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Old 04-04-2010, 12:37 PM
greenbe greenbe is offline
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Default Epson V500 Kodachrome64 Project

My father is starting a project to scan 3000 Kodachrome taken from 1965 - 1985. I am going to be his "technical assistant" so I thought I would post on this forum. I guess I am qualified. I will share our results and full "recipe" if and when we ever get this to work.

The slides are not marked with the film type but we believe they are mostly Kodachrome 64. We will see later if we can find a way to validate the film type. There might be a few Kodachrome X in the early slides.

The source slides are in surprisingly good condition. There is a little mold on less than 100 of them from the humid conditions they were stored in for the first half of their life, but other than that the colors and quality seem to have retained their full vibrancy.

We did extensive research before starting. It came down the the Epson V500, Canon 8800F, Nikon with a short look at Plustek and some more exotic ones. We decided to go with Epson because it is inexpensive ($160 online), Nikon has discountinued production on all their scanners, and we could not find any solid technical info choosing between Epson and Canon and the Epson seems newer and more up to date. We will try it and continue on.

The other option that I am holding on to is to get the Novaflex slide holder arm, a remote flash and a macro lens for the Canon RebelXT. I have heard of someone that got "excellent" results using a flash behind the slides with a macro lens. This method promises speed, simple or no post-processing, and apparently a daylight 5100K balanced flash produces the right colors with Canon CCD sensors. If Espon V500 is a bust, we will investigate this.

Regarding Nikon, a friend of mine has a Coolscan from abot six years ago (not sure which model) and he had mixed results, and we heard of some other mixed results. From my research the only Nikon worth buying would be the Super Coolscan 9000 ED which has "Digital ICE Pro", according to some knowledgeable it is the only version of Digital ICE that works on Kodachrome. Someone local is offering the scanner for $3000 on Craigslist, but I think it is too much for something that is still not certain it will do the job efficiently.

We ordered the Epson V500 scanner and the Silverfast Kodachrome64 IT8 target from B&H photo. We are considering both Vuescan and Silverfast upgrades, but we will wait until the scanner arrives and see what deal Silverfast has for us. I am certain we need multi-exposure and K64 color correction to have a chance.

I big issue with this project is volume - not only do we need reasonable results (they don't have to perfect, just VGA quality), but we also need a smooth batch flow that we can process the majority without much manual tweaking. Otherwise this project will never finish.

Any tips and hints provided by this forum will be appreciated!
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Old 04-04-2010, 02:36 PM
mklein9 mklein9 is offline
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This thread: http://www.kodachromeproject.com/for...read.php?t=558 is a thread starting with a post of mine. My goal is also a batch oriented flow -- as close to "set and forget" as you can, but have higher resolution/quality requirements than your stated goals. However, I'd suggest thinking that once you have put all the work into scanning, if you won't be disappointed that you didn't target a higher quality level.

In any case I'm a bit confused why you would put flatbed and dedicated film/slide scanners in the same category here. The quality results are very different. A flatbed scanner does not have the resolution of the slide scanners, but with VGA that may not make much of a difference. Another big difference is the dynamic range -- the better slide scanners will show much more detail in the dark parts of the slides, especially Kodachrome, than the flatbeds. And for a batch flow, there is no way I would want to put 4 slides into the 8800F carrier, for example, one at a time. In fact I started this project with an 8800F, was disappointed at the results, did a lot more research, and returned it to buy a slide scanner.

I'm using a Nikon LS-5000 with SF-210 slide feeder and am very, very happy with the flow and the results. If you buy these items at a reasonable price you should be able to resell them on eBay when you're done for not much less than you paid for them.

I tried Nikon's Digital ICE 4 (admittedly on the 5000, not 9000) and did not like the results as well as using VueScan with the tweaked (increased) IR exposure parameters I am using.

It's all a tradeoff but I have a flow where I can comfortably scan about 100 slides a day, achieve fantastic (IMHO) resolution, color, and detail, but trade off a little detail on some dark slides for decent dust removal and detail on overall dark slides where I should use a per-slide exposure adjustment. Others on this forum achieve higher quality on various metrics, but AFAIK spend much more time per image. I am quite sure, though, that for 3000 slides, you will spend more time using a flatbed scanner than the combination Nikon 5000/SF-210 and VueScan with tweaks for batch use.

-Mike
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:15 AM
kevinkar kevinkar is offline
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I think Mike brings up some excellent points and his postings on his own work flow and settings are quite good. That's a good place to start insofar as following the lead of someone who's already been there and done that.

However, I think there are many levels of expectations and acceptance of results such that your use of a reasonably good flatbed can and probably will give you output you'll actually be satisfied with in the long run.

My own experience is with a dedicated film scanner ($1200 Nikon LS-2000 from 2000) and an Epson flatbed scanner (the model number escapes me) that my father bought several years ago, shows that *I* am the picky one and my father is perfectly satisfied with the results he gets with his flatbed.

That's not to say he's wrong and that his output is less than stunning or of poor quality. Indeed, many of my scans with my setup are quite poor and need a phenomenal amount of tweaking to correct whereas many of his scans are "meh" to me but he's extremely pleased with what he's got. Ok, not all of them are "meh" but are actually quite decent.

For less than $200 compared to my $1200, his scans are quick, reasonable, and satisfactory for his expectations and requirements.

So, if your father is happy with the results even though they might not be as good as what he *could* get, then everyone is probably happy and can move on.

Again, Mike is right about dedicated film scanners versus flatbeds - you will get better results with one but, given budgets, skill, and expectations, a flatbed might be just as good.

Good luck!
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:21 PM
greenbe greenbe is offline
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Thanks for your suggestions.

While I am sure the dedicated slide scanners produce better results, I am concerned because other than the Supercool 9000 ED, none of them are supposed to have Digital ICE or equivalent that will work with Kodachrome. I am told that dust can be a big problem with older slides. We will not have the time or ability to manually remove it.

It is hard to know whether they will be 5X better, given that is the price difference. Also, a friend has a Nikon scanner in the 2000-5000 range (I don't know the exact model) and his results were mixed. Apparently it took a lot of manual work. He may not have been doing it right but that was his experience. That coupled with the fact they are no longer sold and not currently supported it is a bit of a chance to start that way.

I agree that probably you can buy a used Nikon and resell it on Ebay, but given that he lives in Canada that kind of thing is not so easy to do there. That is why we chose to start with the Epson v500.

If anyone has any specific recommendations for the current version of Epson, especially on what software works well with it, please let us know.

As for results, they will be in the eye of the beholder. I think if we can get reasonably color accurate scans of moderate resolution that would be a good first step.
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:11 PM
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here are a few more examples done with V500 scanner and kodachrome http://mooostudios.com/county_fair/county_fair.htm and most of the images in USA category are kodachromes.
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:13 AM
kevinkar kevinkar is offline
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Digital ICE can be problematic for some slides/negatives producing less than stellar output sometimes. In my experience, it's a good idea to turn it off and simply blow the dust off the media instead.

I've periodically scrutinized some output and found what seem to be out of focus areas with poor detail. I've run them through without ICE and found that ICE was at fault with the new non-ICE output being more crisp with more detail. It's maddening because I had to run the rolls through again which took more time.

Don't even get me started on things like SilverFast's NegaFix which is supposed to account for the orange cast of a specific negative brand/type. Supposedly it cancels out the cast and produces much better results than without it. Well, I ran through a few rolls that consistently came out with a freakish green cast to them and I could not really get a handle on it and just could not figure out what setting to change. it was driving me crazy.

Well, I finally decided to try it without all the SilverFast bells and whistles and use the "Negative Direct" setting which of course turns off NegaFix. Yeah, you guessed it. The freakish green cast was gone and the colors of the images were correct now. I had to do those rolls all over again.

So all the bells and whistles you can possibly use are not always the best choice.

I suggest starting with the software that comes with the scanner, getting familiar with it using default settings and images with lots of contrast, detail, and color. See how it looks. Some of it will be very good. On the most difficult of images, faded slides, faded negatives, etc., you will run into issues but they won't necessarily be "fixed" with more expensive software.

As I've said here before, I've used Nikon's software that came with the scanner, SilverFast (5.x and 6.x) and VueScan and they all produce different results so that neither one is an obvious choice. Sometimes I have to use all three before I get acceptable output from particular images.

Don't forget that you can get a free version of VueScan and a fully functioning version of SilverFast to test (though it does not have IT8 calibration available until you purchase it) so you can test them before buying.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:55 PM
Dr. No Dr. No is offline
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If you've already spent the money it may be too late to discuss, but I would recommend anything with a feeder. I use a Nikon LS-1000 with the feeder, and get much better results that any flatbed I have tried (which I do use for MF/LF). And I can put fifty slides in, come back in an hour, and put fifty more in, each with a 6-50meg file, depending on your settings. Cardboard mount do tend to jam more often, but worth the hassle.
I use Vuescan--it has better automation.
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Old 07-22-2010, 04:35 PM
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While my actual Kodachrome scanning experience has been pretty small, I have spent hours and hours on my Epson V500 with slides, prints and negatives so far. My biggest advice is - turn all that crap off. Get rid of the ICE, the dust removal, the DNR and whatnot. Get yourself a puffer rocket and a soft cloth, puff off the media, wipe down the glass every so often - and you should be good to go.

I had all that stuff turned on for my first couple of batches, and dark items with a bright background all had a fuzzy halo and looked like crap. So I had to ditch all that and start over again. Fortunately it was early on in the project and I didn't lose much time, but it was still annoying as hell.

Oh, and while scanning at the max resolution is a touch excessive, lean towards the high end. I think I scan my stuff at - what, I think it's 48,000 dpi? Something like that. The files can be kind of large at that size - about 14-20 megs a photo - but with a big enough drive, you should be fine.
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