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filmscanners: Scanner Focus
I am an amateur photographer who is rather new at the whole scanning process
and have been lurking for a few weeks and appreciating the education.
Finally, made the jump and bought a Canon FS4000 which arrived 2 or 3 days
ago. I have 2 questions which I hope are not too basic for the group.
The first has to do with focus. Every review I have read has commented on
the sharpness of this scanner, and though I have read of dissatisfaction and
poor results with some other aspects of the scanner, I have never read of
anyone having problems with sharpness/focus. So I was a bit surprised when,
to my eyes, the scans appear a bit soft. I am starting out with sharp slides
or negatives with a tripod mounted Canon Elan 7 and good quality Canon prime
lenses and images that look sharp on a light table with a 4x loupe. The
films are either Fuji Velvia or Provia for slides and Fuji NPS or NPC 1660
for negatives. The auto focus is on, and the scans are at either 2000 or
4000dpi. With unsharp mask used to sharpen the image in my image editor the
situation improves significantly. But how does one tell if there is a
problem with the scanner focusing mechanism? If you take the scanner off
auto focus you would have to scan at each of lots of different possible focus
settings to compare to the original image. I did try scanning at the two
extremes of the manual focus setting and the images appeared a bit worse than
on auto. I guess my question here is how to know if the scanner is focusing
properly and am I confusing the concept of focus and sharpness?
The second question has to do with background noise in dark areas. I have
some slides with dark backgrounds from either flowers taken against black
backdrops or butterflies taken with a flash that illuminate the butterfly
well but leave the backgrounds dark. When scanning and viewing in my image
editor I can see a moderate amount of shadow noise...but what is 'good' or
'normal'. If I keep zooming in and blowing up the image it obviously becomes
more prominent, but at what point does it become poor performance or a
problem with the scanner.
Thanks for any help.