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Old 08-22-2010, 07:36 PM
KevK KevK is offline
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Default Vuescan + Minolta Scan Elite II + Kodachrome calibration target

I have a Minolta Scan Elite II and am contemplating where to take things from there. I am on a Mac and the Minolta software did a pretty good job scanning a few Kodachrome files with not a whole lot of work. The problem is that the Minolta software doesn't offer a calibration option which I think may be the key to getting things right.

Vuescan also gave ok results without much fiddling and looks to have possibilities although I agree with others, the interface is lacking and it will take time to learn.

Here are my questions:

1) Has anyone tried using a Kodachrome IT-8 calibration target from Silverfast in the 'pro' version of Vuescan? Have you had success?

2) Should I stick with the Minolta scanner or go with a Nikon scannner? I will be scanning my Kodachrome slides and a lot of older negatives from me and some from my Dad including some WWII negatives.

Thanks,

Kevin
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  #2  
Old 08-23-2010, 08:04 AM
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uwphotoer uwphotoer is offline
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I have no experience with #1 as I'm a cibachrome printer, so when I scan I tend to correct each image one at a time.

As for #2 which Nikon scanner, and can you get your hands on it right away. many new ones are hard to get. And what size older negs? strictly 35mm or medium format too? What size do you need the resulting files to be, just for computer viewing or printing too?
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:36 AM
kevinkar kevinkar is offline
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Hi Kevin,

I think IT8 calibration is essential to getting the best quality scans. Slides don't always present the "right" colors to the scanner anyway (due to fading or poor original processing, etc.) and the software can and will misinterpret the colors no matter how accurately it's calibrated. IT8 calibration only calibrates the scanner to a known set of values so that the software knows how to adjust the output based on what the scanner sees and provides to the software. It helps tremendously but is not a 100% solution. If your scanner can't calibrate, maybe its automatic color corrections are adequate?

Regarding Vuescan Pro, I have it and it does do a decent job but I have found that the calibration routine, for me, is not as accurate as that in Silverfast. I have an old picture of my Mom in an aqua blue dress from the late 50s for example. She also has some pink or red lipstick on. Using Vuescan and its calibration routine produces a garish clown-like look to her lips and the dress is way over saturated. The same scan using Silverfast produces a way more accurate result. Why? I don't know. Calibrated Vuescan just seems to be off for some reason.

Vuescan's output using ICE is also suspect in my book. I get odd patterns in my output I don't see in Silverfast or even NikonScan. Still, I do get better output from Vuescan sometimes so I definitely do use it.

Your scanner is not bad though more suited to someone who doesn't want to worry too much about the minutiae of scanning. It's got ICE, multiple film holders for different formats and both USB and Firewire. The resolution is decent as well. While I think Nikon scanners are better, they are also more expensive, also discontinued, and difficult to find. Be prepared to spend a lot to get one.

If you have just hundreds of slides, you probably should just stick with your Minolta. If you have thousands and the money, I'd look for a Nikon 5000ED or 9000ED. I unfortunately have an old LS-2000 but I paid $1400 for it new and definitely am not going to spend another $1500 trying to find a 5000ED at this point (not with a wife, mortgage, etc.!)

Good luck and keep us posted!

Kevin
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:43 PM
KevK KevK is offline
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Thanks for the replies guys. I only have a few slides (half a dozen rolls) and a few hundred negatives. I don't really have to do all of them. Then their are my Dad's photos which are a collection of 35mm film and medium format negs and positives.

I think I'll get the IT-8 target and Vuescan Pro give it a go with what I have. I don't feel like paying the extra $$$ for silverfast but who knows. It sure would be nice having digital versions of some of the photographs. There is a lot of history in my Dad's photos from WWII and traveling the west right after WWII.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:36 AM
kevinkar kevinkar is offline
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Sounds like you definitely don't need to spend the scratch to get another scanner then. That's good!

I'm willing to bet that you can get some decent output from your Minolta just as is. You should definitely look through the slides and see if any appear "crappy" to your eyes and scan those first. See how they turn out. If the output is acceptable as is, you might not need to spend money on a target or even Vuescan.

You can also get Vuescan (non-Pro) free and try it out without calibration if you want. That's a good way to see if the defaults are good enough and get you used to the controls before going all in.

Don't forget that you can also try Silverfast for free (sadly, they don't allow calibration in the demo) to see if the output is any better. For a few dozen rolls though, it's definitely not worth the cost unless you absolutely feel the need for it's features.

Good luck!
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