Washed out signs

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Bob M, Oct 28, 2006.

  1. Bob M

    Bob M Guest

    I am using a Kodak Z650 Zoom camera to try to make copies of old 35mm slides.
    The results so far have been poor. I project the slides using a projector to a
    screen about 4 feet from the projector and camera. On the subject photo, I can
    see 2 signs on the bridge when looking at the screen. One says "Claremont, NH"
    the other is something about a 20,000 pound load limit. I reduced the ISO to
    80, the minimum. Set "High Sharpness". Tried Aperture priority set to maxmim
    number (smallest opening). Tried shutter priority at 1/2 and 1 second. I use a
    2 second delay so I don't shake the tripod}. The camera is set to 6 MP, and if
    I shoot a test shot of text printed on a piece of paper where the text is the
    same size as the signs, it comes out readable.
    Any suggestions?

    Bob M, Oct 28, 2006
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  2. Bob M

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    Hi Bob...

    Way back when I tried what you're doing, and given that I'm
    old and long retired with lots of time on my hands, I did every
    experiment I could think of to get satisfactory results, but
    failed. I suspect from your sample that you've done already
    than I ever did, but of course cameras have much improved since
    I did it, so...

    Anyway, if you're looking for the best results, you want a
    dedicated film/slide scanner, preferably with digital ice
    to remove dust from your pics. (you will see it :)

    Next best will be a flatbed scanner with a backlight for
    scanning film/slides. I have an Epson which works great.

    Be aware that if you have many slides/negs, it's a long and
    tedious project. I've been at a lifetime collection for a
    couple of years now, and am about half finished :)

    Finally, if you insist on using your camera, don't project,
    but rather get yourself a light box, and photograph the
    slide/film directly. This will provide far better results
    than projecting.

    Just my two cents worth.

    Take care.

    Ken Weitzel, Oct 28, 2006
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  3. Bob M

    Bob M Guest

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I am also retired, and this is the project
    that has finally risen to the top of the priority list.
    I got out the old screen and projector a couple of weeks ago to look at some
    old Florida vacation slides from 1964. It was such a hassle, it reminded me
    why we have not done that in such a long time. The screen has creases in it,
    and seems ready to fall over. I have 2 Anscomatic 40 slide tray projectors and
    neither works very well. Jamming up, needing a nudge now and then.
    We watch the digital camera's pictures on the TV via a laptop, and I want to
    do the same with the old slides.
    The TV has really poor resolution by design, and the computer puts out a
    compatable signal. Pictures on the TV look a lot fuzzier than on the computer.
    I need to look into some way of using the TV's HDTV to show the pictures with
    better resolution.

    I looked at 2 attachments, the Opteka HD2 for about $60.00 which has bad
    reviews, and a Specialty Photographic model for about $100.00 plus an adapter
    to fit the Kodak. I may get the latter, but I am concerned that the Z650 may
    not be able to focus well enough. I set up a light source, a diffuser and a
    slide holder on a bench. After several experimental shots, I could not get the
    Z650 to focus adequately. It has manual control over everything but focus. I
    wonder if it would work any better with one of these adapters?
    Bob M, Oct 28, 2006
  4. Bob M

    Jim Guest

    Best way... invest in a film scanner, either a dedicated film scanner
    or very recent model flatbed with slide/film scanning capability.
    Second best (read expensive) send your slides out to be scanned.
    Projecting a slide to photograph it introduces too many variables to
    ever get a decent reproduction. (Quality of the projector lenses, lack
    of flatness of field, too high a light contrast (as you have seen),
    texture of the projected surface etc. etc. ) Back before digital the
    slide was photographed with a camera with a slide copy attachment (A
    belllows or rigid tube) attached. A frame held the slide and light was
    shone through the slide. Either special slide copy film was used (which
    had much lower contrast than normal film) or copy negative file was
    used if the goal to was to make a large print. Digital scanning is the
    way to do this. Suitable scanners can be had for under 300 USD these

    Jim, Oct 28, 2006
  5. Bob M

    JohnR66 Guest

    If your camera has exposure compensation, experiment with different
    settings. -1 would be a good starting point.
    JohnR66, Oct 29, 2006
  6. Bob M

    jeremy Guest

    The only way to digitize slides properly is to use a film scanner. Trying
    to take a photo off of a projected image is going to result in near complete
    loss of luminance and color saturation information.

    You have already seen how unacceptable such images are. I know of no way to
    improve them sufficiently to look like scanned transparencies. Even
    low-resolution scans, similar to those on a Kodak Picture CD, are far
    superior to any of the do-it-yourself schemes that do not involve use of a
    real film scanner.
    jeremy, Oct 30, 2006
  7. Bob M

    Bob M Guest

    Thanks to the advice from this newsgroup, I bought an Epson 4490 Photo
    Scanner. It does a better job than the Projector/Camera method.

    The very first slide I scanned is shown as the 2nd link below. While it did
    show the signs which were missing from the camera attempt, it was a little too
    dark, losing some of the fall colors in the background. I ran it thru Kodak'a
    Enhancement software, and got the 3rd result.

    First the Projector/Camera shot:

    The Raw output of the Epson Scanner. Only "ICE" was checked off.

    After running it through Kodak's "Enhance"

    It isn't quite right yet. If you look at this part, cut from the scanned
    image, there is something wrong just to the left of the sign. At the edge
    between the bright white and the darkness of inside the bridge, there is some
    kind of distortion. How do I get rid of that?

    Bob M, Nov 4, 2006
  8. Bob M

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    Hi Bob...

    Glad you bought a scanner, glad you bought Epson. Now I'm a
    little jealous being that I still have a 3200 :)

    Hope you're using the twain driver and importing the output into
    some graphics program rather than using Epson's stand alone stuff.
    Hope you visited Epson's site to grab the latest updates if available.
    Know that the scanner is new to you, but there may have been updates
    since the machine was packaged. The original twain that came with
    mine is nowhere near as good as the latest available (free)

    Hope you're using the twain driver in pro mode.

    Looked at your bridge, and it's obvious that the whites are blown
    out... mine does it too. The defense is to do your pre-scan,
    crop if necessary, click on the auto button, then click the
    histogram and pull down the whites by about 5 points. Look at
    the new histogram with the "show output" button.

    Not sure what that weird effect is beside the sign... it's not
    possible that you did have unsharp mask on? Or is it possible
    that the effect came about from radical downsizing?

    It would be nice if you'd scan that tiny portion at 2400 or better,
    and put it on your site without downsizing.

    Finally, I played with your pic a bit with Paint Shop Pro;
    I'll try to email it to you directly, and hope that's OK.

    Take care.

    Ken Weitzel, Nov 5, 2006
  9. Bob M

    Bob M Guest

    OK, I guess my original upload was less than 4800. Here is one at 4800.


    FYI, if you "save" the picture shown on the Yahoo site, you get a lower
    resolution than the one I uploaded. If you click "Download", you get the full
    file at the original resolution.

    I have tracked down the source of the fringing. If I de-select ICE, it goes
    away. But all the lint and fuzz comes back. I guess I will be using ICE for
    all except those slides with overexposed sections.
    Bob M, Nov 6, 2006
  10. Bob M

    Ken Weitzel Guest


    My 3200 doesn't have ICE, so I've found a next best solution
    that you may wish to try out for those that you can't use
    ICE on... (freeware)


    A heads-up that may save you a little time... in my opinion
    the defaults are much much much too agressive, so I think you'll
    want to pull them way down.

    Take care.

    Ken Weitzel, Nov 6, 2006
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