Digital Negative Proof Sheets : LUSENET : Black and White Photography: Digital Printing : One Thread

Has anyone made a proof sheet using a scanner and printer?

I have a PC, Nikon negative scanner and Epson A3 printer.

I've just obtained the equipment to process B&W films at home.

However, as I don't have a darkroom, I can't easily do an ordinary proof sheet at home.

It might be possible to batch scan all of the negatives at a low resolution, but there is then the problem of combining them onto a single page in the output.

Does anyone know of any software which could create a proof sheet (or say, sandwich 36 images onto an A3 sheet automatically)? Has anyone tried this with an A4 flatbed scanner, scanning the negatives?


Gareth Jolly

-- Gareth Jolly (, February 11, 1999


as long as you can scan a negative, you can make contact sheets. i do this all the time -- i put my neg strips into those plastic sheets, lay one on my flatbed (umax powerlook ii w/transparency adaptor), select the highest resolution available, and scan them all as one image. works great.

this won't work so well if you don't have a transparency adaptor. also, since you're shooting 35mm, it might be difficult to get enough resolution at a 1:1 scanning/printing to see the images clearly. i use medium format film, so i've got a nice big 2-1/4" square to play with. actually, i don't even print the proof sheets at all -- i just look at them onscreen to determine which ones to individually scan.

-- John Labovitz (, February 11, 1999.

Thanks for your comments.

I could probably enlarge the negatives a bit as I have an A3 printer.

I'm interested in the transparency adapter. Of course, I'd need a flatbed scanner - and presumeably only particular types of scanners have the adapters.

How do the adapters work? Are they expensive?

I have a medium format camera as well, but thus far haven't been able to scan any of the negatives.


Gareth Jolly

-- Gareth Jolly (, February 11, 1999.

i've only used the transparency adaptor on my umax powerlook ii -- it came free (relatively speaking) with the scanner. it's a replacement lid that has a moving bar of light; it moves along with the scanning element in the base to put the most illumination on the region currently being scanned. it has an extra, very short cable that plugs between the lid and the scanner base.

i've used both the umax scanning software (binuscan, i think) that came with the scanner, under windows, as well as the SANE package under linux. both work well, although the SANE stuff isn't quite as functional. however, the binuscan software has a really horrible interface and documentation, so it's hard to say which is better.

but... after all that, i can't really say i recommend using a flatbed if *most* of what you do is negative scanning. these days, i think you're better off with a dedicated film scanner -- you'll get better resolution, density, accuracy, etc. and you'll probably even spend less -- a *good* flatbed with transparency is still well above $1000.

i have not had good luck at all scanning transparencies, either 35mm or medium format -- i just can't seem to get enough light through the film to pick up enough definition. medium format negatives -- both b&w and color -- work fairly well.

i'm considering moving up to the minolta dimage multi, which will scan any film up to 6x9cm, but it's still pretty expensive... $2300 or so.


-- John Labovitz (, February 12, 1999.

Another approach is to use an image cataloging program. I use Extensis Portfolio, but there are others. These programs store thumbnails of your image files along with information on where each file is stored, file descriptions, and keywords for doing searches. With them you can print out a pageful of selected thumbnails, usually in a choice of thumbnail sizes.

I'm not pushing Extensis, but I do know you can download a 30-day trial version of any of Portfolio and other products from

-- Sandi F (, February 15, 1999.

Nice piece of software is also SuperJPG. You can download a trial version from Tucows. It's quite easy to print thumbnails from all image files of a directory.

There are several such shareware programs at

-- sakke (, May 06, 1999.

I've used Extensis Portfolio to print out "contact sheets" of scanned images. Works well. You easily create a batch of scans and print out using various printer can print out the low-res thumbnails or the actual photos from the original editing application. I usually print out the actual photos on the medium setting at the standard size which puts 35-40 pix on a page.

It would be quite a bit of bother to scan in ALL your negs just so you could proof them digitally. Might be better to have the film commercially processed & contact printed. Then you could quickly proof and scan in only your A-List. At that point you could use Extensis to create catalogues of your pix and organize, sort & print out various types of output.

-- Harry Cutting (, June 23, 1999.

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