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[filmscanners] Re: Nikon Coolscan 4000 ED

al@greenspace.freeserve.co.uk wrote:

> I wrote:
>>>I'd certainly agree on the depth of field but I didn't find the SS4000 had 
>very good
>>>shadow detail (I'm talking slides here).  The shadows were blocked up, much 
>worse than
>>>my old Minolta Elite even though both are 12 bit scanners.
> Art wrote:
>>That's an interesting observation.  Although I haven't used the SS4000
>>personally (I have used the SS4000+), yours is the first report I am
>>aware of with a complaint about the shadow detail on the SS4000, in fact
>>until the newest generation of scanners (the SS4000+, the Canon FS4000
>>the Nikon 4000ED) it was considered by most to have the best shadow
>>response of all the prosumer scanners on the market.
> Even in Tony Sleep's original (glowing) review of the SS4000, he did comment 
>that the LS-
> 2000 had better shadow separation than the SS4000.  Admittedly, multiscanning 
>was needed
> with the LS-2000 to reduce the noise to the point where this became obvious 
>but the
> difference was still there.  There is no dispute that the SS4000 noise level 
> exceptionally low and the CCD response is very even but that obviously isn't 
>the same as
> shadow separation.  Maybe Polaroid designed it to get the best out of the 
>midtones and
> highlights rather than the deep shadows.
>>Perhaps yours was defective.
> Could be.  It went back as it was behaving very oddly with frequent errors 
> calibration and scanning.  However, the basic issue is that, when brought up 
> curves, the very deepest shadows had exactly the same values and the opaque 
>frame edge.
> Out of curiousity, I used the SS4000 ICC profile for underexposed slides on a 
>raw scan I
> made when I had the Minolta Elite II: the deep shadows were marred by the CCD 
>issues that
> seem to plague the Elite II but, when compared with a scan of the same slide 
>made with
> the SS4000, it still had much more detail and smoother gradation.

The Minolta Elite II is a 14 bit A/D and I'd expect it to have somewhat
better response compared to a 12 bit A/D.  Your original comment (quoted
at the top of this posting) stated the old Elite showed better shadow
detail, which I suppose could be true if you don't mind that a large
amount of the info was in error due to noise. I suspect Polaroid choose
to cut above the noise floor before the error levels got silly, to limit

Any scanner can be forced into providing more shadow info, if you are
willing to put up with more noise and therefore a lot of errors.  I
believe Vuescan or Silverfast allows for multipass scanning with the
SS4000, and I know this has definitely been added to the SS4000+ with
Silverfast.  The question is the benefit versus time loses.

I guess the other question is what is being done with the image file.
If it is being printed on an inkjet printer, the ability for them to
reproduce these dark differences is limited.


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