Proposal for RAW scanning software

I think that scanning slides and negatives to RAW is an excellent way of scanning for archive so that you do not have to rescan every time someone needs a slightly different version of the picture.

As such, the software should be quite simple. There are more than enough RAW processors out there, just pick a RAW format that Adobe RAW can use so I do not have to invest in more software :-) Also, why spend any energy inventing the wheel over again. Let the RAW processing software makers do what they do best. We just need to provide the input.

The functionality needed in the interface:

Preview and crop - It should work with flatbed scanners as well and there is no need to keep all the whitespace.


Batch scanning options for scanners that support this (my main scanner is a Nikon 4000 ED).

No color adjustments, and no resolution adjustments.

Use Exif/IPTC to add info to the file including ability to save templates for this.

Extra functionality:

Many scanners have the possibility to do an infrared scanning to remove dust and scratches. It should be possible to save this info in the RAW file so Adobe and other software makers can add this to their RAW software in the future.
Alternatively add the option to process this before saving to RAW, but I really prefer keeping the RAW file totally RAW.

I am not sure if this is doable with any of the RAW formats that exist today, and if it is possible to use these formats legally.

As I see it, the file should have a structure like this:

Header incl. metadata (IPTC/EXIF).
RAW data
Infrared data

The data that would be interesting to include in EXIF would at least be

Name and model of scanner
Firmware version of scanner
Date and time

Unfortunately I am not a programmer and will never be. But I am used to work with software and have a pretty good idea of what I would like to see.

I hope we could come up with an outline for a scanner program here and convince someone to actually start programming it.

There is a lot of pictures that needs to be scanned around the world and a lot are beeing lost because of improper handling or aging. Let us do something to help the situation.

Oceanwatcher – Thu, 2007/01/11 – 10:49pm

VueScan can output DNG files

VueScan can output DNG files

VueScan 8.4.05 can optionally output DNG files. These can presumably be read by various products that can read Linear DNG files, not just from Adobe.

In response the the statement "I am not sure if this is doable with any of the RAW formats that exist today, and if it is possible to use these formats legally":

- Yes, it is doable in DNG format. Note that this is Linear DNG format.

- Yes, it can use the format legally, (and royalty-free).

Barry Pearson – Tue, 2007/02/06 – 1:46am

DNG as a scanner format This

DNG as a scanner format
This is a pretty widely misunderstood field at the moment. Let me add a couple of comments.

For existing workflow through Photoshop Raster Image Processor (as opposed to Photoshop Lightroom or ACR Metadata Image Editor) there's probably not a huge need for a format other than the current TIFF implementation. You can save a 16 bit file - essentially everything most scanners are capable of capturing - and use adjustment layers to get non-destructive, multiple renderings all inside the same file. Since conventional scanners do not produce mosaiced data, the data handling of DNG is not specifically necessary.

However, the new imaging software developments are much more exciting in the new area of imaging - Metadata Image Editing. The big growth in these applications is principally due to the needs and nature of digital photography. These new applications assume source data than never changes, and a live rendering based on an EDL (Edit Decisions List). In these applications - Lightroom, Bibble, Aperture, camera Raw, Silkypix, etc - basing a workflow on TIFF makes less sense.

While you *can* use TIFF for this, it's a bit less suited for this. The biggest drawback to using TIFF for this is that it does not handle Mosaiced data well, so it makes a poor default format for MIE applications.

Because DNG was designed from the start to be a format suited for MIE application, it makes a better default format. DNG can handle mosaiced, demosaiced, linearized or Raw data equally well. The XMP data handling was designed to be expanded in a nearly unlimited way, and it provides for an easily accessible fixed rendering that is not dependent on any particular software package to display properly.

As the DNG spec gets revised to add capability, I would guess that it will become even more well-suited to any kind of imaging done with MIE applications. It's not hard to put a list together of valuable additions: multiple fixed renderings, more control over the compression of source data, control of the bit depth, compression and color profile of embedded renderings, and more.

All our imaging tools will rapidly become optimized for the world of digital camera originals. Image adjustment is becoming MIE-based with breathtaking speed. Other formats will likely be proposed, and certainly the DNG spec will evolve. At the moment,it's the best available option for the new imaging paradigm.

Peter Krogh
Author, The DAM Book, Digital Asset Management for Photographers
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peterkrogh – Tue, 2007/02/06 – 3:46am