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Scanner does not pick up negative's detail

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Old 09-09-2010, 09:57 PM
rongaddis@neb.r rongaddis@neb.r is offline
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Scanner does not pick up negative's detail

I have a neg from about 1920 that is very light but I can clearly see 4 individuals in it and almost identify them, but when scanned with ordinary flat bed (Canon MP500) about the only thing I can detect are the legs of two of the people, this using the "negative" feature of a program named IrfanView. Everything else is washed out (light).

The scanner has no special features to scan negatives. I have tried scanning it as a color photo, a gray scale and a black and white, each with varying settings on contrast and brightness. In IrfanView the only setting which helped some was Gamma, the regulation of which let me see at least the location of three of the four individuals. The missing person is a young girl with hair in long curls.

Does scanning negatives require a low intensity bulb or a scanner with some special settings? Another scanner (an old Epson) I have uses a special rig that replaces the normal white top cover with templates that position the slide or negative. It has not been used for some time, but perhaps I better resurrect it in order to compare the results.

Possibly there is some fungus or mold on the neg that I don't see, but that the scanner does. Advice needed as am a beginner.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:00 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Scanner does not pick up negative's detail

Welcome to RetouchPro. Scanning a negative or slide is very different form scanning a print. The process is transmissive rather than reflective. A dedicated slide / negative scanner is the best capture method. Failing that a flatbed scanner with a special transparency adapter for slides or negatives can be used. Some do an OK job, others poor but in either case you will get something better than trying to scan it as you have as a print. If your older scanner can not accommodate the size negative you have, you could try having it scanned commercially in your area.
Reagrds, Murray
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:11 AM
rongaddis@neb.r rongaddis@neb.r is offline
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Re: Scanner does not pick up negative's detail

Thank you very much. Now I am a couple of steps beyond a beginner. I surely will dig out the old scanner and see how well it does!
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:25 AM
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Tony W Tony W is offline
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Re: Scanner does not pick up negative's detail

If the old scanner does not work maybe you could try the negative/slide rig on your Canon - assume that it is some sort of lightbox arrangement to backlight slides or negs.

On the other hand if you are feeling adventurous you might want to try and build something similar to this:

Basically a mirror tent - I tried something similar myself many years ago with limited success, but you may be lucky
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