different from bw negative grain when i looked at it through grain focuser. It is more like a bunch of tiny vertical strokes that blur out the details on the image, some of them have different colours from the surrounding ones, as if theres a drop of paint on them.
    3)Colour isnt my biggest complaint, although it isnt as radiant as it couldve been. Not to mention that apparently the colourbase on different film has a slightly different colour and I have to adjust it each time
    Overall the images I get from it are ok as thumbnails for a website but definitely not for printing. Well, on a stamp maybe :p

    Am I doing something wrong or is it the scanner?
     
  2. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    You have to apply some sharpening to any scanned image. Are you talking about scanning prints or negatives? I suppose I can see the grain from 200 speed negatives at 1220 dpi. But at 2800 dpi with my dedicated slide scanner I barely start seeing the grain on Velvia 50.
     
  3. Sash[DSL]

    Sash[DSL] TPF Noob!

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    Im talking about negatives. Scanning prints isnt much better quality-wise. The negatives I scanned were asa 400 afaik. Ill see what asa200's look like on thursday when I get my sunset shots developed.
     
  4. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    scan one and crop out a portion at 100% and post it here. I'd like to see what you are seeing.
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Contrast doesn't really have anything to do with sharpness, it's your tonal range. With any method I've ever used from the darkroom to Adobe PS, if you have the contrast cranked to the max, you are going to get wacky results. Like Vood said, you should be looking at some sort of sharpening tool to handle image softness. What software are you using? Unsharp mask in Adobe PS rocks!

    Color correcting scans from negs is tough. I've hand printed color, and run printing machines in a photo lab, and I never had problems color correcting there, but from a scanned neg it's tricky. I've been using Silverfast, which was recommended to me by a photog buddy who does a lot more color work than I do. It does a much faster and better job of it than I do with Adobe PS alone, but I still have to go in and adjust the levels and/or curves in each individual channel. And I'm still not 100% happy with my results, oh well, I learn a little bit more each time.
     
  6. Sash[DSL]

    Sash[DSL] TPF Noob!

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    Ok... I have figured out two things
    a) Any resolution above the scanner's optical resolution which is 1200dpi is not worth even bothering with, most of what I descibed in complaint "2)" is only noticable at 2400dpi and above.
    b) What caused these coloured grain things to appear is the crappy auto image correction software that came with the printer. When I turned all the contrast/exposre tweaks off completely, I got a highly washed out and dull looking image, but at least I was able to get a more or less consistent colour on surfaces. Still it wasnt perfect at all, I finally see why dedicated negative scanners are still in business :S . Later, after some tweaking in Photoshop I managed to get an image that does look pretty decent at 5.9Mpixel. At 2.xx Mpixel it gets hard to tell it from a digital shot. I am going to have to find some place to host the images as samples. Should I keep it in Tiff with ZIP compression or should I use Jpeg?
     

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