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filmscanners: RE: Vuescan 7.1.18, LS-30 and Fuji Superia negatives: What in hell am I doing wrong?

Quoting Rob Geraghty:

> I'm pretty sure I've never had any problems with Vuescan clipping
> highlights or shadows on my LS30, but then the main thing I look for 
> is a result I like the look of.  I don't really care what is getting 
> clipped (or not) f I like the result.

Hi, Rob,

my approach is a little different. I try to avoid clipped highlights
and/or shadows as thoroughly as I possibly can, at least as to the big
original scans. The problem is that I don't have the full version of
Photoshop, and PSP7 won't open those 16 bit files. So my current
workflow is bound to getting as much out of the 10 bits of the LS-30 as
I possibly can, which means tweaking it very close to the result I am
looking for prior to scanning, so that oprimized 8 bits are handed over
to my image editing application.

> I always use the generic film setting as well. The reason Superia 100
> isn't there is that Kodak have never released a PhotoCD profile for
> it.  Reala should be closest if you want to use a profile - but it may
> also be causing some of your problems.

I tried generic as well but it didn't make a lot of difference,
especially as to the blueish cast.

> Otherwise, it sounds like as Ed suggested - try changing the black
> and white points.

That would help as to the giving away of highlights but not as to the
shadow clipping (which, I admit, isn't a lot but visible in the
histogram. Oddly enough, the raw scan hasn't got clipped highlights
which would cause the clipped shadows in the inverted Vuescan output -
so I guess this would be a fixable issue).

> As for the colour cast, that should be easily corrected with levels
> adjustment in PS. If you're using PSP7 you could try the colour
> balance tool. Also, try including part of the neg mask in case that
> is the issue.

I am aware I could correct it but I'd *hate* to do it on a 24 bit basis.
The only option would be to open the 16 bit Vuescan output in PS 5.5 LE
(which I have), save in a format that supports those 16 bits, then open
in PSP7 and do the tweaking. That would be a workflow I'd rather not go
through if I can get the same quality in Nikon Scan.

> Why do you need to scan again?  That's what the preview memory button
> is for? :-7

The preview is too inaccurate to provide me with information if the
highlights or shadows are running out. Nikon Scan's histogram is very
precise in that respect - I know *exactly* where to set the black and
white point in order to get a raw scan that will exactly use the tonal
range of the scanner. The little tweaking that is left to image
processing shouldn't possibly be causing any significant loss of
information. The clipped shadows in Vuescan do.

Moreover, as I mostly do animal photography, white parts are usually
reddish or greenish white rather than the "technical" blueish white.
Nikon Scan will allow me to set the "white" point for each color
separately, and a negative that is improperly exposed can still be
pushed into the scanner's tonal range by using the analog gain function.
If those controls were implemented in Vuescan, that would really make
things different for me.

[Vuescan TIFF and PSP7]

> Save them as uncompressed 24bit TIFF files, open them in PSP 7 and
> save as LZW compressed TIFF.  PSP can't open the 48bit LZW
> compressed files which Vuescan creates.

As I wrote, I am reluctant to do lots of editing on a 24 bit basis. I'd
have to find another format that preserves the 16 bits but will open in
PSP. I'll probably try but the whole workflow gets awfully complicated,
for little or no gain in image quality.

> As with someone else who posted recently, you seem to be expecting
> Vuescan to produce the final result before you get it into Photoshop.
> AFAIK Vuescan was never intended to do this, but to get the most data
> out of the film as possible. Final tweaking should be done in PS.

Agreed, but a file with shadows clipped, converted into 24 bits at that
so it can be edited, does not provide me with the maximum data range.
Believe me, I am really into getting as much data as possible out of my
negs (especially the old ones whose dyes already have faded
significantly) but there's still something missing to make Vuescan the
tool I'd be willing to use for that purpose.

Best regards -

My animal photo page on the WWW: http://schmode.net
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