I've been having problems scanning my black and white negatives. The highlights of the scanned negatives have blown out and the files have been too contrasty. I initially thought that these problem were caused by over exposure then the overdevelopment of the negatives. This is an example:
No matter what I do with these kind of files, the whites go muddy. It's hopeless.
Yesterday, when I was scanning with the Epson V700 flatbed using the Epson software upgrade for the Mac's latest operating system (Mountain Lion) I decreased the contrast on a similar negative making it flat and grey to see what difference this would make.
The result above is a file that I am able to work on with respect the highlights.
So my problems were caused by the scanning. Before the software upgrade I did not have a reduce contrast option. What was being scanned was way too contrasty when using the old basic Epson Scan software that came with the scanner.