25 Replies Latest reply on Apr 8, 2007 6:11 AM by (Andrew_Rodney)

    scanner raw file support

      The VueScan support page claims that it can output Raw DNG
      files readable by Lightroom. Since it is not available in the
      demo version I have not been able to "test before buying".

      Has anyone tried this? Is this a lossless format which Lightroom
      handles equally well as various camera raw files?

      Is there other scanner software capable of this? Or that does a better
      job? Why does not Lightroom provide a list of compatible
      scanners similar to the ones for camera raw files?
        • 1. Re: scanner raw file support
          Level 1
          Scanner RAW files are a little different from Camera RAW files. It is actually the scanning software that allows the RAW files to be created, not the scanner. If I'm correct, I believe that a scanner scans with a set exposure. Any settings that you apply to the scan are actually processed after the scanning happens by the scanning software. When you have software, such as Vuescan, Nikon scanning software, or the Quicksilver software (I think that's its name), it allows that RAW data to be saved as a linear TIF or other "RAW" format, untouched by the software. This is similar to a RAW file from a camera, as it is unprocessed information and is saved in a quality format to allow later post-processing with higher quality results.

          Lightroom doesn't provide a list of scanners because, as I understand it, all scanners can provide the "RAW" image, but only if the software allows it (and very few pieces of software do, with the software mentioned above being the only ones I know of). This is usually a documented file format and can be opened by most image processing programs, so there is no need to document if a program can or cannot open it.

          I have used Vuescan to create RAW images in a linear TIF format (my current version doesn't allow me to do DNG's). I then import it into LR and convert to DNG. This seems to work well, the DNG losslessly compresses the image and packages it with the metadata "instructions", "keywords", etc. . . It works much like it does with camera RAW files or 16 bit TIF's.
          • 2. Re: scanner raw file support
            Level 1
            Vuescan is Shareware. You should be able to try before buy. You didn't say PC or Mac, but if Mac try at VueScan Drivers.

            MVC! Don Ricklin, MacBook 1.83Ghz Duo 2 Core running 10.4.8 & Win XP, Pentax *ist D
            • 3. Re: scanner raw file support
              Level 1
              You can try before you buy, but the RAW format option is a premium version feature and only available when you unlock it with your serial number/ registration information.
              • 4. Re: scanner raw file support
                Level 1

                So with your info, hopefully the OP is good to go.

                MVC! Don Ricklin, MacBook 1.83Ghz Duo 2 Core running 10.4.8 & Win XP, Pentax *ist D
                • 5. Re: scanner raw file support
                  Level 1
                  I've tried this with negative scan and then the DNG show up in LR as a negative picture. I seem like this is most usefull for dias or scanning of print.
                  • 6. Re: scanner raw file support
                    Level 1
                    Try installing this preset and use it with your negative scans.


                    It seems to work well. You may have to adjust the white balance to get it right, but it will invert it for you (I mostly scan prints, but I quick tested this out the other day with a negative and it seemed to work). Let us know how this works.
                    • 7. Re: scanner raw file support
                      (Andrew_Rodney) Level 1
                      What do they mean by scanner Raw? Scanners use a trilinear CCD so they are producing true RGB color data. We may not know the exact color space and the RGB data may be linearly encoded (gamma 1.0) but that's not 'raw' like a single shot digital camera that produces a Grayscale raw file, after which we need a converter like LR to produce a rendered RGB image.

                      Scanner raw sounds more like marketing hype than reality. Are they referring to the true RGB data produced by the trilinear CCD?
                      • 8. Re: scanner raw file support
                        Level 1
                        What you say above is what I assume is meant when referring to a RAW scan file (the true RGB data in a linear encoded file). As I understand it, all the settings you see in the software when you use a scanner do not matter to the scanning hardware. The scanning hardware only has a resolution setting. All of the other stuff is applied after the scan by the software. It is similar to how a camera processes a JPG after it takes a photo. A raw file from a scanner is just that unprocessed image, and since it is unprocessed and in linear format, you have a little more editing room later by using that format. I don't really understand all of the technical stuff about it, such as "trilinear CCD", etc . . . but this is my understanding and you are correct . . . a "RAW" image from a scanner is much different than the "raw" image from a digital camera, but the comparison is similar, IMO.

                        If there are any scanning experts out there that can give some more guidance, that would be appreciated . . . the information I've presented is my best understanding, but I admit I am no expert (which is why much of what I have said is prefaced by "I think", "I believe", "I assume", etc . . .).
                        • 9. Re: scanner raw file support
                          (Andrew_Rodney) Level 1
                          -->If there are any scanning experts out there that can give some more guidance, that would be appreciated

                          Don's the man:

                          Don Hutchenson
                          Hutchenson Consulting
                          11 Turnburry Rd
                          Washington, NJ 07882
                          • 10. Re: scanner raw file support
                            I use VueScan to produce DNGs from my Nikon Coolscan 500ED that are managed and developed in LR very well. Or, at least as well as LR handles my NEFs.

                            You should be good to go. Feel free to ping me with any specific questions.
                            • 11. Re: scanner raw file support
                              Level 1

                              With regards to the "Scanner RAW". VueScan also has the ability to save the "hardware processed" version or the true raw sensor data. The "hardware processed" includes the grain and IR cleaning.

                              In my case I scan on a Nikon Coolscan 5000ED and have IR cleaning and grain reduction set to "light". I then save this version as the "Scanner RAW" file as a .DNG and import into LR.

                              For general output processing for my stock work I then develop in LR and export a TIFF. The TIFF is worked on by a droplet in CS2 which:
                              1. Runs a NoiseNinja pass using auto profiling, no sharpening, and a minimal setting for noise reduction strength.
                              2. Sets the Copyright flag.
                              3. Saves as a JPEG with no user defined compression.

                              I use the same flow on my NEFs from the "develop in LR" onwards.

                              • 12. Re: scanner raw file support
                                (Andrew_Rodney) Level 1
                                Well I kind of disllike the term raw in this context. Lots and lots of scanners provided this over the years. You're essentially talking about the original RGB data from the CCD or PMT and you need a device profile to view it and handle it properly. Sounds like raw is becoming the new buzzword for getting photographers attention these days.
                                • 13. Re: scanner raw file support
                                  Level 1
                                  DNG gets you around the need for the device profile, bypassing that whole proprietary format issue. VueScan can also same in a non-DNG file that can be used for later processing (WB, sharpening, crop, etc.) within VueScan if you want to. The ability to now use .DNG with the product means that we can now use other processing engines to work on the RAW file.

                                  And, yes, RAW is the buzzword for those of us who like to control when, how, and what product we use for manipulating our sensor data. RAW is the equivalent in the digital world of not having a polaroid camera.

                                  • 14. Re: scanner raw file support
                                    (Andrew_Rodney) Level 1
                                    DNG is just a format container. I don't see how it could possibly bypass the need for a profile. But I've never converted an existing rendered file to DNG (until there's a way to store multiple rendering instructions in there, I see no need). I DO convert all my raw's to DNG since I don't want sidecar files, I get a smaller file and it's in an open format with a better embedded thumbnail. I'm not sure what converting a rendered image into a DNG brings to the party today.

                                    Again, until we have multiple instruction based editing for rendered images, I don't handle any of this in an application like LR but rather use Photoshop. I keep rendered images in the LR database but don't use any of the stuff in Develop. That could change. And I'm not sure if taking an existing rendered gamma corrected image, converting it to a linear gamma to edit it then convert again to a gamma corrected space is such a great idea but I'm willing to see the light.
                                    • 15. Re: scanner raw file support
                                      Level 1

                                      Have you tried this workflow with scanned negatives?

                                      If so, do you get as good result with LR than with VueScan? Or do you get less because of missing profiles for different film types?

                                      • 16. Re: scanner raw file support
                                        Level 1
                                        I don't know what to make of all your input. I need to digest it
                                        for awhile. I am still trying to figure out a workflow that would
                                        suit me. I import camera raw files from a Canon Powershot G6
                                        into LR and have purchased an Epson Perfection V700 Photo to scan
                                        my slides and negatives. I am looking for the scanning software which
                                        would work best for me,if I want to import the scanned files into LR
                                        as well. I was assuming that the DNG raw format would give me similar
                                        advantages as the camera raw file.

                                        I can however share the response from Ed Hamrick,
                                        the author of VueScan, when I asked him if VueScan's Raw DNG file
                                        format is a lossless format.

                                        "Yes, it's completely lossless. It's identical to the normal TIFF raw files, except that it also has the color correction matrix and a gamma lookup table. It's a standard DNG format, with the added benefit that it can be read as a normal TIFF file by VueScan."
                                        • 17. Re: scanner raw file support
                                          Level 1

                                          I don't shoot negatives, so I can't say. All of my scanned work is transparancies. I can see that there could be a good benefit from all of Ed Hamrick's work in getting those negative color profiles down for conversion purposes.
                                          • 18. Re: scanner raw file support
                                            don solomon Level 1

                                            I use two V750s and find Silverfast HDR to be better for 'RAW' scans--as they are called, as well as a better implementation for these particular scanners in general (plus faster, better Gui for pro workflow, but certainly far more expensive)--and I empahsize that Silverfast is scanner specific software, and with some scanners the results are simply better than Vuescan--and that is not to knock Vuescan. I have used it extensively on previous specific scanners with better results than Silverfast--just not on V750s. It is just very hard to cover hundreds and hundreds of scanners equally well with one code set.

                                            But, back to the question about Scanner Raw. My understanding is that DNG is just a variant 'Tiff' container. The Adobe DNG converter will also convert the 'RAW' Tiff output files from both Silverfast and Vuescan. I like using it better because it is more configurable, and, correct me someone if I am missing something, it appears to produce the same result. And additional step of course.
                                            • 19. Re: scanner raw file support
                                              Level 1
                                              If you IT8 target your scanner in VueScan, then VueScan takes the RAW RGB data from your scanner, and then converts it to LAB values based on the device profile (made from IT8 targeting), right? And then converts from that to the output RGB space (sRGB, ProPhoto RGB, what have you)?

                                              So if you save a RAW output, as is being touted around now, does that mean that no conversion/interpretation is done by VueScan, essentially rendering defunct your entire IT8 targeting process?

                                              Doesn't make much sense to me. But, then again, VueScan itself never made much sense to me. Yet I still [try to] use it.

                                              • 20. Re: scanner raw file support
                                                ArrrBee Level 1
                                                You can not get a true (as in digital camera like) raw file from any
                                                scanner. All of the files no matter what the extension are bitmap images and
                                                not raw data like a digital camera does.

                                                • 21. Re: scanner raw file support
                                                  Level 1
                                                  It's funny, you guys talk about the "RAW" file from a scanner as if it's something new and that it's being thrown about because of (or the terminology is the result of) the "RAW" files from digital cameras and their current popularity. "RAW" files for scanners have been around for a long time . . . much longer than the current "RAW" craze for digital cameras. Nikon scanners and their associated software have been able to scan into a "RAW" file for many, many years. It may not be the same technology as a "RAW" file from a digital camera, but that doesn't discredit it as a viable format. Now I'm no expert on this, but I have worked with it for quite a while and from my experience, because there are no settings applied after the scan (similar to how a RAW file from a digital camera doesn't get any in-camera processing after it is taken), the quality I get is much better and allows me to utilize other (and better) tools to get the final image I want. In essence, the "RAW" scanner file is a digital version of the actual scan. You can open it and re-process it as if you were rescanning the image and using different processing parameters (such as levels, curves, color balance, etc). The general concept about a "RAW" scanner file is the same as a "RAW" camera file: It is unprocessed information that allows greater flexibility and quality in the end.

                                                  Also, since it seems most of us are guessing about this and approaching it from the wrong perspective (basically not understanding what is meant by "Scanner RAW" because we're so used to "Camera RAW" and they are really 2 different things, with "Scanner RAW" actually being around much longer than the current "RAW" craze and not being "created by marketing departments because RAW is a current buzz word"), I suggest if you have specific or technical questions we should ask someone such as the creator of Vuescan about it. I'm sure he could give us insight into what "Scanner RAW" really is, how it is achieved, how it can or cannot function with regards to IT8 profiles, etc . ..

                                                  His email can be found on this page:

                                                  Or as Andrew Rodney pointed out above, we could contact Don H. . . it seems he is quite the expert, as well:
                                                  Don Hutchenson
                                                  Hutchenson Consulting
                                                  11 Turnburry Rd
                                                  Washington, NJ 07882

                                                  If those of you with questions that we can't answer (or we are guessing about) decide to email him, please come back and post the question with his responded answer for the rest of us, so we can all continue to learn together. It seems to me that this could be quite helpful.

                                                  (By the way, I hope this doesn't come off as sounding like a ***** or that I'm "flaming" anyone . . . it just seems to me that we all have a lot of questions about this and no one really truly understands it and knows the complete answers. I may be completely wrong, but this is how I see it and what my understanding of "Scanner RAW" is. As I've said before, I'm no expert, so I very well could be wrong. Hopefully, someone who is an expert and fully understands the technology and concepts of "Scanner RAW" can help us all out)
                                                  • 22. Re: scanner raw file support
                                                    Level 1
                                                    Dude, you're absolutely right.

                                                    I'll fire off an e-mail to Ed Hamrick.

                                                    I think the only reason I was discouraged to do so earlier on was because I got a non-committal/ignorant answer from him last time I asked him about why VueScan's preview window didn't seem to be color-managed (i.e. didn't perform proper conversion to the display profile).

                                                    RAW converters need some sort of information about the camera that shot the RAW file. Therefore, a true RAW file (raw RGB data from the scanner) coming from VueScan would really need some sort of scanner profile in order to interpret those RGB values in terms of the LAB profile connection space.

                                                    That's why I was worried about the whole 'RAW' file from a scanner...

                                                    Thanks for the jumpstart anyway.

                                                    • 23. Re: scanner raw file support
                                                      (Andrew_Rodney) Level 1
                                                      Agreed. Camera Raw and Scanner Raw only share the word raw. One is a true RGB rendered image from a trilinear CCD. The other is a Grayscale file that truly is 'raw' in the strictest sense. Its not an image we could view, its not in color. Yes, scanner raw has been around a lot longer. Its important for users to understand the enormous differences in the two raws!
                                                      • 24. Re: scanner raw file support
                                                        ArrrBee Level 1
                                                        No it is just that with digital camera RAW files being all of the rave the
                                                        scanner and scanner software makers are throwing their RAW around as
                                                        marketing gimmicks hoping to sucker in some new customers that don't full
                                                        understand the difference. Photoshop lets you save a "raw image" using the
                                                        save as dialog box, but it isn't a raw image like most people think it is a
                                                        binary raw and nothing like that from a digital camera. This alone has
                                                        caused a lot of confusion as novice and less advanced users think it allows
                                                        them to save a camera raw file.

                                                        We only chime in when people don't clarifty their meaning of either
                                                        Photoshops raw (the binary raw) or that of the scanners. People need to
                                                        understand not be confused and upset.

                                                        As for those that know all of this already that is great. But, a lot of
                                                        people don't. Scanner and scanner software publishers should not be using
                                                        RAW at all and it should be left for digital cameras only. These you can use
                                                        something else. But, then marketing doesn't sound as good. Adobe also should
                                                        change the name of the binary raw in Photoshop for the same reason. Though
                                                        at least Adobe doesn't push it as a marketing thing.

                                                        • 25. Re: scanner raw file support
                                                          ArrrBee Level 1
                                                          Also, it doesn't matter that scanner RAW has been around for a long time. It
                                                          is now how the companies are using it trick people. It is just wrong and
                                                          besides you can ask 100,000 people what RAW in digital imaging and 99.9999
                                                          percent will say digital camera that alone means the scanner people need to
                                                          come up with something else unless their goal is to confuse and cheat.