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 nowhere, Jul 24, 2003
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  2. nobody nowhere

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: nobody nowhere
    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.
    14 bit, though there's more room for argument here.

    The case for high bit sharpening is explained well in these two

    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

    Bill Hilton, Jul 24, 2003
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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

    nobody nowhere, Jul 24, 2003
  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?

    nobody nowhere, Jul 24, 2003
  5. 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
  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.

    nobody nowhere, Jul 24, 2003
  7. nobody nowhere

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: nobody nowhere
    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.
    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.
    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 Hilton, Jul 24, 2003
  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

    nobody nowhere, Jul 24, 2003
  9. nobody nowhere

    Rafe B. Guest

    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.
    Rafe B., Jul 25, 2003
  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)?
    nobody nowhere, Jul 25, 2003
  11. nobody nowhere

    Rafe B. Guest

    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
    Rafe B., Jul 25, 2003
  12. SNIP
    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 van der Wolf, Jul 25, 2003
  13. nobody nowhere

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: nobody nowhere
    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 ...

    This is a big deal if you sell your prints.

    Bill Hilton, Jul 25, 2003
  14. nobody nowhere

    Mxsmanic Guest

    The 14-bit scans are always preferable.
    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.
    I use the LS-8000ED all the time. It's a fabulous scanner.
    Mxsmanic, Jul 25, 2003
  15. nobody nowhere

    Mxsmanic Guest

    I let the scanner handle exposure automatically. It's very good at
    choosing the best exposure for the image. Ditto for focusing.
    Mxsmanic, Jul 25, 2003
  16. nobody nowhere

    Mxsmanic Guest

    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.
    It does. You can turn it off if you want. It normally does an
    excellent job.
    Mxsmanic, Jul 25, 2003
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