"Better Scanning" Film Holder for V700

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by ben_hutcherson, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. I've been looking at these for probably 6 months, but finally decided to bit the bullet and buy one.

    As anyone who shoots medium format film and uses an Epson scanner probably knows, the Epson stock holders are terrible. If your film isn't perfectly flat it can be a struggle to get the film in the holder in the first place-much less keep it flat. Before buying my Epson, I used a Canon 2400F, and although the Epson is a better scanner for me in most ways I have to say that the Canon MF holder is in every way. In addition, sometimes the focus isn't perfect and the Epson holders only allow you to set it in fairly large steps-it's often a matter of "good enough."

    The Better Scanning holder does a lot to address these concerns.

    First of all, rather than using a frame to lock the entire strip in place, the BS holder uses "T locks"(basically little plastic bridges) that snap into place in the film guides. I put one between each frame.They hold it securely, and by paying attention to the exact nature of the curl and cupping they can be used to hold the film flat.

    Second, rather than using fixed-sized ships the BS holder uses hex headed nylon screws to set the height. This allows you to dial in the exact focus. I spent a while on this last night, but it was well worth it-basically I used a strip of Tri-X and judged it both by some writing in the frame and how well resolved the grain was. I used 3200x3200 to dial it in since-in my experience-that's enough to grain resolve Tri-X and it minimizes the scanning time.

    This isn't the exact procedure described, but here's how I went about setting it up. First of all, with the screws flush, the scan height is 1.5mm. Each full turn of the screws is .8mm. Since my initial scan was terrible, I went ahead and raised it by a full turn. It was much better, so I went another half turn and saw even more improvement. A third 1/2 turn made things worse. I then made progressively smaller adjustments(moving to 1/4 turns and then 1/8 turns) until I had it as good as I thought I could get it. I'll also add that the screws have a hex head and an appropriately sized allen key is included to make exact adjustments. They can also be done with the holder still on the scanner bed.

    I opted to buy a glass insert(anti-Newton glass) which I haven't tested yet. I THINK that you have to specify this at the time of order so that the holder can be made to accomodate the glass even if you don't buy the glass at that time. The instructions for the glass insert deal with extreme cases of curl, and even describe taping the film to the glass.

    As someone who still shoots quite a bit of MF, I think the holder was well worth the investment. It's not cheap, but in every way it's better.

    I'll also add that holders are available for 35mm and 4x5. Since I use a Nikon Coolscan for 35mm I find the 4x5 holders adequate, I didn't bother with those.

    These are apparently custom built, and I was told at the time of my order that it would be 4 business days from the time I paid. I ordered on Friday Feb. 9 and the holder was on my porch on the 17th. That's plenty fast in my book.

    I have no affiliation other than being a happy customer.
  2. Hello everyone. My expierence with the BS products is with the V600 & V800 Epson scanners. A carrier for the V600 in 35mm is not made, but their 120/MF carriers is as Ben has outlined. BS does offer ANR glass inserts that fit the OEM V600 & V800 35mm carriers & I use them.
    I have NEVER UNDERSTOOD why the Epson people instruct their user to use the negatives emulsion side up. . .?? Up until 2015 or so, I always put my negatives in my enlarger emulsion side down. . why run the image thru a "diffuser", ie, the substrate? For ages teens with zitts could be printed by flipping the neg.
    Both my scanners run the emulsion down. The ANR glass will "mush" down any cupping of the neg just with it's weight. I did get the clips but they sit idle. The OEM Epson carriers can be focus "calibrated" with layers of black electricians tape on the pads on the bottom side.
    With regard to the V800 & 4x5 negs, I replaced their so-called ANR "glass", (actually plexiglass) with a "real" 4x5 piece of ANR glass. The plexi was just a big dust magnet. These neg's are also scanned emulsion DOWN.
    What ever scanner & method you use, these carriers offered a good order of magnitude improvement in sharpness & ease of working.
    As Ben mentioned, I am one happy customer ! , not a "rep",. !! Aloha, Bill
  3. I've noticed it quite useful with fresh curly film from the lab or from your own processing. After the film has been cut and sleeved in the folder and kept there, the film is a lot less curly. I find now for most case my results look the same to the OEM holder.
  4. I've had film that I've yet to be able to "tame". Most often it's old stock film, but I've found some films to just naturally be more curly than others.

    I use a pretty low-tech drying set-up in my home darkroom. Basically, I hang a clothes hanger with hooks on the shower curtain rod. Then, I clip the film into the hanger and put some sort of weight at the bottom of it. One of my favorite things to use is a binder clip-it doesn't need to be a lot-just enough to get the film to hang straight. Tri-X and FP-4+(at least when in date or reasonably close) come out straight as a board. I've just recently shot a few rolls of Acros, a film I'd never used before, and it's a bit more curly than the others. I think Efke was the worst of any I used-it would not lay flat. Well past prime film is hard to straighten also-I have some Plus-X that was ~20 years out of date when I shot it, and even after spending a few months in a Print File page between two encyclopedias, it will snap into a roll when removed from the page. I'll add that I also often "weave" curl directions in a Printfile page to get the page to lay flat and also provide some straightening.

    In any case, I've found that one of the biggest issues with 120 film-no matter how flat it lays-is "cupping" in the holder. The relatively thin base(compared to 35mm) along with the width makes for something of a perfect storm in this regard. Enlargers address this by clamping the film tightly around the perimeter of a singe frame. My Canon scanner used both hooks and included a plastic "card" to support the the film. The Better Scanning holder gets you there either by using the T-locks or the glass.

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