I posted a series of tutorials on How to Scan B&W Negatives at the end of 2009. The first tutorial showed how to get better scans by scanning as a positive, the second showed how to bypass your scanner software settings entirely by scanning in 16 bit linear mode. Several months after writing these tutorials, I purchased the pro version of VueScan after running a series of tests that convinced me VueScan would give me better results than the software that came with my scanner.
Nearly two years later, I haven’t changed my mind. VueScan has been the best solution and continues to meet all my film scanning needs. Here’s a screenshot showing a scan from a Tri-X negative developed in Diafine. I chose a Contrast Index (CI) that gave me a histogram (shown in the lower left panel) that included all the tones in my image. Then I moved the white point to the left and tweaked the gamma (the brightness slider).
Here’s another view of the same scan but with the curve graph showing instead of the histogram. I tweaked the curve to get a bit more contrast. The next step would be running the actual scan.
After scanning, I typically open my 16 bit grey scale tiff file in Picture Window Pro (PWP) to fine tune the tones, then downsize (if the image will go on the web) and sharpen.
This tutorial is an introduction to how I use VueScan. I’ve developed an efficient workflow for scanning and editing my B&W negative scans. If there’s enough interest, I’ll continue the series with in-depth, step-by-step of my entire workflow.
If you’re interested, you can download the latest version of VueScan and try it for yourself. There’s no cost for the trial and the only limitation is watermarking on the scans. I have no affiliation with VueScan. I’m a very satisfied customer who paid full price for the pro version once I saw how well VueScan worked for me.
I use a Minolta ScanDual III that’s about eight years old. The scanner works flawlessly with VueScan running on Linux Mint 9. If you have an old film scanner, the old drivers probably won’t work with newer operating systems, but VueScan can keep it running.
If you missed the first four episodes in this series, here are the links: