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Graphics Software Printer Linux

Professional Photographers Using Linux? 724

thesun asks: "I'm a freelance writer and photographer and I'm wondering what Pro Photographers have done in regards to color matching and scanning under Linux, especially when going from slides to digital. I just can't get anything close to a good image when I scan a slide. They're blurry and the colors are so off that doing anything with my thousands of slides is proving to be prohibitively time-consuming. Are other Pros (or talented amateurs) having similar problems? Are there solutions out there I haven't found? (Sorry, I can't dump thousands into a piece of hardware---I'm looking for a way to make the most of my Epson Perfection 2400 with transparency adapter)."
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Professional Photographers Using Linux?

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  • Don't use linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:35PM (#11010954)
    Real pro photographers don't use linux.
    • Re:Don't use linux (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AusG4 ( 651867 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @07:33PM (#11012074) Homepage Journal
      I also agree. As much as people want to mod the parent (as well as the two current replies) down as "off topic" or "troll", the glaring reality is that I'd bet that professional photographers are probably the least represented amongst the Linux installed base.

      That said, as much respect as I have for the accomplishments of "The Gimp", you have to understand that on the Mac (and Windows), there are widely supported and understood color management systems (ColorSync, for example) and image formats that Linux currently doesn't offer analogs for.

      As much as you hate to admit it, Linux isn't perfect, and photography may be one of the places that Linux doesn't quite make the grade in.

    • Re:Don't use linux (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lucas teh geek ( 714343 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:13PM (#11012497)
      this shouldnt be modded down, to many shallow minded mods about. like many others, id love to see linux dominate the OS market BUT i also strongly believe that the best tool should be used for the job and in the case of pro photography that tool is not linux. feel free to take your pick of any of the major desktop OS's that arent linux, im not going to favour one over the other
      • Re:Don't use linux (Score:5, Insightful)

        by xenocide2 ( 231786 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @09:19PM (#11013086) Homepage
        The collection of software and technologies we refer to as Linux is not for everybody. Linux suits people who prefer to scratch their own backs. It can be awkward at first, but those experienced in the process find their itches scratched faster and better than hiring someone else to scratch your back.

        That said, there certainly are photographers who are interested in scratching their own backs, and professional back scratchers who take an interest in photography. The gimp is still a long way from professional tools, but Adobe has the disadvantage of having to discover new technologies while gimp merely appropriates them. There is certainly an argument to be had that the Gimp merely reimplementing a piece of software is not as useful as discovering new, different and useful ways of accomplishing simliar tasks with less work.

        The best news for Linux with reguards to the whole slide scanning thing is that you're basically boned no matter what. Scanning in a slide sucks reguardless of platform, so I'd take it to the people who ARE willing to put down the big bucks required to do the job right.
    • by Dink Paisy ( 823325 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:31PM (#11012665) Homepage
      While I completely agree with you that real pro photographers don't use Linux, you haven't done anything to solve this guy's problem.

      To me it sounds like he's an amateur photographer who is just starting to experiment with digital. It's quite possible that the mediocre quality of The GIMP would suffice for him. Perhaps all he knows about colour management is "use Velvia". Further, it seems that his scanner is working with Linux.

      It actually sounds like his hardware is the problem. He's got a cheap scanner with a slide adapter, and it gives him blurry results. If the results are blurry, you should try software first. Check that you are scanning at realistic resolution. If the scanner resolution is too high, drop the scanner resolution or downsample. Using that scanner with slides, that won't be a problem. If the scanner resolution is ok and the results are a bit soft, an unsharp mask should fix them. You can do that with The GIMP just as well as you can with Photoshop.

      More likely he needs to invest in some decent hardware in order to make the setup work to his satisfaction. Windows or a Mac might be necessary, but solve the first problem first. If he isn't a pro, he might be able to use Linux for this.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @10:24PM (#11013709) Homepage
        I AM where he is and I have a solution to his problem.

        no operating system on the planet is going to fix low end scanning hardware. Hell I even tried a $1200.00 agfa scanner and still had marginal results.

        the ONLY solution to scanning slides correctly is the $5200.00 FUJI slide and negative scanner.

        I am renting one for $80.00 a day from a local photographer that was willing to rent me his.

        I dont care if you have a cluster of Cray supercomputers, a flastbed scanner is going to do a crappy job at scanning slides.

        i have no idea why linux is even brought up in this question, it has nothing to do with an operating system and has everything to do with the scanning hardware you are using.

        It's like videotaping a wedding, if you use a $500.00 garbage palmcorder you will get a crappy wedding video. use a Canon XL1s or XL2 and you get quality video, shoot in 35mm film at 24fps with $150,000.00 lenses and you get fantastic.

        scanning with low end gets you low end images.

        Yes, a $1000.00 scanner is LOW END.
        • I think you're exaggerating a bit. A $500 film scanner is good enough for even serious amateurs. Sure, a $5000 scanner might theoretically deliver more quality... if your slides are that good! But I can tell you from experience that a $5000 scanner isn't really going to gain you anything over a $500 scanner unless your exposure was perfect and you had your camera bolted to a heavy-ass tripod. The resolution of a handheld shot tops out at about 9 megapixels.

          But you're quite right about one thing: the b

        • by twilightzero ( 244291 ) <[mrolfs] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @03:44AM (#11015647) Homepage Journal
          I HIGHLY agree with this post. While not a photographer myself at all, I've spent a large amount of time hanging around with a friend of mine who is a medical photographer. He shoots almost everything on slide film and makes slides of it, then scans it with the exact FUJI scanner you mentioned. I once asked him why he had that massive "hunk of junk" so he showed me the results he gets from other systems he had sitting around there. Face it, there was no comparison at all. Every last one of the other systems, even his "whoopty doo" Canon fancy shmancy do everything and then some scanner put out vastly inferior results.

          So sorry to break it to ya, but you need to get better hardware.
    • Re:Don't use linux (Score:5, Informative)

      by vought ( 160908 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @11:14PM (#11014098)
      As a just-separated IT Manager at one of the best digital labs in the United States, I can say unequivocally that linux does not fulfill any of our needs, except possibly as a server.

      Unfortunately, my job didn't allow me the time to climb that particular learning curve, and I stuck with Mac OS 9.x AppleShare (feature-poor, but fast and runs well on retired desktops) and Mac OS X Server 10.3. (It's a young business and doesn't choose to allocate IT capitol to the newest-and-bestest when we can recycle the dependable and cheap.)

      None of our Apprentice or Master Printers (staff members who use Photoshop more than 80% of the day) has the time or bandwidth (or inclination) to learn a completely new set of tools for the sake of using Linux.

      While the GIMP is a nice feature demo, it isn't nearly as capable as Photoshop in the areas we need it to be, like integrated color management, layer and type tools. Photoshop's feature and interface parity across platforms allow a consistent vocabulary of tools and actions for us and our customers.

      I think Linux is a fine product, but the more mature systems (Mac OS X to be exact in our case) are often cabable of serving sermi-vertical markets like professional photographer and photographic printers much better.

      Photography has a largely technophobic element of users; despite the photovested gear-queers and their toys, most photographers want effective, simple solutions. While Linux has made great strides in usability (no, really!), Windows and Mac OS X will continue to be the preferred operating systems for professional photographers for the forseeable future.
  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BlueCodeWarrior ( 638065 ) <steevk@gmail.com> on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:35PM (#11010955) Homepage
    I don't know what to tell you, other than my uncle is a professional photographer and he uses a Mac. Says it's a dream.
    • Re:Well... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Of course its a dream. He needs to wake up and get in touch with reality just like everybody else!

    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HappyClown ( 668699 )
      Maybe that post was flamebait, but you can't deny the guy has a point. If you really are a professional photographer you would have found the best software for your needs and then bought whatever hardware/OS it needed to run on. Trying to shoehorn in an operating system to a domain where it is likely to only bring you pain isn't a very smart business move to say the least.

      Kinda like a plumber who uses a stick of dynamite to unblock your toilet because he prefers blowing things up to using a plunger. Might
      • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by banzai51 ( 140396 )
        Poster states he doesn't have thousands upon thousands to spend. So Mac is out.

        what happened to Linux enabling you to do more while spending less?

        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jimbolaya ( 526861 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @07:33PM (#11012084) Homepage
          Let's just start with what we know: "thesun" says he's having trouble with color correction on his Linux box. This translates to, he's wasting time that he could be using to get his work done, get paid, and get the next freelance project. This would give him the money he needs to buy a Mac (and he need not spend thousands on one; a lower end or used one would suit him just fine. And with the additional business he should be able to get, he'll soon be able to afford a high end Mac, if he so chooses.

          It's foolish of him to lower the quality or pace of his work because of devotion to an operating system. This is true whether the operating system is represented by a piece of fruit, panes of glass, or an arctic bird.

        • Seriously- I bought a Nikon Coolscan 4000 off ebay for 500$. Slide adapter- comes free. Bulk feeder- 280$ - 390$.

          I used to work for Kodak. I know CM (Colour Management). I also know you've got to pony up to get to at least a basic level of hardware that is capable of doing something.

          Tell me, honestly, how is an Operating System going to affect how sharp your slide scanner is? Really- THINK ABOUT IT. One has NOTHING to do wit h the other. If you can't get sharp scans off your slide scanner, ebay it, throw it out, and stop wasting your time and buy something worth it.

          Trust me, you won't regret it.

          I wrote imaging chains for Drum scanners (8000lpi) and custom chains for other scanners, but they all had one thing in common: They were good pieces of equipment to begin with.

          Once you have a good, consistent scan, the CM is actually pretty easy- but come on back when you've got a good piece of equipment.
      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ichimunki ( 194887 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @07:01PM (#11011834)

        Maybe. But Free Software is more than just a "right tool for the job" decision, there could be other considerations. So there is some argument for using Free Software. Obviously it is foolish to target a profession in which all the digital tools are highly proprietary and then hope to be competitive using Free Software.

        As someone who has been heavy into photography since childhood, I would no more like to see my digital darkroom owned and controlled by a handful of corporations than I'd like to see my film cameras limited to only using one brand of film, or even having to bring the camera to the shop to get the film out and prints made. From that perspective, I would cheer wildly for anyone trying to do digital imaging work on Linux.

        Anyway... I don't think one can expect to get high quality scans off a $200 (or even $400) scanner with a film attachment, which is what the Asker seems to want to do. I have to wonder if that same scanner is known to work much better under Windows and the issue is drivers, or if the problem is just that the scanner is just cheap. I've always gotten my film scanned (before the advent of 4 megapixel digital cameras) by pros with high-end film scanners. This means my time investment is minimal and the results are likely to be better than anything I can manage at home. This is available for about 50 cents a slide. Which would be expensive for the Asker to do his "thousands," but the time savings and quality make up for it, imho.

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vasqzr ( 619165 ) <vasqzr@n[ ]cape.net ['ets' in gap]> on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:55PM (#11011223)
      A friend of mine was using his Powerbook (Firewire) to do professional photography for his uncles studio. He was scanning slides in with his Nikon slide scanner, and recording them to CD's.

      One day, the Powerbook quit recognizing the scanner. If you've worked with Macs (OS 9) you know how they can be. They 'just work'. But when something goes wrong...

      The first thing he tried was buying a SCSI card, and installing it in his new Compaq PC with Windows 2000. Downloaded the drivers, installed the scanner...seemed to work great untinl he tried to scan some slides. Only half the slide would show up. The whole thing would show up in the preview mode, however...

      After screwing around with Nikon support, re-installing the drivers, and even a fresh install of Windows, I joked that he should try it under Linux.

      We took the SCSI card out of the Compaq, and put it in a Pentium 166MMX he got from TigerDirect for $49.99. We loaded up Redhat, SANE recognized it, and everything worked perfectly on the very first try. Odd thing was, it ran faster than it did on the Powerbook.
      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

        by jridley ( 9305 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @07:49PM (#11012255)
        Certainly it ran faster than it did on the powerbook. That's because the Digital ICE is implemented in software, which wasn't happening under Linux. And Digital ICE is the whole reason you pay the premium for a Nikon scanner. It's practically magic. But it does slow things down.

        My Nikon is a bit of a pain to get running sometimes, but it's worth the time. Sorry about your experiences, though.
  • Sorry, Your screwed. (Score:5, Informative)

    by compbrain ( 625174 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:35PM (#11010961) Homepage Journal
    I took some slides for a yearbook production in town, and try as I may: Windoze, Linux, BeOS, anything, they all came out terrible. Using a flatbed scanner with Slide Adapter just doesnt produce great results. Period.
    • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:38PM (#11010999) Homepage Journal
      Correct. For quality results, you need a real slide scanner. They're much higher resolution and don't use any of the lame tricks that slide-adapters do.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I've worked under Linux with VueScan plenty, and have not had any significant problems (yes, Gimp doesn't do CYMK well, no matter how many plug-ins and kludges you balance on it).

        As mentioned elsewhere (parent and others), it's the scanner, especially looking at things like blurry images. Even when I get inconsistant colour out of a slide scanner, it is normally correctable with a little fudging of the colour channels. The crap that a normal scanner w/ attachment puts out either requires a huge amount of w
      • by JLavezzo ( 161308 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:59PM (#11011260) Homepage
        I've got a PrimeFILM scanner from Costco. Looks great. The one I have runs about $280 now (it was on sale at the time, about $150). They have the same one used at the University of Virginia's digial media center for $390.
    • by Tenebrious1 ( 530949 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:52PM (#11011172) Homepage
      Exactly. First rule of professionals; use the right tool. Buying professional class tools will pay for itself quickly, while cobbling together a hack (while cool in itself) wastes a lot of time and sometimes costs more in lost revenues.

      Professional class tools are expensive, no doubt about it. There's a reason for it, they're usually worth every penny. If you can't afford it, then you better figure out a way to save up the money. If you don't want to spend the money on professional tools, then you'd better rethink your goals.

    • by fireman sam ( 662213 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @06:14PM (#11011401) Homepage Journal
      This is exactly the type of answer that should be given to the question "I try to do this hardware related thing in Linux and it sux, so Linux sux"

      We should say,

      "How does the hardware work in Windows?"

      "Are you getting a better result or the same?"

      "If it is better, what software are you using in Linux and in Windows?" --> report to developers, test or improve the Linux software (if capable)

      "If it is the same, then it could very well be a limitation of the hardware in question and not in fact the software."

    • by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @06:31PM (#11011576) Homepage Journal

      "Using a flatbed scanner with Slide Adapter just doesnt produce great results."

      Indeed. I've used both flatbed and slide scanners, and the differences are pretty clear. Here's a photo [goofalicious.com] taken with a Nikon F80 using a 70-300 zoom lens that I scanned with a fairly expensive HP flatbed scanner and slide attachment.

      And here's one [moodindigo.ca] that I took using the same camera and lens, but scanned using a CanoScan FS 2710, a slide scanner that I got on sale for less than USD 400.

      Note also that the FS 2710 scans at very high optical resolution, meaning that I can print a 20" x 14" print at 300 dpi without enlarging the image. All these 150+ MB files do make storage an issue, but I'm happy to live with that in exchange for significantly better quality.

      • Here's a photo taken with a Nikon F80 using a 70-300 zoom lens that I scanned with a fairly expensive HP flatbed scanner and slide attachment.

        That's what you get for expecting a razor-sharp scan of a picture of fuzz [urbandictionary.com].

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:36PM (#11010966)
    Back when I was using a film scanner, I was using VueScan with good results - I think you would be fairly pleased, as it gives you a number of advanced options for scanner control. I am pretty sure that it works with flatbed scanners as well.

    They do sell a Linux client in addition to OSX and Windows, and the program has been around a long time.
  • ... and what we have found works great is slide scanners. You can find a fairly good one for about $1000 but Linux support is unknown.
  • This may help (Score:4, Informative)

    by wcitechnologies ( 836709 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:37PM (#11010987)
    This may be a good resource for you.

    http://www.linuxprinting.org/ [linuxprinting.org]

  • by upside ( 574799 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:38PM (#11010989) Journal
    A 10 second bout of googling [google.com] and I found The Gimp color manager [freecolormanagement.com] which lets you use ICC color profiles. You'll find the relevant profiles on your Epson driver disk.
    • P.S. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by upside ( 574799 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:43PM (#11011072) Journal
      May I suggest a new acronym to accompany RTFM? UTFSE [google.com] - for Use The Fine Search Engine.
    • by mean pun ( 717227 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @06:38PM (#11011641)
      A 10 second bout of googling and I found The Gimp color manager which lets you use ICC color profiles. You'll find the relevant profiles on your Epson driver disk.

      Ah yes, the use Google answer. Google is great, but after you've waded through all the websites with pre-alpha software and dead projects it is sometimes nice to just ask for someone who has been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.

      The website you point to is actually a good illustration. Just take a look at the first few paragraphs:


      Right, that means that the project website has not been updated for over four years. Inspires confidence, that.

      The source file color_manager.c contains the code for the Gimp Color Manager plugin. This plugin can be used to color correct images with ICC color profiles.

      Which means that you must be familiar with Gimp plugins, and it looks like there is no manual to help you integrate this in Gimp, or to explain its use. And how likely is it that this will work with modern versions of Gimp? Would you trust your color management to a piece of software in this state? Is it worthwile to even read this website any further, unless you want to modify the software?

      At this time the functionaliy is very limited, the plugin e.g. accepts only RGB images. There is more to come ...


      Don't get me wrong, it is very nice that someone has posted this software for all to use, but at some point you must be realistic.

      And it looks to me you picked the best of a rather sorry bunch of results from this particular google.

  • by StevisF ( 218566 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:39PM (#11011002)
    I've never gotten good results scanning slides using an adapter on a flat bed scanner. This could be your main problem. There are some lower priced slide scanners these days that produce good results. Canon makes a rather affordable slide scanner. Mid-hundreds, but not thousands. Another suggestion would be trying it under windows and seeing if that produces any better results. I think your hardware is more of a problem than your software though.
  • by jridley ( 9305 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:41PM (#11011039)
    ...is a joke. If you want any kind of decent results, you need a REAL film scanner. Check eBay.
    I wound up buying a Nikon LS30 for the several negatives images in my collection.

    The specs on a real film scanner as opposed to a flatbed are night and day. When a film scanner says it does X resolution, it's real. When a flatbed says it, it's probably some kind of interpolated crap marketing hype.

    The ratio of black to white on the scanned image is also vastly larger with a film scanner - this makes a big difference, particularly with slides. You're going to lose a lot of data if you don't have as wide a bit lattitude as you can get.

    In short, you're going to put a lot of time into scanning those slides. Don't sell short the value of your time. It's stupid to spend 500 to 1000 or more hours of your life using a piece of junk. Better off just not doing it until you have access to the proper equipment.

    Ask around. There may be people who can lend you a proper scanner. I've lent mine to several friends, since it's not like I use it all the time; I'm now completely digital. My scanner sits in its box for 6 months to a year at a time. It's possible you could find someone similar who might let you borrow it for a few months.
  • by God'sDuck ( 837829 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:42PM (#11011048)
    Until GIMP receives more power (features, interface) under the hood, or Adobe or Jasc start porting their products, professional photographers CAN'T use Linux. Whatever Linuxies may claim, those of us generating 2000+ images per month can't make any sacrifices in our workflow. Die-hard Linux users are well advised to use a little Wine http://www.winehq.com/ [winehq.com] with their photo processing...

    As for scanning - I agree with the above - Vuescan is great on Macs.
    • by BrianJacksonPhoto ( 825904 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @07:02PM (#11011837) Homepage
      "professional photographers CAN'T use Linux. "

      Are you nuts?!? Pro photographers can't use Linux? What can't they do? I guess I haven't really been a professional all this time.

      We average 3500 photos a month with the max of 16000 and ALL of it has been on Linux (SuSE in particular) for nearly 3 years.

      What exactly do I need to run on windose or a mac? iPhoto is a nifty tool, but not needed, Photoshop...The GIMP works just fine.

      Now, I no longer futz with chromes and haven't scanned anything in quite some time, so maybe you got me there. I also don't do any MF work. Been shooting with the Canon 1D for over 2 1/2 years.

      Now I do admit that NeatImage and NoiseNinja are great products and I do use them when I have to shoot in ungawdly dark venues that I can't strobe. Work fine under wine, you're right on that point. It would be great if those products could run natively, but until then, the once every 2 months that I need it... wine it is.

      The workflow that I use, gets me through a rough edit of 100 images in 4-5 minutes(cull, rotate, rename, watermark, IPTC keywords, resizing for web display, and copyrighting). http://actionathletics.com/actionimage/ [actionathletics.com] ActionImage moves through images fast!

      Prepping images for printing or submition... looking at a recent folder, 1-2 minutes per image, I'd say that's not bad.

      So, what exactly is it that makes you say "professional photographers CAN'T use Linux"? What else do I need?
  • Reinvent the wheel (Score:2, Informative)

    by medazinol ( 540033 )
    Sorry but reality is that Photoshop is not available on Linux (yet) so trying to use GIMP to do this is not the best route to take. Your best bet is to get a Mac and Photoshop and have most of the benefits of LInux (UNIX underpinnings) and the ability to run popular commercial software. P.S. Some Macs are not that expensive. I downgraded to a 20" iMac G5 from a dual CPU G5 and I don't miss the extra speed, saved a bunch as well.
  • Pro Photographers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PhunkySchtuff ( 208108 ) <.ua.moc.acitamotua. .ta. .iak.> on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:43PM (#11011058) Homepage
    There's a famous quote that gets thrown around quite a bit:
    "Linux is free only if your time has no value" - Jamie Zawinski

    If you are truly a pro photographer than you time is worth a lot more than the purchase price of a decent iMac [apple.com] You charge for your time, it's your most valuable resource. Why waste it trying to do things the hard way?
    Why use the wrong tool for the job?
    Linux (and other free unices) have their time and place, but as a professional photography scanning and retouching system it's just not ready yet.
    Does the GIMP even use ICC profiles?
    • "Linux is free only if your time has no value" - Jamie Zawinski

      No offense to Mr Zawinski, but that's kind of a clueless statement in 2004, even though it may have sounded cute and clever, and I'm sure he must have had some reason for saying it at the time. (1994 or so?)

      The reason I use linux is that my time DOES have value. I can afford to by whatever tools I need for the job, and I can certainly afford any of the OSes mentioned here, cost is not even remotely an issue. But I buy and use Linux, and it se
    • myth (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jeif1k ( 809151 )
      If you are truly a pro photographer than you time is worth a lot more than the purchase price of a decent iMac

      And how is that going to help him save time? His flatbed scanner is still going to give him lousy quality. He still has to carry out color calibration for whatever capture device he uses. And he still has manually post-processs each slide.

      Actually, with the Mac he is going to be worse off. For the price of an iMac, he could get a much more powerful Linux machine. Before he can do anything, he
  • Sorry (Score:2, Funny)

    by Oz0ne ( 13272 )
    Linux doesn't come close to comparing with windows or a mac in photo utilities. It's a shame too.

    Gimp is nice, and making progress but it's still lightyears behind photoshop.

    As far as hardware, reference photo.net. They will point you in the right direction for scanning in your slides.
  • by dmaxwell ( 43234 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:46PM (#11011098)
    I have NEVER seen the cheesy slide attachments that come with flatbed scanners work well. There is a way to get passable results without spending a ton of money.

    Project your slides onto good screen with an overhead projector and take pictures with a digital camera. You'll want to disable the flash for this. Are the results as good as a dedicated slide scanner? No. Will it look better than what comes out of your scanner attachment? Absolutely.
  • by Brian Ristuccia ( 2238 ) <brianr-slashdotspam@osiris.978.org> on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:47PM (#11011107) Homepage
    The focus and color problems you're having are not related to your choice of operating system or software, but with your scanner. If you can't get the slide adaptor to hold the slide so it's in focus, there's no chance of getting good scans regardless of the software you choose.

    Like many folks here have said, you'll have a much better time using a real slide scanner. There's a good number of such devices supported by SANE - see http://www.sane-project.org/sane-supported-devices .html [sane-project.org]. You should be able to find some of the older ones are more affordable used (check eBay) and even though they're not cutting edge will still generate much better results than an adaptor on a flatbed.

    Failing that, rent or borrow a good slide scanner, or have a service bureau scan your slides on their equipment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:49PM (#11011140)
    All I have is a rusted-out Schwinn bicycle. I'm too cheap to buy one of those newfangled "automobiles" or "motorcycles."

    There must be a way to make a shitty bicycle do what I want. I'm willing to put any amount of time into this project but not any real money; that's because my time isn't worth anything. Tell me how to do it!
  • Nope, not really.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by adturner ( 6453 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:53PM (#11011191) Homepage
    If you want your entire workflow calibrated for WYSIWYG color output, I don't think you'll find it. About a year ago I bought a Canon 10D and wanted:

    1) Linux based RAW to TIFF converter
    2) Linux monitor calibration
    3) ICC support for printing

    I was able to find a free tool to do the RAW conversion, but I was disappointed with the output. Color's were washed out because it didn't understand colorspaces and there were no controls for adjusting exposure (one of the big selling points of using RAW).

    I was unable to find any Spyder (hardware to calibrate your monitor) which worked with Linux. If you have *really* good eyes, you might be able to do it via software, but I found the results were completely inconsistant for generating prints.

    There was some limited ICC printer support in Gimp, but Gimp is no Photoshop. Don't get me wrong, Gimp is a great tool and is of commerical quality, but PS is *much* more advanced and has a much larger user community around it providing free and commerical plugins as well as help on retouching photos.

    Basically, if you're only interested in posting on the web in sRGB @ 72dpi, then Linux is probably good enough for your needs. People who are viewing the images won't have their monitors properly calibrated anyways, so it won't really matter. But once you want photo quality output, your best platform is still a Mac (I ended up getting a G5 1.8 and Cinema HD LCD) with Windows a close second.
  • by jackelfish ( 831732 ) * on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:57PM (#11011242)
    I have used the Epson 2400 with transparency adapter and could not even fathom scanning "thousands" of slides with it. From my experience a scan took about 3 minutes. Thats almost 2 days of solid scaning for a thousand slides.My scanner is hooked up to windows and uses the Epson color correction software and gives adequate results (far from the professional results you mention). As such, I would not throw away the slides and use the digital files as replacements though. You will not get away from the blurry, scratched images that this scanner will produce.What you need to do is look into a real slide/negative scanner such as a Minolta Dimage or the like, with digital ice dust and scratch removal built into the scanner itself. For the amount of slides you mention you would also be wise to look into an autofeeder. I am not sure about Linux support for these types of scanners, but you may want to think about investing in a new G5 and Photoshop (you can run Gimp if you dont want to shell out for Photoshop, but Photoshop is superior and well worth the money if you are doing lots of photo manipulation). However, if you are really serious about the professional side of things then you are going to need to shell out some cash, linux and an epson flatbed are not going to cut it for you. Alternatively, find a photo studio with the scanner and pay them to do it for you.
  • by dingDaShan ( 818817 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @05:58PM (#11011253)
    I work for the Michigan Daily, and I have had experience using linux with my photo equipment. I use all digital cameras, a nikon d2h and a nikon d70. The problem with linux is the photo manipulation software. Currently the gimp is only 8 bit color. The color features of the gimp leave a lot to be desired for a photog. A must have is a mac or pc with photoshop. The linux platform is making steps, but currently there are too many problems.
    • Currently the gimp is only 8 bit color.

      I'm not sure what you mean by 8 bit here. 8x3 (RGB) maybe and an alpha channel. But gimp is far beyond 64 colors.
  • I'm sorry... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ultramk ( 470198 ) <ultramk&pacbell,net> on Monday December 06, 2004 @06:00PM (#11011275)
    This is going to be said by a lot of people here...

    There's nothing Linux (or any other OS, for that matter) can do to allow you to get a good-quality image out of a half-assed trans adapter on a flatbed scanner.

    I have seen ok images come out of a trans adapter... but those were large-format negatives, and they were still only really good for comps.

    Repeat after me:
    There's no replacement for a slide scanner.
    There's no replacement for a slide scanner.
    There's no replacement for a slide scanner.

    I bought a dimage slide scanner, and I haven't looked back. If you're serious, $250 is not expensive. [bizrate.com]

    I'm sure there are people who consider GIMP to be completely usable, better than photoshop, etc etc. I can't really speak to that. I use photoshop about 5 hours a day, and on those occasions where I have tried GIMP, I was not favorably impressed. It struck me as being a program designed by people who have never actually had to use that sort of software. I'm not denigrating the project, but I won't sacrifice speed, flexibility, quality and my own sanity in order to make some point about open source. ...but like I said, photoshop pays my mortgage. I'm not unbiased.

    • Re:I'm sorry... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by drew ( 2081 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:09PM (#11012456) Homepage
      It struck me as being a program designed by people who have never actually had to use that sort of software.

      around the time gimp 1.1 was in development, i read an interview with one of the original GIMP developers where he stated that not only had he never used photoshop, he had only seen it once when a college buddy was using it to remove the clothes from (iirc) cindy crawford. the original developers haven't coded on the GIMP since pre-1.0, so i have not idea how much of that heritage still remains, but your impression is correct, or at least was at one point in time. i can't speak to the current state of the GIMP as i have not used it much since version 1.2.
  • by AntiGenX ( 589768 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @06:01PM (#11011284)
    OK, so Linux can do what you need to do as far as processing goes. That fact should not be in dispute. Your real problem is not software. It is in your scanner.

    I have an Epson 2450 Photo and I've found that scanning any type of film, positive or negative, is abysmal at best. The problem lies in the focal plane of the scanner. Becuase the scanner does not refocus properly on the image it cannot get a crisp scan. What I did to *improve* my film scanning was to build a little test rig out of thin cardboard like the kind off of the back a notepad. Basically, I stacked overlaping layers ranging from directly on the glass to 3-4 millimeters above the glass so I could figure out where the focal plane was on the scanner. If I remember correctly, the film adapters hold the film about 2mm off the glass, but I discovered I got crisper scans at 3mm. Consequently, I had to build little 1mm shims to hold my film adapter up a little higher.

    Aside from that, the *unsharp mask* is your best friend. Any digitally acquired image should have an unsharp mask applied to it to help reduce the digital artifacts. In fact film is often treated the same way to reduce the appearance of the film grain. Don't set it and forget it, different photographs will need different values in the unsharp mask. Experiment and you'll get the hang of it.

    I have to point out, if you want to be a professional then you need to invest in a true film scanner. That's the only way you're really going to get crisp scans. You don't need to drop $10,000 on an oil mount drum scanner. Read Epinions or some other review site. Check ebay for some used models. Get the highest DPI you can afford (or the lowest you can tolerate). Also, make sure you buy something with a fast interface. USB v1 sucks, SCSI is ok, USB v2 is better, Firewire (IEEE 1394) is the best.

    Hope that helped! If you need more deatils on how to build the cardboard test appaeratus let me know and I will post in more detail.

  • by 5Wresistor ( 659626 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @06:01PM (#11011285)
    Although I am a diehard penguin fan, there are just some aps that ought to be ported over, but aren't.

    Sigh. I do a lot of medium and large format transparencies and they get scanned in with a Canon DU2400.

    For the run of the mill, knock off, transparecies they are adequate without haveing to resort to a 10K$ drum scanner, or a 20K$ digital back for the 4X5. The 2400 dpi in a 4X5 transparency is "good enough" for most interactions with the customer. IF higher definition is required well then I can send it out for a drum scan.

    Such as it is, I still keep windoze around for both photoshop and premire. Sigh.

    Note that my jpegs run over 100 Mbyte/image with this. And I am NOT doing 35mm images. These are full blown, commercial shots.
  • slide conversion (Score:3, Informative)

    by jeif1k ( 809151 ) on Monday December 06, 2004 @08:01PM (#11012370)
    (Sorry, I can't dump thousands into a piece of hardware---I'm looking for a way to make the most of my Epson Perfection 2400 with transparency adapter)."

    A transparency adapter on an Epson 2400 or most other consumer scanners will not give you acceptable quality, not under Linux and not under Windows. If you want low-cost slide scanning that is of reasonable quality, your best bet is to put a slide adapter on a digital camera. But the only way to get good slide scans it to get a slide scanner.

    For color correction, LCMS is a good bet. You can calibrate it using a digital capture of an image with known colors on (the SCARSE package helps you with that). Don't expect hand holding: you actually have to know what you are doing in order to use LCMS. The good news is that it is an excellent and flexible CMS and that batch processing is easy. (You can get a plugin for LCMS for the Gimp, but that is probably not the best way of using it.)

    Getting good scans of slides is a lot of work, on any platform. Every slide will take some manual work to post-process. That's why commercial slide scanning costs so much money. One big area is dust and scratch removal, which is why scanners with automatic dust/scratch removal are so popular.

    Note that the big strength of Linux is the large number of powerful and high-quality image processing software available for it (in particular, scientific image processing), and the way you can easily combine that software through scripting. A good place to start is to look for image-related packages on your Linux distribution (Debian has pretty good coverage).
  • by Tsu Dho Nimh ( 663417 ) <abacaxi@NosPam.hotmail.com> on Monday December 06, 2004 @10:28PM (#11013733)
    I'm using an Epson 2400 to scan various negatives and slides. I'm using Windows 2000 and the latest Epson driver from their site. It's SLOW!!!!!

    To be harshly realistic, even the highest resolution scans are lower quality than they would be if I had a $500 dedicated film or slide scanner, and everything requires some color correction, but these are headed for the web, or casual printing, not publication in any sort of consumer magazine. As placeholders and comping they would be useful.

    • Make sure you are scanning with the correct side of the film towards the camera.
    • Make sure the film and scanner glass is clean
    • Edit the collection with a slide projector and get rid of the ones that start out blurry.
    • Make sure the slide holder is installed right.
    • Take the time to make sure the focal length of the scanner (they have one, it's just real short) matches the plane the slides are in.
  • Yes and No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lord Apathy ( 584315 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:49AM (#11015174)

    Can you use linux for digital photography, yes you can. Can you get the best results using linux? No, you can't. The fact is most, if not all, drivers for photographic equipment are written for windows and macs.

    I'm sure that a determined amature could push the limits under linux and get acceptable results, but they will not be as good as under windows. My current photographic printers are the Canon i9900 and Epson Phto R300. Both of them us very complex drivers to get their photographic outputs. Both of these printers do professional level prints that would be unavailable without the dedicated drivers.

    I don't know of any camera manufacturer that makes linux drivers ether I know there are none available for my Nikon D70 or Sony DSC-828. Without these drivers you can't talk to the camera through the built in USB ports. Of course there really is no reason to do so. Everyone that is serous about photography uses an external card reader instead of hooking up their camera right to the computer. Hell, I've never hooked ether of my camera's up the any computer.

    Gimp is a fine tool for what it does. But trying to use it for professional level work woudl be very fustrating. I is an excellent graphics program but it is no where near the level of Photoshop CS. Anyone who says it is simply doesn't know how to use photoshop or has no clue what they are talking about.

    Photoshop also supports a wide range of 3rd party plugins too. These plugins are not going to be available under linux. For most among these plugins are ones that let you read and manpulate RAW camara images. Simply put, with out the abliltiy to use RAW images you will be limited to JPEGS, limiting the most powerful features of these cameras. There are some GNU plugins for some cameras but most of those are limited in the scope of what they can do.

    In short, you can use linux but true professional level results will not be available to you.

  • Ignore this idiot. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Max Threshold ( 540114 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:35AM (#11015378)
    He's using a flatbed scanner with an adapter, and he's concerned about quality. Hello?

    To put this in terms non-photo geeks might understand:

    Dear Slashdot,

    I'm looking for a way to optimize my EGA monitor for HL2. Please don't tell me to buy a better computer, I can't afford it right now.


  • Photo tools in Linux (Score:4, Informative)

    by James Youngman ( 3732 ) <jayNO@SPAMgnu.org> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @04:42AM (#11015869) Homepage
    Firstly, my experience also bears out the "use a real slide scanner" response. These days I use a Nikon Coolscan V. The TIF files come out at about 138Mb. I'm a Linux zealot, it must be said (I maintain findutils, for example) but I have a laptop that runs Windows which work provides, and for photo work I use that, with Nikon Scan and Photoshop Elements.

    I've found that VueScan [hamrick.com] (not Free software, but it does work under Linux and there is an edition that costs nothing) gives good results, and the multi-scan feature is especially good. However, there are two problems with using Linux downstream from that point. Firstly, the GIMP doesn't support colour depths greater than 8 bits, while my slide scanner produces 14 bits of colour depth (or 8 if you don't want 14). It's a shame to have to throw away those extra 18 bits of information per pixel.

    Having said this, Photoshop Elements has the same limitation, though I'm sure that the premium Photoshop product does not. The Nikon scan tools don't. I use Photoshop Elements but not GIMP. The reaon why is a bit hard to pin down but it comes down to usability. The layering and selection tools in Photoshop Elements are more suited to doing photo manipulation than the ones in GIMP. Also, if you have a complex selection, Photoshop Elements is noticably more responsive on Windows than GIMP is on Linux on the same hardware. GIMP isn't actually sluggish, but PhotoSchop is more responsive and hence certainly easier to use.

    I use Linux for exerything else (except a few bits at work) and I wish this wasn't true, but I find that Windows is indeed a better platform for photo work. That's ignoring the whole area of printing, too. Finding a printer that produces high-quality results which works under Linux is easy; finding one that the vendors still sell is much harder. I don't have a lot of time to devote to that search, so I haven't bought a printer yet.

    In fact, I wish there were businesses that would sell "Lilnux compatible" hardware. I wouldn't look for support, and I'd pay a premium. I'd just like to be able to buy stuff from someone who can say "I got it to work with Linux".

  • by Zapdos ( 70654 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @07:39AM (#11016455)
    you can find it here [bibblelabs.com] It has native linux support. If you want a free product you can look at CinePaint [sourceforge.net]

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.