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    I'm scanning slides and saving them in the highest possible resolution (4000 dpi) and in the max supported bit depth (48 bit) [I use a Nikon LS50 scanner].

    Recently I needed to manipulate some of these files (basically mirror them -for now-), I'm looking for an application that will (1) read these files (in full resolution & color depth) (2) allow me to edit them and (3) allow me to save the results back in the same resolution and 48-bit color depth.

    My Paint.NET can't do it. I'm not ready to purchase software (yet) for this (although I'd be interested to find out if Adobe Elements could do this). Any free tools that could help me? Again, for now, I'd require mirroring only...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ErikJan View Post
    I'm not ready to purchase software (yet) for this (although I'd be interested to find out if Adobe Elements could do this). Any free tools that could help me? Again, for now, I'd require mirroring only...
    PS Elements will open images with "16-bit" color and allows some but not all operations. I searched around, but could not find a definitive list. You might try the Adobe forum: http://forums.adobe.com/community/photoshop_elements

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    I'm not sure (I see conflicting postings) but I think that Gimp 2.8 will have 48-bit color depth support. Unfortunately the latest version of Gimp for Windows is 2.6.8.
    http://www.gimp.org/

    I just checked my copy of Photoshop Elements 8 and it looks like it supports 48-bit color depth (at least that's what the docs say).

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    I'm not sure there is any format that saves in 48-bit color depth, unless maybe RAW does or a high dynamic range TIFF or one of the "work in progress" formats like PSD or PSP. I think 48-bit color sensor scan is more of an overkill to be sure the best color representation is achieved for a potentially great color gradient over a very small distance, such as may be found in slides. The most common "working" bit depth is 24 (8 bits per channel time 3 channels (RGB), but if one is really meticulous and wants to manipulate colors at a higher bit depth, Photoshop CS3 goes up to 32 bit/channel (96 bit color depth) and PSP X2 supports 48 bit color depth adjustment. That said, I've never elevated the bit depth in my life so I don't know if the average user can tell a bit of difference using one or the other when making adjustments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    I'm not sure there is any format that saves in 48-bit color depth, unless maybe RAW does or a high dynamic range TIFF or one of the "work in progress" formats like PSD or PSP. I think 48-bit color sensor scan is more of an overkill to be sure the best color representation is achieved for a potentially great color gradient over a very small distance, such as may be found in slides. The most common "working" bit depth is 24 (8 bits per channel time 3 channels (RGB), but if one is really meticulous and wants to manipulate colors at a higher bit depth, Photoshop CS3 goes up to 32 bit/channel (96 bit color depth) and PSP X2 supports 48 bit color depth adjustment. That said, I've never elevated the bit depth in my life so I don't know if the average user can tell a bit of difference using one or the other when making adjustments.
    Byron,

    I'm not a real expert, but I know that several applications can and also use the capability to save in 48-bit color depth (I mean 3*16 bit here by the way). For instance, most (slide) scan programs (including mine; NikonScan & VueScan) use this. It is not overkill as is allows the full dynamic range of the scanners to be used which gives the user more detail in e.g. dark areas. Later manipulation in Photo-editing software allows these areas to be 'lighted-up' so details also become visible. At that time, the manipulated pictures could e.g. be saved in 'normal' 24 bit depth. Obviously, manually increasing the depth adds nothing; the scanner sensors have to support acquisition like this (as said, I have a Nikon Coolscan V which does support this in hardware).
    In general however, you are right, this is a niche application and for 'main-stream' 24 bit is more than sufficient. (which doesn't make my problem go away ;-) )

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    It is not overkill as is allows the full dynamic range of the scanners to be used which gives the user more detail in e.g. dark areas.
    You're mixing two concepts here but in this case I don't think it does any harm since when scanning slides you do want the highest available settings, up to the point of creating perposterously large data files with excessive amounts of extraneous data. Its the scan rate or dpi that gives the detail, up to the point of source image native resolution. The color depth is for the gradient that may be discernable or not. Say an artifact it 128,128,128 on one side and graduates to 128, 134, 136 on the other side; with a greater color depth you can store that color gradient more precisely, which as I said, is an overkill much of the time, with the possible exception of slides because they are so small and get enlarged so much that more than 24 bit color depth may help when it comes to the interpolation process.

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    Thanks for the clarification. Even more details are here: http://www.scantips.com/basics14.html

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    Yes, indeed, much more detail, dynamic range is very important of course but its sort of locked into the hardware quality--how good is the sensor at physically getting an ultra-accurate image no matter what the capability of the resolution or bit depth is.

    Scanners of those bit depths usually do boast similar dynamic range, per the same calculation. However that is only the size of the container, it is not about the contents. It merely counts bits instead of measuring the data contents or capability. If comparing a 4.8 spec with 4.2, don't believe all you read, neither value is achievable in any CCD scanner.
    A better explanation for my inadequate word of "overkill" eh?

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    RIght, and as my filmscanner is a Niko LS50 (aka Nikon Coolscan V), looking at the specs, price and quality (and the tests on Internet) and even if I'm not making the 42 bit listed, there's reason to believe it will do more than 24 bit... agreed? Which explains my choice to store the originals in 48 bit. These are mostly very old slides and I wouldn't want to miss any opportunity to 'capture the past' as best as possible before things fade away


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    Sure you can store them however you wish but the important part is the actual scan itself, with the sensor capturing as much of the information as possible. Presuming you are scanning at many hundreds of points per inch so even the slightest change is captured in individual points as it is enlarged, up to the capability of the scanner as you have stated. After the new image is created from the slide you won't be able to see more that 24 bit color depth because that's as high as viewing screens go (even 32-bit true color is actually only 24-bit color and 8 bits of other data) unless you have one of the specialized screens that go higher and which also costs thousands of dollars U.S.

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    Sure Byron, I know I can't see that (and I know representation on the screen and the capabilities of the human eye will be the cause of that). However, if I am manipulating a slide scan, the additional information WILL help me to turn the end result into something that is better (and visible) for me. Again, I'm pointing to probably many discussions on the net, but imagine for example the recording has a large 'range' from light to very dark. To display all in 24bit color would make a lot of the e.g. very dark areas almost all black (and a lot of the light areas white). By using good photo editing programs and common sense, it is possible to manipulate (and I agree that is somewhat artificial), the color curves in such a way that darker and lighter areas are 'enhanced' to ensure that details that were lost earlier are now becoming visible. Of course this end result still adheres to what you are stating which is that display beyond a certain number of bits (and 24 is already high) is not adding anything. As stated however, it is the INFORMATION captured in the original file that can be used to enhance the display and everyone must admit that, provided one can physically scan information and not noise beyond 24 bits, using as much information as possible is always better (by definition)...

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    I agree with you completely in principal, I just don't think that on a normal image that its possible to physically see any difference between 1/16th million (24-bt depth) and say 1 in 4 billionth bit depth resolution. So it would be exceedingly difficult with a 24 bit color screen to know if you're bringing something out that wouldn't have been there otherwise or not through editing. You might experiment on a few images at both bit depths, try the same editing sequence on both on some less distinct areas of the image and see if it makes any difference that you can see.

    Ultimately though,even if you can't see any difference I think it would give you more peace of mind to know that they are archived with excess data information, rather than the possibility that any slight data information may be lost if archived at 24-bit depth and I don't think there is any harm in that as long as the format stays relevant to any editing programs you use now and in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    Ultimately though,even if you can't see any difference I think it would give you more peace of mind to know that they are archived with excess data information, rather than the possibility that any slight data information may be lost if archived at 24-bit depth and I don't think there is any harm in that as long as the format stays relevant to any editing programs you use now and in the future.
    Yep... and that's exactly my point (I'm a perfectionist, I couldn't do with less. And file/disk size is so much less of an issue nowadays as well)

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