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Quicktip: Why and how to IT8 calibrate the scanner (part I)

June 23rd, 2010 · 42 Comments · analogue photography, Digital Photography, HowTo, News, Photography, Quicktips, Scanner, SilverFast, Tips and Tutorials

Although Color Management is a very extent topic, I will briefly mention three good reasons for an IT8 calibration:

  • Color reproduction accuracy
  • Scanner aging. Construction parts age and with it the way these devices “see” things. These changes are reflected in light color inaccuracies which can be corrected by generating new color profiles for the scanner
  • Scanning conditions change. Things like temperature and humidity might also affect the operation of the scanner, also the internal lamp changes the temperature of the scanner and its components. These might be reflected in light up to stark color changes, these can be corrected by color profiles generated for the specific conditions.

Requirements to IT8 calibrate the scanner

Have the IT8 calibration tool in SilverFast, I should mention, the IT8 calibration is not standard in SilverFast, it is an extra tool that can be purchased as an upgrade to all SilverFast versions where it is not present and is available for all scanners.

An IT8 calibration target and its reference file, both must be stardard conform. Some manufacturers make targets which are conform but their reference file is not (or the other way around). Some packages include this kind of combination. These can not be used to calibrate your scanner with SilverFast (LaserSoft Imaging also sells high quality IT8 targets which allow for automatic IT8 procedure at a reasonable price).

How to IT8 calibrate the scanner

You can IT8  calibrate for positiv reflective (flatbed scanners only) and positive transparent as well as Kodachrome transparent.

There are two possible ways of calibrating and both are pretty straightforward.

Manual calibration must be performed when using targets not produced by LaserSoft Imaging.

In this case the automatic IT8 calibration must be deactivated by openning the options dialogue/automatic panel and unticking the checkbox for Auto-IT8 calibration.

Options dialogue, Auto panel, Auto IT8 calibration option

Apply your changes and press “OK” to return to SilverFast

Place your calibration target on the scanner bed or into the slide holder.

On the left side of the preview window you will find the IT8 calibration button.

IT8 calibration button

Press the button to start the process

The small IT8 guide panel appears indicating the steps to follow

IT8 guide panel

Now you will simply adjust the corners of the mask to match the color patches of the IT8 target.

If your target is upside down or back to front you can move the corners to match the current position of the target, just make absolutely sure the white point is positioned onto the white patch of the grescale as well as the black point onto the black patch.

Once you have correctly positioned the mask you can start the IT8 calibration process by pressing the “start” button.

The scanner performs a scan and the guide panel prompts you to choose the location of the reference file, this file is a text file with the value information for every color patch, the file should be somewhere in your computer and should be available before starting the IT8 calibration process to avoid having to interrupt the calibration to download the file.

Once you select the reference file the calibration process will be completed by SilverFast, an information panel shows the delta value of the calibration.

Panel with Delta E value

SilverFast will create a new color profile which can then be used later on.

As you can see the process is very simple.

The next post will explain the automatic IT8 calibration using LaserSoft Imaging targets.

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42 Comments so far ↓

  • henry

    Does it make diference to who use only color negatives ???

  • Rick Tucker

    Hey, I bought the Silverfast calibration targets for both Kodachrome and Ektachrome. The targets arrived but did not come with instructions, and I’ve been unable to locate instructions on your website. I’ve been trying to insert these two targets into my Nikon Coolscan 9000ED scanner and calibrate them. But I have no clue what I’m supposed to do. I’ve tried some things but I don’t think they are right and I have no instructions from you. Please tell me what I should do. I want to scan lots of Kodachrome and Ektachrome and I want to do so now! Please help me now!

    I really want to get things going now! Please respond quickly so I can get things going soon!

    – Rick

    – Rick

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Dear Mr. Tucker,

    the It8 calibration is fairly easy to use. Just insert the target, start SilverFast and click on the IT8 button.
    The calibration itself is performed fully automatic.

    Are you using SilverFast 6 ? Here’s some information on Color Management and IT8 Calibration:
    http://www.silverfast.com/download/docu/ch7colourmanagement,completechapter_en_2006-06-21.pdf

    Are you using SilverFast 8 ?
    Please try this button:
    it8

    Which SilverFast version are you using ? Not all versions feature the IT8 calibration.

    If this doesn’t work for you, I would like to ask you to contact or support team:
    http://www.silverfast.com/support

    Best Regards

    Christian Gregoire

  • john

    Hi there

    I wanted to ask which reflective it8 should I request from your website – you have a number of options – I wish to calibrate my Epson V600 to scan original reflective artwork. Thanks in advance.

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Hi John,

    for scanning reflective artwork, you should calibrate with a reflective target. I think it’s not necessary to have an individually measured target. This is more important for scanning transparencies.
    You can equally use any target size from 10×15 cm to 15×22 cm.

    I suggest to go with the reflective Fuji 13×18 cm target.

    Best Regards
    Christian Gregoire

  • Sutaek

    Hi,

    Can I test the IT8 calibration with Ai 8 Demo version? I can’t find IT8 button in Demo version.

    Is it normal?

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Hi Sutaek,
    the IT8 Calibration is not included in demo version, sorry.

  • Dave Becker

    Want to scan 35mm slides Fuji velvia 50, Kodachrome and extra chrome. Which it8 calibration targets do you suggest? Who distributes your products in the US?
    Thanks

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Hi Dave Becker,
    sorry for the late response. In the US SilverFast ist distributed by LaserSoft Imaging Inc. Just visit http://www.silverfast.com
    I suggest a 35mm Kodak target (it’s Ektachrome Professional E100G film) for your Fuji and Kodak slides.
    However, Kodachrome is a special and very different film emulsion you need a special calibration target for.
    We offer such a target, but it is a little bit more expensive as there are just a few left.
    Kodachrome production and processing has been discontinued world-wide. This also means, no more Kodachrome IT8 targets can be produced.

  • Brian

    I need to digitize many hundreds of transparencies and color negatives taken over several decades and with numerous films (Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Fujichrome, Kodacolor, Fujicolor, Agfa, etc.). Will probably buy Epson V700 or V750 for this. How critical are IT8 targets? They add a lot to the cost and look intimidating.

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Hi Brian,
    calibrating your scanner will add a lot of color consistency to your scans. You will skip a lot of work post processing your images for having them look like the originals or even to restore the orignial colors of maybe faded transparencies. It is not necessary to have an individual IT8 target for each of your films. However, Kodachrome is different, the film material is very different from other color negative film. Kodak discontinued production and film processing just a few years ago. Those targets surely are a little bit pricy, due to the fact, there are just a few in stock and there’s no possibility to produce any new.

  • Brian

    Thanks for the advice. Since my collection is heavily Kodachrome it sounds as if that target is important. Can I get by with one other, and if so which one? I have both transparencies and negatives.

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Hi Brian,
    correct, one other would be enough. It’s up to your personal preference to choose Fuji or Kodak film, both will work for all regular film.

  • Bartek

    Hi Gregoire,
    i’m trying to callibrate my epson v750 as you explained (the routine is identical as in silverfast manual from LaserSoft), but I encounter big problem.
    I’ve downloaded proper reference file for my IT8 Calibration Chart.
    After the step, when I select reference file I can see a message “Calibration in progress: calibrating colours…” for about one second and after that program displays again “Please check the mask of IT8 color patches…” and again asks me to select reference file.
    It repeats again and again, and I never get information if calibrating is succesful or not.
    Can you help me?
    Bartek

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Dear Bartek,
    I just forwarded your problem to our support team. They will get back to you as soon as possible.

    Best Regards
    Christian Gregoire

  • Bartek

    Thanks in advance,
    Best wishes,
    Bartek

  • Thing 11: Managing and manipulating digital images |

    […] Silverfast tutorial for scanners. […]

  • Linus Silvander

    Hi,

    I’ve got a question or actually two. I’ve bought the Studio Ai Studio 8.8 version and two IT8 targets, reflective and transparency, from Silverfast. I’ve got an Epson V800 scanner.
    I calibrated the reflective with the automatic IT8 tool and everything went smoothly. I now wonder if I should also calibrate the transparency? I tried to but it complained that there already is an ICC color profile. I chose not to overwrite. The deltas for the reflective and transparency is different so I assume that I should just overwrite but I thought to ask first before doing anything.
    The second question is if I need to select color profiles or if that is done automatically? I looked at the Input profile and it was SF_T(EPSON Perfection V800_V850) or SF_R(….).

    Regards,
    Linus

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Hi Linus, we will get back to you via email. Regards Christian

  • Florin Tepardea

    Hi,

    I have an Epson V600 scanner and i want to scan 120 format negative films (Kodak Portra and Fuji PRO 400H). What IT8 target do you recommend?

    Best regards,
    Florin

  • David Binder

    I have a similar proble. I have 2 IT-8 targets, a 5 x 7″ Kodak target for all reflective images, and a 35mm Kodak Ektachrome transparency target for films. I am able to calibrate with the 5×7 target (dE=0.7) but I am unable to calibrate with the Ektachrome target. The auto size/find the target doesn’t function. After manually positioning the calibration box, I get a error message that dE is too large. I have tried this in several different ways but end up with the same result “Values in deltaE are too big” How do I solve this problem.

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Dear Florin,
    The Kodak 10,2 x 12,7 cm (4×5″) transparency target would be suitable for calibrating the V600 for scanning both of your negative film types. You don’t really need an extra Fuji target for your Fuji negatives, it would only have minimal effects. However, calibrating at all would improve color accuracy significantly.

    Best Regards
    Christian Gregoire

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Dear David,
    please get into contact with our Support Staff: http://www.silverfast.com/support-form

    Best Regards
    Christian Gregoire

  • tom wagner

    do i need to rescan the it8 target at the start of each session or does the software save it and access it for each session after calibration is done?
    thank you, tom

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Dear Tom,
    SilverFast creates an ICC profile for your scanner. You don’t need to recalibrate everytime you start the software.

    Best Regards
    Christian Gregoire

  • Adrian Neville

    OK, sorry to waste your time on that. That’s clear.

    Now what are the differences between Ai Studio and Archive Suite AE? Both are offered to me at €180 when the original price for the Studio is €299 and the Archive Suite €418. Furthermore, checking the specs seems to indicate that IT8 Calibration doesn’t come with Archive Suite AE 8.8 (even at that price) but only with Archive Suite 8.8

  • John

    I’ve read the instructions for calibrating my Epson V800 scanner using my newly purchased Ai Studio 8 upgrade. How do I know which of the many reference files to select?

  • John

    Actually I see that some IT8 targets do not have a reference file written on them — I happen to have one. I assume Silverfast targets have the ref number on it somewhere.

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Dear Adrian,
    SilverFast Archive Suite is a package consisting of scanner software SilverFast Ai Studio and imaging software SilverFast HDR Studio.
    SilverFast Archive Suite SE is a package consisting of scanner software SilverFast SE Plus and imaging software SilverFast HDR, both light versions.

    IT8 calibration is available in SilverFast Ai Studio, thus also available in the Archive Suite.
    SilverFast SE Plus and Archive Suite SE does not feature IT8 calibration.

    Best Regards

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Dear John,
    SilverFast IT8 targets have a barcode on it. During calibration SilverFast reads this barcode and automatically downloads the respective reference file from the web. You do not need to manually specify any reference file.

    Best Regards

  • Vladimir Kelman

    I successfully calibrated my Nikon LS 9000, ICC Profile was created. Do I need to load it before scanning my slides? Thank you

  • Vladimir Kelman

    I use Silverfast 8.8
    ICC Profile file I created by calibrating with IT8 target should be set as Options -> CMS -> Input Profile, correct?

  • LSI_Gregoire

    This correct. SilverFast should do this automatically, name should be SF_T (“scanner name”).

  • LSI_Gregoire

    SilverFast loads the appropriate profile automatically. If you switch scan mode (Positive / Kodachrome) SilverFast switches the profiles.

  • Andy Ginsburg

    Does anyone have a used IT8 Calibration Target for Kodachrome that you are willing to sell? These are no longer made so I can’t buy a new one. If so, email erbginspub@gmail.com. Thanks.

  • Mikélé

    @Christian : it looks like on the LS demo video of IT8 calibration, the user is prompted for a name before saving the new ICC profile. But in the current version (8.8.0r7), this is no longer the case and as you mentioned above, the name is now *imposed* as either SF_T (“scanner name”), SF_R (“scanner name”) and SF_K (“scanner name”) depending on the chosen mode (transparency, reflective or Kodachrome).
    But what should I do if I have several transparency or reflective targets (Kodak or Fuji paper for reflective, Ektachrome, Velvia 50, Provia 100F, Precisa 100, etc… for slides) ? Because each new IT8 calibration either overwrites the former or is lost ! Obviously, I cannot spend my time calibrating everytime I switch to another film type !
    I tried to rename the .icc files but it looks like the name which is used in the preferences popup list is the one embedded in the ICC file… and imposed !
    So, what can I do ? I’m stuck here.
    Thanks for your help.

  • Mikélé

    @Andy : if you can afford some patience, I’m sure some owners of such KC targets will probably sell them once they have finished their scanning endeavour. I’m one of these lucky owners, but I’m just starting (again) to capture in HDRi all my family’s Kodachromes on my new LS9000ED… BTW, the *only* scanner with ICE Pro (KC compatible). That’s still about 4000 KC slides on a total of 9000 photos. It will take time !

  • Mikélé

    Responding to myself after a phone call with Silverfast support : the profile name is being asked only when the checkbox “Custom ICC profile name” is ticked in the Preferences / Auto panel… logical indeed but burried in the mess of the preferences.

  • Clif

    I have been testing the software before starting a large project with many old slides of various types. When I use the 48 bit HDR versus the 48 bit w/o HDR, the HDR scans are very dark. When I load them into Lightroom, get very strange results trying to lighten them up to be lar to the non-HDR scans. I also just scannd the IT8 slide. Any ideas on why the HDR are so dark? Also, should I re-scan now that the T8 calibration i set. I am using a Plustek 8200i scanner.

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Dear Clif,
    The 48 Bit HDR RAW files are supposed to be processed in our SilverFast HDR (Studio) image processing software. They are scanned with a gamma value of 1.0 which makes them appear very dark in any other software. If you plan to work on your images in Lightroom, please scan to regular 48 Bit files.

    Best Regards
    Christian Gregoire

  • hamit

    I use equivalent paper and ink for various printers, icc profile problem. I must get which software and IT8 card to create icC profiles for them. Which package do you recommend?

  • LSI_Gregoire

    Dear hamit,
    for profiling your printers you will require SilverFast Ai Studio incl. Printer Calibration option or our Archive Suite software package incl. Printer Calibration option. For calibrating your scanner I suggest to choose our reflective 10×15 cm Kodak Calibration Target.

    Best Regards

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