I have over 25 years worth of slides, some of them I would like to convert to digital. I own a super coolscan 4000 that I use with a Mac and Silverfast software. All the tools seem to be very good, unfortunately my results haven't been. I have been unable to find consistancy in my results. So I have two questions: should I replace some of my hardware/software? Are there any good educational resources available like books, podcasts, classes? I feel like I'm trying to learn how to do maintainance on a Roman chariot. Any advice would be appreciated.
P.S. I've seen some other closely related posts. To be clear, I'd like to find procedural education to make the most of what I have.
#1. "RE: Scanning advice help needed" | In response to Reply # 0OldCodger Registered since 15th Oct 2011Fri 07-Jun-13 04:32 PM
I have seen many accounts talking about such work, both here and on the wider web, but I would like to understand why you find your results so disappointing?
I use a Coolscan Ved and have worked on slides from the past 40 odd years as well as negatives. The old expression from computer land, GiGo applies very strongly, Garbage in Garbage out. The scan correction tools can do a lot to pull faded, colour thrown slides back from failure, but they do not work perfectly every time. I have found that slides do vary horribly, those taken indoors using flash some 35 ~40 years back have muddy colours a brownish caste and frankly look terrible until worked on in post processing. Each one requiring its own unique degree of correction, manipulation and rebalancing, and that is before you think about removing any scratches or other 'artefacts' time has added. Sometimes I have been amazed by slides that appear too thin to work, yet they have produced very viewable images.
At first I used a Windows XP computer, now a Windows7 64 bit PC and have so far digitised about 2000 slides and close to 1400 negatives - not all have been a success! Some have taken me an hour each to get half way reasonable images. Then when I am halfway through a troublesome batch I may find a new way to adjust the results and have to go back and rework half an evening's output.
My only advice is therefore to make sure that the defaults are set and that you select the correct scanning set up for the stock in question. Take a slide and scan it then try it with and without the correction tools to get experience of what they can and cannot do and when they do and do not work. Then be prepared to work in a post processing package to get the very best out of each important slide - it is not a sit back and hope run through.
#2. "RE: Scanning advice help needed" | In response to Reply # 0esantos Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Fri 07-Jun-13 05:49 PM
I used to own the Super CoolScan 4000 and I consistently got excellent results. At the time I was using NikonScan and not Silverfast. I recommend you look at this website. It seems to be the one place where all the pertinent information is available in one location.
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography
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#3. "RE: Scanning advice help needed" | In response to Reply # 0JonK Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Sat 08-Jun-13 01:32 AM
I hope you are not feeding slides into the scanner, using the automatic functions and assuming you will get great results every time. You won't. Are you adjusting the scan setting for each slide? If not, read on.
In a perfect world, you'd feed slides into the scanner, let Silverfast perform auto adjustments, and get clean, detailed scans with full range histograms. It usually doesn't happen this way.
The optimal method works one slide at a time. Perform a preview scan, and then adjust (at least) the white point and black point, ensuring a capture of a full histogram, the most data there is. (You can make other pre-scan adjustment to further enhance the scan, but the with point-black point gets you 90% of the way there.) The problem is that your time to scan a slide just tripled.
Standardized settings only work well for batch of similar slides — same density and You may find that once you make a custom setting, it will work for a group of similar slides — similar density and contrast. Usually such a group is a number of slides shot at the same time and place where the light, exposure, and subject did not change much.
Be wary of automatic functions and other extra features. Anti-scratch functions (Digital Ice, etc.) can work wonders for old, badly scratched slides. But sometimes it can make things worse. Experiment with it, test it on and off a few slides, to get a feel for what it does.
In case I've totally missed the boat as to the problem you are having, here is a tutorial. You can Google others.
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#4. "RE: Scanning advice help needed" | In response to Reply # 0jim thomas Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Sat 08-Jun-13 04:37 PM | edited Sat 08-Jun-13 06:56 PM by jim thomas
I agree with the replies already posted. I used a Coolscan 4000 and now use a Coolscan 9000. Both have yielded excellent results...of course, no machine can produce a great photo from a bad negative. As the others have said, we need to know more about your settings and setup to be able to even guess as to why you are unable to produce satisfactory results. In an earlier discussion about scanning with Coolscans I posted an article by John Shaw that I found to be vey helpful when getting started with scanning. I think this is the link:
I think you may have to copy and paste the link...and then don't guarantee that it works...my technical skills are quite limited.
I hope that we can be helpful.
Edited to add: You might find this book helpful:
Scanning Negatives and Slides: Digitizing Your Photographic Archives
by Sascha Steinhoff