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filmscanners: Goals in adjusting scans?

The more I scan images with my ss4000 the more I realize
how much I need to learn.

Should I be setting white and black points in the
scanning software(Vuescan, insight, SilverFast...whatever)
to get a full spread histogram when I open the image in
photoshop and look at the histogram there?

Since I'm scanning mainly to make color prints on a 1270
should the file output from the scanner yield a histogram
range from a black of 0 to a white of 255 or will I get better results 
aiming for black of ~6 and white of ~244? I know I can adjust
curves/levels in PS to set this but wonder it is better to
do so with the scanner controls prior to changing the image
in PS?

I've been using Vuescan and outputting 16 bit files to
Photoshop, that does seem to give a smoother histogram
once I've made initial changes and converted to 8 bit.
Is there a downside to this approach?

Just wondering and praying we can talk about something
other than 'dicky',


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