Any ideas on 11x14 scanner?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by jim_gardner|4, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. All my prints are made in the darkroom and this may involve hours or even days of work that I enjoy. Digital photography, or scanning negatives and creating an image on Photoshop -to name just one of the many tools I'm sure are available- is not an option, but occasionally I would like to scan a finished print.
    I do have a scanner that can copy up to A4 but a lot of my prints are around 11x14". Is there a scanner available that would scan that size without breaking the bank?
    I know I will be told that depends how big the bank is and what sort of quality I expect, I just wanted to get a feel for what is out there. I have had a look on various sites but am not really sure what I am looking at.
  2. AJG


    I don't know about a scanner that size, but I would expect it to be expensive since it isn't the common consumer size. If it were me I would photograph those prints with a DSLR with a macro lens on copy stand and two lights at 45 degrees.
    Jochen and jim_gardner|4 like this.
  3. You could scan them in two halves on an A4 flatbed and stitch the two halves together with an image editor.
    jim_gardner|4 likes this.
  4. I have an older Microtek i700 flatbed scanner that covers approximately 8.5 in by 14 in. They are available used on eBay for around $100 and up. If that is not sufficiently wide, I would do as John suggests and scan in two halves and stitch together in Photoshop or other editor.
  5. I've done as many as four overlapping scans of large materials. It requires some care in the scanning process and helps if the alignment is controlled carefully, not depending entirely on the software in the stitching process.

    You may also need LOTS of memory and patience to achieve the end result.

    here is a quick-and-dirty efffort
    March to the Sea
    jim_gardner|4 likes this.
  6. Since you write that
    and I know from experience how long it takes to make that occasional print, I suggest you see if there is a professional scanning service that you could use rather than make that occasional scan yourself. You may find it is more economical than doing it yourself, and you may get better results from a professional scanner used by a professional who does it every day.
    jim_gardner|4 likes this.
  7. It depends on the end use of your scans.

    I have a Brother MFC-J6930DW multi usage printer-scanner that has a ledger-size scan glass (11X17 inches).

    It can scan 11X17 documents and photos on that glass up to 600 DPI in tif format, with surprisingly good results in B&W.

    In colors, results are not that good and tend to be oversaturated, but you can correct that in Lightroom or Photoshop.

    Hope that helps.
    jim_gardner|4 likes this.
  8. Some Heidelberg Topaz?
    I'm not well informed about it. They used to have one at work, from the late 90s on, with a G4 PowerMac.
    Me too! - If you say:
    I'll argue: Having a breakfast table sized monstrosity combined with a dedicated quaint computer standing around all year long and doing pre-scans and manual adjustments, wait struggle with file transfer, wait again feels even less fun to me. I'd avoid that whenever I can; i.e. until I need an insane resolution file, that my gear at hand can't produce.

    What are your scans intended for?
    jim_gardner|4 likes this.
  9. Producing a photo book, for fun not commercially, and posting on here.
  10. I don't quite understand why you seem reluctant to use my suggestion of scanning in two halves and stitching. Even low end flatbeds are pretty good at scanning prints. Photomerge is available in Photoshop and Elements and works very well. I'm sure other image editors have something equivalent.

    For the purposes described you only need to scan at quite low resolution, 150 or even 100 DPI.
    jim_gardner|4 likes this.
  11. Larger format scanners are available but expensive. Scanning 2 halves is a good idea. Imagine you can stitch a panorama that was taken handheld there is no reason you can't stitch 2 halves of the scan.
    Another way is to copy the print using a digital camera. The difficulty is with lighting.
    jim_gardner|4 likes this.
  12. Moving the document across the bed results in significant misalignment, making stitching problematic. Secondly, for best results, you need at least 25% overlap.

    I bought (and still have) an Epson Expression 1600 20 years ago, with an 11x14" bed and 1600 ppi resolution. It cost about $1300 at the time, and has a real lens which focuses. The Expression 10000 was a contemporary ledger-sized scanner, which cost about $3K,

    I'm considering getting a copy stand. My wife frequently copies items larger than 11x14". A Sony A7Riv (61 MP) will render an 11x14" document at over 600 ppi - good enough te read 4 pt type.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 2:51 PM
    jim_gardner|4 likes this.
  13. I can't see huge problems. I've often made panoramas by taking several overlapping hand held pictures across a scene, they don'thave to be exactly aligned. Photomerge easily puts them together.

    I've often copied documents and prints by photographing them, but the technique is not without its problems. Getting the camera exactly perpendicular is not easy without a copy stand (I do have one, made from an old enlarger). Getting even lighting across a larger subject is not trivial, and with glossy subjects reflections can occur.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 3:24 PM
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  14. I was mistaken. The Expression 1600 has a legal-sized bed, 8.5x14". The 10000 was, I believe, 11x17". An adequate copy stand of that size costs as little as $150 to $250.

    You can a lighting package for copying for $100 or so, or you could use a couple of desk lamps. The popular belief is you need polarized or cross-polarized light, which is expensive, but rarely needed (e.g., for shiny, rough-textured artwork).
    jim_gardner|4 likes this.
  15. My pc is at least 10 years old and I don't have any photo software. If there was a decent stitching tool for under £50 that I could use with a very outdated pc, I would certainly try.
  16. There are photo stitching programmes which are free to download. I haven't used any of them so I would hesitate to make a recommendation, perhaps other members will come in with their experiences.

    Another possibility is Photoshop Elements which is also a capable image editor. The current version is around £60 but older versions can surely be found more cheaply online. I think Photomerge was included in Elements from version 11 but this may be wrong. And an older version of Elements would be less demanding on your computer hardware.

    Gimp is a very powerful free image editor, but it does not do photo stitching. Also it has quite a steep learning curve.
    jim_gardner|4 likes this.
  17. The obvious answer - to me - is to make a smaller darkroom print for scanning. A 10"x8" would fit on a standard A4 scanner, and a 600ppi (~ 30 megapixel) scan gets you all the resolution that most film is capable of. A 300ppi scan would be more than enough for posting online anyway.

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