In the next few months I plan to digitize a large collection of old family pictures and I am quite convinced that the best way to go is camera scanning, i.e. using a DSLR to take pictures of the negatives. It is a lot faster than a flatbed scanner and I’m hopeful that the quality will be a lot better once I figured out the workflow. I hope to post something about my setup at some point, but for now I would like to ask for help about the processing of the negatives using darktable.
Basically, I can divide it down to three problems:
- The first really weird thing is that it makes a big difference if I use darktable’s “invert” module on the raw file or if I create an intermediate tiff export and invert the tiff. When inverting the raw directly, the colors are really dull and I have been unsuccessful so far to understand what is going on. I suspected it’s due to the fixed module order, but even when disabling base curve and color balance, going via the tiff export still results in a noticeable different image. I also noticed there are different code paths for mosaiced and non-mosaiced pictures, but I don’t have the experience to understand what’s going on and if it’s a bug or supposed to be like that. I would really like to find a workflow that does not need an intermediate export.
- Even with the intermediate tiff export, the colors are far away from what the automatic exposure mode of the flatbed scanner is producing. Showfoto seems to do a bit better there (see examples below). In order to process thousands of pictures, I need to find a (semi-)automatic way to produce a result that is comparable to the scanner.
- Besides finding a workflow that produces acceptable results (semi-)automatically, I would be really happy about some advice of how to process the pictures to make them look great. I lack experience and so far have not been happy with the results I got.
Find two example pictures with the raw files below. Feel free to edit them and share the results. More RAW samples from somebody else can be found here. I’ve had the same issues when trying to invert those with darktable.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
The different pictures are:
- print scanned with V370 flatbed scanner
- negative scanned with V370 flatbed scanner
- cr2 loaded in darktable, invert activated with color picker on unexposed region
- cr2 exported to tiff using darktable, invert activated with color picker on unexposed region
- cr2 inverted using the “Color Negative” tool of showfoto, using the color picker on the unexposed region
- cr2 inverted using the “Color Negative” tool of showfoto, using some Fuji film preset