Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

A change in sharpness

I scan all my medium format black & white and reversal images using an Epson V550 flatbed, while 35mm is scanned on a Plustek Opticfilm8100. Ive always left unsharp mask on when scanning 120 film as I thought the results were good. Untill a week or so ago when I was testing out Vuescan.

Vuescan allows image sharpening, but it has a simple on/off checkbox rather than the levels of control afforded by Epsonscan and (moreso) Silverfast so I decided to test a few things to see how the various scanning options on each piece of software compared – plus no sharpening of the scan at all with sharpening applied later in Lightroom.

At first it looked like the sharpened images from Epsonscan had better resolution of detail, but after a lot of scanning, re-scanning, and playing around with the sharpening control in Lightroom I decided otherwise. The sharpened images from Epsonscan were displaying a level of noise and “grit” that I decided I didn’t really like, whereas unsharpened scans from the same software processed in Lightroom were much more appealing, showing a much nicer rendition of detail and grain.

It’s striking how, after years of thinking you had something just how you wanted it, you can all of a sudden change your mind.

I think I’ll stick to Epsonscan for my 120 B&W scans. Vuescan is great, and does a much better job on reversal film, but it lacks the tweakable visial histogram that Epsonscan has, and that makes a big difference to my final results. At least until I find a better way… 🙂

Today’s shot was scanned on the V550 and sharpened in Lightroom. If you look at the full size image on Flickr you might find a black cat that was keeping an eye on me. At least I think it’s a cat. It could possibly be two spots of strategically located dust that look like eyes. Or something more sinister… Eek!

The house by the canal

Yashica Mat 124G & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 12 July 2020

One thought on “A change in sharpness

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