More Thoughts on Film Digitization

October 13, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

... Continued from Some Thoughts on Film Digitization

In the first part, I walked you through my usual film scanning set up, and the scanning options available to me. I concluded I was happy with my results from negatives but ran into an unintuitive challenge with scanning Kodak Ektachrome E100. That being a positive film I figured what could be so difficult taking the already existing colors and turning them into pixels. No magic was needed in the software. It turned out I was wrong.

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I encourage you to look the first part over first before reading the below. It had samples showing my results from the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i, Nikon D610 with Tokina atx-i 100mm f/2.8 FF Macro Lens, and finally the Epson V600. I showed both the full frames as well as 100% crops as I was comparing sharpness and color accuracy.

I was so baffled by the bad colors from the slide film using my Plustek and the SilverFast Software that I kept digging, searching the internet, and engaging some online film photography groups. And a recommendation soon surfaced. And it seemed so very simple.

SilverFast, currently in version 9, comes in four different versions: SE, SE Plus, and Ai Studio, and Archive Suite 9. Bundled with various scanners you may get the SE or SE Plus. You can go to their online store, select Scanner Software, fill in some basic info about your scanner and computer operating system and you will get pricing for all of them, ranging from $49 to $399. Next to each edition there is a question mark icon that pops up a comparison of the different editions. The one feature that was key to my challenge is called Auto IT8 Calibration.

Long story short? I threw money at my problem. I upgraded my SilverFast from my version 8 to the latest version 9 and also to the AI Studio 9 edition, which was the first to have the above mentioned Auto IT8 Calibration. In order to use that feature I also had to buy their Advanced Target (ISO 12641-2 compliant 2019) consisting of three 35mm Fuji transparency slides. The SW upgrade was instant but I had to wait for the slides to arrive in the mail.

Once I had all pieces, the calibration was a breeze. I clicked a button in SilverFast and the screen guided me through scanning the three calibration slides. Once completed, it saved a profile for my scanner and I was ready to scan the troublesome roll again. The suspense! Was the investment worth it?

--- Sample A ---

Sample A - Plustek OpticFilm 8200i, SilverFast SE Plus 8Sample A - Plustek OpticFilm 8200iSilverFast SE Plus 8

Sample A - Kodak Ektachrome E100 - Uncalibrated Scanner
Plustek OpticFilm 8200i, SilverFast SE Plus 8

Sample A: Plustek OpticFilm 8200i, SilverFast Ai Studio 9, Advanced Calibration TargetSample A: Plustek OpticFilm 8200iSilverFast Ai Studio 9, Advanced Calibration Target

Sample A - Kodak Ektachrome E100 - Calibrated Scanner
Plustek OpticFilm 8200i, SilverFast Ai Studio 9, Advanced Calibration Target

--- Sample B ---

Sample B - Plustek OpticFilm 8200i, SilverFast SE Plus 8Sample B - Plustek OpticFilm 8200iSilverFast SE Plus 8

Sample B - Kodak Ektachrome E100 - Uncalibrated Scanner
Plustek OpticFilm 8200i, SilverFast SE Plus 8

Sample B2 - Plustek OpticFilm 8200i. SilverFast Ai 9 Studio, Advanced Calibration TargetSample B2 - Plustek OpticFilm 8200iSilverFast Ai 9 Studio, Advanced Calibration Target

Sample B - Kodak Ektachrome E100 - Calibrated Scanner
Plustek OpticFilm 8200i, SilverFast Ai 9 Studio, Advanced Calibration Target

--- Sample C ---

Sample C - Plustek OpticFilm 8200i, SilverFast SE Plus 8Sample C - Plustek OpticFilm 8200iSilverFast SE Plus 8

Sample C - Kodak Ektachrome E100 - Uncalibrated Scanner
Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE, SilverFast SE Plus 8

Sample C2 - Plustek OpticFilm 8200i, SilverFast Ai 9 Studio Advanced Calibration TargetSample C2 - Plustek OpticFilm 8200iSilverFast Ai 9 Studio Advanced Calibration Target

Sample C - Kodak Ektachrome E100 - Calibrated Scanner
Plustek OpticFilm 8200i, SilverFast Ai 9 Studio, Advanced Calibration Target

You can draw your own conclusions but I am happy with the outcome. To me, even with zero fussing with the different adjustments, the scans look much better. If you scan your own transparency film and are not happy with the results, I definitely recommend calibrating and creating a custom profile for your scanner. And a side effect of the exercise? On my 11 years old MacBook Pro, SilverFast 9 runs noticeably faster than SilverFast 8 and I like the dark theme I can now set.

#shootfilmbenice

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

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