Scanning Medium Format with the Nikon Coolscan 9000

Useful bits for scanning B&W negatives with the Nikon Coolscan 9000 & VueScan

  • The Apple Thunderbolt/Firewire adapter works without any problems on Macs that don’t have Firewire.
  • The standard Nikon carrier will hold negatives flat enough for sharp scans if you follow the instructions & Dante’s advice, but the FH869G glass carrier is a little less fussy and provides slightly better resolution.
  • Those little strips of thin black plastic that came with your 9000? Those cut down on stray light bouncing around the scanner. If you get darkened frame edges on your MF scans, particularly in denser areas of the negative – like the sky – place one of strips along the effected edge of the negative. The glass carrier comes with ones that are pre-cut for various formats, but just a thin strip is usually easier to place, and you rarely need them on more than one edge of the frame.
  • Scan to raw if you must, but the following settings work just as well for me with less post work. You may be tempted to set the white & black points to 0. Don’t. You’ll just get flat scans that you have to adjust in PS later. .1 and .05% won’t clip in a material way, but they seem to help VueScan draw a realistic curve.

Screen Shot 2013-01-01 at 1.48.40 PM

  • The frame # feature of Vuescan doesn’t work with the 9000 without you dialing in a frame offset. The following table shows frame numbers for both 645 and 6×6 along with their corresponding offsets. Assume the negative is aligned to left edge of the carrier. You don’t need to adjust frame spacing. You’ll still need adjust the crop manually, but this gets you close enough to do so:

Screen Shot 2013-01-01 at 2.02.49 PM

Happy scanning.