Best negative scanner ?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by tomadakis, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. I have around five thousand negatives that I would like to scan into good quality
    files. Some of them are 120 B&W and color. Most are 35mm. My goal is to
    produce files as good as the raw files the Pentax k10d produces. Is that realistic?
    What kind of money should I be spending? I looked at the Epson V series but cant
    realy tell. .... Thank you.
  2. Epson V series are flatbeds and while they're good and reasonably fast you could look into dedicated film scanners for optimum "once in a lifetime" scan quality. I don't think you feel like scanning anything ever again after 5000 negs. ;)

    Used Nikon 8000/9000? Handles both 35mm and 120.
    Nikon V would be much cheaper but it doesn't do 120.
  3. I have the Epson V500. It does a fairly good job on 35mm, but doesn't equal my
    Pentax k100d for sharpness and color. It's fine for small enlargements, but you'll
    quickly see the limits for big enlargements. Not so great for shadow detail. Also fairly
    slow. I bought it mainly for medium format. Sounds like you need the Nikons described
  4. "My goal is to produce files as good as the raw files the Pentax k10d produces. Is that realistic?"

    Hmm... this is a bit tricky to answer. Basically K10D beats 35mm but does it matter much? Your 5000 images matter and technically scanning + photoshop can give you better end product than you could ever achieve by analog process (especially for color work). It'll look good if your originals are good.

    120 size, no problem there, except that file sizes can get huge fast. Quality will be excellent. (I'm not going to start a war by saying that it'll be better than K10D... whups.)
  5. The Nikon 9000 ED Scanner costs $2,300 plus ...
  6. I've been through all of this, hoping each new generation of flatbed will give me something approaching the quality of what I've gotten from my first simple film scanner. If you're looking for anything resembling high quality from 35mm, forget flatbeds--every flatbed--and buy a dedicated film scanner of some sort.

    The usual size mentioned for the maximum from flatbeds is 4X or 5X. That's marginal for 120, but doesn't cut it for 35mm. Even the folks on the large format forums say, "wellllll, for 16x20 from 4x5, flatbeds are maybe OK, but that's it."

    This is assuming you're concerned about quality, which from your question I assume you are. Lacking a functioning film scanner at the moment, I've set up a little copy rig with my Nikon D300 and 60mm Micro which is doing a great job--much better than any flatbed I've had, and I've had a few. I'm as happy as a clam with it, but I'm not talking about scanning 5000 pieces of film.
  7. Flatbeds:

    The Microtek ArtixScan M1 is at a minimum, in the same class as the Epson V-750
    Pro, but since you also say that

    "My goal is to produce files as good as the raw files the Pentax k10d produces."

    then you want a dedicated film scanner. A Nikon Coolscan LS 9000ED and
    SilverFast Ai6 software to be precise. Possibly the AZTEK fluid mount tray for
    it as well. Expect to spend about 10 minutes per scan once you have mastered the
    learning curve.

    But to more rapidlygo through "thousands of a negatives and slides", I currently
    use a Nikon D3 with a 100mm f/4 AI-S Micro-Nikkor
  8. Nikon 9000 is great, and you will probably find that you get scans that supercede the
    quality of your digital camera, assuming of course, proper technique. At least, that's
    what I discovered after scanning some 35mm color/bw negatives from my F4.

    Scanning MF will be ridiculously superior, even on an Epson, or even a Microtek,
    assuming you get one that works.
  9. Here's another way to do it: get a flatbed and use it as an editing tool instead of the
    final scan. It's unlikely that every one of your 5000 negs will be a winner. Then, if
    something really merits it, you can have it scanned for under $2.00 on a Nikon (for
    35mm, that is). I always think my slide are fantastic on the light table, but find
    something wrong when scanned--only a very few make the cut.
  10. Ellis gave you the right answer. After a few weeks of experience you should be able to start producing high-quality scans at home with a $2100 scanner and probably another two grand in storage.. But it will take you well over 1,000 hours to properly scan 5,000 negatives "as good as the raw files." What is the value of your time?
  11. Am I "reading" here that I may be better off using the Pentax K10d with the Tamron SP Di 90mm 2.8 Macro 1:1 on a tripod ???
  12. Ellis, are you shooting those on a light table? What is your setup?
  13. "I have around five thousand negatives that I would like to scan into good quality files."

    Be sure you know what you're in for before you start on this project.

    I have a Nikon CS5000. It's the fastest high quality scanner scanner available for around $1k. It basically takes about 1hr per 36 exposures. If you're doing this part time, a one year commitment isn't unrealistic.
  14. I too have a homemade D3 + Macro lens + Nikon slide holder(PS-6 I think) rig...The rig is
    horizontal operating on a table top(it has legs and feet) so for illumination a I use a color-
    correct light table set on it's side with the slide holder just a few inches away from the light.
    Exposures seem to be about 1/3 sec or so, ISO 200, f/8 w/lens extended to about 1:1.2.
    Depends on slide.
  15. "Am I "reading" here that I may be better off using the Pentax K10d with the Tamron SP Di 90mm 2.8 Macro 1:1 on a tripod ???"

    Compared to a flatbed, definitely yes. My D300/60mm micro combo gives me absolutely clear grain right out to the corners from my Tri-X negs at f8-11--I don't know what more I could ask for.

    If I weren't at a workshop right now I'd throw up a picture of my rig, which is comprised of the camera and lens mounted on a focusing rail with a block of wood screwed on to one end of the rail. The camera-facing side of the wood is squared to the camera, and I glued a magnet on that face. I have two pieces of glass hinged with tape, with tape rails for sliding the negs along between (like a glass enlarger carrier), and that's held to the block with another magnet. I take the negs, put them in the sandwich, clip them to the rig with the magnet, and shoot the copy using a light table as the light source, with the camera handheld. It takes about two minutes to set up one neg, and then later there's the post-processing.
  16. Don't count out the flatbed scanners... I have the Epson V700 and for price vs.
    performance, it's a great deal @ $549-ish. I like the idea that I can scan films
    (35mm, 120, 4x5, MF, even full 8x10), as well as prints, documents, text etc. (I tend
    to look for things that are not a single use only device to get the most bang for my

    Take a look at this review, it helped me make the decision to get mine and I'm
    thrilled with it! There's a ton of image samples & comparisons in the review as well.
    I also agree with Scott Cole when he said the scanner can be used as an editing
    tool, and your "cream of the crop" images could be sent out for scanning pretty

    Also, the V750 PRO (next step up - Around $800) has the capability to use a fluid-
    mount accessory.

    Good luck with your search!
  17. Dear Antoni, The idea from Scott sounds good to me. Thhe best scanner for your needs is without a question Hasselblad Flextight X5, last model scanner from Imacon (now Hasselblad). There is nothing better in the world right now. My friend has one. So if you want contact me at my email and I am sure I can help you. Use cheap scanner and then for the good shots use the Flextight.
  18. If you realy want the best qualtiy from 35 mm, you should go for Nikon dedicated film scanners, but those are very expensive and some models doesn't support 120mms. I bought a Canon 4400f (Without FARE) and than replaced this with Canon 8800f (With FARE, equelent to Digital ICE). 8800f's film guids are realy best I ever used in flatbeds, even better than own brands 4400f, It can scan upto 12 frames of 35 mm and it supports 120 mm too. this is a cheap but high end flatbed. In flatbeds, you can scan your prints too. so now the flatbeds are good too.
  19. One more thing... Scaned negatives with reasonabel higher resolution, would give you far better detailed photographs compared to your K10D, even with 8800f or 4400f
  20. I have the Epson V700, being unable to obtain a Nikon. It is a big piece of machinery,
    but very good to black and white negatives. I think that the slide scans are very good
    also, but I suspect the fluid mount of the next model up would add a bit for the
    scanning of slides. The Nikon would be more convenient to store, but less versatile.
    Scanning thousands of negatives for any amateur is virtually prohibitive from a time
    point of view, whatever the equipment.
  21. I have an ArtixScan M1 and it is good for a non dedicated film scanner.Of course the negative has to be good too.It can't get what's not in the negative.It gets a little bit less of what's in the negative.There's always some loss.The loss part maybe in part due to skill or lack of it .I'm still new to scanning.
  22. Michael Darnton: Compared to a flatbed, definitely yes. My D300/60mm micro combo gives me absolutely clear grain right out to the corners from my Tri-X negs at f8-11--I don't know what more I could ask for. If I weren't at a workshop right now I'd throw up a picture of my rig...
    Michael, I'd like to see it when you can.
  23. I take pictures of negatives with a digital camera (EOS 40D) and results are really good. You just need to know how to take such picture. I was surprised how good the quality was. In your situation scanner is probably a better option but if you have a macro lens taking pictures of negatives is worth trying.
  24. Files as good as the Pentax k10D raw files? Heavens! I have an old Canoscan
    FS4000US, and I would challenge anyone to be able to match the quality of the
    tiff (essentially "raw") files from that scanner using any regular-format
    digicam available. In terms of quality, film still reigns by a long shot, even
    scanned (with an adequately good scanner, of course), although I expect digicams
    to start coming close very soon.

    That being said, a few years ago, I found a new FS4000US (4000dpi, resulting in
    scans of approximately equal to about 24MP (yes, I calculated it) with tiff -
    and most of the better films still outperforms the scanner) for half the
    original selling price, and it does a fantastic job with 35mm negs and slides.
    It doesn't do 120, alas, and it's very slow. The newer Nikon Coolscans (5000,
    etc.) and Minolta ones (there's one that can do something like 5600dpi, but I
    can't remember the name) should do much better, but they would still be a little
    pricier. I would skip flatbeds if you want the best quality scans from 35mm.
  25. Okay, before someone says something, I would like to say I take it back about using flatbeds. I looked up the newest flatbeds, and looks like they can do what the film scanners can do and more! I sit corrected...
  26. Try googling creo-scitex, or kodak iq smart. I have never used one, but as I understand it, they are supposedly made for service bureaus, labs and etc. They are not consumer scanners, so they cost an arm and a leg ($10,000 for an entry level model). Image quality is supposedely very close to a drum scan and (and yes, they are flatbeds).

    You can occasionally find older models used, for around 2 or 3 thousand. Many times they come with an older Mac, as these machines will not work with a P.C. or a newer Mac.

    These machines might provide the high image quality you are seeking for 35mm while allowing you to scan many, many frames at once.

    I am no expert about these scanners and I am sure there are issues with using older models, but it might be worth investigating... or not...

    Good luck in your research.
  27. Flatbeds are useless for 35mm. I had an Epson V500 and it make me think my lenses had all gotten out of alignment. Then I bought a Nikon Coolscan V ED. I was flabbergasted with the result. My lenses were fine. It was the V500 that sucked.

    I'm keeping the flatbed for MF. Keeping both is cheaper than getting a Coolscan 9000, but I'm in the odd situation where my 35mm scans look as good or better than my MF ones.

    I don't know for sure, but for MF the Epson V750 in cumbersome wet-scan mode might cut it, although I understand that it still sucks for 35mm.

    And the 9000 does wet-scan too.

    And if the Coolscan V looks this good, I keep wondering what the 5000 looks like...
  28. Those of you who are claiming that flatbeds are as good as dedicated scanners -- sorry, you're just flat-out wrong, especially for someone whose goal is "to produce files as good as the raw files the Pentax k10d produces."
  29. Edward the V700 does not suck at 35. I have a K/M scan dual 4 and the Epson. I've done comp tests with both and they are very close. Actually Epsons software give better out of the box exposures than does the K/M.
  30. The advice about consumer flatbeds not being nearly as good as a dedicated film scanner for 35mm is right. No consumer flatbed that I have heard of is as good as a dedicated 35mm scanner.

    Consumer is the key word, however. If you are willing to spend money on either a used creo-scitex or if you have $12,000 to blow on a new Kodak Iq smart 2 (complete overkill), these flatbeds will exceed dedicated film scanners, including the imacon/hasselblad variety, especially if your negs are wet mounted. They can also allow you to scan many more negatives at once than a dedicated scanner.

    Though posters are right in terms of the image quality of flatbeds v. dedicated scanners, I wanted to point out that the scanners I mentioned previously are a different beast all together (and are certainly priced accordingly). Very good labs these machines for their high rez scans on 35mm - the Slide Printer, for example, use a creo-scitex eversmart pro for their highest resolution scans - check their website. Might be worth looking into, espcially if you can find an older version that won't cost you quite as much (though still alot).
  31. Wet scans on a $12,000 flatbed matching a $13000 Imacon? Um, I'll take your word on it. Now, how much longer will it take Antoni to scan those 5,000 negatives with wet mounting, Charles?
  32. Great responses... thank you all !
    I definately do not have $12,000 to spend on this project. With this kind of money I could pay $2.00/scan and save tons of time and $2,000.
    The Nikon Coolscan V ED sells for $500-$600 which is attractive. However, I am leaning towards a light table and the K10d with the macro lens as the first step.
  33. "Now, how much longer will it take Antoni to scan those 5,000 negatives with wet mounting, Charles?"

    Not as long as you might think. You prep the next scan while the current scan is under way.
  34. How long?
  35. I have a Nikon CoolScan 5000 and it does a wonderful job with chromes. But I am not
    satisfied when it comes to scanning silver (b&w). The only acceptable b&w neg scans
    I have ever done were with a high end LinoHell scanner and the negs were oil mounted.
    I have an enormous b&w neg library and I would love to have it digitally available. This
    winter I sat down to "shoot" my b&w negs to digital with my D2X and a Nikon slide
    copying setup -- until I realized my D2X doesn't fit on the rack as my F3 had. It's
    always something new to buy. But, I do concur that "shooting" film makes a lot of
    sense compared to scanning.
  36. Shooting negs with a digital camera is certainly a good way of accomplishing your goal of efficiently scanning in 500 negatives. As someone suggested, you can even decide to send the best ones out for more high rez scanning if you want to enlarge. Using a cataloging software of some kind (iView, Lightroom, etc) can help you keep track of them, easily and efficiently.

    If you are after top quality, one of the previous scanners I suggested (creo-scitex, kodak/creo iq smart) may be worth looking into but they are certainly overkill for most purposes (my own included). Scanning on them would be more efficient than on a Nikon or imacon as I believe they can scan upwards of 40 mounted 35mm chromes at one time, but I do not know how many of these full scans it can do in an hour. Good luck!
  37. Michael I'llnottell / Michael Darnton / Keith B

    Can you please tell me more about your setup and equipment used (Light source, etc) or post pictures of your setup...

    Thanks again to everyone !
  38. Les, thank you. You mentioned on your first email "perfect light source" for the negatives. Can you elaborate please...
  39. Ellis Vener / Michael I'llnottell / Michael Darnton / Keith B / Les Sarile
    I have decided to first take pictures of some of the negatives and see how it goes. I will use the k10d and the 100mm 2.8 Macro lens on a tripod.
    Can you please tell me more about your setup and equipment used other than the camera/lens? (Light source, mounting, rails, etc) A pictures of your setup would be great help...

    Thank you.
  40. "How long?"

    The same amount of time as dry scans, once you get really good at prepping your wet scans.
  41. Sorry, I wanted to say 90mm 2.8 Macro lens.
  42. I take these pictures the same way like "Les Sarile". Make sure that lightbox is far away from the negative (it shouldn't be in depth of field). First take a shot of clear frame to set the white balance after that you can take pictures. I think you'll get best results at f/11. Make sure that the negative is exactly perpendicular to the camera.
  43. Hey Guys..can anybody suggest me a good 35mm negative scanner?? My priority is a good BnW scan
    I shoot on Tri-x 400...after reading all your suggestions and reviews I am really confused.
    I am not looking for a high end scanner...the Nikon coolscan the $500 one seems in my it a good one?
    Do they cause any scratches on the negative surface? Thanks a Lot

    Apoorva Guptay
  44. Apoorva, If i were buying a film scanner and had a budget of around $500, I would buy the Nikon V ED. I do not believe that there is a scratch issue with these boxes. I have not used one, but I am almost certain that you use a negative strip holder before you insert it, therefore the moving mechanism never touches your negative.
  45. My vote is for the CoolScan V ED for 35mm. What few 120's I've had scanned I've sent them off rather than buy another more expensive scanner.

    Les, you continue to amaze me as you show all of us what a good scanner, lens and film and post processing skills can accomplish. I love film and will shoot it as long as it and I last!
  46. I just read this after the lab forgot to scan to cd some 35mm negatives that I had put through a newly acquired Praktica FX, (1954). I have just photographed them using a Canon 40d and EFS 60mm macro lens and I'm more than pleased with the results. Here is one picked at random.
  47. Darron, can you elaborate on your process. Thank you. Th image you posted looks great.

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