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Thread: Nikon Coolscan 5000 Issue

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    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Nikon Coolscan 5000 Issue

    If there are any experienced scanner people out there, I do have a question When I scan color negatives, slides not so much, I get seriously messed up colors. I have to spend so much time correcting that I am nearly fed up with the process. I am using Vuescan and have had success in the past with slides, but the negatives are causing much grief. I would normally blame the Nac Mac Feegles, but I fear it is my fault.

    Any advice is surely welcome,

    Joel

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    Re: Nikon Coolscan 5000 Issue

    Can you tell us in detail about your workflow? Are you using any of the film-specific profiles provided by VueScan?

    Disclaimer: for my taste scanning color neg is usually more trouble than it's worth; getting the color tuned is always a finicky, time-consuming process, and I'm rarely very happy with the results. So I'm not the right person to give a pep talk about color neg scanning.

    But that said, it should still be possible for you to get scans at least within hailing distance of presentable, and once you reach that point you'll be in a better position to decide whether the fussing is worth it for you.

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    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon Coolscan 5000 Issue

    Hi,

    I can barely get into my workflow. After the negative is scanned, I am trying hard to match colors. I don't have this trouble with slides, but the negs are a different beast altogether. I am in total agreement with you regarding color negs. Think I'll stick to slides.

    Thanks,

    Joel

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    Re: Nikon Coolscan 5000 Issue

    Matching colors on scanned colornegatives is very difficult or outright impossible. I never try to do that. For me I'm happy with one good image and would not consider showing a series. That's for digital cameras with optimized workflow. Scanning, and especially color negatives start from so many uncertainities and non linear color curves that matching is not worth the time IMO. However for single images the outcome of color negatives and Vuescan can be really good. I usually play with Vuescan color tab and choose a white balance of Auto levels or sometimes Neutral. If I can't get good colors from Vuescan I leave that image, otherwise I edit a bit further in Lightroom. My image in Vuescan is scanned quite flat and then I adjust contrast etc. in Lightroom. Vuescan is not good for editing and I want something like ETTR (expose to the right) histogram there and flat contrast for maximum shadow information. This is just how I do color negatives, and I usually prefer color negatives to slides because of the latters damn contrast and usually magenta or blue cast that is more difficult to neutralize.

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    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon Coolscan 5000 Issue

    Thanks much for the affirmation. Glad it wasn't just me or my scanner. I will muddle through for as long as I can or perhaps give up. Time's too valuable For slides, I turn the resolution down quite a bit and that seems to smooth out a lot and keep it usable.

    Joel

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    Senior Member Frankly's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon Coolscan 5000 Issue

    Sorry but no, scanning color negatives was professional workflow in the late 90s, early 2000s once professional photographers had access to quality scanners. Results can and should be superior to color transparencies because of the negative film's greater tonal range.

    Prior to this the professional workflow relied on "matching" color transparencies to the scans and printed results. This allowed the photographer to hand off their color slides and "chromes" to a color separator or photo lab whose instructions were to "match the colors of the transparency". Which was impossible but the best craftspeople did as well as they could.

    Once you start scanning negatives you loose any outside reference. Was the sky blue? This blue or that blue? If you have a "grey" card or stretch of asphalt it is possible to click using the midtown eyedropper on the Curves control on an intended grey pixel and have the entire image shift to that representation. Or not, you can be creative and shift things blue-yellow and green-magenta. Or work in a entirely different color space. All that matters is that you make your corrections and arrive at the image you want on screen.

    Then if profiles are good and your screen is neutralized if not calibrated, you're at the same point as a transparency scan. Except with negative you can hold highlight detail and open up shadows to a far greater extent than transparency.

    There is a lot more to this of course but please don't give up hope. Stick with it!

    In the case of Vue Scan I think the developer had unique ideas about workflow. Basically you're getting a RAW file similar to your RAW digital camera files. The preview in the Vue Scan screen will ALWAYS look terrible and it will never be "nice". You get it as close as you can without going nuts in Vue Scan but then you take that RAW file it exports and work on it in Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, or some other less destructive editing program. I suppose Capture One would work too.

    What you want is to do all the moves in one process using Camera Raw, Lightroom, etc. to maintain the most file integrity possible (as opposed to using Photoshop and saving after every step). This is also why you over scan at a higher resolution and bit depth than you need to end up with... you'll be loosing information with every step.

    Just remember that with transparencies it was even worse. They just look better in the process. Plenty of "old school" people kept shooting slides and chromes because their workflow worked (and they lit things in the studio to keep their subjects within the transparency film's shorter tonal range.)

    (Also a lot of scanners run into trouble with film grain and noise with certain films (B&W, anything grainy) but the Coolscan 5000 should be pretty good with Color Neg.)

    I used Vue Scan this way with mostly Minolta film scanners for a dozen years. All of the consumer scanner software has truly lousy preview functions (Epson, Microtek) but the better drum and high end CCD scanners actually gave you decent previews.

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    Senior Member Frankly's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon Coolscan 5000 Issue

    And yeah the Vue Scan instructions and interface were pretty wacky, just like a lot of other things of that era.

    To be brutally honest nowadays I have the lab scan to disc and those Noritsus and the like do at least as well as I could with a desktop film scanner. If I still shot large format I'd probably scan on an Epson but it is actually easier to scan larger film than small.

    I spent countless hours scanning, I do not miss it. At least a darkroom is romantic hahaha.

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    Re: Nikon Coolscan 5000 Issue

    Scanning can actually be quite fun, at least with color negatives. When you first see those gorgeous colors from that orange film when previewing, that's fun and the reward for (hybrid) film photography, likewise BW film scanning. BTW I only develop film in my toilet and would never have space for a darkroom and enlarging.

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    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon Coolscan 5000 Issue

    Okay, I appreciate all the advice and comments. I realize that I have made a few mistakes and obviously underestimated the challenge that befell me. Firstly, I need to stop trying to get it perfect in Vuescan and let my raw developer do the hard work. Secondly, I think I need to understand that this isn't easy. I'm gonna give it a few more tries in the next few weeks.

    Joel

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