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Scanning Negatives and Slides

the joy of scanning

in Book Reviews , Thursday, July 02, 2009

I know it’s insane, but I actually enjoy scanning film. I enjoy the discovery process in a freshly developed roll of Velvia 100F, I enjoy extracting the best out of it by careful scanning and retouching. And I enjoy printing it.  The creative process is so completely different from a RAW workflow that I cannot mix the two. Some days are “scanner days”, some are “Aperture days” - and these days can stretch to weeks.

I’ve just read “Scanning Negatives and Slides, 2nd Edition”, by Sascha Steinhoff. I’ve been aware of this book for a while, but I didn’t expect much from it. Well, I was wrong. Although it is about 10 years too late, it is actually rather good. Steinhoff covers the background and general techniques, reviews the main software options (Silverfast, VueScan, NikonScan) without pulling any punches, and covers fairly esoteric topics such as Scanhancers in quite some depth.


The author has been criticised for a strong bias towards Nikon scanners, but I don’t see this. He discusses Nikon a lot, but what else should he do ? Apart from the stratospherically priced Hasselblad Flextights, nobody else makes serious film scanners any more. And Nikon probably will not for much longer either.

I’ve been scanning film for well over 10 years, and I thought I’d find little if anything new here. Well, I was wrong. Although this book would be an invaluable resource for anyone starting out in film scanning, it has plenty to offer for the like of me too.  And it avoids padding. Highly recommended.