I have this old diapositive slide of a tram taken at dusk by my father. I have later scanned the slide (the image is reduced in resolution for this upload).

Tram around 1965, Hillerødgade, Copenhagen

As I still have the slide, I can scan it again.

What can I do to improve the quality of the resulting image?

Not only during scanning but also in post-production. Can I do something to clean the slide without damaging it before scanning?

I would like it to appear lighter (but still dusky) and the colours should be fuller.

I have a HP Photosmart C7180 and a Brother MFC-J4620DW to work with for scanning.

The plan is to have it blown up to around A4 and give my dad a print for his 85th later this year.

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    Before going too far down this road - is turning the slide over to a pro lab for a great scan, clean up, and print completely out of the question? Many offer restoration services tailored for exactly this sort of need. – OnBreak. Apr 18 '18 at 15:27
  • @Corey That is an option as well. – Bent Apr 18 '18 at 16:06
  • Sweet. In addition to what @Rob said, you may also consider making multiple scans at varying levels of brightness to see if you can milk a little more out of the shadows. Obviously, doing so might blow the highlights - so you'd need to combine the best parts of each file in post. – OnBreak. Apr 18 '18 at 16:21
  • By far the best improvement would result from using better scanners. You are using all-in-one products, while for film scanning even expensive dedicated Epson V7xx are not so good. I doubt you can get more than 1200 (effective) ppi with those, meaning that your result will be 1200*1800 pixels, about 2 Mpx and with a poor dynamic range. Really, I would change scanning device. – FarO Apr 19 '18 at 11:43

What can I do to improve the quality of the resulting image?

Working with your tiny image rather than being able to adjust the scan limits what I can do.

Based on the amount of noise and the blue/purple cast I'd say that you would want to go into the color management and: increase the brightness a bit, knock down the darkest reds a hair and knock back the mid-bright blue 2 hairs.

Using only the small image you provided and spending only a few minutes this is what I came up with:

Original and three attempts to fix it.

UL: Original - UR: No noise reduction - LL: Noise reduction - LR: NR Result

You might want something in between the upper right and lower right results, since I'm unfamiliar with the original scene it's tough to guess - I can see that you could obtain a reasonable result from the scan.

I have a HP Photosmart C7180 and a Brother MFC-J4620DW to work with for scanning.

The HP is the better unit, assuming that they are both in good condition. Printing to A4 size will show more flaws than going 1/4 that size - it depends upon the original, which seemed unusually noisy.

  • That is quite a step forward. The lower right fits the pale-ish yellow of the tram better. – Bent Apr 18 '18 at 16:13
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    That was done on an Android phone, using a couple of APPs and a few minutes work; you can do better. ;) -- Getting a better scan is where to start, a few skillful tweaks with an image editor, a decent printer, and don't enlarge too much. -- PS: Thanks. – Rob Apr 18 '18 at 16:35

I have started to scan my diapositives. I get a good result by using HDR. To do this I scan them 3 times. 1 underexposed, 1 'normal' exposed and 1 overexposed. Then I use Gimp with a Exposure Blend Plugin to put them together. The colours are brighter, the dark and light parts have more details.

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