Film grain and output quality

All the problems with Minolta film scanners

marksclone
Visitor
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 10:56 pm

Film grain and output quality

Postby marksclone » Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:04 pm

While this is possibly more general question, own a Minolta Elite 5400 so to know about the ability of SF to improve output quality with finer grain films.

I have recently bought the 5400, and have just come off a shoot in really low light, so i stuck to 400iso film. There is some digital noise, but the quality is generally better with SF than with the generic Minolta scan tool. But i still have not found a setting that will offer me crisp images i am used to scanning off a Nikon IV. I want to try slower films with finer grain - firstly, would this affect the quality, and second, how can i achieve better quality with more detail with high ISO films? Is this an issue with SF or the hardware?

Thanks for the software, its been pretty good!

User avatar
RAG
SilverFast Master
SilverFast Master
Posts: 761
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:59 am
Location: Sonoma County, California

Postby RAG » Mon Jun 05, 2006 6:33 pm

marksclone,

In general to get the absolute best quality possible you would need a drum scanner. Since that is likely cost prohibitive, you might try the multi-scan capabilities offered in SilverFast AI Studio. If you don't have this version you may download a trial version.

In post processing you may use a Photoshop plug-in called Noise Ninja to further reduce noise without loosing image detail.
Member in good standing - NAPP
A picture is worth a thousand words! :-)

marksclone
Visitor
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 10:56 pm

But the grain, and then some?

Postby marksclone » Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:37 pm

I would like a more direct response to my grain query - 1) does film grain affect the quality of the scan? While is this obvious when it comes to scanning in a lab, how do i maximize my scanner settings through silverfast according to the film grain?

2)Do i need to adjust settings for different speed films?

3) How can i achieve greater detail in faster films?

4)I have a noise combatting plug-in for PS, but i have found the general detail in my scans is pretty low, even at 5400dpi. How do i achieve greater detail per scan?

I have tried mulit-scanning. I have tried a range of settings and scales. The only thing i havnt tried is finer grain film. Would the scanner and SF pick up the greater detail in finer grain films?

I use fugi film because they offer superior grain quality with superior reciprocity and saturation. I am battling with this scanner and silverfast to maximize the scanning capabilities of my scanner, which at 5400dpi, is rumoured to be a beast. Yet i have made scans on a Nikon IV ED at only 500dpi, with amazing detail and sharpness. I dont have access or the funds to make this Nikon available. How do i get the most out of what I've got in the Elite 5400 and my silverfast ai 6 software?

Thanks

User avatar
RAG
SilverFast Master
SilverFast Master
Posts: 761
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:59 am
Location: Sonoma County, California

Postby RAG » Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:42 pm

The best you can do with your scanner is to use/get the correct profile for your specific film; scan at the highest resolution; and use the SilverFast Histogram to make tonality adjustments. You might also try out some of the other settings offered, such as ?GAIN? or ?Un-sharp Mask (USM).

1) Yes; you might see if you can find IT8 targets for the type of film you are using in order to help maximize scan quality.
2) Yes, for the same reasons it makes a difference in your camera.
3) Use/get the correct profile for your specific film; scan at the highest resolution; and use the SilverFast Histogram to make tonality adjustments.
4) The above in conjunction with multi-scan, which you say you have already tried.

After re-reading your original post I have to say it is more of a hardware issue than a SilverFast issue. SilverFast only works with the data provided by the Hardware and garbage in, garbage out, as they say, right?

Different scanners implement different methods of lighting the film or picture, and use varied CCD configurations that some times make it impossible to obtain finer image details.

In short, if you want the absolute best quality scans from your film then a drum scanner is currently the best.
Member in good standing - NAPP

A picture is worth a thousand words! :-)

dalex
Visitor
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 4:24 pm

Postby dalex » Thu Jun 08, 2006 6:30 pm

If you have the first version of the 5400 (ie, not the 5400 II), you should turn on the Grain Dissolver feature in Silverfast. I might be wrong about this, but I believe the 5400 II does not have the grain dissolver feature.

To turn on Grain Dissolver, press the button in the preview window that's just below the Job Manager button.

With Grain Dissolver, the scanner will move some kind of translucent material between the sensor and the slide/negative that reduces the appearance of grain. The only downside is that this will make your scans take more time since the scanner exposure time needs to be increased to compensate (the scanner takes care of this).

Multi-scanning will only remove digital noise in the scanner, not grain on the negative/slide. It also adds time to the scan. I find it unnecessary, but maybe some scanners are noisier than others?

dalex
Visitor
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 4:24 pm

Postby dalex » Thu Jun 08, 2006 6:33 pm

I should have said that Multi-scanning (or multi-sampling) *reduces* scanner noise, it doesn't necessarily remove it completely.

ilovekodachrome
Visitor
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:57 pm

Re: Film grain and output quality

Postby ilovekodachrome » Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:53 pm

I have recently purchased the Dimage 5400 II to replace my Dimage 5400 I. I have noticed that the 5400 II is significantly sharper than the 5400 I, but the II has more pronounced grain than the I (I use Kodachrome 64). I agree that the hardware-based grain dissolver in the 5400 I helps reduce grain, at the expense of some more sharpness. I have a suspicion that there is, in general, a trade-off between the sharpness of a led light source and the muted grain in cold-cathode ray light source (the II versus the I). In both scanners the shadows show noise, which shows up as multi-colored random pixels. This is a hardware limitation that is fortunately (mostly) only visible when you scan and view at high resolutions. My understanding is that the CCD picks up the movement from electrons dispersed by the heat of the scanner/CCD combination. I have never used any Nikon scanner, so I can't comment on them.

User avatar
LSI_Ketelhohn
LSI Staff
LSI Staff
Posts: 4283
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 11:19 am
Scanner: all
Location: Kiel, Germany
Contact:

Re: Film grain and output quality

Postby LSI_Ketelhohn » Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:18 pm

Dear ilovekodachrome,

as dalex wrote Multisampling and MultiExposure should reduce that noise.
The noise errors never occur exactly at the same pixel so the multiple scans can reduce that effect by using average color levels and dropping outliers.

kind regards
Arne Ketelhohn


Return to “Minolta”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests