View Full Version : Oil mounting advice, please.

Kurt Lang
10-29-2007, 07:51 PM
Hi all,

We're using a Scitex badged Eversmart Supreme for our scanning. It's connected to a G5 Mac under OS X 10.4.10 with a FireWire conversion kit. oXYgen scan and oil mounting station.

We do quite a bit of scans from negatives up to poster size (30"x40") at 300 dpi for a professional photographer. While we would like to oil mount these things to cut down on dust and film grain, it's been a real pain to do so. We've tried various techniques of our own, and those suggested by other professional scanning people, but have a heck of a time keeping air bubbles from showing up.

Is this possibly due to the Kami SMF 2001 mounting fluid we're using? If so, does anyone have a suggestion for a mounting oil that would be easier to use and give us better results?

On a different note, we haven't had any reason to move beyond yet. But sometime soon, we'll be getting an Intel based Mac to replace our G5. Is there a universal version of oXYgen from Kodak available, or is it still PowerPC only? If the latter, has anyone used it on an Intel Mac, and how well does it work?


10-29-2007, 08:31 PM
We have done oil mounting of transparencies for years. Used to do it on an old Crossfield drum scanner and now we have an iQSmart with oil mounting. The best that I have used for ease and expense is just straight mineral oil. Go to your local drug store and pick up and bottle for a buck. It is a little more work to get cleaned up, but it is the easiest to keep air bubbles out. It also work pretty good and getting them out of a transparency once they are there. The other positives are it is natural, not man made and you can leave you trannies mounted for extended periods. Hope this helps.


Kurt Lang
10-29-2007, 09:07 PM
Thank you very much for the suggestion, slivingston. Cheap, too! Gotta' like that. :) We only used the Kami because that's what more than a few people recommended. I think mostly because it's easy to clean up. The downside is that it's not really an oil, and dries too fast. I'd much rather have to take the time to clean the negs up with film cleaner than fight these stinkin' air bubbles. A true oil will likely also do a better job diffusing out dust and grain.

Can't wait to try it!

10-30-2007, 02:27 PM
We used to use kami where I used to work (ages ago). We quit using it because if that fast dry time. It ruined trannies if the operators were not careful.


Kurt Lang
10-30-2007, 09:24 PM
We picked up some mineral oil today and tried it out. The bad news is that it didn't change how the scans come out at all. We grabbed a 35mm neg kind of at random and scanned it at 3000%. Once just tossing it on the glass as is, and once oiled. We kind of expected to get at least a little smoother results with the oiled scan, but the difference was essentially nil. Same minute dust specs to retouch and same amount of grain.

The goods news is that it is indeed FAR easier to use than the Kami stuff. Messy clean up, but works very well. Takes very little oil to spread over a large area and is easy to roll out any air bubbles. Something that seemed almost impossible with the Kami fluid. For a while there, we were beginning to think that we were just horribly inept at oil mounting. :-)

So judging from our test, we'll just continue scanning everything dry. But it's nice to know we have a good oil mounting technique now for those scratched originals.

Oh, one more question. What do you use to clean up the oil? We used the Kami DC 2001 Scanner Drum Cleaner to get the oil off. Then Windex Multi Task to get it the rest of the way clean. Is there something that works better to clean up the oil?

Thanks again.

10-31-2007, 04:47 PM
We use film clean to clean up the mess. Well that and lots of Webril wipes.

As far as quality goes. At 3000%, I would expect a lot of graininess and not that great of a scan. You may be having the same problem that we do with the iQSmart. It sharpens the scans too much. On one hand it is great in that it picks up every detail, on the other hand it sucks because it picks up every little spec. Our rule of thumb is any trannie being scanned about 800% get oil mounted and we turn down the sharpening. If you are putting together a project of scans and digital images, then you almost have to blur the scans. Otherwise they stick out like a sore thumb.

The sharpening was a big change for us when we moved from the drum scanner to the flat bed. Hope this helps.


Kurt Lang
10-31-2007, 09:31 PM
I should clarify that the grain isn't that bad. It's actually what you'd expect to see at that large of percentage. Although yes, drum scanners don't show film grain the way flat beds do. All in all, it tends to look like a bit much only when viewing the scan at 1:1 in Photoshop, or close to that. On the final prints, the grain pretty much disappears. We were just hoping to smooth out the scans a bit more without losing the edges.

I wonder about using film clean on the scanning glass. Doesn't that take the anti Newton ring coating off the glass? That's why we normally only use the Kami cleaner (to get oil or other stickier stuff off) or Windex Multi Task. Neither contains alcohol or other harsh solvents that would damage the coating. The manual for the scanner recommends Windex Clear, which isn't made anymore. But Multi Task is essentially the same thing according to the people who make it (we called them).

Here's a completely different question you may not have an answer for, but I'll ask anyway. We purchased this scanner from Genesis Equipment sales a few years back. It had an oil mounting system with it, but somehow, that part of the shipment never got here. What the good folks at Genesis did was get us a brand new unit from Creo for cost. This I think about a year before Creo was absorbed by Kodak. Anyway, the glass that came with the oil mounting station is different from the original. It fits the scanner no problem, but you absolutely can't scan negatives on that new glass. Everything comes out yellow/orange with lots of vertical stripes running through them. If you hold it at an angle to the light, you can see it's coated differently than the original glass. Defeats the whole purpose of being able to mount the next set of negs while one set is scanning. Ever heard of that one before?

11-02-2007, 06:18 PM
Film clean is somewhat an old habit from the drum scanning. Never had a problem with Newton rings when using mineral oil and good acetate. However, I mainly use film clean to get the majority of the oil off the glass and off the film. We use a glass cleaner or just a lint free rag on the glass.

As far as the glass goes, I am not sure what to tell you. Our glass for the oil mounting is identical to the glass on the scanner.


Kurt Lang
04-08-2008, 08:46 PM
Hi Shawn,

I thought you, or others with Eversmart scanners might like to know this. We found out why the new glass was making it impossible to scan transparencies. Reflective art was fine, but not negatives or slides.

When the oil mounting station arrived, we diligently read through all of the documentation (but not diligently enough) and saw that you get a few small barcode strip stickers with the system. You're supposed to put a sticker on the bottom side of the new glass so the scanner knows when you've switched glass. The idea being that you create separate sharpening tables for each glass you have. So we put one on.

The thing is, you must be using oXYgen Scan 2.5 or higher for it to work correctly, as we found out just now reading the documentation more closely. We're running

Took the little sticker off of the glass and now it works perfectly. We almost couldn't believe it.