Post Processing Error with Nikon Coolscan 5000

Ok, so I have been using a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 for well over a year with no problems. Most of my scans are black and white film, saved as TIFF’s using the greyscale scanning. I have also used the slide feeder and the long film strip scanner with no problems.

However, last night began a string of errors centered around a message:
There was an error in performing post processing.

I was scanning a 36 image strip of slide film and it always gave me the error after scanning the second frame and while processing. The strip being slide film and color, I had the ICE settings on to remove any latent scratches or dust, as well as the ROC (set to 0) and the GEM (set to 1) for removing some of the grain in the negative After researching on the web and spending all night tweaking one setting at a time and then rebooting in between, I believe I found the answer.

It seems that using ICE, ROC and GEM together in a scan cause this error every time, and always on the second frame. This appears to be true even if the ROC is set to zero, so it would effectively be turned off. This is confirmed in this post from even though the post is from 2004.

More important are two additional points: 1) Nikon is obviously aware of the problem at least as of 2004 and no fixes are evident even in Nikon Scan 4.02. 2) Each time Nikon Scan bombs, you MUST reboot your entire computer after shutting off the power.

Apparently, the problem persists in memory although I haven’t tested thoroughly to determine if it is the scanner memory or computer memory or both. My procedure when I get this error is to shut everything down and reboot from scratch. Then at least I know where I’m starting.

Because I have been scanning black and white, I cannot use ICE which only works for color scans. (Technical note: it has to do with using the infared scan and comparing to each color scan for dust and scratches – greyscale is single pass, no color). Additionally, I just didn’t use the ICE feature when I was scanning stacks of slides.

So the choice time now comes: which item is most important? In this particular case, I was scanning FUJI Velvia 100, so the grain should be fairly small and I believe I can fix that easily in Photoshop. So, in this case, I am choosing ICE to continue as scratch removal (which I hope is unnecessary!) and dust removal are much more painful.

Hopefully Nikon will also review this post. They have created a great scanner, but the software bells and whistles should be removed if they won’t work as advertised.

UPDATE 8/6/2008:

The ICE setting worked well in that the scanning completed. However, after inspecting the images in Lightroom, they appeared ‘fuzzy’. I have worked enough now with black & white film shot through my Leica M-4 and M-6 that the negatives should be sharper than these scans show. I am now scanning the same images with no ICE settings and no GEM or ROC settings applied. I will create another post showing the difference at 1:1 in the detail areas.

Note that using only the ROC and GEM settings with no ICE settings gave me the same errors reported above. Even with ROC set to zero and GEM set to one. It appears that the Nikon scanner has issues when scanning positives (slides). I have not had trouble with greyscale scanning (black and white). Stay tuned.

Update 8/12/2008:

See an update article on using ICE or no ICE when scanning color negatives or slides.

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