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Epson scanners

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General description.

Scanning tips Edit

A guide laid out by Ian Tindale.

Assuming we're using Epson Scan, start that up with the scanner switched on. Switch Epson Scan to "Professional Mode", not "Full Auto" or "home".
Set the original to Document type: Film, and Film type: B&W Negative Film (if that's what you're scanning).
Let's say we want a destination image of 8 bits per channel and 2400 dpi (pretty big file).
Gently wipe the glass free of marks, blow the dust off with a blower, set the negatives in the carrier, blow the dust off those with a blower. Preview the scan bed with 'thumbnail' set to on.
The resulting images are (typically) set to auto at this point. Select all the images (preview window - 'all' button) and in the Epson Scan window press 'reset' to reset every single image back to default, thus losing the auto exposures. Note the row of icons headed 'adjustments' - the auto exposure icon is now deactivated.
Pick the second icon from the left - the histogram icon. At the default (non-auto) adjustment, the input range might be left at something like, for example, 55 shadow, 225 highlight, and 1.5 midpoint. The output range might be left at, for example, 10 shadow, and 200 highlight.
Drag the output range from 10 shadow to 0 shadow, and from 200 highlight to 255 highlight.
Now pay attention to your actual histogram of your image - each one will be different. Drag the shadow pointer to the absolute lowest point on the histogram (I often take it just a hint slightly over to the left of this point). Now drag the highlight pointer to the absolute highest point (sometimes you can burn it back into the highlight, slightly to the left of the peak maximum highlight on the histogram's rightmost area).
Leave the thingy in the middle at 1.5 for now.
The image will now seem a bit on the dark side. Depending what the image is will dictate the next strategy
If this is a brightly lit image, it might be worth either burning out some of the highlight by dragging the highlight pointer further into the left of the rightmost end of the histogram. Often if there's sky, you'll see this as a peak, and it's often safe to go right into the peak.
If you don't want to lose the sky detail, and as a bonus, you want to piss off the HDR digital crowd, then simply create a custom curve.
Click on the next icon along - looks like a curve graph on a red green blue bar background, labelled 'Tone correction'. You're on 'linear' by default, but try 'lighten' and see the bump at the bottom half of the curve. Now try 'open shadow' and see even more bump at the bottom half.
Now, ignore those two, and create your own. Start with the linear, click a point in the middle, and a point inbetween middle and highest. Drag that latter point (the 75% mark) upwards, to the top, quite a bit, and then drag the middle point upwards but not quite so much.
Now, see that you've lightened the image quite a lot, but you've preserved a lot of the tonal range in the highlights too with this custom curve.
Normally, I'd treat your example image in a slightly different sort of way, but just out of interest, give it a go like this - as if it is an image with bright highlight tonal range (it isn't - the bright highlight is almost all flat highlight with no detail) but it'll be interesting to see how it treats the rest of the tonal range.
If you don't want to get into custom curves right now, then bite into the highlight, progressively losing detail (which in your case probably will be perfectly acceptable) and in extreme cases, nudge the midpoint to suit what you remembered seeing.

Sources Edit

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