HP PhotoSmart Scanner

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Ken Henke

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Sep 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/19/97
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Now that some folks have had time to play with the new HP PhotoSmart
Scanner what is the verdict?? I'm especially interested in scanning
slides, but don't really want to have the limitations of just a slide
scanner. Is the quality up to professional standards?


Bill Wood

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Sep 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/19/97
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The Photosmart scanner does best with color negatives NOT slides. Slide
scans are afflicted with extraneous noise in the shadows and flare on the
edges. I would suggest waiting for the next model Photosmart scanner which
may have these problems and the software improved (another big negative
now).

Bill Wood

Ken Henke <khe...@coffey.com> wrote in article
<01bcc4a5$766f8800$eb60f8cc@newmicronpc>...

Joe Barnhart

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Sep 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/19/97
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Ken Henke wrote:

> Now that some folks have had time to play with the new HP PhotoSmart

> Scanner what is the verdict?? Is the quality up to professional
> standards?

In my opinion, no.

I find the "dark noise" problem (banding in shadow areas of the slide) to
be so obnoxious as to render the scanner worthless on slides. It's going
back to Office Cheapo.

-- Joe Barnhart

Ricky, Newton & Winston

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Sep 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/20/97
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Bill Wood wrote:
>
> The Photosmart scanner does best with color negatives NOT slides. Slide
> scans are afflicted with extraneous noise in the shadows and flare on the
> edges. I would suggest waiting for the next model Photosmart scanner which
> may have these problems and the software improved (another big negative
> now).
>
> Bill Wood
>
> Ken Henke <khe...@coffey.com> wrote in article
> <01bcc4a5$766f8800$eb60f8cc@newmicronpc>...
> > Now that some folks have had time to play with the new HP PhotoSmart
> > Scanner what is the verdict?? I'm especially interested in scanning
> > slides, but don't really want to have the limitations of just a slide
> > scanner. Is the quality up to professional standards?
> >
> >


I haven't had any noise in my slide scans and absolutely LOVE my
Photosmart scanner.

Ricky

--
To send either Ricky, Newton (purr!), or Winston (meow!) e-mail, just
write to
mailto:ri...@home.com

Newton's Alley -- http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/2860

Tony P

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Sep 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/20/97
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Bill Wood wrote:
>
> The Photosmart scanner does best with color negatives NOT slides. Slide
> scans are afflicted with extraneous noise in the shadows and flare on the
> edges. I would suggest waiting for the next model Photosmart scanner which
> may have these problems and the software improved (another big negative
> now).
>
> Bill Wood
>
> Ken Henke <khe...@coffey.com> wrote in article
> <01bcc4a5$766f8800$eb60f8cc@newmicronpc>...
> > Now that some folks have had time to play with the new HP PhotoSmart
> > Scanner what is the verdict?? I'm especially interested in scanning
> > slides, but don't really want to have the limitations of just a slide
> > scanner. Is the quality up to professional standards?
> >
> >

Bill, the shadow noise on the scanner appears to be a unit-to-unit
quality variation. The first one I bought had it; I bought a second one
and tested them together for three days. The second had no problems
whatsoever. The first one went back.

-Tony

Chris Werner

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Sep 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/21/97
to

It must be a unit to unit problem because the one I purchased does not seem
to exhibit any noise.

Tony P wrote in article <34248F...@snip.net>...

Steve Hoffmann

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Sep 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/22/97
to

Hi,

In my experience the noise in slide scans is more related to
differences both in the units and the individual computer environment.
I tested 4 units on my computer. All of them produced about the same
result on my computer but some were much better on a friend's
computer. We used the same difficult slide for all the tests. On top
of that, my unit does a better or worse job with the same slide on a
day to day basis.

See my review of the PS scanner and printer at
http://www.trix.com/photoweb/photosmt.html


>> >
>> >
>
>Bill, the shadow noise on the scanner appears to be a unit-to-unit
>quality variation. The first one I bought had it; I bought a second one
>and tested them together for three days. The second had no problems
>whatsoever. The first one went back.
>
> -Tony

Steve Hoffmann

Visit my photography web site, last updated on 9/3/97
http://www.trix.com/photoweb or at our new domain
http://www.niftywebs.com/photoweb
Photos of zoo animals, landscapes, and close-ups of insects

Ricky, Newton & Winston

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Sep 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/22/97
to

Joe Barnhart wrote:

>
> Ken Henke wrote:
>
> > Now that some folks have had time to play with the new HP PhotoSmart
> > Scanner what is the verdict?? Is the quality up to professional
> > standards?
>
> In my opinion, no.
>
> I find the "dark noise" problem (banding in shadow areas of the slide) to
> be so obnoxious as to render the scanner worthless on slides. It's going
> back to Office Cheapo.
>
> -- Joe Barnhart


I find that interesting because I have had no noise problem whatsoever
with my Photosmart scanner when scanning slides ... or anything else. I
am enormously pleased with mine.

Åke Vinberg

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Sep 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/23/97
to

Ricky, try this and tell us what you find out:

Take a completely black slide and scan it. Adjust midtones to maximum
brightness, and adjust highlights to maximum brightness. Then adjust
shadows down a little. Then do the actual scan.

On my scanner, I see some vertical and some horizontal lines, and some
diagonal interference patterns.

Before I did this I was "enormously pleased" with mine, but after realizing
what to look for in dark areas I began to find it in actual scans, the
extra information gave me a more critical ("professional"?) eye. So fo me,
the scanner is worth $499, but it is _not_ up to professional standards.

Ake
Palo Alto, CA

Ricky, Newton & Winston <ri...@home.com> wrote in article
<342695...@home.com>...

Gene Alan Townsend

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Sep 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/24/97
to

Åke Vinberg wrote:
>
> Take a completely black slide and scan it. Adjust midtones to maximum
> brightness, and adjust highlights to maximum brightness. Then adjust
> shadows down a little. Then do the actual scan.
>
> On my scanner, I see some vertical and some horizontal lines, and some
> diagonal interference patterns.
>
> Before I did this I was "enormously pleased" with mine, but after realizing
> what to look for in dark areas I began to find it in actual scans, the
> extra information gave me a more critical ("professional"?) eye. So fo me,
> the scanner is worth $499, but it is _not_ up to professional standards.
>

Ake:

If you try hard enough, you can make anything "look bad".

Question: How many professional photographes out there make a living
scanning black slides with the gain fully advanced?

You're seeing the fixed pattern noise of the CCD, along with some
transcients. Try running your calibration when the scanner is fully
warmed up. I've noticed the Photosmart scanner get rather warm under
the CCD after an hour or so of use.

I've also seen a small amount of fixed pattern noise (looks like
horizontal lines) in the sky areas of color negatives under certain
conditions. The remedy is to scan at 2400 dpi, and resize to lower
resolution if needed.

Regards,

Gene A. Townsend

Åke Vinberg

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Sep 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/24/97
to

Thanks, Gene, you have a good point in that these artifacts generally don't
bother me.

Referring to the original question, to me "professional" means very hight
quality, good enough for publishing. When looking at scans or prints of
dark slides I can see some artefacts if I know what to look for. If my
income was dependent on good scans I would not settle for this level of
quality. However, I am not professional, the scanner was cheap and does an
awesome job for the money, so I am quite happy with it.

But I wouldn't mind getting it to perform better, so per your advice I will
recalibrate after warm-up to see if that makes a difference. What is the
best way to warm up? Just power on, or let it scan prints or something
multiple times?

Ĺke

Gene Alan Townsend <wi...@primenet.com> wrote in article
<3428F...@primenet.com>...

Åke Vinberg

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Sep 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/24/97
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I bought mine early July.

Åke

Ron Yost <mu...@tcsn.REMOVEnet> wrote in article
<3428dbba...@news.supernews.com>...
> On 23 Sep 1997 17:38:09 GMT, "Åke Vinberg" <avin...@NOSPAMbrio.com>
wrote:
>
> Could you tell us when you purchased your scanner? If it's within the
past
> month or so then the recent production is no better than the original
run.
>
> Mine's a first-run scanner ... same probs. :(
>
> Thanks!!


>
>
> >Ricky, try this and tell us what you find out:
> >

> >Take a completely black slide and scan it. Adjust midtones to maximum
> >brightness, and adjust highlights to maximum brightness. Then adjust
> >shadows down a little. Then do the actual scan.
> >
> >On my scanner, I see some vertical and some horizontal lines, and some
> >diagonal interference patterns.
> >
> >Before I did this I was "enormously pleased" with mine, but after
realizing
> >what to look for in dark areas I began to find it in actual scans, the
> >extra information gave me a more critical ("professional"?) eye. So fo
me,
> >the scanner is worth $499, but it is _not_ up to professional standards.
> >
> >Ake

> Ron Yost
> Please remove REMOVE from address to reply. Thanks!
>
>
>

Gene Alan Townsend

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Sep 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/26/97
to

Åke Vinberg wrote:
>
> Thanks, Gene, you have a good point in that these artifacts generally don't
> bother me.
>
> Referring to the original question, to me "professional" means very hight
> quality, good enough for publishing. When looking at scans or prints of
> dark slides I can see some artefacts if I know what to look for. If my
> income was dependent on good scans I would not settle for this level of
> quality. However, I am not professional, the scanner was cheap and does an
> awesome job for the money, so I am quite happy with it.
>
> But I wouldn't mind getting it to perform better, so per your advice I will
> recalibrate after warm-up to see if that makes a difference. What is the
> best way to warm up? Just power on, or let it scan prints or something
> multiple times?
>

Best way to warm up is to simply leave plugged in to power supply for
about half an hour after opening the TWAIN driver. The illumination
lamp only turns on during scans, so this is not an issue. The CCD
arrays run fairly hot with this scanner, and they seem to be powered up
for at least an hour after calling the drivers.

I assume it's the CCD that creates most of the heat in the device. If
you touch the underside after the unit is turned on for half an hour, it
is quite hot to the touch.

As to the issue of what is "professional quality", my observation is the
professionals, in general, are interested in making money rather than in
some abstract concept of quality. Another matter is are we speaking of
professional photographers or professional scanners?

No, the HP Photosmart IS NOT a "professional quality" scanner, because
it is just too darned slow and awkward to use that way. HP never
claimed this was for professional use, and have directed their marketing
at average amature photographers.

However, the scans CAN BE professional quality (from the perspective of
a photographer), providing negative films are used.

When film is scanned directly, there is no advantage to using slide film
at all. Just the opposite, film scanners may cause the demise of color
transparancy materials.

Regards,

Gene A. Townsend

Ah feel your pain

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Sep 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/27/97
to

Gene Alan Townsend <wi...@primenet.com> wrote:

>you touch the underside after the unit is turned on for half an hour, it
>is quite hot to the touch.

Made me realize why it doesn't have an energy-saver stamp.


>When film is scanned directly, there is no advantage to using slide film
>at all. Just the opposite, film scanners may cause the demise of color
>transparancy materials.

'cept that the best, fine-grain films are only available in slides <sight>


-billc

*********************************************************************
** I am NOT BILL COSBY, althought people say I look like him, NOT! **
** if you must email, plse fix up anti-spam adr. **
*********************************************************************

sd

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Sep 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/27/97
to

I bought the photoSmart scanner. After reading some of the post in this
newsgroup I looked to see if I could find similar problems with the dark
areas of scanned images. I did find the same problem. The scanner seems
to scan negatives/prints better than slides. I notice there is some
vibration of the unit when scanning. Anyone else notice this? Could this
cause some of the problems with the scanned images?


Bill Wood

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Sep 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/27/97
to

The "vibration" is the scan stepping motor operating. It is normal

Bill

sd <sph...@ix.netcom.com> wrote in article
<01bccaeb$ea8d8600$33cbb7c7@sphoto3>...

Steve Hoffmann

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Sep 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/28/97
to

<snip>

>>When film is scanned directly, there is no advantage to using slide film
>>at all. Just the opposite, film scanners may cause the demise of color
>>transparancy materials.

Have you looked real close at Kodak Royal Gold in ISO 25. I think it
is as fine or finer grained than Velvia. and just as sharp. Royal
Gold, not Gold...Just MHO...I am using it exclusively with my poor
little PS scanner since it doesn't like Velvia.... ; ^ )


>
>'cept that the best, fine-grain films are only available in slides <sight>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>-billc
>
>*********************************************************************
>** I am NOT BILL COSBY, althought people say I look like him, NOT! **
>** if you must email, plse fix up anti-spam adr. **
>*********************************************************************

Steve Hoffmann

Valburg

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Sep 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/28/97
to

Wayne Fulton wrote:

> In article <342d5869...@news.mindspring.com>, NoJ...@pacbell.net
> says...


>
> >>When film is scanned directly, there is no advantage to using slide
> film
> >>at all. Just the opposite, film scanners may cause the demise of
> color
> >>transparancy materials.
> >

> >'cept that the best, fine-grain films are only available in slides
> <sight>
>

> And negative film has the orange mask that reduces maxmimum dynamic
> range
> considerably.

Well, yes, but I'm under the impression that neg film is still able to
record more than the 256 shades per color channel that we're limited to
in the digital world. That would make digital the dynamic range
bottleneck at this point in time, not film.

Best,
Mitch Valburg


Wayne Fulton

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Sep 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/28/97
to

>>When film is scanned directly, there is no advantage to using slide film
>>at all. Just the opposite, film scanners may cause the demise of color
>>transparancy materials.
>
>'cept that the best, fine-grain films are only available in slides <sight>


And negative film has the orange mask that reduces maxmimum dynamic range
considerably.

--
Wayne
ful...@cyberramp.net
http://www.cyberramp.net/~fulton/scans.html


Gene Alan Townsend

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Sep 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/29/97
to

Wayne Fulton wrote:
>
> In article <342d5869...@news.mindspring.com>, NoJ...@pacbell.net says...
>
> >>When film is scanned directly, there is no advantage to using slide film
> >>at all. Just the opposite, film scanners may cause the demise of color
> >>transparancy materials.
> >
> >'cept that the best, fine-grain films are only available in slides <sight>
>
> And negative film has the orange mask that reduces maxmimum dynamic range
> considerably.
>

The dynamic range of the negative doesn't matter at all. It's the
ability to capture and store the dynamic range of the original object
that's important with film. Transparancy material is able to DISPLAY
photographs with greater dynamic range than negatives, but when either
are printed, that advantage disappears.

The best, finest grained films are ALWAYS color negative.

The reduced dynamic range of the film image simplifies scanning.

Only negatives are truly first generation. Reversal films have
diffusion losses similar to contact printing losses, and are really only
1 1/2 th generation.

The reason transparancies were always used in magazine photography is
because that picture can be seen directly, and since color separations
would be made using RGB filters, the positive was required anyway.

Regards,

Gene A. Townsend

Wayne Fulton

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Sep 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/29/97
to

In article <342E9FDA...@psu.edu>, lk...@psu.edu says...

>> And negative film has the orange mask that reduces maxmimum dynamic
>> range considerably.
>

>Well, yes, but I'm under the impression that neg film is still able to
>record more than the 256 shades per color channel that we're limited to
>in the digital world. That would make digital the dynamic range
>bottleneck at this point in time, not film.


The weak link is not that the 8 bit numbering system cannot handle it. It is
instead that the film scanners struggle with the greater range to make the
mapping from linear to logarithmic for our human eye. They use 10 and 12 and
more bits trying to do that on the far side of the gamma curve to get the 8
bits on our side.

Slides do exceed the range of negatives handily, so negatives are not the
limit. The orange mask is not clear film, therefore it limits Dmin in a major
way. Most critical commercial work uses slides for their additional range.

Kodak, for one example, says typical color dynamic ranges are:

Prints 2.0
Negatives 2.8
Slides 3.2

Theoretical unattainable maximum: 4.0

These are large diffrences on a log scale.

The earlier statement was:

>When film is scanned directly, there is no advantage to using slide film
>at all. Just the opposite, film scanners may cause the demise of color
>transparancy materials.

and it is not at all correct.

Wayne Fulton

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Sep 30, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/30/97
to

In article <342F8C...@primenet.com>, wi...@primenet.com says...

>The dynamic range of the negative doesn't matter at all. It's the
>ability to capture and store the dynamic range of the original object
>that's important with film. Transparancy material is able to DISPLAY
>photographs with greater dynamic range than negatives, but when either
>are printed, that advantage disappears.
>
>The best, finest grained films are ALWAYS color negative.
>
>The reduced dynamic range of the film image simplifies scanning.
>
>Only negatives are truly first generation. Reversal films have
>diffusion losses similar to contact printing losses, and are really only
>1 1/2 th generation.
>
>The reason transparancies were always used in magazine photography is
>because that picture can be seen directly, and since color separations
>would be made using RGB filters, the positive was required anyway.
>


Would you advocate discarding all of our money immediately since we cant take
it to the grave? <g>

Yes, we eventually must print them, and yes, we can evaluate slides without
photo prints (actually, slides look/sell better), but it does not seem prudent
to discard all our gains up front. Kinda makes drum scanners be pointless
doesn't it? We could instead adjust away all the shadow tones to make it easy
and use a low end scanner instead. But I think the idea paying dearly for
dynamic range greater than 3.0 is to keep the maximum possible, the longest
possible, to have the maximum choice what to discard when absolutely necessary.

Steve Bye

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Oct 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM10/3/97
to

Wayne Fulton wrote:
...

>
> The weak link is not that the 8 bit numbering system cannot handle it. It is
> instead that the film scanners struggle with the greater range to make the
> mapping from linear to logarithmic for our human eye. They use 10 and 12 and
> more bits trying to do that on the far side of the gamma curve to get the 8
> bits on our side.

I am confused about this. I have a Polaroid Sprintscan 35+. It's 12 bits
per color. I can't tell how the 12 bits get mapped to 8 bits. The
possibilities seem to be:

1. the actual dynamic range of the scanned slide/neg is only 8 bits or
less, so there is no problem - just pass the 8 bits to the host
computer.

2. the highlights and/or shadows get clipped, and just 8 bits are sent

3. the 12 bits is compressed to 8 bits by some algorithm

Who can explain this to me?

By the way, there are two other really tantalizing, but unavailable,
possibilities of the Sprintscan software:

1. The Sprintscan software supports 12 bit processing of the scan in the
scanner hardware (only on 35+). The tools available though have small,
but fatal, flaws. The levels tool has no histogram, and there is no
"picker" so you cannot read actual color values for use with the curves
tool. Polaroid is right on the edge of having true 12 bit processing of
color if it were more useful. Am I missing something?

2. If the scanner would just pass out the 12 bits instead of 8,
Photoshop 4.0 can use them in "high bit mode" with levels, curves, and a
few other tools. These features are all you need to do most things,
including color correcting. This would really help keep the noise down.
Of course, sooner or later you need to convert it to 8 bits for
printing, but later is better.

POLAROID - PLEASE ENHANCE YOUR SOFTWARE SLIGHTLY. IT COULD BE GREAT.

Wayne Fulton

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Oct 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM10/4/97
to

In article <3435BBF6...@accessone.com>, sb...@accessone.com says...

>
>I am confused about this. I have a Polaroid Sprintscan 35+. It's 12 bits
>per color. I can't tell how the 12 bits get mapped to 8 bits. The
>possibilities seem to be:


Steve, it is considerably different and a more difficult problem than you
might suspect. We hear lots of nonsense about discarding a bit or two, but it
aint really like that.

See page below, section Basics Part 14, Dynamic Range, 24 bit vs 30 bit
for quite a bit more, the way I see it.

Next point is, why would you want to involve PhotoShop and your PC memory when
the scanner is designed to do this job? <g> Seriously, the difference is which
side of the gamma conversion it is on. The scanner can do it where it counts,
and IS going to do it period, so it might as well be told how to do it right.

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