Recovering slides dynamic range

Galerie Photographique Fovéa - Technique Photo French or English

Some of my Kodachrome slides are heavily contrasted, and scanning them is disappointing. To get better results, I have successfully adapted the Digital Blending technique described by Michael Reichman to my Nikon Coolscan IV ED scanner. Indeed, it is possible to adjust its analog gain (lighting LED's intensity). Before reading some more on the technique used, roll you mouse over the picture below to see the final effect (very noticeable on upper left foliage):

Technique revealed

The following image has been scanned "at best", adjusting the analog gain just before saturating the highlights. I noticed that I often need to push the analog gain with Kodachrome (multi-layer) slides; this is not the case with Ektachrome.

Original Gain Original Original Histogram

The darker areas have no detail, and adjusting curves will give relatively poor results as eye sensitivity is non linear. See this Adobe document for more details.

A second over-exposed scan will nevertheless recover some details in the darker areas:

Over Exposed Gain OverExposed Over Exposed Histogram

Because of over-exposure, it is necessary to adjust the levels "black slider" to recover contrast:

Levels Leveled Original Histogram

Applying one of the techniques described in Michael Reichman's tutorial, I use a photoshop fusion mask to control transparency of the original image, revealing darker areas of the over-exposed image. This fusion mask contains:

Layers Leveled Original Histogram

This site uses cookies to offer a better browsing experience (preferred language). Learn more