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November 5 , 2007
Q) I’m still shooting film, though the switch to digital seems inevitable. I’ve been considering purchasing a Nikon Coolscan film scanner to convert slides to digital files and start learning Photoshop. Some of my older slides are Kodachrome; I read recently that Kodachrome doesn’t scan well because of the high silver content, and that Digital ICE doesn’t handle it well. Is the problem with the scan or the ICE process? Can ICE be switched off when scanning?
Via the Internet
A) Kodachrome slides can be scanned with the Nikon Coolscan V ED or Super Coolscan 5000 ED scanners, but one of their best features, Digital ICE, doesn’t work well on Kodachrome. The Digital ICE process can be turned on and off, however, and you’ll need to “tell” the scanner you’re working on Kodachrome. What this means is that even though you can acquire excellent scans from your older images, they will need to be carefully cleaned before scanning, and expect to do a fair amount of cloning work in Photoshop to remove the inevitable dust spots
The image shown here is the oldest image in my California poppy book, Golden Poppies of California. It’s a 35mm Kodachrome II slide that I scanned with the Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED. Because it was an old Kodachrome, much of the cleaning up of the dust spots in the image was done in Photoshop.