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Wet Mounting by ScanScience
Hi there,

I got from ScanScience (scanmax ) a wet mounting set for
a flatbed scanner. The results are stunning. I just tried
with a 665 Polaroid neg and the improvement is
For people interested, it's really worth it!


Fluid Immersion Scanning
Origins in Fluid Immersion Microscopy
In Microscopy, Fluid immersion increases the resolution of the lens and that enables the lens to achieve higher magnifications. (The numerical
Aperture of the lens is proportional to its numerical  aperture which in turn is proportioanl to the refractive index of the fluid). Similarly, LUMINA
Scanning Optical fluid has the effect of increasing the resolution of the scan.  Nikon microscopy website has an excellent write up of oil immersion
The fluid Mount
For Fluid Immersion Scanning, the film must be immersed in fluid during the scan. This is accomplished by placing fluid between glass an film
and film and an optically clear overlay, as illustrated in the image to the right, Ideally the fluid and the film backing have the same index of
refraction or the closest the better.
Optical Benefits of Fluid Immersion Scanning
  • When the source light strikes the dry grain, some of it travels through and some is lost to reflection. When light strikes film immersed in
    fluid, the light can travel through the grain without loss to reflection.
  • Reducing losses through reflection makes the image appear more brilliant and wth greater color saturation.
  • Grain rich areas of the film block the passage of light. When some of the light is lost through relfection, there is less light available to
    illuminate the shadows and detail in the shadows are lost. Because there is more transmission integrity with fluid scanning, there is
    better definition of the shadow areas,  and greater dynamic range.
Elimination of Pepper Grain
  • Because losses through reflectivity at the grain are minimized with fluid scanning, less light is scattered as it hits the grain,-which results
    in greater resolution.  Reflectivity and light scattering also have the effect of emphasizing the grain, making it appear bigger and coarser
    than it really is.
  • Cutting reflectivity cuts pepper grain.  "Pepper grain"  drives photographers to distraction but that only occurs to photographers that use
    high quality film scanners like the NIKON 8000 and the Imacon (prior to the latest model) which use a highly collimated light source. That
    collimated light source,  increases the reflectivity of the grain and causes 'pepper grain'.   The pity is that scanners that use a collimated
    light source potentially produce sharper scans.  Because fluid imersion undoes the negative effect of a collimated light, that potential is
    fully achieved if such scaners are used as fluid scanners.  
  • The pepper grain complaint is not attributed toFlatbed scanners, because only a very few of those can pick up grain detail.  Drum
    scanners, in spite of their high resolution, never get blamed for "pepper grain" because all drum scanners are fluid scanners.
Elimination / reduction of Dust & Scratches
Fluid scanning has a similar effect on dust and scrateches but while digital ICE generally degrades the image, fluid scanning uogrades the
image. The extra time soent on scanning with digital ICE is overcompensated bny fluid scanning, It takes kess time to fluid mount than to scan
with digital ICE.
Newton Rings-                         Good bye to the glass holder
  • Newton Rings are caused by reflections beween two surfaces when one of the surfaces is separated from the other at a slight angle.
    Along the horizontal axis, of the projection of a sine wave, the reflections from the surfaces interact and either knock each other out or  help
    each other.
  • The the result is a series of concentric rings that alternate between dark and light.  Newton rings are encountered in old fashioned devices
    such as the glass holder for the NIKON and a difuser device that was sold to Minolta scanner users. People use these devices hoping to
    restrain film curvature and achieve a flat film plane, although that only succeeds when the curvature is down on the glass. With fluid
    scanning a perfectly flat film plane is a given, and without degrading the image as the glass holders do.  
  • Fluid scanning attains film flatness utilizing the surface tension of the fluid to temporarily  'glue'  the film to the glass.   The detrimental
    effects these old devices make them obsolete.
Newton Rings                           Goodbye to Anti-Newton Glass
  • Since with Fluid Scanning newton rings are a thing of the past, AN glass has outlived its usefulness. AN glass is glass which has
    corrugations on the surface to break the Newton Rings but is detrimental the image.  You would not put AN glass in front of your camera
  • The improvement in image quality between a fluid scan and a glass holder with AN glass is significant.   The ScanScience System brings
    you refraction-free Fluid scanning to film scanners at a fraction of the cost of glass holders, and AN glass
Limitations of dry Processes: Scanning , Enlarging, or Projection
All these processes are similarly impaired.  The degradation of image quality due to the reflections and scattering at the film grain  are shared
equally by all techniques.All these practices are similarly impaired.  The degradation of image quality due to the reflections and scattering at the
film grain  are shared equally by all techniques.
Fluid Scanning techniques for film and flatbed scanners by  ScanScience  well established for Drum Scanners
  • First used in drum scanners and now with the advent of ScanScience it is  universally used on all scanners.
  • Because drum scanners are fluid scanners by definition, their uniquely saturated and sharp quality and smoothness made it the choice of
  • With the advent of ScanScience, all other scanners can benefit in the same measure from fluid immersion scanning.  Significantly, users
    that have access to a drum scanner are finding that fluid scans with their NIKON, IMACON and EPSON scanners rival drum scans.
Fluid scanning with ScanScience's  LUMINA Optical Super Fluid is easy and quick, it takes very little time and requires no post operative cleaning
and drudgery. Compared to digital ICE it saves time:  You can assemble a wet mount faster than you can scan with digital ICE and it upgrades the
image instead of degrading it like digital ICE.
Depth of Field and Scan Sharpness
Scanners optics are close-focusing devices with shallow depth of field.
To obtain a sharp image the film must be placed at the scanner's
Plane of Optimum Focus (POF).
Film, on the other hand, is never flat. Any one that has studied physics
knows that the lateral tension required to make a string suspended
between two points adopt a perfectly straight shape, is infinite.  Film
flatness can not be attained by tensioning the film.  Overcoming the
film's natural tendency to curl requires applying a perpendicular force
to the film through the whole area.  The surface tension of the fluid,
provides that perpendicular force in the way that no tensioning devices
such as spacers provided with specialty  holders can.

    Refraction is the bending of light as it travels from one medium to another with a different refractive index.  
    Refraction degrades the image since not all light rays are perpendicular to the glass, and instead of pinpoint landing on the sensor as a
    perpendicular light ray would, it is scattered over several sensors.  This corruption of the original image impairs resolution, contrast and
    saturation.To see the effect of fluid scanning look at any of the several images provided.  The fluid scans are notable because of their higher
    resolution and contrast, dynamic range and greater color saturation than dry scans.

    In Flatbed Scanners the glass comes with the package, and the refraction of the glass bed is unavoidable.  Fluid scanning involves an
    additional glass but the glass need not be in the path between the light emerging from the film and the optics. Epson V 750 scanners are
    provided with a wet mount tray which require that the film be placed on top of the glass when wet mnounted. This results in double refraction
    caused the In additional chunk of glass  effectively subtracting some of the benefits gained by fluid scanning.
    ScanScience's simple answer to the problem is to provide an adapter that avoids glass between the film and the sensors.  The fluid
    mounting plate faces the lamp, with the film being placed under the glass. The image going to the sensors is untainted by additional
    refraction from the fluid mounting plate.

    Film Scanners have the inherent advantage over flatbeds that they are not refraction limited. The absence of the extra glass, potentially gives
    film scanners an edge but does not solve the  problem of dry  film curvature.

    Owners of film scanners try overcoming the film flatness problem by using glass holders.   It is physically impossible to attain film flatness
    with glass only on one side of the film, unless the film curves in such a way as to have its curvature against the glass.  When this happens
    the result is Newton Rings.  ScanScience's simple answer to the problem is fluid scanning. With the glass on the side of the lamp so that
    there is no glass between the film and the sensors. This results in the flatbed scanner not being subjected to double refraction, and the Film
    scanner to no refraction at all, preserving its inherent advantages.

    AN glass has a microscopically rough surface intended to break up Newton's interference reflections which cause Newton rings.  
    When the light reflected from two surfaces at a slight angle and a short distance to each other meet, it can interact constructively or
    destructively according to their phase, causing Newton Rings.
    AN Glass has tiny corrugations that are not visible to the naked eye but it can not be perfectly clear glass: if placed in front of the lens it would
    be detrimental to the image just as it is when placed ahead of the scanner optics.
    When AN glass is part of the film carrier in a film scanner, the film is placed against the glass which is in the light path from the film to the
    scanner sensors.  This not only adds the degrading effect of an AN surface to the degradation of the image but adds the additional refraction
    of the glass both detrimental to the image.  A full discussion of Newton Rings appears in the ScanScience manual provided with the Kits.
Fluid Scanning Technology