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I use a V500 scanner with Epson Scan 5.1.1, and usually have no problem scanning and getting a large dynamic range from various types of films and exposure choices.

The only exception is with cross-processed film (E-6 processed with C-41 chemistry), which my scanner always overexposes, even when the automatic adjustments are turned off.

This is a photo of the negative strip, taken with my iPhone 12 and inverted in photoshop.

This is the same photo, scanned by Epson scan.

I tried changing settings in the Epson app, scanning as Positive film then inverting, nothing seems to work.

Am I scanning these cross-processed negatives wrong?

Note: Please do not place these images as inline images when editing the question, you do not have the right to do so. Thanks.

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  • C-41 processed in E-6 chemistry, or E-6 processed in C-41? – Zeiss Ikon Apr 29 at 17:44
  • Good question (love the user name!) I edited my question. – MicroMachine Apr 29 at 17:48
  • @MicroMachine Re: your rollback of edit embedding the example images. Have you looked at the terms of use when you post to imgur? – Michael C May 1 at 2:37
  • They are posted as private not in the public feeds but please enlighten me. I might move them somewhere else and reedit. – MicroMachine May 1 at 2:50
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Scanning software performs a good deal of "magic" in the background -- color correction, auto exposure, and so forth. What's probably happening here is that your Epson Scan is getting the "magic" wrong because it's not set up for cross-processed E-6 film.

At the very least, the orange mask the software expects in color negatives isn't present, which will cause color casts and crossover (where the contrast curve for one color channel doesn't match that of another). That's the "cross processed look", so it's not necessarily a bad thing, but it means the scanner software can't do what it would usually do.

You're getting a result more like you expect by photographing the negatives and manually inverting the image, so what I'd suggest is to scan them as color positives (transparencies), and be sure to include some of the rebate (film between frames) in the scans; then in your photo editor set the white balance to the unexposed film you included in the scan before inverting the image. That should get you a color positive that you can then adjust, and in the process of editing you can also adjust brightness and curves to restore a normal-looking exposure (if you choose).

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  • Thanks. I have VueScan and Silverfast who are both incredibly tedious and yet do not always provide significantly more usable results. Taking a picture of the negatives is not an option right now, I do not have digital equipment or plans to get it for the time being. – MicroMachine Apr 30 at 6:30
  • I use Vuescan only with my new V850 (and did with my old 8470), because I use Linux and Epson Scan doesn't have a Linux version. I don't find it tedious, and it generally gives better results than Epson Scan (in comparisons I've seen). – Zeiss Ikon Apr 30 at 11:21
  • My point is to scan as a positive and invert manually, since that gives colors and exposure you like better. – Zeiss Ikon Apr 30 at 11:22
  • I agree with everything you said. Vuescan provides better results (I said “not always” because sometimes some colors become really bright when you invert). I am also struggling to get it to multi-crop, you cannot move the selection boxes and they are sometimes in the wrong position – MicroMachine Apr 30 at 16:43
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    Oh ok well I guess I will make “how to multi scan” the subject of another question hehe – MicroMachine Apr 30 at 16:51

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