SilverFast RAW HDR + Negative Lab Pro workflow (new v2.1)

Good news for SilverFast users…

RAW SilverFast scans are now officially supported in Negative Lab Pro (As of Negative Lab Pro v2.1) :clap: :clap: :clap:

The quick guide below will show you how you can use SilverFast to capture your scans as RAW DNG, and then use Negative Lab Pro’s special SilverFast profiles to get amazing colors and tones from your film negative conversions.


Settings for Scanning in Silverfast

The recommended workflow is to scan as 48-bit HDR DNGs. This will enable us to use special, dual-illuminant profiles in Lightroom made just for SilverFast negative conversions, and not have to worry about gamma conversions.

  1. Set SilverFast to scan in “positive” mode (so that it doesn’t invert your negative)
  2. Scan as “48-bit HDR” and save as DNG file(depending on your version, this may be done different ways… at least in SF 8.8, I believe you need to go to preferences and check “HDR raw” )

How to Convert a Silverfast DNG Negative in Negative Lab Pro

  1. Import your SilverFast DNGs scans into Lightroom (if you want to get fancy, you could set up a “watched folder” with Lightroom to auto-import each time you scan.

  2. Select all your photos, and go to file > plugin extras > update vuescan / silverfast dngs

  3. Follow the instructions in the prompts. Afterward, your profile should look like this.
    nlp-silverfast-profile

  4. Use Lightroom’s White Balance selector to sample off the film border (or use the “auto” white balance setting)

  5. Crop to show just the exposed film (or include a little film border and set the “border buffer” setting to ignore that area)

  6. Now, open up Negative Lab Pro

  7. The “source” should automatically be set to “Vuescan/SF DNG” - leave it there. Adjust your other settings as you’d like.

  8. Hit the “CONVERT NEGATIVE” button.

  9. After it processes, it will do the initial conversion, and you can edit from there!


Considerations

  • Silverfast 48bit HDR will not include any iSRD (dust removal) and Lightroom wouldn’t be able to process the IR layer anyway. So if dust removal is important to you, you may be better off creating a TIFF
  • If you want to create a TIFF to take advantage of iSRD, you want to want to have the tiff as untouched as possible, for consistent future editing:
    • Gamma 1.0 (in general preferences)
    • Uncheck ICC Profile Embedding (in the CMS tab)
    • Check iSRD (but nothing else) in Workflow Pilot
    • Once imported to Lightroom, select image and go to “File > Plugin-Extras > Tiff Prep Utility” and select “Linear”.
    • Then use Negative Lab Pro on the new image that is adds to the library.
1 Like

I downloaded the NLP v2.1.2, do I still need to install the DCP Profiles of V800 & SF Raw? https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5u3c9gdsjqugeha/AABOhHLfpIeoBu3EzOiygwHQa?dl=0

No, the test profiles from the dropbox folder are now deprecated… if you’re on mac, just run the new installer… if you’re on windows, you just need add the camera profiles folders included with the package (the “Vuescan” camera profiles folder also includes Silverfast now).

Note that you need v2.1.2 for this to work with Silverfast (there was a bug in v2.1.0 that was preventing the correct profile from running silverfast in some instances).

-Nate

This workflow seems to be oriented to color negatives. Would there be any changes to the Silverfast settings for scanning b&w negatives? For instance, would it be better to create a 16 bit .tiff file vs. a 48 bit raw?

For that matter, are there any benefits to converting b&w scanned negatives with NLP vs. just doing the conversion in Silverfast using negafix, which has specific profiles for b&w films? I may need to play with it both ways to see which is easier to achieve superior results.

1 Like

Hi Nate,

This plugin seems awesome and I’m thinking of getting it. I have a Nikon CS 5000 ED that I’d like to scan my old 35mm negatives with. I’ve read your workflows for various software and although I’m not sure which one I’ll be using yet. I’ve got a few questions before hit that buy button:

  1. I understand I should do “linear scans” as positives with no processing. So in Nikon Scan for example, should I turn off Nikon’s colour management (that allows me to choose different color spaces including the scanners inherent space) altogether?

  2. Should I scan with gamma 1.0 as recommended in most places or still with 2.2 as I see you recommended somewhere so NLP has “more to work with”?

  3. Is this approach really better than scanning an IT-8 target and include that color profile in the scan? Isn’t that a missed opportunity?

  4. Can I use the ICE4 on the Nikon scanner still?

  5. If I use Nikon Scan, I can save in .NEF or .TIFF. Is NLP compatible with NEF?

  6. I read on your blog that the good news is that NLP is now compatible with Silverfast RAW files. Does that mean their HDR and HDRi files?

Thanks,

Nick

I would recommend the same settings for black and white capture (48bit raw). The reason for this is that the Lightroom raw profiles expect three channels of information (red/green/blue), so it won’t be able to use the special, linear Negative Lab Pro profiles if you have scanned in 16-bit single channel.

The benefits of NLP would be workflow and control. With Negative Lab Pro you get a non-destructive workflow that allows for batch-editing, syncing between groups of images, and rich analog metadata options. It’s also very easy to simple to edit and control the exact tones you want.

You may find in some cases that NLP has a better initial conversion, and in other cases, that Silverfast has a better initial conversion. They use different algorithms for analyzing the film, and you may find that one provides a starting point more to your liking, but in either case, it is not that difficult to match between them with a little practice.

One tip I would give with black and white in NLP is to try to the “Linear + Gamma” tone profile - this profile compensates for the gamma difference in black and white film, and will generally be a good starting point for further editing.

If you’re using Nikon scan, I’d recommend scanning as a TIFF in 2.2. gamma. Then, you can try converting the TIFF directly in Negative Lab Pro, or you can try first using the included Tiff Prep Utility (file > plugin-extras > Tiff Prep Utility) and specifying that the TIFF you are preparing is in gamma 2.2). In most cases, I think you will get a more accurate result in the workflow if you first use the tiff prep utility, but it does add time to the workflow, so up to you.

As far as I am aware, you can continue to use ICE on your Nikon Scanner in NikonScan. If you use the Silverfast RAW workflow, unfortunately ICE will not be available.

Yes, their 48bit HDR files. The infrared channel (the “i” in HDRi) cannot be used though.
If you use Vuescan, you can create RAW files which already have the dust removal “baked in”, which is nice, but in my own experience, I find that the original manufacturer software typically has the best dust removal.

Hi Nate,

I’m in the process of digitizing my old photos and I’m debating scanning the negatives vs prints. I came across your plugin and it’s very promising, but I have problems replicating my prints via my negatives, so I have a few questions.

When you say “Lightroom wouldn’t be able to process the IR layout anyway”, is this regardless of the file format? If so, while the IR data is embedded in the TIFF file, it still unused via LR.

Is there a reason behind this? Because if I scan as positives, I wouldn’t be able to use SilverFast’s NegaFix.

Thanks very much.