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Thread: Xpan digitizing workflow

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Xpan digitizing workflow

    My Xpan is sitting in a box gathering dust. Not because it uses film, but because of the hassle to digitize the 24x65 format.

    I have several film scanners, from a Nikon LS2000, Nikon LS8000, to a Howtek drum scanner. None of these scanners offers a convenient workflow for digitizing quantities of 24x65 frames. My Nikon scanners do not directly support 24x65 frames so I have to either wetmount using a custom tray, or scan 24x36 frames and stitch. Either way, it's a lot of manual labor for each frame. The drum scanner actually has an advantage since it's possible to mount a whole roll on a drum and scan all 21 frames in one batch. Still, drum scanning is never convenient and relies on a controlled, dust proof environment.

    Are there film scanners today that can take a 35mm strip and capture 24x65 frames in one sweep? It would certainly make the Xpan much more useful.

    Lars
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    Imacon have custom XPan holders.

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    Sure, the Imacons are great, but no possibilities for batch scanning and $13K+ price tag means it's not an improvement over my drum scanner.
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    Lars:

    There is a newton glass dry holder for your Nikon 8000/9000 that will hold the XPan negs and scan them full size -- Newton glass on the base side, clear on the down or emulsion side. Added benefit is it works with up to 6x9 and of course holds the film very flat. I have one, and only issue is on occasion the emulsion side will cause Newton rings against the clear bottom glass.

    Note: You can use this to "trick" the scanner into scanning up to 6x17 too. Just set the frame overlap to overlap slightly and scan it as 2 6x9's. Since you're not moving the neg in the holder between scans, they line up perfectly for assembly in CS. Actually with a good set of captures, you could probably use that technique to assemble two or three XPan negs for a real wide pano!

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...trip_Film.html

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    Hi Jack,
    I actually have that holder. Digital ICE runs into problems if the area outside the film is clear - it takes the entire area into account when estimating grain structure and exposure, so it's important to properly mask the film. I have made a mask out of thin black cardboard which helps the software do the right thing. It works for high-quality scans but is not the best solution for volume scanning.

    However the 869GR rotating 6x9 holder is explicitly spec'ed for 24x65, so maybe that one will enable the software to do the right thing. Nikon's holders have a hole coding at the short end of each holder so the scanner knows which holder is loaded, perhaps it's possible to make the scanner see an 869G as an 869GR.

    I would of course love to use ICE, the cleanness far outweighs any slight softness in scans, I'm sure you agree.

    BTW funny thing with my 869G glass holder - the upper glass had the matte side up not down. I reversed it and am getting fewer newton ring problems (also replace the bottom glass with anti-newton glass).

    BTW(2) Yes I scan 6x17 by stiching as well. I gutted the MF slide holder and installed a glass so I can wetmount. Results are stunning, easily better than on my Howtek (which really is a low-end drum scanner).

    Anyway, maybe I should set up the Nikon MF scanner again and figure out a good workflow. I have some 50 unscanned Xpan rolls.
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    Hi Jack,
    I actually have that holder. Digital ICE runs into problems if the area outside the film is clear - it takes the entire area into account when estimating grain structure and exposure, so it's important to properly mask the film.

    I would of course love to use ICE, the cleanness far outweighs any slight softness in scans, I'm sure you agree.
    Ah... I use vuescan which uses the IR channel in my 9000 (not sure the 8000 has that) to remove dust (not ICE) so I have not run into that issue. Also, the NR comes after the scan itself during processing. It might be worth downloading the trial copy of Vuescan (works full mode for 30 days) and see if it's any better. The UI is totally non-intuitive until you get the hang of it though. I use "light" NR and do 4-pass scans. Turn on all the sub-menus and set up your preferences. I use the B&W histogram to adjust the endpoints of the levels histo prior to the scan.

    Good tip on the AN glass being wrong way around -- I need to look more closely at mine!
    Jack
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    Senior Member viablex1's Avatar
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    I was just going to post about the rotating glass holder available from nikon the 869GR. It has a mask for xpan negatives, I use silverfast software and whatever proprietary method they use to remove dust on my black and white positives , done by dr5, it kicks arse, I guess the downside is you have to do one at a time..

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    viablex1, thanks for confirming that, perhaps I should invest in one.

    Jack, I'm a proud Vuescan owner since 1998 best software deal on the planet, short of free. Yep the UI is...user-hostile and results are not always predictable, but Vuescan can produce very good results. The IR dust removal is modeled after ICE, which also uses an IR channel for dust detection.
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    The IR dust removal is modeled after ICE, which also uses an IR channel for dust detection.
    All I can tell you is the Vue version of dust removal works great on my 9000 using the newton holder.
    Jack
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    Senior Member viablex1's Avatar
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    well it is handy and I haven't had any problems with newton rings, I wouldn't mind learning to wet mount.

    and I have to say I just looked at your web page, unbelievable!!!!!!! really good stuff!!!

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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    If you don't want an Imacon, and the Nikon is not working for you, the Minolta Scan Multi-Pro had a glass carrier that worked fine for xpan negs. I don't recall any problems with ICE either. Come to think of it, it might even have had a dedicated carrier. As for batch scanning, the 848, 949 and X5 have it. That said, they are hugely expensive, so to buy one just to do 50 rolls of Xpan work would be uneconomical.
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    Sure, the Imacons are great, but no possibilities for batch scanning and $13K+ price tag means it's not an improvement over my drum scanner.
    Well if an Imacon isn't as good as your drum scanner ( I have had different experiences actually) or if Stuart's Minolta idea doesnt pan out for you - you might look for a second hand CREO flatbed...I believe that Leaf dealers sell them Yaya mentioned one time they are actually made on the same production lines.

    Good Luck.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    Sure, the Imacons are great, but no possibilities for batch scanning and $13K+ price tag means it's not an improvement over my drum scanner.
    Not exactly true, except the expensive part : -)

    Not only can you batch scan with an Imacon, with the 949 and X5 you can mount a multi-holder that takes something like 10 holders and automates them to the batch folder. These scanners are the fastest out there by a huge margin.

    With the 949 and X5 you also get a diffused light source which produces the most "Enlarger Like" results of any production scanner.

    Some folks modified a Minolta Dual Scan lighting source to get similar results.

    I used to scan my XPan stuff with that Minolta ... and an XPan holder. But it was slow going.

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    Senior Member Erik Five's Avatar
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    The easiest for you would probably just be to sell me the camera cheaply. He he ;-)

    I had a XPan II and im gonna buy a new one again, but when I had it I just put the negs in from each side in my Nikon Ls-50 that I had at the same time. Three secs in PS and the Pano was fixed.


  15. #15
    Stefan63
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    I just wanted you to know
    About my new Xpan scanning workflow tutorial.
    It minimizing the most possible mistakes by the raw scan stitching method

    Regards/ Stefan
    www.stockholmviews.com/xpan-scanning/

    By the way dont forget to visit my friend Leif“s great Xpan gallery www.lk-panorama.com
    Last edited by Stefan63; 27th December 2008 at 14:36.

  16. #16
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan63 View Post
    I just wanted you to know
    About my new Xpan scanning workflow tutorial.
    It minimizing the most possible mistakes by the raw scan stitching method

    From the last line in your tutorial:

    "Download the settings above here then it is possible to rectal those settings by Load Options"

    I'm not sure you want to be using the word "rectal" with "load options" in the same sentence.

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan63 View Post
    I just wanted you to know
    About my new Xpan scanning workflow tutorial.
    It minimizing the most possible mistakes by the raw scan stitching method

    Regards/ Stefan
    www.stockholmviews.com/xpan-scanning/

    By the way dont forget to visit my friend Leif“s great Xpan gallery www.lk-panorama.com
    Hi Stefan,

    Thanks for posting the link. Not exactly what I'm after - I've been stitching scans since the late 90's and while it works, it's not the most productive workflow on the planet.

    BTW you really should look into color management when scanning slides - once you start applying curves the original device color space is lost so you need to convert to a linearized working space before applying any curves. I'm not sure how knowledged you are on color management, perhaps you are already aware of this.

    ---

    In summary:

    Disregarding cost an Imacon/Hasselblad setup would have been sweet, but once you factor in the cost it's not so attractive anymore. Film holders are around 100 euros a pop, so a setup with 10 holders for so-called batch scanning will cost more than I paid for the drumscanner in the first place.

    So it comes down to scanning single 24x65 frames on the Nikon LS-8000 with ICE, or scanning a whole roll (21 frames) at a time on the Howtek drumscanner and then manually remove dust. In the end, I think the Nikon wins out again. I spend way too much time manually dustin my 8x10 drum scans, life is too short for wasting more time than necessary on dusting scans.

    (For any new readers, this thread was about finding a convenient workflow for scanning 24x64mm frames from Xpan. If best possible output was the goal, regardless of cost and effort, then my conclusions would have been different.)
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  18. #18
    kiloran
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    Re: Xpan digitizing workflow

    If best possible output is not the goal then a decent flatbed scanner may suffice. I recently purchased an Epson V500 specifically for scanning Xpan (also have a Coolscan 8000) and it will scan 6 Xpan frames at once. Currently discounted by Epson to around £150 delivered. If you need larger capacity the V700/V750 will scan 12 Xpans at once. I tend to use the Epson as a virtual lightbox to select shots for further scanning with the Coolscan...

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