Imacon 646 vs Drum scanning?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by jonpaulgallery, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. I am hoping for input from those experienced with both. I am shooting 4x5 and
    6x17 transparencies and prodicing lightjet prints as large as 48x60 and 32x96.
    Currently I pay to have drum scans done, which is costly, time consuming
    (shipping back and forth), and thus limits the number of images I have
    scanned. I would like to bring this process "in house". I am leaning toward
    the Imacon 646 for ease of use, space consumption, and what sounds to be
    professional quality for my output. I would love to hear any input from those
    experienced with these, not theoretical input.

    Thanks very much!

  2. I own an Imacon 646. For images as large as you want to make - drum scan to the correct file size. Or, find a used drum scanner. There are many available in the same price range as the 646.

    I chose the Imacon because I don't have the space to setup a drum scanner. The 646 is a fine scanner, but you'll only be able to scan at 2080ppi for the 4x5 and 6x17. Not nearly enough pixels for the size images you want to make.
  3. look at my scanner comparison page for a nice look at how they all compare.

    The imacon looks better than a drum scanner, maybe a little less "sharp" but alot more effective at keeping grain to a minimum -which is a good thing.
  4. Oh . . I was unaware of the ppi restraint on the format. That is a big deal if you're printing large like that. You're going to need close to twice that resolution.
  5. jem


    The max res on a 646 for 6 by 17cm film is actually 3200 PPI, but you're right about 4 by 5, which is 2040 PPI.
  6. "Oh . . I was unaware of the ppi restraint on the format. That is a big deal if you're printing large like that. You're going to need close to twice that resolution."

    Yep. Actually I was wrong, I just fired up Flexcolor and looked at 4x5 - it's 2040 ppi and not 2080. Which is why he really needs a drum scanner. 6x17 can be scanned at 3200 ppi.
  7. I've not ever used an Imacon scanner so I can't speak directly to it's quality in comparison to a drum scanner. You migtht find this link useful in this regard:

    What I can speak to is my experience with a used drum scanner. After a lot of research, good timing, and some luck I bought a used Optronics ColorGetter Eagle drum scanner on Ebay. Like you, I shoot 4x5 and 6x17 and can now drum scan them at any practical size. I just made a 40x60 print from a 4x5 at 360dpi (non-interpolated) that looked fantastic. Buying a used drum scanner on Ebay can be a crapshoot, so if you're risk averse I might suggest buying a used, refurbished, warrantied unit from Aztek that start around $6500. Even this price (more than 2x what I paid for my machine) is MUCH cheaper than an Imacon, with quality that is at least as good and is probably better.
  8. A great scanner is the Screen 1045ai drum scanner - it will get in your house, only weighs around 150 kilos, as easy to use as a flat bed and will scan to 8000 dpi in 48 bit - and its a drum scanner. Superb for RGB scans. Can be bought for a couple of thousand bucks.

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