Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/01/26

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Re: Kodak Photo CD
From: George Hartzell <>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 10:15:33 -0800
References: <> <000d01c0873f$d5e94d60$d32faf3f@BILL>

Bill Lawlor writes:
 > Just when I was learning the slide scanning ropes on a Nikon LS2000 at
 > school, it went "
 > hardware error", and is just a paperweight at the moment. Somebody suggested
 > I try Kodak Photo CD scans with the five different file sizes. I don't know
 > when the scanner will be repaired so I am curious if any members of the list
 > have suggestions or comments about using the Kodak Photo CD. The goal is
 > printing slides with an Epson 1270 or 2000P.

I've had a bunch of PhotoCD scans done over the years, they can
definitely be higher quality than my Nikon LS-1000 is capable of.  I
understand that they're about on par with the dynamic range of the
current state of the art consumer scanners (polaroid 4000, nikon
2000), but I haven't ever done the comparison myself.  There are
several generations of both the Master (5 resolutions) and Pro (6
resolutions) scanners.  Apparently the Pro scanners generally have
higher dynamic range in addition to the extra resolution, but I
haven't had enough experience to really comment.

A lot depends on the skills of the scanner operator.  I've had so-so
luck with Custom Process in Berkeley, CA, and good luck with Alpha CD
Imaging in Menlo Park.  I've also used Advanced Digital Imaging
( in Fort Collins, CO, but I was nervous about trusting
my slides to fed-ex.

If you're a photoshop user, you have a choice of two ways to get the
images from the CD into Photoshop.  

   - There's a folder in the CD named "Photos", which contains a set
     of folders, one per resolution, that contain Pict files of each
     image.  You can just open these directly and go.

   - There's a folder named PHOTO_CD that contains "pcd" files
     (usually with funny semi-colons and crap in their name).  I use
     the PhotoCD Acquire plug-in from

     to open these.  This module give you a lot of control over how
     you move the image from the PhotoCD color space into your working 
     color space.

     I've found that this method works much better.

Finally, if you're a bit of a geek and have access to a unix machine,
there's a great tool in the freely available ImageMagick package
( that'll let you convert the pcd file into
whatever your heart desires.  It let's you do stuff like this:

   convert -rotate 90 -interlace NONE -sharpen 50 -bordercolor black -border 2x3 -comment 'copyright 2000 George Hartzell' '/mnt/cdrom/photo_cd/images/img0001.pcd[1]' image-1.1.jpg

It's not much fun to use by hand, but it's a great opportunity for
automation.  I use a set of scripts based on work by Phil Greenspun
( that let me batch process entire PhotoCD's to web
pages.  Here are some examples that folks might have seen before:

I'd love to know of folks' experiences with other PhotoCD scanners in
the San Francisco Bay Area.


Replies: Reply from George Hartzell <> (Re: [Leica] Re: Kodak Photo CD)
In reply to: Message from "Bill Lawlor" <> ([Leica] Re: Kodak Photo CD)