Plustek 120 and Silverfast: Mark’s settings for dust removal.

I recently reported on the Plustek 120 scanner for scanning B&W film.

After reading about my positive experience with the Plustek 120, my friend Mark purchased one.  Mark, being a Master in film processing, develops both B&W and colour film.  While using the colour film dust removal feature of the Silverfast sofware, he initially found things weren’t working.   However, a few quick changes in Silverfast solved the problem.

Mark writes:

“I appear to have a fix for the problem… It seems that there is a setting under [Silverfast’s] “Preferences > Special > Maximum Offset for iSRD alignment” that is “Maxed Out” by default. I have decreased my value to 50 (from a default of 70) and decreased the detection threshold to 2 (in the iSRD Dialogue) and the resulting correction is PERFECT, with no alterations in the underlying grain structure of the resulting scan…I hereby declare this to be a FINE scanner

Thank you for this information Mark.

—Peter.

13 thoughts on “Plustek 120 and Silverfast: Mark’s settings for dust removal.

  1. Jason Timmis says:

    Hello Peter and All,

    I use Silverfast 8 with my Nikon Coolscan 5000. I always do ALL the correction I need / want / can within Silverfast at the time of scanning so I am working at the native ‘Raw’ level. I then do any slight touch ups in LR or, occasionally, with PS. I find the dust, scratch and grain features – for colour film – very good with Silverfast and therefore would highly recommend it.

    All the best with the ventures back into film!

    Jason.

    I

    • Thanks Jason. I must say, I’ve taken the opposite approach. I scan and THEN do any corrections on the subsequent .tiff file. The only exception is the multi-exposure (multiple scan) Silverfast feature, which I do use.

      • Jason Timmis says:

        As they say…Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. It is obvious in your first few examples your process is working!

        With that said if you haven’t read Mark Segal’s Ebook on using Silverfast I highly recommend it. In it he describes the different possible workflows and their merits. He points out that doing as much as possible during the scan is the same a getting as much right in camera as possible. He points out the similarities of shooting and editing in RAW versus Jpeg when it comes to the latitude of the files produced be it from a camera or a scanner (which are the same thing). And I realize you are using TIFF not Jpeg but the same logic still applies. It is another program to have to learn within ones workflow but I feel it is worth the effort for the reasons Mark outlines about ultimate quality control.

        (Which still doesn’t help Mark 🙂 )

        • Hi Jason,

          In actuality, my first few examples represent years of work-flow refining that began back when I owned my first M3.

          I understand what you’re saying, and I don’t dispute it. However, unlike my digital files, I don’t post-process my film files much. Instead of “getting as much right” at the scanning stage, I try to be very disciplined and “get as much right” at the very first step — when I first capture the image. For the rest of it, I let the film do most of the talking, because it represents 100 years’ worth of refining… Also, the little post-processing I do for film involves subtle changes that do no require high file malleability, or coarse changes that obliterate detail. My technique for these too has been refined over the years.

          —Peter.

  2. Matteo says:

    Dear Peter,
    I’m using a Plustek 8100 for all my film work. I specifically bought this model because it was cheaper due to the lack of the IR filter. I had the chance of testing a higher model with the IR and I was not satisfied by the performance. The automatic aliasing was somewhat degrading details, and pictures in bad conditions (the only ones that should really benefit from this function) were not improving considerably. So, I’ve decided to get a cheaper one and to clean everything by hand. I was somewhat regretting about my choice recently, but It’s just because I’m getting lazy, and most London labs are real butchers 🙂
    While very expensive, I’m very interested in this new Plustek 120 for a possible upgrade… I would be happy to hear about the other cool option of this scanner, the batch processing. Is it working fine? I’m not sure it is able to speed up the process considerably, but at least it is something.
    All the best
    Matteo

    PS: I’m really enjoying your recent work, and I’m happy the M3 is back…

  3. Pascal says:

    I was experiencing the same with the V700+Silverfast and I thought it was from Silverfast itself. I now remove the big spots after scanning with LR and let the smaller there.

  4. Andy Gemmell says:

    Thanks for sharing Peter. I’m a little way off this stage though am actually thinking of leaving it to a lab anyway provided the results are up to scratch.

    • Hi Andrew,

      I know you’ve been reluctant to go the do-it-yourself route, but it’s easier than it looks! And you’ll soon realize it’s the better way.

      However, in all fairness, I too started out by sending my film to labs for developing and scanning and — as I gained confidence — I took over those important steps of the image creation chain.

      The final straw for me (that pushed me towards doing everything myself) was paying $40 to get a roll of film developed and scanned at a “pro” lab with an excellent reputation, and receiving my negatives back full of dust.

      No one will treat your film better than you. Also, by learning these skills, you protect yourself against the scenario that your local (or regional lab) will go out of business, leaving you stranded.

      —Peter.

  5. mikeyjive says:

    Using Silverfast with the V700 here… I usually just correct spots/dust/etc. in Photoshop using the Spot Healing Brush tool. Seems to be quicker and normally I’m just focusing on the major/distracting spots initially and then correct the minor imperfections as needed down the road. My workflow right now is to Scan using V700/Silverfast > check each in Adobe Bridge while batch scan continues > Delete the duds > Open the keepers in Photoshop (a simple double-click in Bridge) and correct any major marks or dust, fine-tune the crop, fine-tune the color, sharpen and change mode from 16-bit to 8-bit > Save, close, and set an EXIF capture date in Bridge. Then I will import into the photo management software. My biggest problem right now is wobbly/un-flat negatives but I’m going to try the betterscanning routine to see if I can make that work. I should also note that using a Giotto air blower before the scan makes the matter of dust almost a non-issue and I’m usually only correcting one or two spots per photo.

  6. mewanchuk says:

    DOH!!!

    I appear to have a fix for the problem.

    It seems that there is a setting under “Preferences > Special > Maximum Offset for iSRD alignment” that is “Maxed Out” by default. I have decreased my value to 50 (from a default of 70) and decreased the detection threshold to 2 (in the iSRD Dialogue) and the resulting correction is PERFECT, with no alterations in the underlying grain structure of the resulting scan.

    WOW!

    (This one was buried deep, my friends).

    Thanks to the gang in the Flickr Plustek 120 group for sorting this one out.

    In any case, I hereby declare this to be a FINE scanner…Thanks to Peter for drawing attention to the issue.

    VueScan has obviously not yet applied the proper correction factor. (Curious that SilverFast comes set with such a wonky number…)

    Anyhoo…nothing to see here folks…move along.

    😉

    All the best,
    -M.

  7. […] Mark reported on his colour film scanning experience yesterday, using his newly purchased Plustek 120.  Initially, he encountered a problem with the dust removal feature, but the solution to the issue involved a quick software settings change in Silverfast. […]

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