Negative scanning question

Discussion in 'Alternative Techniques & Photo Gallery' started by crawdaddio, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. crawdaddio

    crawdaddio TPF Noob!

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    Hello all,
    Just tried it for the first time tonight. I'm using a HP PSC 1610xi printer/scanner. I'm trying to scan some b/w 35mm negatives. The problem is that the images come up totally grainy and crappy. I import them to photoshop and invert the image. Is there a better way? Is it just that this scanner doesn't work well for this? I just want to view them and maybe edit a little to place on my PC for storage. Is this a common practice, and if so, could someone let me know if I am doing something wrong or if I'm just limited by my equipment.

    Thanks
    ~DC
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm not at all familiar with your HP, so I can't say whether or not it will do a good job for you. Are you using a film holder template, or just laying them on the flatbed? I use an Epson with the film holders, and it does a good job 90% of the time. (Has trouble reading infrared negatives.)

    I've always followed the procedure you're describing. Scan, save to folder, open in PS, invert and make whatever adjustments are indicated. Works like a charm, so there's nothing wrong with your thought process here. :)

    Unless someone with special knowledge of this scanner can weigh in here to give you specific recommendations, I'd say it is probably the scanner. Have you called HP?
     
  3. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    It's only 1200 dpi, so the scan isn't going to be that great for negs. I also don't see that it comes with a negative carrier. It's an all-in-on unit, so it really isn't going to do a bang-up job. Looking closer, it doesn't even look like it is set up for transparencies. You need the lid to transmit light down through the neg for the scan to work well, not just a white reflective surface.

    Kinda sucks, but I think that's the best you'll be able to get.
     
  4. crawdaddio

    crawdaddio TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys.
    Crap. That's what I thought.
    Terri-Would a neg. holder (don't even know what one looks like) help at all? Where can I get one?

    Markc-I see what you mean about the neg. needing to be lit from above. Do you think I could rig some kind of cheapo light up? Does the lid HAVE to be closed when scanning?

    Oh well, I guess I'll just have to live with it. Make prints and scan those. This thing scans prints pretty well. Darnit! Foiled by inferior equipment AGAIN!

    Thanks again for the help people.
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I'd consider it a lost cause. If you really feel like fiddling with it, you might get something that would make you happy, but I don't know what level of quality you are willing to deal with. If you really want to scan negatives, a dedicated negative scanner is the way to go.
     
  6. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    awww, I'm sorry. :hug:: Usually, if your scanner is going to allow for negatives, it will come with its own negative carriers, usually several format sizes. And there will be a way to remove an opaque top to allow for the extra light required, as Mark mentioned. Since your HP apparently has none of these features, it's doubtful you're going to get very good results. :(

    otoh, sounds like it works pretty well as a flatbed, and you can scan your own prints. Better than nothing for getting digital files, if that's your primary objective.

    If you're really serious, and you plan on continuing to shoot film, or even develop your own B&W but print them digitally at home, then yes - a dedicated film scanner may be in your future. Or at least a better quality scanner that comes with the above accessories, and prices are dropping all the time. I love being able to scan my negatives quickly, if I don't have time to get to my darkroom and want to see a quick enlargement. It's a wonderful modern convenience! :D
     
  7. crawdaddio

    crawdaddio TPF Noob!

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    *Sigh*

    Okay, thanks, you guys really have been helpful. I appreciate it.
     
  8. stingray

    stingray TPF Noob!

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    If black and white is all you want to do then i've actually been able to do it with varying degrees of success... below is a picture of my scanning setup:

    http://www.deviantart.com/view/26701658/

    followed by one of the results:

    http://www.deviantart.com/view/26701857/

    The quality is fairly good. Use your highest resolution to scan with and do a few quick preview scans beforehand to experiment with the proximity of the light to the negs.
    Incidentally this technique is absolutely USELESS for colour. Even with black and white, I don't think the results are all that faithful to the actual negative but it's certainly good for a quick preview before you go into the darkroom! By the way, the example above has had very little photoshopping at all, good luck with it!

    Edit: By the way, for those who are just reading through and don't want to look at the pictures, here is the caption from the scanning setup pic.: "This is my incredibly, can't believe there could be more, improvised negative scanning facility. It consists of a flatbed scanner, half a CD case, a desk lamp and a CD rom drive. The CD case flattens the negs with the cd rom as weight and the lamp backlights them sufficiently while the scanner interprets. The results aren't tooo bad but I will be soon building something more solid and wellthought out." THanks
     
  9. crawdaddio

    crawdaddio TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, I will definitely try this!
     
  10. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I scan black and white negatives from medium format and 4x5 into my computer with a 35mm scanner and before that with a reflective scanner. They do quite well. I used to have a software package that let me do color as well but I lost it in a crash. It was from the canon scanner that didnt work on arrival, so it wasn't really my software anyway. I don't have photoshop on the computer but now and then I install and then remove it. The photoshop wizard did an okay job on color as I remember but not spectacular.

    Here is all you need. For best results at least have a scanner that will scan negarives of some kind, since in my limited experienc they focus sharper on film than a plain scanner, don't ask me why. Even so you have to scan on reflective, as if it were paper. Like the others said here the software will be set up for 35mm so it won't work on bigger negs... if you use a plain flat bed they might be signigicantly less sharp mine were.

    You need a back light. I use one I built using a trouble light from the hardware store, a florescent curly bulb same place... and an empty cd tube top to hold it away from the negative. Cut out the top of the tube of course. Use a piece of ground glass or smoky plastic over the negative itself. and an editor to reverse the negative. this is such a scan from a 6x7 negative.

    This poster was blown up from a scan that started so large I couldn't work with it on my computer. The 20x30 print was made from a much reduced file down to 6meg and still 20 megapix. the poster without the print info at the bottom was sold on ebay to a man with a bicycle theme bar and he loved it. So you can make a scan of negatives on a flat bed. The secret is in the back light. This is the only design dyi that I have ever seen that works and I had to figure it out myself. There should be hundreds of better designs since I really had no idea what I was doing when I stumbled onto it.

    I use negative holders made from cardboard mats material to hold them flat.
    [​IMG]
     

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