the beauty of scanning black and white in color

Discussion in 'Scanning and Scanners' started by jnanian, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    all i can say is im not an expert .. i does what i do and i never scan black and white
    prints or film in "black and white" mode in the scanner. im not a purist you might say.
    and the results i get are beautiful. i don't know enough about scanner technology or
    film to understand why but the file ends up with hues and tones that i couldn't even
    imagine putting there myself.
    anyone else scan in color and then do what you need to do ?
     
  2. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    I scan black and white negatives in color and convert to black and white in LR. I scan prints, which may be selenium toned warm tone paper, polysulfide toned lith prints, or platinum palladium, in color. How else would you retain the color of the print?
     
  3. Ces1um

    Ces1um Member

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    nope. I scan black and white in black and white (well, greyscale...).
     
  4. Kino

    Kino Subscriber

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    Sure. It gives you much more flexibility to scan in color, as you can always convert to B&W at any time.
     
  5. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    The scanner probably recognises the print as greyscale and defaults to that mode, hence the results you get are acceptable to you.
    If there are "hues and tones" you know were not there in the first place, scanner artefacts or mismatch of the image are to blame. Do it again — in greyscale mode.
     
  6. Alan Edward Klein

    Alan Edward Klein Member

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    John Everyone does things differently. I've compared scanning BW in color and scanning BW in BW and haven't noticed any real difference. Of course scanning color film in color and then converting to BW gives you more ability to influence the tones. In any case, if you get the results you want, that's all that's necessary.
     
  7. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    I’ve noticed the same. Not only do you get smoother transitions, but you also get a nicer tonality. In fact, a lot of people scan black and white in color and then use once channel to convert it to black and white. Often it’s the green channel. The only downside is file size.
     
  8. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member

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    Scanning BW in color gives you extra adjustment for temperature. Then converted to BW it gives you another contrat tool.
     
  9. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    By scanning in RGB you generate a scan of each light color where in grayscale you only get the white light equivalent of the three color channels.
    To see the difference scan in RGB then look at each color channel separately. Some find one channel tonality better than the others.
    The differences are usually subtle and may vary by subject/film/development.
     
  10. awty

    awty Subscriber

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    Now your secret is out, I will be able to do amazing jnanian type pictures......whahaha
     
  11. OP
    OP
    jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    makes me wonder why there is even a "black and white" mode on scanners
    seems pointless to me since tonal range of the negative ( or positive ) is denied ...
    to be honest i don't think i have scanned anything in black and white mode in more than 20 years ...
    i think it is magical what happens when something like a dry plate
    or regular old negative is scanned in color and the colors of the spectrum are all there
    its a little bit like watching the wizard of oz :smile: or combining RGB negatives in color channels to get a trichrome ..
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Because it more quickly creates files that are much smaller.
     
  13. Frank53

    Frank53 Subscriber

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    Can anyone show us the difference between scanning black and white in color and in black and white?
    I have always used grayscale because it is there and have never been disappointed using Epson V700, Minolta 5400 and Imacon Flextight, all with their own software.
    So, if scanning in color is better, please show us.
    Frank
     
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  15. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Why not try for yourself? It is all about finding the workflow that is right for you.
     
  16. Frank53

    Frank53 Subscriber

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    That answer is a bit too easy for my taste. As I said I have always been happy with the results I got scanning grayscales, but if there is a better way, please show me. It’s a bit awkward claiming there is a better way and not being able to show it, isn’t it?
    Regards,
    Frank
     
  17. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    If you read my post carefully, I never claimed that my work flow was better. If you are happy with the results from your work flow, stick with it.
     
  18. Frank53

    Frank53 Subscriber

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    You are right.
    But if you read my original post carefully, you can see, that I was not responding to your post in particular, but to this post in general. Why make the extra effort to scan in color. What is the advantage? Please show us.
    Regards,
    Frank
     
  19. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Then next time don't quote me in your post and mock my suggestion that you try for yourself. It will take you ten minutes, and you can draw your own conclusion. It will, however, deprive you of an opportunity of arguing with other photographers online, which seems what you are more interested in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  20. Frank53

    Frank53 Subscriber

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    I’m sorry, but I only quoted you after you quoted my original post
    Regards,
    Frank
     
  21. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    Extra effort? It doesn't take any more time or effort to do. Unless you think that clicking a different option from a drop down screen is effort.

    You should just try it yourself. Besides, I don't know why you think it wouldn't be different. It's not like there a B&W sensor in the scanner. They're all either red, green, or blue sensors. So when you think you're scanning in black and white, you're actually scanning in color, and then letting the software automatically change it to black and white before saving it. But why trust the automated process? Especially one like this that was made to conserve space, not to produce optimum results. If they were interested in producing the best results possible, they would have different settings for different types of film and such. But they assume that if you want that much precision, you'll just leave it as a color file, and do the conversion on your own if you need it in B&W. Which, by the way, is really easy to do.
     
  22. Frank53

    Frank53 Subscriber

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    Ok, no extra effort if you like (except maybe the conversion to b/w), but what is the advantage?
    Is there any extra information in the color file, that is not in the grayscale file?
    And if there is, can anybody show us the difference?
    Regards,
    Frank
     
  23. glbeas

    glbeas Subscriber

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    Some of that depends on the bit level the black and white mode defaults to. I like using 48 bit so I have greater latitude in making adjustments. It gets saved as a 48 bit psd then converted to jpg if needed online. Tones are smoother at that bit level whether black and white or color. If Im scanning old or faded prints or film with some color cast from the processing method I prefer using a color scan to optimize my ability to adjust out any degradation.
     
  24. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    I think the issue is that B&W images (film or paper) don’t usually have a truly neutral tone scale because of things like silver particle size differences and stain and when converted to truly neutral B&W look ‘dead’. You can verify this by doing what was suggested earlier - scan the image in color and then look at each color channel separately in Photoshop.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If you scan it using "grey scale" you are actually scanning in colour, with the output then being converted automatically to grey scale using the algorithms built into the scanner's firmware and software.
    Your originals may actually benefit from retaining the colour information until you have a chance to do the conversion - your method might give better results than the built in algorithms. That may apply in general, or with particular types of originals. You might even find that one method works well with one type of film, while another works well with another type. You might find, as an example, that colour scanning works better with a fine grain film like TMX while Tri-X does equally well with colour or greyscale scanning (or vice-versa).
     
  26. Pentode

    Pentode Subscriber

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    I like to develop expired color film (C-41) in black & white chemistry. I’ve found that Rodinal, in particular, leaves strong vestiges of the color dies in the negative even though it’s a black & white developer. Those negatives often have strong purple or sepia hues and I always scan them in color. I’ve never tried scanning normal black & white negatives in color, but I might now just to see what I get.
     
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