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How to scan B&W films with blown out highlights?


leica007

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I have got a roll of processed Ilford HP5+ negatives, with blown out highlights [was shot in a dimly lit room, went for the shadows and blown out the highlights in the process. ]

 

Can people kindly suggest how to get (half-) decent scanned photos from this roll via Vuescan?

 

What exactly do you mean by "blown highlights"? On a BW neg, the highlights are the most dense part of the negative, so you must have heavily overexposed, or overdeveloped, or both, if you have blocked the highlights, especially in a dimly-lit room, where underexposure is more likely.

 

It's entirely possible that the detail is there, but you'll need to push more light through the neg. to get to it, and this will depend on the capabilities of your scanner.

 

David

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Yes, I know.

 

But the prints are not that bad; in fact, blown out higlights and deep shadows have lended an arty feel to it;)

 

So, when I scan, I would at least try to reproduce that quality or effect.

 

So far: I have been doing the following in Vuescan:

 

1. Input : B&W film, 16 bit gray, make gray:auto, auto-save: scan

2. crop: max

3. color: none; Kodak,Tmax-400, d-76, ci=.80

4. output: raw, 16 bit gray, no compression

 

processed in PS: invert, curves layer, dodge and burn.

 

But the result is not where near to the printed photos - scanned negatives have more blown out areas, with lack of details in various parts. the grain is okay.

 

What am I doing wrong? Or, how do I improve the quality of the scans or post-processing workflow?

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Who did the printing for you?

 

What type of scanner are you using?

 

Have you tried adjusting the curves sliders in Vuescan, and trying different "developer" settings against the T-MAx? I sometimes change those settings if I have a recalcitrant neg to scan.

 

I always try to scan for a "flat" negative too - and then adjust in PS.

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What exactly do you mean by "blown highlights"? On a BW neg, the highlights are the most dense part of the negative, so you must have heavily overexposed, or overdeveloped, or both, if you have blocked the highlights, especially in a dimly-lit room, where underexposure is more likely.

 

It's entirely possible that the detail is there, but you'll need to push more light through the neg. to get to it, and this will depend on the capabilities of your scanner.

 

David

 

 

I metered off the shadows. Got it processed it at Ilford lab [via pre-paid envelope] - they most probably overdeveloped it:o [a lesson learnt - DIY].

 

My scanner is Nikon 5000ed. I have been scanning at 4000dpi . Is there anything else that I can do with this set up [Nikon+Vuescan]?

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I guess the difference is about exposure times - for scanners, it is given by the brightness of the light source and the exposure time (scanning speed). Both should be more or less fixed.

 

When using the enlarger, one can get some structure out even from extremely dense negatives. I remember exposing for half an hour to recover over-exposed negatives....

 

Stefan

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Who did the printing for you?

Ilford.

 

What type of scanner are you using?

Nikon 5000ed

 

Have you tried adjusting the curves sliders in Vuescan, and trying different "developer" settings against the T-MAx? I sometimes change those settings if I have a recalcitrant neg to scan.

curves slider - no. not adjusting it. can "auto-level" and "curves" help? will experiment.

tried lower CI - but it's even more horrible.

 

I always try to scan for a "flat" negative too - and then adjust in PS.

 

what's your PS workflow?

Edited by leica007
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I guess the difference is about exposure times - for scanners, it is given by the brightness of the light source and the exposure time (scanning speed). Both should be more or less fixed.

 

Stefan

 

Can you kindly elaborate this point? how do you fix the exposure time and scanning speed? [i have done "multiple exposure" = 8/10]

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