Epson Scanner Question

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by davecaz, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. Hi,

    Some of you know that I have an Epson Perfection V370 Photo scanner. I also have a couple of medium format cameras that use 120 film. The V370 does not come with a film holder for 120, but I don't see why it wouldn't be capable of scanning 120. After all, it scans full 8 1/2" x 11" paper.

    I'm guessing that there might be some light falloff along the outer edges, but I would think that would be fixable in post. I've asked Epson, and all they say is, in effect, "buy a more expensive scanner". I've asked Doug at BetterScanning, but he does not make any holders for the V370.

    So, I have a number of questions. Feel free to address one or all of them. The randomly chosen first question is, does anyone know of any actual physical or software limitations that would prevent the scanner from scanning 120?

    Second is, has anyone used the DigitaLIZA 120 Scanning Mask from Lomography? It looks like an interesting approach, if they've solved the problems inherent in their pass-through design.

    Third, would sandwiching the film between two sheets of glass, ANG or otherwise, work?

  2. The 8 1/2x11" is for reflective scanning of paper or photos. Negatives require the transparency section to direct the light through the film. You have to remove the document mat. The V370 only allows 35mm slides or 35mm film strips. Placing Film or Slides (EPSON Perfection V370 Photo Only)

    If you want to scan larger negatives like medium format, you need a V550, V600, or V700, V750, V850, for 4x5" and larger.
  3. Wow, you sound just like Canon, though somewhat more helpful. :)

    Perhaps I should have prefaced the OP by mentioning that I've done a good bit of scanning of 35mm film with the V370 since I got it. I'm aware of the need to remove the document mat when scanning film.

    What I'm also aware of is that it uses the same scanning head to scan both reflective paper surfaces and backlit transparencies. There is neither a separate scanning head nor a separate software application for film. With the exception of needing the document mat for documents and changing one setting in the software, it's all the same. So, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work, if I can lift the film the right height off the platen.
  4. I don't think there's anything optical that would prevent scanning larger transparencies with this scanner but it's certainly possible for that to be the case. For example if this is one of the models that uses a dual-focus system maybe it hasn't been rigged up for the full width of the v370. And if the scanner does have a dual focus system then the Epson software is only going to enable that when you scan with the transparency unit setting which probably restricts the area to the known lit region. I'm assuming if you have a scanner this inexpensive you probably didn't drop near its cost again on a Vuescan pro license. Otherwise you might have to fluid mount to the scan bed directly (which is not necessarily sealed for it) to get at the on-glass focal point of the reflective scanning mode.

    If you're lucky (and maybe using single frames of 645) you might be able to use the existing light without severe dropoff. Beyond that I'm guessing the vignetting is probably so severe the image data in the dark part might be completely unrecoverable. At least it's easier to build a backlight these days with LED lighting separate fluorescent lamps tend to be unsynchronized with the scanning process leading to banding as the light pulses waxing and waning from one millisecond to the next. This also makes any PWM, the most common way to dimm LED lights, probably a bad idea for a scanning backlight too because it would also pulse the light. Which may be a problem because in reflective mode the calibration strip for the sensor on Epson scanners is underneath the glass internal to the scanner and so completely unrelated to the intensity of the light you're scanning with so you'll probably need to tune the backlight to match (a current limiting potentiometer would be my approach) and hope the reflection off the emulsion itself of the scan head light isn't going to drown out your image. By the time you've gone and done basic electrical and mechanical engineering for yourself to build a custom diffusion head, maybe it's time to question whether your time is worth enough that you should trade some money for a v550/v600 which has a light source wide enough for 120 to get it back.

    The digitalliza system doesn't seem like a bad way to get film holders, just keep some things in mind: in transparency mode an Epson scanner will calibrate using an open space immediately before the area being scanned, give yourself that space. This may require making a spacing block to align the holder from the side of the scanner instead of the top or bottom. It's not going to do anything to solve your lighting problems because people seem to mostly be using them to scan beyond the normal frames into the sprockets of 35mm and frame markings of 120 on much higher-end scanners for a sort of photography "kitsch".

    In short, probably possible, just a pain in the rear.
  5. Much appreciated :)
  6. Isn't the light source coming from the top of the scanner for transparencies (film)? Is that light source large enough on the 370 for 120 film?

    The V500, 550, 600, etc can scan 2 strips of 35 mm film and 120, while the 370 only scans a single strip of 35mm film (I believe). My guess is that the light source is smaller but maybe there's also something different about the scanning mechanism.
  7. Yes, and I don't know. It's not visible when it's not scanning. It retracts under an opaque part of the lid. When it's in operation, it's moving and bright enough to make seeing it clearly a bit difficult. But, that's just a casual observation. I haven't made a serious attempt to measure it. Yet.

    Yeah, that's the kind of thing I was hoping someone would know. Not necessarily about this specific model, but about lower end models, in general.

    I could just test it, I guess, but I don't have anything to hold the film in the correct position. I'm also in the midst of tearing down and rebuilding my PC (which has apparently decided it would rather be a boat anchor). Hooking the scanner up to the PC would theoretically be possible, but not an highly attractive option.

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