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Re: filmscanners: Filmscanning vs. Flatbedding

>There is no doubt in my mind that scanning the negative is far better 
>than scanning the print.

My list of some reasons to scan from negative rather than print,
accumulated over three years of neg scan experience (and with a
lot of jump-start knowledge from others on the filmscanners list):

You are scanning from an original.  When you scan a print you're
scanning a copy of the original.

The negative can have a much greater dynamic range -- wider range of
dark to light detail -- than is possible from a print.  In a print some
of the information, in the highlights, in the shadows, or some of both
will be lost.  By scanning from negative, for images destined for
on-screen viewing you can capture more range than can be printed; and
for images you will print you get to control the subset of contrast
range that appears in your scan, including control of the all-important
middle tonal range separately from the shadows and highlights.

If you start with a perfectly exposed print, you may be able to scan it
and make a print (of the same size) from that scan which looks just like
the original.  If you scan from the negative, you can make a larger and
better print.

You can better control colors.  This may or may not matter depending on
how good color-wise the print is.

For some images you can get a better crop of the image, and you can work
with full frame.  Many prints -- and almost all machine prints -- do not 
show the full frame image from the negative.

Finally, a film scanner scan of a negative at 2400 to 4000 dpi will
give many more useful pixels with greater potential image detail than a
scan of most prints except maybe the best 8x10s or larger.

Downside:  A dust spec will cover more of the image, can require more
work to edit out.  (NB. A scanner IR channel helps a lot!)  Sometimes 
you have to put a lot of effort into color adjustments (much the same 
as is performed in the photo print process).

And you can get blue channel noise, light-tome area noise and grain 
aliasing that has to be overcome by image editing (sometimes with 
help from GEM and similar type filters (e.g. such as in Vuescan).

FWIW, I've gone back and rescanned many images from my negatives to get
better images than I previously had from print scans.

Bob Shomler


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