Scanning Negatives

After being rather impressed with the level of detail acquired when i sent my negatives to the local store (Camera Kingston/Photo Source) I decided that, given most of the time I want to just post up the odd photograph that I find interesting, or was just a very lucky hit, I would buy a scanner capable of processing negatives.

After a while I landed on the Canon 9000F MKII. This was mainly due to availability and generally good reviews. This allows me to scan my negatives and do all Id normally want to do. I scanned and spent a lot of time testing it out, using the spider negative and found that while no, it is not as high resolution as the one at the store… (theres is probably in the range of $1000s rather than $300) it is still a very capable scanner.

For what I want it to do… it works well.

OK so here is a comparison of two pictures, one of the print, the other of the negative.


The difference is pretty obvious, both in detail and colour. The negative scan is quite neutral but can be easily modified if required, while the print has a very compressed dynamic range, loosing most of the detail. The best example of this is the table, which is bleach white, while in the scan there is actually some details visible within the blur.

The other is the scene of blue bells


I seem to have flipped the scan of the negative (left) in comparison to the print (right) but once again, while the colour balance is a little different, the blue rendering more as purple (can be fixed easily) once again the point here being that the level of detail is much greater in the scan, the colour depth is great and post processing can give all of the vibrancy (if wanted)

For these scans I used VueScan, which I am still playing around with, I have also used the supplied software (ScanGear) so it is likely in the future I will use some kind of work flow in which I do initial scans with scan gear and follow up with VueScan. The reason for the follow up is the multi scan mode in VueScan, which allows a less noisy image to be produced. It also exposes some of the interpolation that the scanner is doing, where the limit for scan quality is somewhere around 2400dpi for the 9000F, past that level images obtain no greater detail.

So in general my process is to do a 4 pass scan at 4800 dpi and then use a TIF file size reduction of 2, which brings it back down to 2400dpi, hopefully smoother and the same sharpness as a scan at 2400dpi directly.

Colour balance is still something i need to play with


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