Saturday, March 14, 2015

Scanning old Color Negatives

I have a Canon CanoScan 8800F, and it does a good job of scanning modern color negatives (35mm, 135 film), but I have a bunch of old 110 film color negatives. These came in small reel-to-reel cartridges and are finger-sized strips of square negatives. The scanner driver doesn't know how to handle them.

First you have to give up on the plastic film guide that comes with the scanner for loading the negatives. Just place the old negatives directly on the glass. Second, at the top left of the ScanGear software is button that "switches on/off the thumbnails view mode". This has to be off because it's looking for 35mm sized results. Third, if you just go ahead an scan you'll get washed-out results, because the color filter required for the 110 film differs from of the 135 film for which the ScanGear software is configured.

Steve has a related video tutorial on youtube, but it doesn't help with 110 film.

At first I tried the default config in the Advanced Mode tab. After a preview, I could see the pictures but the quality was bad. After a preview you have to use the cross-hair to select your negatives to see the effect of the Advanced Mode settings, otherwise it just shows the raw, unaltered scan.

You can download a horrible .chm manual from the canon website which describes each of the image settings. Here's a summary:

  • Unsharp Mask: The outline of subjects will be enhanced. This acts like a sharpen filter.
  • Descreen: This reduces the moire effect seen in stripe patterns.
  • Remove Dust and Scratches: This will paint over features that appear to be scratches, for example a small white bar in a black area will be replaced with black. You shouldn't set this higher than Low unless you can see scratches in the preview.
  • Fading Correction: This is basically a blue filter used to compensate for yellowing due to age.
  • Grain Correction: This is basically a softening filter for photos that are grainy.
  • Backlight Correction: If you took a picture of someone in front of a sunny lake and therefore they were dark, this would brighten just the darkened foreground blob.

I found that setting the Manual Exposure to 200% improved the result.

Also, selecting "Tone Curve Settings", then "Underexposure", then "Edit custom curve", then clicking the node on the curve and dragging to exaggerate the bulge also improved the result.

Also, selecting "Saturation/Color Balance", then Red +50, Magenta -30, Yellow -40 improved the result.

Also, selecting "Brightness/Contrast", then Brightness -20 improved the result.

110 Film

Select Source: Color Negative Film
Film Size: 35mm Strip
Color Mode: Color
Output Resolution: 2000 dpi
Output Size: Flexible
Auto Tone: OFF
Unsharp Mask: OFF
Remove Dust and Scratches: Low
Fading Correction: None
Grain Correction: None
Backlight Correction: None

Manual Exposure: 200%
Tone Curve Settings: Underexposure + drag to exaggerate the bulge
Saturation/Color Balance: Red +50, Magenta -30, Yellow -40
Brightness/Contrast: Brightness -20

Joanne describes how to scan non-standard negatives, but doesn't mention any image quality issues.

I also have some negatives from Kodak Safety Film 6015, which is a little larger and more rectangular than 35mm. For that I used the following settings.

Kodak Safety Film 6015

Select Source: Color Negative Film
Film Size: 35mm Strip
Color Mode: Color
Output Resolution: 1200 dpi
Output Size: Flexible
Auto Tone: OFF
Unsharp Mask: OFF
Remove Dust and Scratches: Low
Fading Correction: None
Grain Correction: None
Backlight Correction: None

Manual Exposure: 103
Tone Curve Settings: Underexposure + drag to anti-exaggerate the bulge
Saturation/Color Balance: Saturation -30, Magenta -30

The Big Reveal

It's essential that you draw crops around individual negatives. The Auto Tone fails badly if you have area outside of the actual imagery or two images in the same crop. Once you start drawing individual crops, the Auto Tone will do a relatively good job on each one and you can tweak the exposure, saturation and color balance for each as necessary.

{ "loggedin": false, "owner": false, "avatar": "", "render": "nothing", "trackingID": "UA-36983794-1", "description": "", "page": { "blogIds": [ 585 ] }, "domain": "holtstrom.com", "base": "\/michael", "url": "https:\/\/holtstrom.com\/michael\/", "frameworkFiles": "https:\/\/holtstrom.com\/michael\/_framework\/_files.4\/", "commonFiles": "https:\/\/holtstrom.com\/michael\/_common\/_files.3\/", "mediaFiles": "https:\/\/holtstrom.com\/michael\/media\/_files.3\/", "tmdbUrl": "http:\/\/www.themoviedb.org\/", "tmdbPoster": "http:\/\/image.tmdb.org\/t\/p\/w342" }