Scans of film using Epson 4490

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May 6, 2003
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Hi I just bought the Epson 4490 scanner recently and tried out scanning color film negatives in default color mode. When comparing the scanned results vs the original 4R prints (made at neighbourhood photo shops), I notice that scanned images appear a little grainy and colors are not as vibrant as originals. Queries:

1) Is this a limitation of film scanners in general or would the results on a dedicated scanner be different?

2) I notice that scan settings can be set in the scanner’s Professional mode, does anyone know what would be the recommended general settings that would give a scan with colors as close to the originals as possible and reduce the grainy results? As a film shooter I can’t make sense of RGB/sRGB settings and histogram interpretations.

3) Additionally I tried playing with the contrast and hue settings of the image in Photoshop, but can't seem to match the colors of the original prints or reduce the graininess. As it is my first time playing with Photoshop, would appreciate if some experienced user could advice on the other common/simple tools/applications to adjust color and remove grainy results.

Many thanks in advance for any advice offered.


New Member
Feb 4, 2004
based on my observations:

1) negative film profile varies. Different scanners will give a different output color. If you scan the image using other flatbed scanner, the color production will vary too, same as the dedicated scanner. The main advantages of dedicated scanner is their resolution and Dmax( in which it will depend on which scanner u are comparing).

2) grain can be reduced using the "grain reduction". Resolution will suffer slightly. Recommended general settings are the dafault in my opinion. Btw, many film users will say if you can see the grain (not electrical noise), that mean the resolution is good:thumbsup: . You may wanna use film with smaller grain, i.e ISO 400 and below if your shooting situation allows

3) The print out is CALIBRATED by the machine in the lab. So I will say you have different color from different lab and different paper. In the scanner case, color reproduction algorithm of the scanner will determine the color. My expereience tells me that the color produced by epson is not 'saturated' and neutral... so if you want vibrancy, you can do this in photoshop:
-ctrl+L: go image, adjustment, levels. Adjust the extreme left and right arrow
-ctrl+b: ajust the colour.... useful to remove color cast OR
-go image, adjustment, photo filter
-ctrl+u: increase the saturation

DUN use contrast, use Ctrl+M:

remove grain in photoshop: go filter, noise, median, set the radian to be 1 or 2... experiment with it.

Have Fun. :thumbsup:

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