Best Scanner Settings for PL4

I have an Epson V500 Photo Scanner, and my brother will be giving me a V600. Both are useless on my new Apple computers, as the Epson software was 32 bit - won’t run on the newer OS.

I searched all over twice, years ago, and had a long discussion with both Apple and Epson. There are software programs that work with my scanner, but they are very basic - while the Epson software seemed to have controls for everything.

Since then, a new company, VueScan has reverse engineered the software for thousands of scanners.

I think my question is mostly for Joanna, as we’ve had lots of discussions about scanners as I muddled along trying to learn and do. There is a good YouTube video that shows how one person configures the scanner:

Joanna, when you get time, maybe you could go through this, and suggest the best settings to scan images for PL4 ? I’ve found it can “flip” images automatically, and I have full control of all the color settings, etc. What would you recommend for color, and probably more importantly for me, for b&w. I see how the scanner software can adjust color output, but I assume I would just want the standard output, no enhancement, and instead of saving to ‘jpg’ I will save to ‘tiff’ - but again, the program allows me to select all the settings. I don’t want to use it the way the lady who made the video uses it - I just want it to copy whatever I scan (negative, or printed material) without modifying colors, contrast, and so on.

For anyone reading this, if you have a scanner and aren’t satisfied with the software to run it, check out VueScan. A trial version of the software is free - so it’s easy to try out on any scanner, and decide if it’s worth buying.

Speaking of which, I dropped off my 24 exposure roll of b&w film at the professional darkroom lab today - should get the negatives back in two or three days. The lab can scan them, then send me by email, but that’s probably more suited to snapshots.

To Wolfgang - I know, I should concentrate on one thing, but my Leica M3 is screaming for attention, and I need to scratch that itch. In no way do I expect this to replace digital, but it will certainly be enjoyable once I recover my past ability with 35mm film cameras.

Check out Negative Lab Pro and its guide.

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I bought my lifetime VueScan license from Hamrick Software in January 2007 and it wasn’t new then. :slight_smile:

I am in the process of writing a blog post that comprehensively talks about multi-frame (negative and slide) scanning. I found it very frustrating to use for a long time and could never find a good online resource.

FWIW, I did a little research before embarking on scanning my late father’s negative collection (still going) and I think it has been discussed here before that 4000ppi and 16-bit samples is the starting point for archival scans of 35mm frames. Adapt as needed for other purposes, but unlikely you’ll need to go to a higher ppi.

read Black and White Photography ( running in circles )

Thanks to both of you.
1 - Wolfgang, I will go through everything from that search today, and make notes.

2 - zkarj, please post a copy here when you can.

3 - From “Rangefinderforum” - turn everything off.

I thought I did a good search two/three years ago, and again about a year ago. But I was searching for updated software for my Epson. Nothing I found mentioned VueScan, or if it did, I didn’t realize I had found my answer. I had discussions with Epson (useless - buy a new scanner) and Apple - not much help from them. So, I did what seemed like a natural answer, I never updated my 2013 iMac and it has been working fine with the Epson for all these years.

Current plan is to make a list of all the VueScan items that can be “set”, and come up with four sets of configurations:
scanning printed photographs,
scanning 35mm b&w negatives,
scanning 35mm color negatives, and
scanning color slides.

I’ll post my empty list here once I have it done. It might be useful for others for keeping notes of their own settings.

So perhaps I only want to select the scanning resolution and basic functions, and turn everything else off to be done in PL4. A lot of things described in the YouTube video I linked to can be left turned off, and as suggested, that work should be done in PL4.

That’s a very long list!

There is this saying “a chain is no stronger than its weakest link”.

My list will be shorter than what it would otherwise be, as I plan to turn OFF so many options, and leave it for PL4 to handle them. Joanna suggested some resolution settings - I’ll use those for a start. I’ll do this for b&w negatives first, which will also simplify my list (links).

I have no idea if this will work or not. I made the file in Excel, and saved it as a PDF. This is what is on my screen now, before I start to edit anything. I will add a new column for my settings for B&W negative scanning.

In the meantime, if this is useful to anyone else, it might be a good start for people trying to configure VueScan. If it works…

VueScan Settings.pdf (40.6 KB)

I’m filling in settings as best I can guess - need to find some documentation to do this properly. I will try to call VueScan tomorrow, and see if they have information I can download. I might be better off calling Epson, since it’s their scanner…

Lots of helpful explanation here, along with suggested settings:

More info:

Please be aware you can save your settings — look in the File menu — so when you get something you think will be what you want to go forward with, save it with a meaningful name so you can reload later. Note that 9 of these “presets” display in the menu and I think they are the 9 most recently used, but you can have as many as you want via the Load… option.

I notice the exposure tutorial is 12 years old. I was looking in the VueScan manual and the same process is described (somewhat succinctly) on page 26. There are also other useful processes therein such as profiling the scanner with an IT8 target.

I suspect my scanner is also perhaps 12 years old - I bought it on sale at B&H in 2012. I will check page 26 in the manual today.

I know nothing of an IT8 target. I will look that up today also. Have you done that? Is it useful?

I get my developed negatives back in two days, so I can try the V500 with the new settings.

All this is “just for fun” - for anything “serious” I expect to stick with digital.

I did go to “file” and saved what I hope is a scanner preset with all the settings I’ve selected. I assume I can continue to update it, until I get things sorted out. Strange, before I used the pre-configured settings from Epson, as I had no idea what most of them meant. VueScan’s manual gives a good description of every available setting, things I never even considered before.

My brother wants to give me his V600 Photo Scanner that he no longer uses. I need to look it up and see if it’s better than my V500, and also check if the settings I’m configuring now for the V500 will work on the V600.

IT8 targets are sheets of film that have a pattern of colour swatches, with which you can create a profile for your scanner, in the same way as you would create one for your printer. It is only intended for colour transparency film - it has no meaning for negative film since that needs reversing and adjusting, especially colour neg film which has the orange mask to get rid of.

I have profiled my scanner with such a target created for each of the LF transparency films that I use. Just as with printing, it makes a significant difference. But I get a feeling it won’t be something you need to worry about if you are only using B&W neg film.

Aha! I understand now, and you’re right, I have no intention of buying color film, having it developed and maybe printed, then scanned. I’m trying to replicate what I did when I was young, shooting a 35mm rangefinder camera, developing and printing in my darkroom, loading my own film, and so on. I couldn’t afford color film back then. By the time I got my Leica M2, it was mostly a “serious hobby”. Then came my DSLRs, and more (used) Leica cameras.

I understand that to capture the images you do, you’ll be workin with LF, which I think implies shooting film. For everything you do to be so precise, all your gear needs to be calibrated, which includes your scanner. I never (until now) considered that you would need to create a calibration for each type of filter you shoot, but apparently that’s where and how you need the IT8 target.

Funny, until the past few weeks, scanning used to be so simple for me. The scanner decided everything, and I accepted the results. Go back a year, and everything was so simple and easy. Maybe that’s where the saying “ignorance is bliss” comes from.

Here too: Creating RAW DNG files with Vuescan - Vuescan - Film Community at Negative Lab Pro

Well, I’m sort of stuck, for the fifth or sixth time. I had moved my data from my iMac to my Mini, and used PL4 on the Mini so I know PL4 has accepted my computer. Today I took two strips of six negatives each and tried to scan them with VueScan. Three times in a row, VueScan crashed. I sent the crash info to VueScan, but I didn’t want to give up yet. In VueScan’s support information, it said most problems go away be setting VueScan to the “default options”, so I tried that. I also changed the Options from “Professional” to "Standard, dropped the scan resolution from 3200 to 1600, and made sure B/W negative was selected. I don’t think I did anything else - I just wanted to see if VueScan worked at all. It took forever, and eventually created JPG scans in my main “Pictures” folder.

So, I did it all over again, directing the new images to go into a “Negative Scans” folder under neath my “Pictures Folder”. I set the file type to “TIFF”. This time the scanning went much faster, and while it made two files each for two of my negatives, I was pleased I got that far. I never tried to crop the preview scans - I will do that next time.

Problems to solve before “next time”:

  • I used my rocket blower to clean the scanner and the negatives, but still had “debris” that I now need to get rid of.
  • The VueScan histogram thought several of my images were very high contrast, and they were underexposed. None of my images showed up as overexposed according to the histogram, even the three that are worthless as they were VERY over-exposed. The histograms are all off to the left. All the images needed cropping, as I didn’t try that yet in VueScan. I just wanted to see if the program worked.
  • 1600 dpi seems to be too small - next time I will try 3200.

Well, it’s a start. I was going to process them in Affinity Photo, but rather than learn something new, I used Lightroom. Was very easy - but I planned on finalizing them in PL4. When I finished, I exported five of them, trying to save as “TIFF”. However, they got saved in DNG format. I think I need to find a way for Lightroom to export them in TIFF format.

The next problem was trying to import them into PL4, but I got an error message - see image below. I know that I can work on scanned negatives in PL4, as you (Joanna) are doing that. My gut feeling is that once I can get them saved properly as TIFF images, things will work.

Here’s the error message:

A few questions -
What is the best way to clean off negatives? I think I will try a brush. I think that’s what I used a lifetime ago, when I was a kid. I vaguely remember “a special lint free cloth”, but that doesn’t sound right. Or I could use a spray can of compressed air?
Is 1600 dpi too small? My gut feeling is to do 3200 universally.
Am I correct that once I make the images into TIFF images, PL4 will have no idea what camera was used, but will it accept TIFF images if it balks at DNG? Or will it refuse to open them, as it’s looking for a supported camera? I’m sure Joanna’s view camera isn’t in the supported camera list… :slight_smile:

All together, I’m excited. I’ve got lots of issues, but the camera and scanner worked, I used reasonable settings for most of the images, and I got three images that I like out of the first half of my 24 exposure roll. …and I will wait for feedback here, before I “finish” the images I like in Lightroom.

Aha! If I save those images as full-size TIFF files, then move to the PL4 folder, PL4 can edit them!

Results, photos taken on Leica M3 with Ilford 100 film, then scanned.

Litghtroom > PL4 > Nik > Upload
Very sad photo. At the left is the bed of a homeless person, along with her monkey.

Lightroom > PL4 > Upload
Trying to get the same quality of an image taken with my M10.

I don’t know how to post the originals here as they’re not raw files, but I’m wide open for suggestions.