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Color Space Choices for Nikon 5000 Scans

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  #11  
Old 07-27-2010, 01:07 PM
stlsailor stlsailor is offline
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Re: Color Space Choices for Nikon 5000 Scans

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Again, the best archival approach would be to scan and tag in the native color space of the scanner. Its not too large or too small, it IS what the scanner is producing. Then, tomorrow or in 20 years, you can convert to a working space. Keep color conversions to a minimum. There’s really no conversion when you scan into the space of the scanner at this point.
Nikon Scan 4 has an option to set the color space to Scanner RGB. However, as I read the manual , it doesn't actually embed the color space--only uses it within the Nikon software if you edit there. Other software doesn't have that color space as an option to recognize it properly. PS sees it as sRGB. I like what you're saying, just not sure how to practically do it.

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I like the workflow for small numbers of scans, but think it could be lengthy for large numbers...if it [step 3] cannot be automated with a script, it could also be quite time consuming. Hence, possibly you may have to use your eyes during step 4 to make some judgments.
Time consuming is a big concern of mine. Yet to use them at all, basic tonal and color correction is required. In most instances simply opening up curves and hitting the auto button does well at a basic level. If PS won't let me automate that, then I'll probably try doing step 4 by eye as you suggest.

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I'm on the fence regarding TIFF, PSD or DNG. I'm thinking PSD, until at some point in the future it is not supported (not likely).
I've read some just this morning that also leans towards PSD as an archival format, though it doesn't seem to be a deal-breaker either way.

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Again, it boils down to the quantity. The times I have scanned 100's of images, I've been glad I simplified the workflow. I have not gone back to very many of those to edit... maybe 2 per 100 at the most. The rest just sit there for safe keeping.
These comments and your earlier ones, are helping me think about this a bit differently--and seeing the value in separating the two phases of scanning and editing. What works best may depend on whether I find I can automate auto curves or not. I'll look at that soon and let you know what I find out.

Dale
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  #12  
Old 07-27-2010, 01:10 PM
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Re: Color Space Choices for Nikon 5000 Scans

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Originally Posted by stlsailor View Post
Nikon Scan 4 has an option to set the color space to Scanner RGB. However, as I read the manual , it doesn't actually embed the color space--only uses it within the Nikon software if you edit there. Other software doesn't have that color space as an option to recognize it properly. PS sees it as sRGB. I like what you're saying, just not sure how to practically do it.
PS “sees” it as sRGB due to how you have your Color Settings setup (RGB working space set to sRGB). Untagged documents are assumed to be in whatever working space you set there. But unless you can get hold of the scanner profile, its moot (told you Nikon can be clueless about color management).
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  #13  
Old 07-27-2010, 07:11 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Color Space Choices for Nikon 5000 Scans

16 bit isn't always necessarily worthwhile. Adobe RGB will provide the fewest headaches. Wider gamuts can introduce a lot of issues and I don't think you'll see any kind of gain in your final printed results. Computer monitors also won't accurately display things like prophoto rgb.

edit: I hadn't noticed the availability of the scanner's profile as an output option. It's probably the safest as that means it isn't being converted.
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  #14  
Old 07-28-2010, 11:04 PM
stlsailor stlsailor is offline
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Re: Color Space Choices for Nikon 5000 Scans

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PS “sees” it as sRGB due to how you have your Color Settings setup (RGB working space set to sRGB). Untagged documents are assumed to be in whatever working space you set there. But unless you can get hold of the scanner profile, its moot (told you Nikon can be clueless about color management).
The scannerRGB image shows as sRGB in Bridge before I open it in PS. Some forum posts say that's due to a problem with untagged images in Windows. I don't know if that's true or not. I do know when I open it in PS with ProPhotoRGB set as the working space I get a message that the embedded color profile sRGB IEC61966-2.1 does not match the ProPhotoRGB working space.

(My working space in PS had reverted to sRGB earlier I found, probably due to a system crash, but I reset it and confirmed the above behavior.) So I don't know how PS does the conversion on what should be an untagged file that is passed to it as sRGB (according to the documentation Nikon Scan 4 doesn't embed a profile when scanned in scanner RGB).

Perhaps I should stay away from it as an unknown quantity, but there are two considerations. One is that adding a curves layer with auto applied came closer to the actual slide color than the alternatives I tried. Hmmm...

The other consideration is that several people have said not to apply any scanner adjustments to get what the scanner sees. However what the scanner sees is far darker than what is on the slide until some adjustments are done. It makes me wonder if that advice is sound or not.

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edit: I hadn't noticed the availability of the scanner's profile as an output option. It's probably the safest as that means it isn't being converted.
When Windows shows it incorrectly as sRGB then I'm not sure if I'm actually getting the scanner profile, or how PS converts it if I am. In theory, though, this would make sense.

It appears that I could get VueScan and an IT8 target and create a scanner profile. However Nikon Scan 4 already selects a device/film input profile automatically. It just gives you the option to turn CMS on and select a color space to convert to, or leave CMS off -- in which case you get the untagged image seen as sRGB as described above. That at least is how I understand the documentation.

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16 bit isn't always necessarily worthwhile. Adobe RGB will provide the fewest headaches. Wider gamuts can introduce a lot of issues and I don't think you'll see any kind of gain in your final printed results. Computer monitors also won't accurately display things like prophoto rgb.
I do have to wonder at what point I go beyond the point of diminishing returns. What kind of issues do wide gamuts introduce (other than possible banding on 8-bit scans)?

Why do you say 16-bit isn't always necessarily worthwhile? I'd love to scan at 8-bits and get the attendant smaller file sizes. Two concerns have made me hesitate. One is the fact that some of the old slides and negatives have color casts or fading for which correction could cause banding based on what I read. The other is that the color in my 8-bit images has been less accurate...BUT...since I found the PS working space had lost its setting unbeknownst to me, I need to retest to confirm whether this is actually true or not. PLUS I've only scanned a few samples so this is more theory than wide experience. In your experience has 8-bit been sufficient most of the time?
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  #15  
Old 07-28-2010, 11:29 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Color Space Choices for Nikon 5000 Scans

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Originally Posted by stlsailor View Post
The scannerRGB image shows as sRGB in Bridge before I open it in PS. Some forum posts say that's due to a problem with untagged images in Windows. I don't know if that's true or not. I do know when I open it in PS with ProPhotoRGB set as the working space I get a message that the embedded color profile sRGB IEC61966-2.1 does not match the ProPhotoRGB working space.

(My working space in PS had reverted to sRGB earlier I found, probably due to a system crash, but I reset it and confirmed the above behavior.) So I don't know how PS does the conversion on what should be an untagged file that is passed to it as sRGB (according to the documentation Nikon Scan 4 doesn't embed a profile when scanned in scanner RGB).

Perhaps I should stay away from it as an unknown quantity, but there are two considerations. One is that adding a curves layer with auto applied came closer to the actual slide color than the alternatives I tried. Hmmm...

The other consideration is that several people have said not to apply any scanner adjustments to get what the scanner sees. However what the scanner sees is far darker than what is on the slide until some adjustments are done. It makes me wonder if that advice is sound or not.

When Windows shows it incorrectly as sRGB then I'm not sure if I'm actually getting the scanner profile, or how PS converts it if I am. In theory, though, this would make sense.

It appears that I could get VueScan and an IT8 target and create a scanner profile. However Nikon Scan 4 already selects a device/film input profile automatically. It just gives you the option to turn CMS on and select a color space to convert to, or leave CMS off -- in which case you get the untagged image seen as sRGB as described above. That at least is how I understand the documentation.

I do have to wonder at what point I go beyond the point of diminishing returns. What kind of issues do wide gamuts introduce (other than possible banding on 8-bit scans)?

Why do you say 16-bit isn't always necessarily worthwhile? I'd love to scan at 8-bits and get the attendant smaller file sizes. Two concerns have made me hesitate. One is the fact that some of the old slides and negatives have color casts or fading for which correction could cause banding based on what I read. The other is that the color in my 8-bit images has been less accurate...BUT...since I found the PS working space had lost its setting unbeknownst to me, I need to retest to confirm whether this is actually true or not. PLUS I've only scanned a few samples so this is more theory than wide experience. In your experience has 8-bit been sufficient most of the time?
You could test it but a lot of consumer model scanners won't necessarily be much better by selecting 16 bit output. With old scans I often just select it on tough ones or up it in photoshop when I have to flatten adjustment layers. To see what I mean output a scan in 16 bit mode that requires the heaviest adjustment possible. Open it into photoshop. Create adjustment layers and duplicate the document twice. Flatten one while still in 16 bit mode. Drop one to 8 bits and flatten. Drop the third to 8 bits then put it back to 16 via a separate command, then flatten. Compare the 3. It'll show you just how much extra flexibility the scanner is giving you at a 16 bit output vs. 8 as the one which went 16=>8=>16 only benefits from photoshop's math and not extra data in the scan.
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  #16  
Old 07-29-2010, 08:25 AM
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Re: Color Space Choices for Nikon 5000 Scans

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Originally Posted by stlsailor View Post
The scannerRGB image shows as sRGB in Bridge before I open it in PS.
Then the scanner is tagging it, either with a true ICC profile or EXIF data. IF the color appearance looks good in sRGB, matches what you saw in the scanner software, well its feeding you sRGB which isn’t good at all!


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Some forum posts say that's due to a problem with untagged images in Windows. I don't know if that's true or not.
But the above makes it sound like its not untagged.

Quote:
I do know when I open it in PS with ProPhotoRGB set as the working space I get a message that the embedded color profile sRGB IEC61966-2.1 does not match the ProPhotoRGB working space.
Again proof that the scan is at least embedded with sRGB so it probably is sRGB unless it doesn’t match what you saw when scanning it. Then the question becomes why is the scanning software tagging it as such.

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The other consideration is that several people have said not to apply any scanner adjustments to get what the scanner sees.
Makes zero sense to me, based on the dozens of scanners I’ve used over the decades (none however Nikon). Like processing raw data, the scanner driver should provide the best possible color appearance possible. Now you can scan “flat” or zero everything out, send high bit data to Photoshop and do all the corrections there. The quality would be the same doing the work in either place but it should be far faster to scan the data as you desire than fix it later in Photoshop. Most go the “scan flat, fix in Photoshop“ route when they have poor quality controls in their scanning software. The lesson is, use good software. Is nearly as important as the scanner hardware if cranking out scans is of importance. Otherwise yes, get the high bit data out of the crappy scanner software and do the equivalent work in Photoshop (slower).

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I do have to wonder at what point I go beyond the point of diminishing returns. What kind of issues do wide gamuts introduce (other than possible banding on 8-bit scans)?
Wider gamut is totally different from bit depth. The wider the gamut, the move need for higher bit depth anyway.

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Why do you say 16-bit isn't always necessarily worthwhile?
I totally disagree with that statement. Why do scanners, cameras, Photoshop and other software and some newer printers support high bit data? There’s a reason (see: http://www.digitalphotopro.com/gear/...-decision.html).
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  #17  
Old 07-29-2010, 11:21 AM
stlsailor stlsailor is offline
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Re: Color Space Choices for Nikon 5000 Scans

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You could test it but a lot of consumer model scanners won't necessarily be much better by selecting 16 bit output.
I'm using a Nikon 5000 film scanner, whatever category that fits into.

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Like processing raw data, the scanner driver should provide the best possible color appearance possible. Now you can scan “flat” or zero everything out, send high bit data to Photoshop and do all the corrections there. The quality would be the same doing the work in either place but it should be far faster to scan the data as you desire than fix it later in Photoshop. Most go the “scan flat, fix in Photoshop“ route when they have poor quality controls in their scanning software. The lesson is, use good software.
The common thread seems to be that the quality would be the same doing the work in either place. The argument I've heard for doing it in Photoshop is that you have an unaltered archive image. I have to admit that I've wondered how an unaltered underexposed or faded archive image that needs lots of adjustment is superior to a more properly exposed one. Speed is probably the most significant issue. I think I'll run a test doing some of the adjustments in the software. What do you consider good software?

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I totally disagree with that statement. Why do scanners, cameras, Photoshop and other software and some newer printers support high bit data? There’s a reason (see: http://www.digitalphotopro.com/gear/...-decision.html).
Most of what I've read recently has argued for 16-bit (and interrelatedly using color spaces of at least Adobe RGB or even better ProPhoto RGB), but I've seen nothing as well-written or comprehensive as your article here. Thanks for pointing it out.

Going 16-bit seems to leave the following options:

OPTION ONE

First, as you said previously, "the best archival approach would be to scan and tag in the native color space of the scanner. Its not too large or too small, it IS what the scanner is producing." Makes sense and case closed except for the fact that the scanner RGB file is coming across as sRGB. So we ask what does this mean?

As you said earlier, "the scanner is tagging it, either with a true ICC profile or EXIF data. IF the color appearance looks good in sRGB, matches what you saw in the scanner software, well its feeding you sRGB which isn’t good at all!"

Actually it doesn't look that good in sRGB or match the original slide very well. Also, according to the manual, scanner RGB doesn't embed a profile. Therefore, it sounds like it may be simply being tagged erroneously in EXIF data. Does that make sense? If so, that raises two questions:
  • First, how to confirm if that's the case
  • Second, assuming it is, what the optimal working space for it would be if there is one?
A device profile is used automatically by Nikon Scan 4, but if correct color space information is not passed, I don't know how that information can be used.

OPTION TWO

Second, scan in Wide Gamut RGB and convert to ProPhoto RGB. You said earlier "Its pointless to go “Wide Gamut” (not sure what that is) to ProPhoto RGB."

OPTION THREE

Third, scan in Nikon Adobe RGB (1998) and convert in PS to Adobe RGB (1998) which the histograms show to be almost identical.

OPTION FOUR

Fourth, it appears that VueScan is a reasonably priced program that will generate a device profile and use that to scan into either Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB. It has its own version of dust reduction rather than the digital ICE licensed by Nikon for their software, which may or may not make a difference.

Thoughts on these options?
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  #18  
Old 07-29-2010, 11:31 AM
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Re: Color Space Choices for Nikon 5000 Scans

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Originally Posted by stlsailor View Post
The argument I've heard for doing it in Photoshop is that you have an unaltered archive image.
An ugly image that needs further fixing in Photoshop. But that assumes that some setting in the scanner is producing some kind of raw (not raw like DSLR linear capture) data. But who’s to know? Move the sliders and maybe you improve the preview and hence scanned data. Why not do that?

Its like the argument to always retouch on a layer. Makes sense because you have a back door. But clone dust spots on a layer? What’s the point of not burning the fix into the bkgnd? You can do either way, but I don’t see the point in having the full “before” ugliness unless you need to show someone at some point “look what I did for this fee, here’s the true before and after.”


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Speed is probably the most significant issue. I think I'll run a test doing some of the adjustments in the software. What do you consider good software?
Good in general or good that will drive your scanner. My drum scanner had a fantastic produce called ColorQuartet. No way you’re using it on your Nikon. So probably SilverFast. Not pretty. Not really intuitive but lots of controls. I would do a test. Getting things fixed at the scan stage should be faster. You’re working with a low rez preview, not the full scanned data in Photoshop. But if Photoshop provides better controls, equaling a better appearing image, do it there.


Quote:
Actually it doesn't look that good in sRGB or match the original slide very well. Also, according to the manual, scanner RGB doesn't embed a profile. Therefore, it sounds like it may be simply being tagged erroneously in EXIF data. Does that make sense?
Yes and that behavior is goofy.

Quote:
  • First, how to confirm if that's the case
  • Second, assuming it is, what the optimal working space for it would be if there is one?
A device profile is used automatically by Nikon Scan 4, but if correct color space information is not passed, I don't know how that information can be used.
The preview you see in the scanning software UI should match what you see in Photoshop after the scan if color management is being properly used. The optimal space would be “myscannerRGB” as discussed. That you would archive if you wish. Then you convert into a well behaved RGB working space. I suspect that would either be Adobe RGB or ProPhotoRGB. One would have to plot the gamut of the “myscannerRGB” input profile beside Adobe RGB and see if its significantly larger, in which case you’d move up to ProPhoto RGB.

Quote:
Fourth, it appears that VueScan is a reasonably priced program that will generate a device profile and use that to scan into either Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB. It has its own version of dust reduction rather than the digital ICE licensed by Nikon for their software, which may or may not make a difference.
Never used VueScan (I’m a Mac guy) so I have no comments.
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Old 07-30-2010, 05:31 PM
stlsailor stlsailor is offline
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Re: Color Space Choices for Nikon 5000 Scans

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An ugly image that needs further fixing in Photoshop...Move the sliders and maybe you improve the preview and hence scanned data.
Having looked at a number of unadjusted images now, I'm thinking you're right. Let the scanner do what work it can.

Given several thousand images to scan, I looked to see what automated setting would consistently give me an acceptable scan, leaving me free to edit further where I wanted. Here's what I found.

Digital Dynamic Exposure Extender (DEE) at a default setting to correct for underexposure in shadows and overexposure in highlights with its default setting, produced clearly better results about a third of the time. Sometimes it produced bad results.

Scan Image Enhance (SIE) to automatically adjust for contrast produced bad results about a third of the time, but sometimes produced the best results.

The combination of the two produced the best results or very close to it about a third of the time.

In each case I could make manual adjustments that looked better, but those manual adjustments would have been easier and faster in Photoshop.

That leaves me with no clear automated solution. I'm thinking to do an initial scan with DEE since it works best or close to it most often, then rescan with another option where the results don't look good. I don't want the work of multiple scans, but the only other option seems to be to do a RAW scan and edit in PS as time allows. It seems to be a trade-off between a non-optimal image and time. Life's like that.

So far as color spaces, scanning in scannerRGB (which seems to be incorrectly labeled in the EXIF as sRGB) and then converting to ProPhoto in PS gives fairly consistently good results. Given the cost of SilverFast I downloaded VueScan to take a look, but the trial version didn't have color management so I couldn't tell what it would do for me.
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  #20  
Old 07-30-2010, 06:08 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Color Space Choices for Nikon 5000 Scans

I've tried prophoto for photos with a lot of saturation that I was trying to preserve, but it doesn't match up with a typical viewing setup. It's a D50 gamma 1.8 profile which isn't exactly comparable to modern display hardware. Were you looking at it because it was similar to the scanner's profile? Also does adobe 1998 show a lot of clipping when going from the scanner profile?
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