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Getting reliable colors from Nikon scanners

Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 7:30 pm
by flatpicker
I just got a Nikon 5000 ED and I really do not like the results that I get with NikonScan4! I mainly have Fuji Velvia, Sensia and Kodak E100VS slides and the colors I get from NikonScan are really terrible. I assume that the problem is clearly with the software and not with the hardware, so I thought I'd give SF a chance. Unfortunately the Nikon 5000 Ai version has not been released, so I dowloaded HDR in order to see what I can do with scanned images.

I've noticed the TIFF images I get from NikonScan4 display black vertical lines in some applications (e.g. SF HDR, Irfanview, GIMP) when they are scaled to a certain size but not in Photoshop. See the sample below. Does anybody know what the reason for this is?

Image

This picture was taken at sunrise! It's missing quite some red tones! It really does not look like the original slide at all.

The main reason I got a Nikon 5000 is for the batch scanning capabilities. I also got a SF-210 and it actually seems to work quite well with my CS slides. I think Nikon's improvement over the SF-210 is a new adjustment plate that controls how thick the slides are. This seems to effectively prevent jamming (when using the same mounts in a batch job). I'm pretty confident I can have 50 slides scanned unattended!

But what's the advantage of this if I need to adjust the colors on each scanned image manually after I have scanned them? I hope that SF Ai can provide some real help here. I'm fairly new to scanning and it seems like I still need to learn a lot in order to get the maximum out of my slides, but after reading a bit in the SF documentation it seems that first of all I need to perform a color calibration with my scanner. I don't think NikonScan supports this.

It seems that HDR (in combination with JobManager) can be a great help on automating the workflow. I was thinking on getting 48 bit raw image files from the scanner (with ICE applied in order to handle dust and scratches) and then to post process them with HDR. What are the major advantages I get form using SF Ai over NikonScan? Can SF Ai also handle the SF-210 feeder?

Is it likely that I will also be able to automate the color correction process, or is this on a slide by slides basis? I have the feeling that full automation will be hard to achive but maybe grouping images into similar categories (e.g. sunrise/sunset, daylight pictures with snow etc.) could help.

I would really like to get some answers from some more experienced users.

Thanks a lot,
Olaf

Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 11:03 pm
by degrub
Visit Ian Lyon's tutorial and review pages for why to use SF. i stopped using NS very quickly. SF + IT8 will reduce the number of color corrections you need to make on slides. Negatives are still a problem for everyone, but SF can do a very good job and SF is usually reasonably quick to respond for negative profile improvements. It should not be too long for the CS5000 version of SF. THey have been working on it for a few weeks now.

Frank

Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 11:03 pm
by degrub
Visit Ian Lyon's tutorial and review pages for why to use SF.
www.computer-darkroom.com

Frank

Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 11:43 pm
by flatpicker
Frank,

thanks for pointing me to Ian Lyon's excellent web page :) I've already been there. From reading some of the tutorials I do have the impression that it's all about the scanning software.

I'm waiting for the SF version with 5000 support. If I'm lucky it may be out next week. If it can save me a lot of time and headaches I'm willing to make this investment.

Will IT8 color calibration improve the scan results?

Olaf

Posted: Sun Dec 14, 2003 4:02 am
by degrub
My experience with Kodachrome has been that i make fewer major adjustments using the IT8 profile than without. THere is still some tweaking to do on every image, but i wait until i decide to output the image for final corrections (print or view library). i scan to 48 bit HDR, make initial corrections in HDR and convert to Adobe RGB and archive the image - one in 48bit tiff and one in 24 bit jpg. i do final adjustments in Photoshop CS and then output when needed. IT8 profiling is not magic , but it helps get closer. BTW, a calibrated monitor is a must. i use Photocal, but other systems that measure the monitor are likely just as good. You can get close with visual calibration such as Adobe gamma utility. i would suggest trying that first. THe ambient light does make a slight difference. i do all of my editing at night under controlled lighting. Matching output to a printer is the most difficult part of the workflow and i am not invested there yet so i cannot comment.

Frank

Replaced defect Nikon Coolscan 5000 ED

Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 12:26 am
by flatpicker
After replacing my defect scanner I now also get pretty good results with NikonScan, even better than v**s**n on some slides! It seems that the CCDs responsible for the red channel were defect.

Here are the new scans:

Image
Image

If you want to compare against the ones with the defect scanner:

Image
Image

I am still considering SF HDR for postprocessing and batch operations ;-) I will do a little more research in this forum ...

Olaf