Negative & slide scanning

Brownie

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Check out Bruce Williams' YouTube channel. He has a nice workingman's approach to Darktable and a full selection of videos. While he's not as in-depth or technical as Aurélien Pierre, he's a lot less complicated and easier to understand. I spent a lot of time on his channel during the first COVID lockdown. It may not be the end all, but it will absolutely shorten your learning curve. He has 80+ videos and most are based on specific modules. Keep in mind that some modules have multiple episodes and older versions are only applicable to earlier releases of DT, so make sure you're watching the latest version.

Bruce Williams Photography - YouTube
 
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Some feedback for @Brownie :

So, I just installed DT3.4, and tried Negadoctor on a couple of ORFs of my previously scanned negatives.
Frankly I am amazed. I'm sure you could pick holes in it if you were trying to get top quality.
But overall, on auto settings it produced far better colours than I have previously managed (with an hour or two of faffing around) in literally 5 seconds.
I am very pleased by this!
Now I just have to get on and actually photograph the several boxes of negs...

Many thanks for this tip Tim!
 

Brownie

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Some feedback for @Brownie :

So, I just installed DT3.4, and tried Negadoctor on a couple of ORFs of my previously scanned negatives.
Frankly I am amazed. I'm sure you could pick holes in it if you were trying to get top quality.
But overall, on auto settings it produced far better colours than I have previously managed (with an hour or two of faffing around) in literally 5 seconds.
I am very pleased by this!
Now I just have to get on and actually photograph the several boxes of negs...

Many thanks for this tip Tim!
Once you become proficient with it, there won't be much to complain about. This is the second iteration, so the first upgrade. I expect to see more improvement as they continue R&D.

Did you use the eyedropper to pick the film base color? That will also help in most cases, although I prefer to not use in with B&W. In order for it to work properly you need a piece of the unexposed film, like the separators between frames. Keep that in mind when scanning the negatives.

Glad it's working for you!
 
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...Did you use the eyedropper to pick the film base color? That will also help in most cases, although I prefer to not use in with B&W. In order for it to work properly you need a piece of the unexposed film, like the separators between frames.
I clicked on the eye dropper icon, thinking I would then point it at the frame separator as you say, but it just instantly produced a colour-reversed result before I had the chance. Not quite sure what was going on there, I think I have some learning to do!
 

Brownie

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Click on the eye dropper and a frame (rectangle) will show up around the perimeter of the shot. Ignore it. Take the mouse and draw a new small rectangle on the border of the negative, just covering the base color of the film. As you do the old rectangle will disappear and the program will now read that as the base color. It will improve your initial conversion in most cases.
 

jhawk1000

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I have scanned a lot of my slides using the base of an old Durst Enlarger as my copy stand, a lightbox that came from my wife's lab and is color corrected, a loupe, an Em-1 with remote, a 45mm 2.8 Leica/Panasonic lens and a fantastic electric film and slide cleaner that has chamois rotating on two shafts that gently take the dust off the slides or film. Film strips require white cotton gloves to keep fingerprints off. The cleaner has a foot pedal that turns the chamois pads on and the film touches it so dust is taken off. I have been trying to find an adequate negative to positive converter and just downloaded and tried darktable and it does much better than Lightroom but still not what I was looking for so I dug out our Nikon LS-2000 scanner which needed lubrication and cleaning and sent it for repair today. The Nikon LS-2000 was one of my wife's scanners for the littler files since she had big ones from Fuji for the huge files when needed. I recall paying close to $2,000 for the scanner in 1999 and if it is restored for less than $150.00 then I will be happy since it automatically converts negatives very easily. I have boatloads of negatives of most of my life and it will be a long task to determine and scan the ones I want. I love this setup I have for slides and will continue to use it as I find the rest of the slides that are hiding. Here is my setup now.
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I like your cleaner thingy. What is it called?

Negative Lab Pro is excellent. You can download and try it for a number of scans. I’ve used a bunch over the years, including whatever an Imacon comes with and Silver Fast. NLP is better.

I have scanned a lot of my slides using the base of an old Durst Enlarger as my copy stand, a lightbox that came from my wife's lab and is color corrected, a loupe, an Em-1 with remote, a 45mm 2.8 Leica/Panasonic lens and a fantastic electric film and slide cleaner that has chamois rotating on two shafts that gently take the dust off the slides or film. Film strips require white cotton gloves to keep fingerprints off. The cleaner has a foot pedal that turns the chamois pads on and the film touches it so dust is taken off. I have been trying to find an adequate negative to positive converter and just downloaded and tried darktable and it does much better than Lightroom but still not what I was looking for so I dug out our Nikon LS-2000 scanner which needed lubrication and cleaning and sent it for repair today. The Nikon LS-2000 was one of my wife's scanners for the littler files since she had big ones from Fuji for the huge files when needed. I recall paying close to $2,000 for the scanner in 1999 and if it is restored for less than $150.00 then I will be happy since it automatically converts negatives very easily. I have boatloads of negatives of most of my life and it will be a long task to determine and scan the ones I want. I love this setup I have for slides and will continue to use it as I find the rest of the slides that are hiding. Here is my setup now.View attachment 872999View attachment 873001View attachment 873002View attachment 873003View attachment 873005
 

jhawk1000

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I like your cleaner thingy. What is it called?
It is a Saint Charles Research film cleaner--model 2000. The logo is SCR. Really is heavy with two electric motors driving the two shafts. We have two of them which wife brought when she closed her lab. We have extra chamois pads when the old ones get too dirty. Works real good.
 

agentlossing

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If the negatives and slides are 35mm, it's hard to go with anything but a good digital camera setup or a dedicated scanner. Flatbeds do a poor job, and as mentioned above their real DPI is quite low.

I got a Pacific Image XA Super finally, and man is it night and day different from the Epson V550 I used before. I've been thinking about trying to offer scanning service either locally or over the internet, not as a professional thing, of course, but for those who have negatives sitting around and want decent scans with actual resolving power of 5000 DPI or better. I usually scan TIFF at that resolution and then edit a bit in LR, and save as either a 16mp or 24mp file.

I know the price tag for these scanners is very high, but the convenience and the IQ are night and day better.
 

Brownie

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I want a cleaner thingy too! Nice setup.

One downside I've found to doing this with medium format film and a digital camera is the aspect ratio. I shot some 120 in a Brownie Hawkeye which is a square format. A friend wants one of the shots of a caboose to print and hang in their train room. By the time I cropped it to 8 x 10 I ended up with 10MP. For this purpose, that's fine. It shouldn't be an issue at all especially since they want the old grainy look. But thinking back to when I scanned it I could've done a better job framing to save as many MP as possible. That will be in the back of my mind in the future when scanning something that could get printed.

The other thing that dawned on me (duh...I'm new to this part of it) is that larger negatives don't translate to larger files. Filling the frame with whatever you're scanning is what's important. When using a camera to scan, having a sensor with as close an aspect ratio to the negative as is possible will result in the largest file. This may be where a scanner excels over a camera, but I've never used a photo-specific scanner like an Epson V-# to know the difference.

Yeah...I know...neophyte.
 

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