VueScan - Lock Exposure for Roll Analysis on uneven film

I usually do not take a lot of photos. So my film will be filled with several different photo shooting occasions. Some maybe from a brightly lit daylight scene, some from incandescent indoors scenes.

Mostly, categorically speaking, my scans come out underexposed. Now, either because of wrong shooting or wrong scanning is hard to say.

How to properly judge which Exposure settings to lock on to?
Is there any best practices?

What kind of scanner are you using?

For most scanning models, the “exposure” change in Vuescan is not being done via the scanner, but is just “gain” that is applied by Vuescan in software. (The except to this are some of the Nikon scanner models, where the exposure change is happening in the hardware).

With that said, if you lock the exposure in Vuescan and set the gain to 1.0, that will essentially be straight from your scanner. If this is too dark, you can try setting the gain to somewhere between 1.3 and 1.7 and you should be OK. Ideally, the film border will be fairly bright in the scan. As long as it isn’t clipping, you will be OK as the film border will always be the brightest (i.e. the least dense) part of the negative.


Hello Nate!

Thanks for the reply!

I am using a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400.
Vuescan exposes 5 settings, when I click “Lock Exposure”:
RGB exposure (tooltip: Red, Green and Blue CCD exposure time (nominal:1.0)) – this is usually somewhere between 3 and 7
Infrared exposure (tooltip: Infrared CCD exposure time (nominal:1.0)) – this is usually around 4
Red analog gain (set to 1)
Green analog gain (set to 1)
Blue analog gain (set to 1)

I will try setting all of these to 1. I will report back when I next have time to play around with scanning.

Hi Nate, that’s interesting. Which Nikon models do you have in mind? I recently moved from an Epson V850 Pro to a Coolscan 5000 ED (still use the V850 for 120).
Is there something I should be aware of with the Nikon in relation with exposure locking in Vuescan?

The 5000 ED actually has variable gain on the hardware side (so the physical light on the unit can shine at different strengths), whereas most scanners will have fixed brightness and the adjustments to gain in Vuescan are happening in software after the scan.

In theory, that should make the gain a little bit more natural.

But the same idea would apply in terms of Roll Analysis - you will still want to lock the exposure on a single gain value if you plan to use Roll Analysis later.


Thnx for the explanation :sunglasses: :pray: