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Scan to raw?

John Potter , Jul 01, 2007; 04:33 p.m.

I have an Epson 700 Perfection scanner and I want to scan my old slides and negatives to raw. I can't figure out how to so it in the software that came with the scanner (Epson & Silverfast). Is there a way to scan directly to raw in these programs or do I need to scan from Photoshop or Corel? Also is there a .raw file format or does "raw" cover many formats? If yes which one should I use?


Lobalobo Isben , Jul 01, 2007; 04:58 p.m.

Although I'm not an expert (or close), because no one else seems to have answered, I'll give it a shot (and am hopeful that I'll be corrected if I'm wrong). "RAW" is a general term for a variety of formats (different for every camera brand) that capture all information a camera sensor receives without in-camera processing (for white balance, sharpening, etc.) A scanner works differently from a camera sensor, and I don't believe that RAW is an option. To get high-quality images from a scanner, scan to TIFF at high ppi, but be careful because files can become huge (and thus difficult to manage) and you might consider adjusting scan ppi to match the size of the print you intend to make, adjusting the scan ppi to about 300 dpi for the print.

Ellis Vener , Jul 01, 2007; 05:15 p.m.

With SilverFast you can chose to output the scans into SilverFast's "raw" format. Butthe only program that will read this proprietary raw data is SilverFast. This is the same situation. with NikonScan and Vuescan. I don;t see a great advantage to it but perhaps there are other s who can enlighten both of us.

Don E , Jul 01, 2007; 06:02 p.m.


Jeff Spirer , Jul 01, 2007; 06:06 p.m.

Some scanner software can output the "raw" data into a TIFF format, i.e., there is no processing in the scanner software. The result is then fairly easily manipulated in Photoshop, with the advantage that the bits only go through one set of processing software. There is an added benefit if you use the PS log software, since it means if you have to re-scan, you can process identically, if desired.

Mendel Leisk , Jul 01, 2007; 08:35 p.m.

"But the only program that will read this proprietary raw data is SilverFast. This is the same situation. with NikonScan and Vuescan"

Not so with Vuescan: it's raw output is a gamma 1.0 tiff, if output in 16 bit (per channel), or gamma 2.0 tiff if output at 8 bit. In both cases these files are unadjusted, "raw" output, but readable by any other editor such as Photoshop, nothing proprietary.

Vuescan can also output a DNG, either directly or from the orig. (tiff) Vuescan Raw file. I've no experience with that, but I believe it presently can be interpretted by some raw processing programs. That is the main intent, I think.

There are other software that can output a similar gamma 1.0 tiff. Minolta Scan Utility for the Minolta scanners, though that's neither here nor there.

Read up at Don E's link.

Wilfred van der Vegte , Jul 02, 2007; 07:37 a.m.

Recently I experimented a bit with VueScan's DNG option. It is quite similar to RAW from a digital camera: if you open it with Photoshop's camera raw plugin, it is displayed "as processed" with the color conversion options that you selected in VueScan, but the raw scan data are still there and you can play with the settings and tweak the processing to your needs.

Doug Fisher , Jul 02, 2007; 09:23 a.m.

In your Silverfast SE, use the 48bit HDR output mode (poorly named in my opinion). It is about as close as you are going to get to raw scanner output when using the scanning software choices provided with the scanner. The files will be rather flat looking, but all the data will be there and you can decide what you want to tweak in Photoshop.


Edward Ingold , Jul 02, 2007; 11:13 a.m.

RAW image scans are similar to but not compatible with RAW images from digital cameras. The advantage of RAW scans is that all of the information recorded in the scan is available in the subsequent image file. You can then use tools in the scanning software to operate on the RAW scan at a later time.

This is useful for batch scanning where it is inconvenient to make individual adjustments on each image. It is also possible to try many different processing schemes to see which works the best. Data lost to in-scan processing is otherwise lost forever.

The main use would be for negative color film, which cannot be effectively profiled. It is relatively easy to profile a scanner for reversal film (slides) or reflective targets so that what you see is what you get. I use Silverfast AI with IT8 targets and analysis.

Wilfred van der Vegte , Jul 04, 2007; 04:12 a.m.

Edward, what do you mean by "not compatible with RAW images from digital cameras"? Do you mean "not compatible with software for processing RAW images from digital cameras"? In case of a VueScan DNG file that is not true: the DNG from a scanner can be processed the same way as a DNG from a digital camera.

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