Scanning Negatives and Slides

9781933952017.jpgScanning Negatives and Slides ($44.95) turned out to be a bit of a dark horse. Not only was it a useful guide on importing good quality images to your computer, but it had some great general advice on the Nikon Capture Editor, Photoshop, as well on workflow. I was both surprised and pleased by the whole of this book, and the enclosed DVD was equally as useful.

Digitizing Your Photographic Archives

“Many photographers have either moved into digital photography exclusively or use both analog and digital media in their work. In either case, there is sure to be an archive of slides and negatives that cannot be directly integrated into the new digital workflow, nor can it be archived in a digital format. Increasingly, photographers are trying to bridge this gap with the use of high-performance film scanners. The subject of this book is how to achieve the best possible digital image from a negative or a slide, and how to build a workflow to make this process efficient, repeatable, and reliable. The author uses Nikon’s film scanners, but all steps can easily be accomplished while using a different scanner. The most common software tools for scanning (SilverFast, VueScan, NikonScan) are not only covered extensively in the book, but are also provided on a DVD, which also contains other useful tools for image editing, as well as numerous sample scans.”

My Thoughts

I don’t have many negatives – a bit before my time, BUT I have incredibly fond memories of them as when I was growing up our neighbour was a professional camera man and had converted his garage into a studio where he had all kinds of exciting “stuff” and I remember as a family we would often take the slides round after our holidays and watch them in his studio.

I do have a lot of film pictures, and I do have a very poor quality scanner so I was somewhat limited in this review. Whilst that impacted negatively on the quality of the work I produced it did nothing to diminish the quality of the hints, tips and clarity of instruction in the book.

Comprising 15 Chapters:

1. Introduction
– Analog and Digital Workflow
– Alternatives to the Film Scanner

I loved this chapter – but I am a real nerd when it comes to Camera Workflow.

2. Performance Characteristics of Film Scanners
– Key Specifications of a Film Scanner
– Scanhancer
– Interaces
– Life after Purchase
– Wish List for Future Film Scanners

A bit lost on me – but well put together and some great information.

3. Scanning Film
– Handling Film
– Film Types

A lot of commons sense – I found this a little longwinded in places.

4. File Formats
– Digital Negative
– Color Depth in Image File Formats
– Important Image File Formats in the World of Scanning
– RAW: Proprietary Image File Formats
– The Right Image Size and Resolution

An excellent chapter.

5. Color Management in Theory and Practice
– Why Color Management?
– Basics
– Color Model
– Color Spaces
– ICC Profiles
– Monitor Calibration in Practice
– Generating ICC Scanner Profiles

Strong coffee required for this chapter. No doubt it is relevant but it was pretty tough going.

6. Scanning Methods
– Thumbnail Index – Filmstrip Offset and Presorting
– Preview – Corrections before the Scan
– Scan – Create the Image File
– Multi – Sampling


7. Scanning Correction Filters in Detail
– Dust and Scratch Removal Software
– Dust and Scratch Removal Hardware
– Restoring Faded Colors
– Grain Equalization
– Highlight and Shadow Recovery

A real useful chapter – one of the best.

8. Configuring the Scanning Software
– Image Orientation
– Image Properties
– Color Balance
– Unsharp Masking
– Curves
– LCH Editor
– Analog Gain

Not for the faint hearted.

9. Nikon Scan
– Installation
– Look and Feel
– Saving Configurations
– Preferences
– Color Management
– Documentation
– Conclusion

Very detailed and thorough.

10. VueScan
– Purchase and Installation
– Look and Feel
– RAW Data
– Documentation
– Conclusion

Very detailed and thorough.

11. SilverFast
– SilverFast SE, Ai Studio, and HDR
– Look and Feel
– Set Basic Configuration with Options
– Image Processing
– RAW Processing with SilverFast HDR
– Documentation
– Conclusion

Very detailed and thorough.

12. Scan Workflows
– Vital Corrections before Scanning
– Nikon Scan Workflow
– SilverFast Workflow
– VueScan Workflow

An excellent chapter pulling all three together with some excellent workflow advice.

13. Nikon Capture Editor
– RAW Processing in Capture
– The User Interface
– D-Lighting: Successor to Digital DEE
– Capture NX

Very interesting and detailed.

14. Correcting with Photoshop and Photoshop Plug-ins
– Dust and Scratch Removal
– Image Corrections
– Photoshop Plug-ins from Applied Science Ficton
– Removing Color-Casts
– Match Color
– Noise Reduction with Noise Ninja
– Noise Reduction with Neat Image

An exceptionally good chapter – well worth a read, especially on Noise Reduction.

15. Backup
– Saved Does Not Automatically Mean Safe
– Archiving on Removable Media
– Image Management

A solid chapter with some good advice – relevant to more than just your pictures.

I think this is a really good book. Some solid advice on hardware, some interesting theory and advice on scanning, and some superb information on processing and workflow.


1st edition
February 2007
Target Group – Photographers
256 pages
ISBN-10 1-933952-01-6
ISBN-13 978-1-933952-01-7
Price: $44.95 USD

If I was rating this (which I am by saying this) I would give it a 4 out of 5.

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