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Slide Copy Workflow


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Before anyone tells me I have read the other threads.  I am more interested in workflow after capture and plan to use a Nikon camera and slide copier.  I have Lightroom and Photoshop to do the processing.  As of now all of the photos on Alamy that I have are from digital cameras but I have thousands of slides and negatives that I would consider scanning.  

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Posted (edited)

What Nikon camera? This is important in terms of workflow, as the sensor will determine the dynamic range, which in turn could dictate whether you do more than one exposure in camera. The other big issue is grain (not noise) which should not be an issue if you use the lowest ISO possible but again this will be influenced by the camera used. Obviously the lens is also of great importance also.

Edited by MDM
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Posted (edited)

I shoot raw (D810 in the past or D850, so large sensors with excellent dynamic range)  and use Lightroom for processing for optimal grain reduction - this is an interplay between sharpness and denoising and is far better done on a raw file. Same with highlight and shadow recovery (the dynamic range issue) - raw processing is vital. Depending on the image I do two different takes in Lightroom - one with strong noise reduction and another geared towards sharpness. I then open the two files in Photoshop and blend them using layers- the heavy noise reduction version for skies where grain is a big problem and the sharpened version for land areas with detail where grain is not visible. Finally I downsize them - if intended for Alamy I go for the minimum approx - 3000x2000 pixels.

Edited by MDM
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12 hours ago, Marvin McAbee said:

Before anyone tells me I have read the other threads.  I am more interested in workflow after capture and plan to use a Nikon camera and slide copier.  I have Lightroom and Photoshop to do the processing.  As of now all of the photos on Alamy that I have are from digital cameras but I have thousands of slides and negatives that I would consider scanning.  

 

 

I don't find that ACR is much use with digital 'scans' of old slides. I mainly use it for the Geometry tool just to get everything straight - perhaps a little tweak with some of the basic sliders, such Exposure, Contrast.

 

In Photoshop I generally see what Auto Contrast does to the image and then respond. I also see what AutoColor does but generally although it helps remove colour casts it leaves the image a little cold for my liking, so then I use Adjustments/Color Balance. I particularly find that increasing the Yellow helps also often look at what a touch more Red will do,

 

I may resize if the image looks soft down to c 24 Mb

 

Then it is down to dust and scratch removal - I spend too long on this because I just find it impossible to leave visual blemishes. 

 

I have done around 3200 so far. 

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I would suggest your first action would be preparing the slides for digitizing. In this respect I use and recommend PEC 12 and their lint tissues.

 

Blow off the immediate dust first then apply the PEC 12 via the tissue only. Do not spray direct onto the slide. Allow to dry and use a soft cloth to wipe over and the subsequent spotting of the slide will prove a lot easier. 

 

I have a number of full resolution slides accepted by QC

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I haven't yet had a slide or neg which approaches the limits of the DR of the sensor but this could be down to my originals and flare in the copying optics. I haven't used Photoshop at all.

If you have a lot to do you may find tethered capture useful, and a LR preset to save time in processing- mine applied a film-shaped tone curve to improve the look of slides (probably a bit like geog's auto contrast). Likewise a curve to speed up getting negs to positives. Unfortunately I've lost my presets in a reinstall so I can't say more on that.

A big factor as ReeRay says is whether or not you're trying to pass QC- as you know archival doesn't need to and that's all I've done- so no sharpening or NR either by and large.

As to dust, if they're fairly well-kept and I don't doubt yours are, a rocket blower blast followed by a pass of an anti-static brush either side worked quite well for me. Or was it the other way round🤨

 

Edited by spacecadet
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

I haven't yet had a slide or neg which approaches the limits of the DR of the sensor but this could be down to my originals and flare in the copying optics. I haven't used Photoshop at all.

If you have a lot to do you may find tethered capture useful, and a LR preset to save time in processing- mine applied a film-shaped tone curve to improve the look of slides (probably a bit like geog's auto contrast). Likewise a curve to speed up getting negs to positives. Unfortunately I've lost my presets in a reinstall so I can't say more on that.

A big factor as ReeRay says is whether or not you're trying to pass QC- as you know archival doesn't need to and that's all I've done- so no sharpening or NR either by and large.

As to dust, if they're fairly well-kept and I don't doubt yours are, a rocket blower blast followed by a pass of an anti-static brush either side worked quite well for me. Or was it the other way round🤨

 

 

 Firstly, it is fundamental to the whole process to decide what one is aiming to do with the copied slides. If simply aiming to submit to Alamy by the archival route then yes - there is no point in spending time working on the copied images and your workflow is fine. However, my aim is much more quality over quantity with Alamy as a very secondary consideration.

 

In relation to the workflow I outlined above, my aim is to get the very best quality results I can get and that any images are capable of passing Alamy QC as a basic standard (hence the emphasis on the balance between removing grain and sharpening). I want results that print as well as those from my digital camera up to at least A4 if not A3 size. But if one does not need or want quality, then there is no point in wasting precious time on it.

 

The point with dynamic range is that slides have a very small dynamic range but there can be a lot of detail hidden in the highlights and shadows which may never be seen in the slide. However, it is quite amazing what can be recovered with a camera sensor capable of recovering this detail. I have very contrasty slides which I had written off in terms of highlight and shadow detail when I scanned them years ago with a decent Nikon scanner but was quite astonished at what is actually recoverable with a quality sensor. Therein lies the importance of shooting raw and even do double takes at different exposures in camera. I've not done that but it can be a viable way of recovering detail in highlights and shadows. Raw processing is also much ,pre efficient at removing grain and balancing sharpness with denoising than working on converted files.

 

 

 

Edited by MDM
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MDM said:

slides have a very small dynamic range

Are we talking about different things? K64 had a logD range of well over 3. I've been assuming that what gets a density range of over 1000 down to under 100 is flare in the optics.

That's what Langford reckons anyway and I tend to agree. Seems obvious.

I agree about the extra detail but tend to the idea that it's a matter of exposure. You can certainly get moe out of the shadows of a slide than would have been projected- I dug out an underexposed date on a blackboard from a slide that had been incorrectly dated for years.

Anyway I'd assumed Marvin wanted to submit his results. But he hasn't said which route he wants to go. I wouldn't bother submitting film images that didn't qualify as archival, not for quality reasons, but mainly because they're of subjects that are well covered already Anything particularly special would probably qualify as archival anyway after 20+ years.

Some of my early digital images would probably qualify now. Let's see, what do I have that's been demolished...........?

Edited by spacecadet
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On 30/05/2022 at 15:58, MDM said:

What Nikon camera? This is important in terms of workflow, as the sensor will determine the dynamic range, which in turn could dictate whether you do more than one exposure in camera. The other big issue is grain (not noise) which should not be an issue if you use the lowest ISO possible but again this will be influenced by the camera used. Obviously the lens is also of great importance also.

D7200 and other DX format.

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On 31/05/2022 at 06:58, MDM said:

 

 Firstly, it is fundamental to the whole process to decide what one is aiming to do with the copied slides. If simply aiming to submit to Alamy by the archival route then yes - there is no point in spending time working on the copied images and your workflow is fine. However, my aim is much more quality over quantity with Alamy as a very secondary consideration.

 

In relation to the workflow I outlined above, my aim is to get the very best quality results I can get and that any images are capable of passing Alamy QC as a basic standard (hence the emphasis on the balance between removing grain and sharpening). I want results that print as well as those from my digital camera up to at least A4 if not A3 size. But if one does not need or want quality, then there is no point in wasting precious time on it.

 

The point with dynamic range is that slides have a very small dynamic range but there can be a lot of detail hidden in the highlights and shadows which may never be seen in the slide. However, it is quite amazing what can be recovered with a camera sensor capable of recovering this detail. I have very contrasty slides which I had written off in terms of highlight and shadow detail when I scanned them years ago with a decent Nikon scanner but was quite astonished at what is actually recoverable with a quality sensor. Therein lies the importance of shooting raw and even do double takes at different exposures in camera. I've not done that but it can be a viable way of recovering detail in highlights and shadows. Raw processing is also much ,pre efficient at removing grain and balancing sharpness with denoising than working on converted files.

 

 

 

I would go with the Archival until I thought I could pass QC.  I have not had a QC fail for many years would not want chance that.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Marvin McAbee said:

I would go with the Archival until I thought I could pass QC.  I have not had a QC fail for many years would not want chance that.

Then if your images qualify as archival, rather than just old, no reason to make any particular efforts to get them through a QC process you won't face.

Other than professional pride, of course. Mine are as sharp as I could reasonably make them with the equipment I had at the time- now I have a macro lens any future ones would be a little better. I say would, because I can't think of a way to take any more images in 1979.🤔

Edited by spacecadet
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Posted (edited)
On 30/05/2022 at 20:27, Marvin McAbee said:

I am more interested in workflow after capture

My 35mm colour slide workflow post capture

1) Load RAW file into LR or PS/ACR

2) Apply my LR/ACR preset which applies WB correction and a linear Lumariver DCP profile (derived from a digitised IT8 reference slide of the same film type using same light source and equipment) to provide a "faithfull" starting point

3) Crop and rotate and make geometric adjustments

4) Make manual adjustments to WB and tone as required, often with some local adjustments

5) Downsize to 3000 x 2000 pixels

6) Reduce grain and improve crispness using Topaz Denoise AI filter (PS plugin) then apply ~50% fade (to reduce over-sharpened edges from Topaz) and add back a little noise/grain.

7) Inspect at 100%, clone or heal any noticeable dust and scratches

8) Save as sRGB  jpg at level 10 or 11

9) Submit to normal Alamy QC 

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
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