Author Topic: What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?  (Read 5655 times)

PeterN

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What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?
« on: October 28, 2019, 13:02:56 »
I scanned all my negatives by photographing each negative with the Nikon 60mm, converted to positive in Negative Lab and saved the result as TIFF file. I wonder if I should keep it in TIFF, convert to DNG or to JPEG. The TIFF files are huge, consuming 325GB so I would like to convert to smaller files ut I hesitate to convert to JEPG, as it is my understanding that the quality is slightly degraded each time a jpeg file is opened.
Any recommendations?
Peter

Frank Fremerey

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Re: What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2019, 15:52:51 »
I scanned all my negatives by photographing each negative with the Nikon 60mm, converted to positive in Negative Lab and saved the result as TIFF file. I wonder if I should keep it in TIFF, convert to DNG or to JPEG. The TIFF files are huge, consuming 325GB so I would like to convert to smaller files ut I hesitate to convert to JEPG, as it is my understanding that the quality is slightly degraded each time a jpeg file is opened. Any recommendations?

The quality is degraded when saving JPEG, not opening. A TIFF might contain more that 8 bit color information.

I would store the files as NEF from the camera or DNG. My experience is that later RAW converters and the growing user experience in using the software makes better conversions in later years...
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Anthony

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Re: What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2019, 16:06:07 »
My experience is that later RAW converters and the growing user experience in using the software makes better conversions in later years...

This is also my experience.  It is very enjoyable to go back to an old image and re-convert it with modern software and improved skills.
Anthony Macaulay

PeterN

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Re: What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2019, 16:28:26 »
Thanks for your help.Much appreciated.
 NEF is not an option for me because it would imply I will have to save both negative and positive, which takes up too much space. So I will check how much space is saved by using DNG instead of TIFF.
Peter

pluton

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Re: What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2019, 17:56:29 »
You are fine with JPEG if you are satisfied that the look of the shot will never need to be changed or possibly improved. I'd be happy with JPEG for most casual family snapshots, but not for "more interesting" photography.
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Erik Lund

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Re: What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2019, 18:11:12 »
From modern high resolution cameras I have no problems using sRGB JPG files.If it's a very very special image I would save the TIFF 16 bit in RGB
Erik Lund

arthurking83

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Re: What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2019, 15:23:16 »
Thanks for your help.Much appreciated.
 NEF is not an option for me because it would imply I will have to save both negative and positive, which takes up too much space. So I will check how much space is saved by using DNG instead of TIFF.

I don't understand why?
Some software allows you to save multiple versions in the one file(if required).
But irrespective of this fact, still saving two NEF files(one original, one negative version) is still more data efficient than a massive Tif file.

Anyhow, what I've done(using Nikon's software) is primarily to invert the negative to the reverse colour rendering(ie. positive). I really have no need for the actual negative version, but if I ever did, it's a matter of just resetting the inverted or positive version back to original state(ie. negative).

Have only done this in Capture NX2 and have noticed a versions tool in CNX-D so I assume it allows similar options to what CNX2 did .. ie. multiple versions of a NEF file.
It does add a bit more size to the NEF file, but nothing like double .. maybe 25% more or something like that.

And I'm fairly sure most name brand raw file editors have options for versions too.
Arthur

PeterN

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Re: What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2019, 12:03:26 »
Just found that there is a "lossy" compression method for converting tiff to DNG files. A 145MB TIFF file is converted to a 6.6MB DNG file. It still offers raw-processing capabilities but eliminates the space. I looked at 100% and can't see any difference between the original and the converted file. So it seems to be a good option. But. before converting the tiff files, I thought to post this first just in case there are some caveats.
Peter

arthurking83

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Re: What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2019, 07:55:04 »
When Nikon ceased support for CNX2 and their new software consisted of CNX-D in it's initial versions, I also looked at the option to convert NEF files to DNG and use Lr.
Hated Lr and it's impossible to work around quirks, so abandoned the conversion to DNG format idea.
Looked closer into it, and found that many DNG conversion programs obfuscate some of (maybe non essential) maker note metadata, among other stuff in the original raw file.

if you want to preserve ALL the data(basically metadata, not image data) in the NEF file, you should find an option to preserve the raw file into the new DNG file. This way the NEF file isn't then mangled.
Downside tho is that the new DNG file will be larger in size to the original NEF file .. so no point if space saving is the goal.

After testing, I found it wasn't worth the effort.

Being curious tho, I downloaded sample Pentax natively saved DNG files, and compared to PEF files .. and at least there was no difference in the metadata.

if you use Nikon's software in any way, and want to save some space, lossless NEF compression can save some space but it depends on the actual image as to how much it saves.
Opening this losslessly compressed NEF in Nikon's software can allow you to then decompress the image again with an increase in resultant file size.
Then if you want again, you then use the Nikon software to save the NEF with compression again, lossless or lossy(or none).
Again, the amount of storage space was too variable to give an accurate prediction, but on a 90Mb D800E file it could be anywhere between 10-20Mb .. sometimes 30-40Mb(eg. an image of the moon) on a 75Mb uncompressed NEF(ie. half)

problem is that CNX2 is no longer supported and one will become totally unusable on a modern operating system.
No idea what CNX-D does with respect to saving NEF files in this manner, never looked at it.
Arthur

PeterN

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Re: What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2019, 10:46:17 »
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and recommendations, Arthur. I guess we all have our preferences. Personally I find the Nikon software difficult to work with. For scanned negatives, saving all metadata is not necessary as it saves the metadata related to the camera and lens used for scanning, not the original camera and lens. So I started converting all scanned negatives to lossy compressed DNG files.
Peter

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Re: What file format do you recommend for scanned negatives?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2020, 12:41:28 »


I would recommend to go NEF all the way… and never concert to DNGs.

As long as one works in RAW, there is still only one file on the hard drive.
The powerful flexibility of my converter will handle everything until I am
ready for pixel editing.
Light is free… capturing it is not!