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Scanner Nikon 8000, scan at 8 or 14 bit?

 
 
nobody nowhere
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      07-24-2003
Is it better to scan at 14 bit, rather than 8 bit?

Is it better to do sharpening, curves etc. at the scanning stage, or
afterwards, in Photoshop 7?

Only informed comments from people with experience of the Nikon 8000
please. Thanks in advance.

Nobody
 
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Bill Hilton
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      07-24-2003
>From: nobody nowhere http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)

>Is it better to do sharpening, curves etc. at the scanning stage, or
>afterwards, in Photoshop 7?


You have more control in Photoshop, and sharpening should always be done at the
last stage just prior to printing, so the consensus on this is pretty much
unanimous, do it in Photoshop.

>Is it better to scan at 14 bit, rather than 8 bit?


14 bit, though there's more room for argument here.

The case for high bit sharpening is explained well in these two
articles/examples:

http://www.creativepro.com/story/feature/7627.html
http://www.inkjetart.com/2450/48bit/page4.html
http://www.inkjetart.com/2450/48bit/index.html

The basic flow is to scan in high bit mode and do your global changes there
(the key color correction tools all work in 16 bit mode in Photoshop), then
convert to 8 bit mode late in the flow for any local color/tonal changes.

The critics of high bit mode (most prominently Dan Margulis) say that yes, you
get a nicer looking histogram with no gaps and yes, a gradient looks better
after working in high bit mode, but for REAL images you can't see a difference
in the final print. Someone ran a contest a couple years back offering $100
for anyone who could provide an image which looked noticeably better in high
bit vs 8 bit. He lost the bet, but most people who played the game were
surprised to see just how hard it was to find such an image.

Note that scan times are the same in either mode (at least on my Nikon 8000)
because the scanner always works in high bit mode and then does the conversion
to 8 bit at the end, so the main advantage of 8 bit mode is smaller file sizes.
But if you are that pressed for disk space you can just scan at 14 bit and do
the main corrections before converting to 8 bit, then that "problem" goes away
too.

Bill
 
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nobody nowhere
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      07-24-2003
Thank you very much indeed. On the 14 bit part you seem to disagree with
another reply to my post, and might have to "cross swards" -in the
nicest possible way, of course- with him! Wayne Fulton, (who published
"A few scanning tips") seem to incline in favour of 14 bit (if I
understood him correctly). I shall go for 14 bit, at least for the
moment. The other poster suggested that I should adjust exposure etc.,
surely the Nikon 8000 does this automatically (after what I paid for it
it is the least it could do for me), or is it not the case? Thanks
again.

In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Bill Hilton
<(E-Mail Removed)> writes
>>From: nobody nowhere (E-Mail Removed)

>
>>Is it better to do sharpening, curves etc. at the scanning stage, or
>>afterwards, in Photoshop 7?

>
>You have more control in Photoshop, and sharpening should always be done at the
>last stage just prior to printing, so the consensus on this is pretty much
>unanimous, do it in Photoshop.
>
>>Is it better to scan at 14 bit, rather than 8 bit?

>
>14 bit, though there's more room for argument here.
>
>The case for high bit sharpening is explained well in these two
>articles/examples:
>
>http://www.creativepro.com/story/feature/7627.html
>http://www.inkjetart.com/2450/48bit/page4.html
>http://www.inkjetart.com/2450/48bit/index.html
>
>The basic flow is to scan in high bit mode and do your global changes there
>(the key color correction tools all work in 16 bit mode in Photoshop), then
>convert to 8 bit mode late in the flow for any local color/tonal changes.
>
>The critics of high bit mode (most prominently Dan Margulis) say that yes, you
>get a nicer looking histogram with no gaps and yes, a gradient looks better
>after working in high bit mode, but for REAL images you can't see a difference
>in the final print. Someone ran a contest a couple years back offering $100
>for anyone who could provide an image which looked noticeably better in high
>bit vs 8 bit. He lost the bet, but most people who played the game were
>surprised to see just how hard it was to find such an image.
>
>Note that scan times are the same in either mode (at least on my Nikon 8000)
>because the scanner always works in high bit mode and then does the conversion
>to 8 bit at the end, so the main advantage of 8 bit mode is smaller file sizes.
> But if you are that pressed for disk space you can just scan at 14 bit and do
>the main corrections before converting to 8 bit, then that "problem" goes away
>too.
>
>Bill



Nobody
 
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nobody nowhere
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      07-24-2003
Thank you. On the exposure controls, surely a Nikon 8000 would do all
this for me automatically, or would it be better to do it manually?

In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Rafe B.
<(E-Mail Removed)> writes

>4. More important than the 8-bit vs. 16-bit issue
>is getting a good scan in the first place -- making
>sure you have the scanner's exposure controls
>set optimally, and making sure you're not losing
>any tones in the scan, the histogram is reasonably
>"centered" and so on.




>5. Re: sharpening: there is some agreement here:
>don't do it in the scanner driver. In fact, don't save
>sharpened files at all. I typically sharpen in
>Photoshop just before printing. Sharpening should
>be done at the final printing resolution.
>
>
>rafe b.
>http://www.terrapinphoto.com



Nobody
 
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Philip Homburg
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      07-24-2003
In article <38$QufAR48H$(E-Mail Removed)>,
nobody nowhere <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>Thank you very much indeed. On the 14 bit part you seem to disagree with
>another reply to my post, and might have to "cross swards" -in the
>nicest possible way, of course- with him! Wayne Fulton, (who published
>"A few scanning tips") seem to incline in favour of 14 bit (if I
>understood him correctly). I shall go for 14 bit, at least for the
>moment. The other poster suggested that I should adjust exposure etc.,
>surely the Nikon 8000 does this automatically (after what I paid for it
>it is the least it could do for me), or is it not the case? Thanks
>again.


Why not simply experiment a bit. Try some well exposed slides or negative
in all possible combinations (manual/automatic exposure, 8 or 16 bit output,
GEM, ROC, fine or normal ICE. Analog gain, manual focus, etc.)

Repeat the experiment with poorly exposed material.

I don't trust NikonScan and I postprocess in PhotoShop anyhow, so for me it
is 16-bit/ch, manual exposure control.




Philip Homburg
 
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nobody nowhere
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      07-24-2003
David, you were right about the 120 holder with glass for the Nikon
8000, I could not do without it, in particular single 6 x 6s, which seem
to have a natural inclination to form a nice curve, which confuses the
auto-focus. On exposure, what I do is simply look to look, and if the
exposure does not seem quite right, I adjust it at the scanning stage
the best I can.

In article <bforbr$3ir$(E-Mail Removed)>, David J. Littleboy
<(E-Mail Removed)> writes
>
>"nobody nowhere" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> Thank you. On the exposure controls, surely a Nikon 8000 would do all
>> this for me automatically, or would it be better to do it manually?

>
>Auto exposure usually works quite well (with slide film, anyway), but I
>found that I need to set the exposure manually for XP-2 to get the histogram
>centered and not off scale.
>
>> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Rafe B.
>> <(E-Mail Removed)> writes
>>
>> >4. More important than the 8-bit vs. 16-bit issue
>> >is getting a good scan in the first place -- making
>> >sure you have the scanner's exposure controls
>> >set optimally, and making sure you're not losing
>> >any tones in the scan, the histogram is reasonably
>> >"centered" and so on.

>
>You must be scanning negative film<g>. It does the right thing with Provia.
>
>David J. Littleboy
>Tokyo, Japan
>
>
>



Nobody
 
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Bill Hilton
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      07-24-2003
>From: nobody nowhere (E-Mail Removed)

>On the 14 bit part you seem to disagree with
>another reply to my post, and might have to "cross swards" -in the
>nicest possible way, of course- with him!


You are probably referring to Rafe, who prefers 8 bit but pointed out "there is
no right or wrong answer". He understands the trade-offs and decided to go
with 8 bit, which is fine with me, he does good work. I prefer doing the first
one or two tonal/color adjustments in Photoshop using Levels and Curves and
then converting myself but wouldn't try to change anyone else's mind on
workflow choice.

>Wayne Fulton, (who published
>"A few scanning tips") seem to incline in favour of 14 bit


If you read 20 books on Photoshop probably 18 or 19 would say go with the high
bit flow (Fraser, McClelland, Barry Haynes, Katrin Eismann, etc). The only
big-name author who champions 8 bit (that I know of) is Dan Margulis.

>The other poster suggested that I should adjust exposure etc.,
>surely the Nikon 8000 does this automatically (after what I paid for it
>it is the least it could do for me), or is it not the case?


It sets the end points well but you may want to adjust the gamma (mid-tones
slider) or the color balance. The issue is whether you do it in the Nikon scan
window and let the scanner convert the 14 bit scan to 8 bits, or whether you
scan at 14 bits and make the corrections yourself in Photoshop, then convert to
8 bits. Either way there's a conversion.

Bill
 
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nobody nowhere
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      07-24-2003
Thank you. To my credit, or in my defence I do this already
instinctively, which is due mainly to the Nikon 8000, who makes this so
easy.

In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Bill Hilton
<(E-Mail Removed)> writes
>It sets the end points well but you may want to adjust the gamma (mid-tones
>slider) or the color balance. The issue is whether you do it in the Nikon scan
>window and let the scanner convert the 14 bit scan to 8 bits, or whether you
>scan at 14 bits and make the corrections yourself in Photoshop, then convert to
>8 bits. Either way there's a conversion.
>
>Bill



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Rafe B.
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      07-25-2003
On Thu, 24 Jul 2003 23:43:36 +0900, "David J. Littleboy"
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:


>> In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Rafe B.
>> <(E-Mail Removed)> writes
>>
>> >4. More important than the 8-bit vs. 16-bit issue
>> >is getting a good scan in the first place -- making
>> >sure you have the scanner's exposure controls
>> >set optimally, and making sure you're not losing
>> >any tones in the scan, the histogram is reasonably
>> >"centered" and so on.

>
>You must be scanning negative film<g>. It does the right thing with Provia.



When I first got the scanner I was very impressed at its
ability to auto-expose negatives.

But after a while I realized (or perhaps came to accept)
that it was doing something wrong. Specifically, with
negatives, the histogram tends to "bunch up" at the
low end (shadow region) and typically has no content
to speak of below around 30.

I lived with that for quite some time, and had what I
considered a good and simple workaround, but was
then shown a better but more complicated workaround:
specifically, scan the negative as a postive and
invert it within NikonScan.

Anyway, when I use the latter approach, I find I need
to mess with the exposure controls. This was not
the case when I was scanning negs as negs and
letting NS do the exposure for me.

With my older film scanners (Polaroid, Microtek)
the exposure controls were critical.


rafe b.
http://www.terrapinphoto.com

 
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nobody nowhere
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      07-25-2003
Thank you very much, this is very helpful. I take it that all your
corrections, sharpening etc. are done in Photoshop, presumably, 7. I too
use a light table before scanning. I am still learning how to use
curves, but so far without much success, levels seem easier, although it
seems clear that curves is worth learning, because it might be a better
tool. You must have a lot of RAM to do all these things. I already
have 768MB RAm, which is not sufficient to handle a 6 x 6 or 6 x 9
slide, it is like watching paint dry. Two more questions, if I may: the
scanner seems to be on practically the whole day, presumably this is a
bad policy, should I make sure that it is switched off whenever it is
not in actual use? Secondly, my printer is Epson 1290, and am happy with
it, but our Bill and others keep pointing out to the archival qualities
of the 2200, and I wander whether my pictures will fade within two
years. Are you happy with your 2200 (apart from the increased costs)?


In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, EDGY01
<(E-Mail Removed)> writes
><< Is it better to scan at 14 bit, rather than 8 bit?
>
>Is it better to do sharpening, curves etc. at the scanning stage, or
>afterwards, in Photoshop 7?
>
>Only informed comments from people with experience of the Nikon 8000
>please. Thanks in advance.
> >><BR><BR>

>
>
>I've been using my 8000ED for over a year now and mostly scan
>transparencies,--a toss up between 35mm and 120. Most of the film I use is
>Velvia, and Kodachrome.
>
>The ultimate goal of the scan drives my methodology. If I'm printing a slide
>with my Epson 2200 I shoot for the best that I can extract from the 8000ED.
>That is, at 4000 ppi and with the 14 bit color.
>
>The first thing I do with this very large file is to do color
>correction,--keeping the original transparency on a light table next to my MAC
>for comparison. Of course, with Velvia, sometimes you have to tone down the
>saturation to retain realism as Velvia has a tendency to over saturate the
>blues and greens. within Curves sometimes I will make more radical changes,
>setting a point at the intersection of each of the X and Y lines along the
>diagonal. Once I get my colors and contrasts sorted out I then change the
>file to 8-bit.
>
>Once it is 8-bit I work on the cropping and sharpening. Generally I use the
>unsharp masking at 125%, with a pixel radius of 0.8, and a threshold of 0
>levels.
>
>I adjust levels here,--usually changing inputs lebels from 1.00 to 1.20 to
>lighten things a bit toward a better, neutral print.
>
>I do any image editing somewhere in here, too,--dust, telephone lines, etc.
>Most is removed with the Digital ICE3 during the scan (except with black and
>white and Kodachromes).
>
>Finally it is time to resize the image. First, however, I save the image as a
>TIF so that it is still at 4000 ppi and with all the corrections in it. I then
>resize it and use generally 500 dpi for prints up to Super B and A3 and even
>8.5 x 11. As we all know, the quality of the paper is the REAL factor here in
>the final results. Each size print gets it's own saved file.
>
>I hope this gives you an idea of what I do when I scan my stuff with my 8000ED.
> Of course, everyone has a different order of things depending upon how they
>were trained or depending upon what they're trying to extract out of it.
>
>I do all my scanning in Nikon Scan as a stand alone program, and run PS7 as a
>separate program so that I can be working on editing a file while nikon Scan is
>working in background on a new scan.
>
>Dan Lindsay
>Santa Barbara, CA




 
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