Scanning and printing B&W on Epson Perfection 1240u under Photoshop 5.0 LE : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi, there is an Epson photo-scanner that comes with Adobe Photoshop 5.0 LE (Epson Perfection 1240u Photo Version). Does anyone know if I can scan a B&W 4*5 negative with this Photoshop version and then print out a B&W positive? Thanks, David

-- david clark (, April 10, 2001


Response to Adobe Photoshop???

Photoshop does not control what you can scan or what you can print. The scanner and printer do those things. I don't know about that particular scanner. If it scans 4x5 film, then it can scan b&w film. On my scanner the best approach is to tell the scanner the film is color positive and remove the color in PS. If you tell it film negative, it assumes color negative and tries to remove a non-existant orange cast. I don't scan as gray scale.

As for Photoshop LE itself: there's a reason why it is given away with nearly anything photo-related that you buy these days. It's not worth much. You can use it to buy the full version at a slight discount but it may be cheaper to find the cheapest discounted version from a retailer. The cheapest way to buy the student version from a junior college bookstore. You may need to take a class but you may need to do that anyway to get a grip on PS.

As for b&w: that's a whole nother story. A typical inkjet printer printer out of the box does not do a very good job.

-- John Hennessy (, April 10, 2001.

Response to Adobe Photoshop???

David, the short answer is, "Yes." The Epson Twain program even has settings for B&W negatives, so you don't have to scan in color and end up with a positive file three times larger than you need for B&W. When you click on the "actual pixels" view of a 4x5 scanned at 1200 ppi, it looks pretty impressive, too.

Personally, I don't completely share the view of Photoshop LE as worthless. After a couple of years of using both it and the full version, I've found that I often just launch the "light" version to do quick scans and prints. It runs a whole bunch faster on my tired, old computer, and it has all the basic controls that we use most often, and a lot more control than I ever had in a wet darkroom.

I do agree, though, that you'll probably find an inkjet printer to be the weakest link, even though its results can look pretty good. Just don't look at the prints with anything but your naked eyes.

-- Lyle Aldridge (, April 10, 2001.

Response to Adobe Photoshop???

David, I agree with the last two answers that the Epson will scan your b&w negative just fine. I use it and the Epson Photo printer does a nice job in b&w in PS as long as you change it to grey scale. Then it prints the true tones of the negative. I do 4x5 b&w negatives on my Epson and spot any marks in PS. If you are not a power user and do alot of work in PS the lite version is just fine. Have fun

-- Doug Theall (, April 10, 2001.

Response to Adobe Photoshop???

I would recomend that you scan in color mode and then convert it to gray scale in Photoshop. You will get a better scan with more detail. You can also convert the scanned positive image to a negative image in photoshop as well.

-- Jim (, April 11, 2001.

Response to Adobe Photoshop???

Before you lay out the bucks for a scanner, make sure that the scanner has (or can be adapted for a) transparency adapter. This is an accessory, and is a fairly expensive one at that. The adapter is a light source that sits on top of the negative and the scanner bed. It's job is to shine light through the negative so it can be read by the scanner.

-- Joe Lipka (, April 11, 2001.

Response to Adobe Photoshop???

Just got my new Shutterbug yesterday, and they announced that Adobe was releasing Photoshop Elements (If I remember the name correctly) which is supposed to be priced and featured somewhere between LE and full-blown Photoshop. They said the street price should be $99.

Someday, I need to get a computer.

-- John H. Henderson (, April 11, 2001.

Response to Adobe Photoshop???

The Epson Perfection 1240u Photo Version does have a transparency adapter.

You might also look at the Epson 1640u Photo. It does have higher resolution and is only about $100 more than the 1240u.

I would recommend you scan in B&W. 4x5 scans are huge. I haven't seen anything that shows you get anything more by scanning in color other than even larger files.

Adobe has come out with Photoshop Elements. They are also having a special for Photoshop LE users. It is only about $50 for the upgrade. Check their web page for details.

What kind of printer do you have? There are some wonderful aftermarket inks for B&W.

-- Marc Bergman (, April 11, 2001.

Response to Adobe Photoshop???

Yes, you will need a transparency adapter. I recomend you scan the negative in color mode. YOU WILL RETAIN MORE DETAIL IN THE SCAN. You can then convert the image to gray scale in Photoshop. When you do that, the size of the file will also decrease (if file size is a condern). I also recomend not to use any of the interpulated resolutions on the scanner. If you do, you will not gain anything and have a poorer quality scan as well. I currently use a 3 year old Microtek Scanmaker III with a transparency adapter which does a fair job. I use it mostly to create digital proof sheets and play with the cropping and composition before I take the negative in the dark room. If your intent is to create a critical end product, well, a flat bed scanner just can't quite get you there yet. A drum scan would be in order. My advice is to try the above. You will see what I'm talking about. Most of all, have fun!

-- Jim (, April 11, 2001.

Response to Adobe Photoshop???

There was a scanning question further down that covered the quality of scans you could look at. Also, Umax has a flatbed that comes with a full version of photoshop and the specs look good on it. I know people who have agfa scanners that give a great image for the price, but I think you'd need to buy photoshop seperate with the agfa models.

-- Jason Janik (, April 11, 2001.

I'm sticking with my advice about scanning a b&w neg as a film positive and using Photoshop to remove the color. In fact that is why I have been using less b&w film lately even when I see a scene as b&w final image. What's more I don't just let PS convert to gray scale. I want to decide how much of each channel ends up in my print. PS just uses a formula that may or may not fit my hopes and dreams for a particular image.

-- John Hennessy (, April 11, 2001.

Here in Delray beach at the Palm Beach Photographic Workshops the majority of our workshops being taught by the top digital professionals are scanning negatives in RGB mode. It has been demonstrated that when doing this, and scanning flat (white and black points pushed way out) more information is captured into the scan.

There are a number of ways to convert to grayscale. One is to just convert to grayscale and throw away the color info. This does not produce the nicest looking image. The second it to convert to lab, then throw away the lightness and alpha 2 channels. A third way is to use channel mixer, check monochrome and then adjust the RBG sliders to produce the best looking image.

Personally I scan all my film be it B&W, chrome or negative color in 32 bit RGB mode. Choose the highest RGB mode you have.

As for the comment about "inkjet" printers not producing good results....that is hogwash pure and simple. We are producing continuous tone grayscale images on Epson 1160, 1200, 3000, and 7000, and 9500 printers. The prints rival wet fiber based prints and are made on high quality fine art watercolor papers.

Good luck in your quest.


-- Mike Kravit (, April 11, 2001.

As for Mike Kravits comment about hogwash: you may be responding to my comment to an evident neophyte 'A typical inkjet printer printer out of the box does not do a very good job' of neutral image reproduction. I am sticking to that too.

There are ways to do it, my favorite being the Lightjet and some of Jon Cone's contributions, but it is definitly not going happen on its own. The original question was not printer specific, but if David Clark was thinking of Epson there too and he is thinking there is an Ansel Adams button on the printer, it seems only fair to point out that there ain't!

Be helpful and tell Mr Clark how to print neutral images.

-- John Hennessy (, April 12, 2001.


About a year ago I bought a Microtek 4 scanner to scan my 4x5 and 8x10 negs, and also because I wanted to try color but don't really want to pay the outlandish prices to get lf prints at the lab.

Recently I bought an Epson 1280 printer. My life has basically been a living hell trying to get these damn things to work. I go to the camera store, admire the work they have out as examples, go home, play around for a few hours, and end up with mushy crap with a bunch of lines through it. The printer seems to need a head cleaning every two days even if I don't use it at all. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, I just can't figure out what. Anyway, the point of this is, David, you and I seem from our other postings to have similar tastes and skills, and I'm warning you: this digital stuff is way more frustrating than making 8x10 contact prints in your closet, and the results are far worse! At least at first.

As for Photoshop LE, it seems pretty robust to me. I've spoken with a graphic designer we use at work and she says 95% of the time it has all she needs and she does pretty complicated stuff.

-- Erik Ryberg (, April 13, 2001.

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