Notes on scanning negatives

Process with Plustek 8200i


Scanning routine:

  1. Number your sheet, crossing through any previous number to remove ambiguity, but do so in such a way that it is still legible.
  2. From within VueScan create a folder in the working directory matching the new number on your working sheet.
  3. Remove negative/strip from sheet with tweezers to prevent oils from your hand damaging the negative or making their way into the scanner.
  4. Place strip into tray and align with the windows. It helps to position the negative away from the hinge of the tray, making realigning the strip easier.
    • Note: If the film strip is notably cupped or warped, or if the camera mechanism didn’t fully advance the roll when the photograph was first taken, it may not be possible to align every frame perfectly with the windows in the tray. In such cases align the first frame(s) in the strip, scan them, then remove the tray in order to align the later frames, before reinserting the tray into the scanner and resume the later frames.
  5. Dust with a blower. Make sure you pinch/clamp the tray between thumb and finger so it doesn’t shift. If stubborn dust persists, you may carefully brush with the tip of a gloved finger, but often it is best to leave such spots for the infrared pass on the scanner.
  6. Double check alignment of the strip in case any shift occurred during cleaning.
  7. Feed tray into the scanner from the left side, pinching the tray snugly so that the strip within stays aligned. Make sure you are aware of where your first negative is in the tray.
  8. Run a preview, at a minimum, every time you start a new sheet, but ideally once per tray.
  9. Cropping
    • Once the preview is ready, align and adjust your crop in the Crop tab by setting Crop size to 35mm Film, enabling Lock aspect ratio, and making sure the crop box does not include any of the film surround, as this will distort the exposure.
    • If you have needed to adjust the crop to avoid the end of the film stock, make sure that you rerun the preview for the negative immediately following as well.
    • If a scan has a notably blue or green cast or doesn’t look right for any reason, run a fresh preview, recheck the crop settings above, and ensure that Colour balance is set to Auto levels in the Color tab.
  10. Repeat steps 7 through 9 until the strip is finished, and steps 3 through 9 until the sheet is finished.
  11. Once you have finished a sheet, return the sheet to the folder and pull a new sheet, then begin again from step 1.

The Nikon takes notably longer per frame when scanning at full resolution with infrared dust removal enabled, but the resulting scans are sharper and the colour rendition is better, none of the unpredictable colour casts that the plustek exhibits.

Both scanners produce serviceable images, the Nikon is just a cut above.

But the real distinguishing factor between the two scanners is the amount of hand holding they need. The scan rate of the Plustek

2024-02-04  95
2024-02-05   0
2024-02-06  62
2024-02-07  12
2024-02-08 188
2024-02-09 300
2024-02-10 169
2024-02-11 206
2024-02-12  28
2024-02-13  11
2024-02-14 210
2024-02-15 468
2024-02-16 270
2024-02-17   0
2024-02-18  55
2024-02-19  50
2024-02-20 128
2024-02-21 140
2024-02-22 138
2024-02-27 111
2024-02-28 195
2024-02-29  27
2024-03-01  28
2024-03-02   0
2024-03-03   0
2024-03-04   0
2024-03-05   0
2024-03-06  82
2024-03-07   0
2024-03-08  45
2024-03-09  90
2024-03-10   0
2024-03-11 105
2024-03-12  70
2024-03-13 389
2024-03-14 129
2024-03-15 140
2024-03-16 253
2024-03-17 142
2024-03-18 285

ERRORS in need of correcting

Jamie has made a couple of ‘wrong folder’ errors, I’ll note them here until I get around to fixing them.

099 Scanning from four days apart in the same folder
055 only has one image in it
053 has way too many images
176 2024-03-13 Jamie says: "Errors on final strip of folder 176 025-028 too tired to compute fix today"

Minor errors during switch to envelope scanning are fine, have recorded metadata below.