Scanner Nikon 8000, scan at 8 or 14 bit?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nobody nowhere, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. 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
    nobody nowhere, Jul 24, 2003
    #1
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  2. nobody nowhere

    Bill Hilton Guest

    >From: nobody nowhere

    >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
    Bill Hilton, Jul 24, 2003
    #2
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  3. 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 <>, Bill Hilton
    <> writes
    >>From: nobody nowhere

    >
    >>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
    nobody nowhere, Jul 24, 2003
    #3
  4. 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 <>, Rafe B.
    <> 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
    nobody nowhere, Jul 24, 2003
    #4
  5. In article <38$QufAR48H$>,
    nobody nowhere <> 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
    Philip Homburg, Jul 24, 2003
    #5
  6. 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$3ir$>, David J. Littleboy
    <> writes
    >
    >"nobody nowhere" <> 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 <>, Rafe B.
    >> <> 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
    nobody nowhere, Jul 24, 2003
    #6
  7. nobody nowhere

    Bill Hilton Guest

    >From: nobody nowhere

    >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
    Bill Hilton, Jul 24, 2003
    #7
  8. 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 <>, Bill Hilton
    <> 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



    Nobody
    nobody nowhere, Jul 24, 2003
    #8
  9. nobody nowhere

    Rafe B. Guest

    On Thu, 24 Jul 2003 23:43:36 +0900, "David J. Littleboy"
    <> wrote:


    >> In article <>, Rafe B.
    >> <> 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
    Rafe B., Jul 25, 2003
    #9
  10. 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 <>, EDGY01
    <> 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
    nobody nowhere, Jul 25, 2003
    #10
  11. nobody nowhere

    Rafe B. Guest

    On Fri, 25 Jul 2003 10:32:03 +0100, nobody nowhere
    <> wrote:

    >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)?



    Consider that this scanner - LS-8000 - most likely costs far
    more than the computer it's attached to.

    Memory costs peanuts these days and if you have a 4000
    dpi medium format film scanner, it's foolish to not buy
    a LOT of memory. Similarly for processing power. CPUs
    are topping out at around 3 GHz these days, so a CPU
    of half that (say 1.6GHz) is extremely reasonable in cost.

    Print longevity? Personally I don't sweat it too much. Make
    sure your scans and Photoshop edits are well preserved
    and archived. Five, ten or fifty years from now (with luck)
    you'll be able to reprint your images on whatever the
    latest and greatest printing technology is at the time.

    The 2200 serie is a fine printer, but pigment inks have their
    own set of issues. Conventional dye inks are much easier
    to deal with and generally give more pleasing prints.


    rafe b
    http://www.terrapinphoto.com
    Rafe B., Jul 25, 2003
    #11
  12. "Rafe B." <> wrote in message
    news:...
    SNIP
    > 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.


    Scanning as a negative increases the exposure time for green and blue, which
    improves signal to noise ratios for those channels. It also makes correcting
    out the base+mask color more accurate and easy. Since that leads to correct
    shadow colors, color balancing becomes much easier.

    Bart
    Bart van der Wolf, Jul 25, 2003
    #12
  13. nobody nowhere

    Bill Hilton Guest

    >From: nobody nowhere

    >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.


    The projected (estimated) print life of the 1280/1290 prints varies widely,
    depending on the paper. See page 3 of this link for a table with estimated
    print life of various printers ... 1280 varies from 2 years for Glossy Film to
    27 years for ColorLife (which I don't like too much). By comparison the 2200
    estimates for their 6 papers are all higher than this, up to 90 years ...
    http://www.inkjetart.com/news/longevity/index.html

    This is a big deal if you sell your prints.

    Bill
    Bill Hilton, Jul 25, 2003
    #13
  14. nobody nowhere

    Mxsmanic Guest

    nobody nowhere writes:

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


    The 14-bit scans are always preferable.

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


    In Photoshop. Only scanner-specific things like focus and exposure
    should be adjusted in the scanner. Also, the Digital ICE on the Nikon
    8000 is second to none and works so well that you'll never need to clean
    a slide in Photoshop as long as you have ICE set to "Normal" and the
    slide isn't filthy. It works so well, in fact, that I don't even bother
    to check scans for dust most of the time, because it's all gone.

    Earlier Nikon scanners weren't as good at this, and you still had to
    look, and the ICE reduced sharpness a bit. The 8000 has none of these
    drawbacks. It's pretty amazing.

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


    I use the LS-8000ED all the time. It's a fabulous scanner.

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.
    Mxsmanic, Jul 25, 2003
    #14
  15. nobody nowhere

    Mxsmanic Guest

    nobody nowhere writes:

    > On the exposure controls, surely a Nikon 8000 would do all
    > this for me automatically, or would it be better to do it manually?


    I let the scanner handle exposure automatically. It's very good at
    choosing the best exposure for the image. Ditto for focusing.

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.
    Mxsmanic, Jul 25, 2003
    #15
  16. nobody nowhere

    Mxsmanic Guest

    nobody nowhere writes:

    > I shall go for 14 bit, at least for the moment.


    My reason for always going with 14-bit is simple: Scanning is
    time-consuming, so I don't ever want to have to do it twice. I
    therefore scan at maximum bit depth and resolution on every scan.

    > The other poster suggested that I should adjust exposure etc.,
    > surely the Nikon 8000 does this automatically ...


    It does. You can turn it off if you want. It normally does an
    excellent job.

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.
    Mxsmanic, Jul 25, 2003
    #16
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