New NegaFix In SilverFast 5.5
The Color Negative Scanning Problem Solved

Photos © 2001, David B. Brooks, All Rights Reserved

New NegaFix In SilverFast 5.5

The Color Negative Scanning Problem Solved

by David B. Brooks

LaserSoft's SilverFast is an independent scanner software driver ideally suited to photographic film and print scanning. It is bundled with an increasing number of new scanner products, and is available as an add-on for many more scanner brands and models. LaserSoft's increasing presence and acceptance in the photo scanning world is in part due to their unceasing work to make the product better with frequent upgrades. The latest SilverFast 5.5 includes a new color negative facility called NegaFix. NegaFix provides presets for a wide range of color negative films available in its own window dialog that also includes a six f/stop exposure adjustment slider. And, there is much more "under the hood" in the programming that for the first time deals with the complex issues of adjusting for varying color negative dye base characteristics, inversion, and ramping the lower density range of color negative films up to fit the same gamut as scanned color slide output.

I had the opportunity to use three applications of LaserSoft's SilverFast 5.5 and NegaFix with the HDR Tiff Reader software designed to handle high-bit raw scan files, and with the drivers for both the Epson Expression 1680 and Microtek ArtixScan 4000t scanners. To test Version 5.5 I selected both recent Kodak Portra and Supra color negatives, as well as some older negatives made with Fuji Reala, Kodak Vericolor, and even Ferrania/3M Color Negative film.

Using NegaFix is quite easy and adds little to the normal scanning procedure. When Negative scanning is selected, the NegaFix dialog appears on screen. It has three film type selection menus one is for the manufacturers, with a list including Agfa, Fuji, Kodak, etc. The next window provides a menu list of various brands like Supra, Superia, etc. And the third provides the film speed choices that are available for each brand. At the bottom of the dialog is a slider which supports compensation for film exposure so you can adjust the preview image brightness interactively. All that remains is making minor color correction adjustments relative to how each subject was rendered on film, just as you would scanning a color slide film.

After making about 40 scans of a variety of films of a diversity of subjects, I found NegaFix makes color negative scanning as easy and effective as slide scanning, providing comparable if not better final scan image qualities. With the newest color negative films, like Kodak's Supra and the latest versions of Fuji Reala, the scanned image fidelity to the original subject is remarkable, and the image qualities in the range of tones and colors are exceptional.

This new Version 5.5 upgrade is available directly from LaserSoft for users of the full SilverFast Ai and HDR version for $45. In addition, NegaFix has also been added to LaserSoft's quite new and inexpensive "lite" SilverFast SE, which supports a large number of affordable consumer scanners, for just $10. For anyone who has a scanner that is supported by LaserSoft that does not use the software, NegaFix is just another good reason to get the best out of your hardware. The Version 5.5 SilverFast Ai and SE versions are now available for many makes and models of popular scanners. For more information, contact LaserSoft by phone at (941) 383-7496, or by visiting their web site at www.silverfast.com.

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