Jul 16, 2021

More Scanning Notes

I've got a few DSLR scanning sessions under my belt now.

For financial reasons, I don't use Lightroom. I did up until they moved to a subscription model a few years ago. We purchased a new computer and it was time to upgrade my RAW editor, so I went with RawTherapee. They have a tool in there simply called Film Negative, which is a selection under the RAW tab. It works pretty well, especially when I have some neutral gray in the image to select. It's also important to note that Film Negative only works with Fuji X-Trans and Bayer sensors. Fortunately, I shoot with a Fuji X-T4, and my scanning is done with an adapted Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro. Once I get the colors close, I can further manipulate them with the HSL and LAB tools. The ability to selectively edit one color in a RAW file while leaving the others alone is well worth learning. 

Kodak Portra 400. Mamiya C220, 180mm f/4.5 lens. DSLR scan and edited in RawTherapee 5.8 using the Film Negative tool. 

Kodak Portra 160. Mamiya C220, 180mm f/4.5 lens. DSLR scan and edited in RawTherapee 5.8 using the Film Negative Tool. 

I learned that DarkTable has a similar function known, interestingly enough, as Negadoctor. It had been a decade or so since I had played around with DT, so I went and downloaded the latest version and took a look. On the surface, it's more intuitive and probably a little easier to use. Like RawTherapee, though, it requires some additional manipulation beyond the module itself in order for the scan to look right. I'm not as familiar with those tools in DT as I am in RT, but I did find something that resembled an HSV tool to bring some colors more in line with what I wanted. 

Fuji 400H. Mamiya C220, 180mm f/4.5 lens. DSLR scan and edited in DarkTable 3.6.  I left this one a little on the cooler side, as is a characteristic of Fuji 400H. 
 One thing I wasn't sure about with Darktable was handling the noise inherent in DSLR scans. That will come with time if I decide to settle on DT for this purpose. 

My skill level for scanning color negatives is not where I'd like it to be just yet. However, it's a lot further along than when I started. The pay-for option is to buy into Adobe and pay (yet again) for the module called Negative Lab Pro. I hear it's fantastic. And from the demonstrations on YouTube (and there are plenty) it looks like a fairly simple process. 

That's not me, though. So, I will need to be content with working a little harder to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to accomplish the task. And it will come in time.  

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