scanner help please

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by andrew_spence|1, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. hi
    I know absolutely nothing about film negative scanners
    before I do the research
    I thought id ask a quick question about scanners before I start
    I had planed on buying a scanner for 35mm and 6x9cm only
    but now im into 5"X4" too
    is there scanners that will do 35mm 120 roll films and 5"x4"
    will a single flat bed scanner do all 3 formats
    and what would you recommend for good quality results
    im prepared to spend about £500 or $800 us
    though I don't want the scanning side of things to be the weakest link
    would I need to spend more or would a £200 or $350 us be ok
    regards Andrew
  2. 4x5 is done with flatbeds in your price range. The best 35mm to 6x9 scanner was the Nikon Coolscan 9000 but it's way out of your price range.
    You need to do some research on flatbed scanners for 6x9 & 4x5 film. Flatbeds are a poor choice for 35mm negatives. There's lots of info here at
  3. Get a dedicated scanner for 35mm film.
    Get a good medium to high end flatbed for 120 and 4x5 film, nothing lower than a V500.
    The flatbed scan of a 35mm at high resolution will provide a scan good enough 4x6 or 5x7 print that will be acceptable but the dedicated 35mm scanner will produce better scan that will make better and larger prints.
  4. Any modern flatbed that comes properly-equipped for film will do an admirable job on any size of negative if it's for web use, viewing on computer or for small prints (postcard size). If it's for large prints, you are better off just getting the specific pictures you want scanned professionally when you want them.
    That said, yes, such flatbeds are usually provided with film holders for 35 mm, medium and 4 x 5 large format film. My 10 year old Canoscan does them all, but I don't know about all the makes.
    I had a dedicated film scanner at one time, and to be honest, the scans weren't significantly better than the ones my flatbed does.
  5. The Epson V500 won't do 4x5, it will do 35mm and medium format. You'll have to step up to the V700 or V750 to do large format. I find the V600 is adequate for 35mm posting online, and small prints. I tried 3 different models of the Plustek Opticfilm scanners, and never could warm up to them. They didn't seem to do any better than my V600, with properly flattened negatives.
  6. If you use a flatbed scanner, the scanning side of things will be the weakest link. There is no way to sugar-coat this. They are not very sharp and require a fair amount of sharpening to be brought back in line. Take a look at drum scanners… if you want the scanner to get you as much sharpness and resolution as your lens did… I read just yesterday about someone getting one for $800.
  7. I'm pretty sure you could get very decent results with an Epson V750 Pro Flatbed Scanner with all three formats, and it is in your price range. Probably not quite as good as a dedicated 35mm film scanner like the Nikons or my KM Dimage 5400, but not bad at all and probably sufficient 95% of the time. Take a look at some of the reviews. When my brother worked at a high end lab they used the V750 for most of their scanning even though they had higher end scanners because it was so friendly to use. Good luck!,2817,2011931,00.asp
  8. These reviews are all highly questionable. I am a professional in the field of scanning. The stated number of 6400 optical is an out-and-out lie. There is a difference between resolution, or how many pixels a scanner can generate, and optical resolution, which is how many line pairs a system can separate. The 750 rates at around 2000 optical, some say a little more with proper tuning, others a little less. I use a scanner that can actually do close to 8000 optical and I would never put small or medium format on a consumer level flatbed. No lab should do so either, its pure incompetence, and likely misrepresentation.
  9. At your prince point, wanting to get decent scans of 35mm, medium format, and 4x5, you need to buy two different scanners, a flatbed for 4x5 and medium format, and a dedicated film scanner for 35mm.
    For 4x5 and medium format, your best option is an Epson flatbed (or maybe a Canon flatbed?), but the only current Epson flatbeds that will scan 4x5 are the V750 and V700,* whose purchase would leave you little or no money for a 35mm scanner. So I think you should look at used scanners. A used Epson 4990 is probably your best bet for 4x5 and medium format. The 4870 is similar but IIRC lacks a couple of features. Just make sure you get one with all the film holders you need (i.e., 4x5 and medium format). Although none of these really delivers anywhere near their nominal resolutions, face it, a true 2000 ppi (Lenny's opinion, and pretty well a consensus) on 4x5 film gives you plenty of resolutions for really big prints (easily 30x40 inches or A0). Obviously 6x9 presents more of a challenge, but you can still print a decent 16x24 inches / A2. If you need to print larger than these sizes (or scan a frame whose maximum density exceeds what a flatbed can handle), you'll have to (1) get a professional scan, (2) up your scanner budget substantially, or (3) use really old equipment with marginal connectivity for modern computers.
    Then you buy a dedicated 35mm film scanner. An older but quite serviceable Konica Minolta Scan Dual IV in good condition with all parts will run about $100 to $200 from a reputable seller on U.S. eBay. Depending on the operating system you're using, you might have to also spend $40 or $80 on Vuescan to operate it, but unlike so many older scanners, it connects with a regular USB connection. Among new scanners, your reasonable options for an inexpensive model are various ones sold in the U.S. as Plusteks, for $280 to $430. Besides being new, one real advantage is that some of them have digital ICE for dealing with dust etc.
    *The Epson V600, V550, V500, etc. have light sources that are too small to illuminate a 4x5 frame. So the claim that any modern flatbed that comes properly-equipped for film will do an admirable job on any size of negative [within resolution limits] is incorrect--you need to make sure the model you buy will work for 4x5. Also, of those that will work for 4x5, some will also work for 8x10 and others will not, which may one day be relevant for you.
  10. I've seen a number of very good prints made from 750's. Someone who knows their sharpening techniques can surprise you. Dedicated film scanners can be even better. The consumer level flatbeds start out quite blurry and if you have enough pixels to work with you can sharpen to something nicely done. Drum scanners start out sharp to begin with and, as a result, sharpening (along with the artifacts) is a very small part of the printmaking process. Drum scanners are also more sensitive but where that line is, I wouldn't say, i'm sure it varies from scanner to scanner, etc. That said, when you get to smaller film you have a real problem. 2000 ppi on a 35mm piece of film yields you only 3000 total pixels along the longest edge. At 300 dpi print resolution, that's only 10 inches. If you do a 16x20 from this film, it will get done at 150 dpi, probably less than you want. Still, there is a mathematical level in there where things can work with the consumer level. Of course, I would suggest everyone move up to at least medium format. The difference in quality is quite stunning whether one is working in a darkroom or a scanning. A 6x7 is more than 4 times the area of 35mm. 4x5 is 13.3 times the area, and anyone who has been in photography long enough will tell you that the secret is in the amount of film real estate….
  11. If I could afford a drum scanner I would have one. I will still abide by optical test made with quality targets in a controlled environment over someones eye despite their expertise. If they are that correct why not develop a better test or share their insight with engineers who can/will.
    After getting a Win8 desktop and the Epson 1640 and 1650 not running on it I bought a clearance center V500. I have only run test scans to verify it works. I plan to make a 4x5 film holder to fit it, scan half the negative, flip it, scan the second half then stitch the two together in Photoshop. Its a stop gap measure until much better comes along.
    I have a Plustek 7200. It is slow but it does a decent enough job to get a good 16 x 20. I rarely shoot 35mm any more so I do not know if it will run on the Win8 machine.
    The important point is the manufactures stated optical resolution is the cutoff point for scan resolution and I do not use the micro step optical limit. Above that is software interpolation.
    The Dmax is another good indicator of the scanner. Many good scanners from fore years had no Dmax rating or it was so poor it was not listed. LED light sources are better than cold cathode fluorescence lamps ones.
  12. The biggest question is what you expect as a result. What size print do you want? How sharp do you like your results? What are you scanning (tri-x or Kodachrome 25)? In any case, unless you are willing to invest heavily, scanning will undoubtedly be the weak point in the system.
    I have an Epson 4990 and also use a professional service for the occasional special 35mm & 6x6 negative. I recently scanned a 35mm slide and then also got a professional scan done on the same slide and the differences at 8x10 were almost non-existent. I have to admit though that in the darkroom days, I was usually unhappy with anything beyond a 8x10 from a 35mm original which is why I went to medium format to begin with.
    My experience has been that given a decent 35mm original, getting a good 8x10 from it is pretty easy (with a little simple post processing) with a good flat bed. Getting up to 13x19 with medium format is also pretty easy and 4x5 will produce almost any size you reasonably want. I would go with the flat bed and focus on using it well and when you need those 16x20's get a professional scan. If you do much color work which isn't Kodachrome, don't even consider a scanner without Digital Ice unless you love sitting at a screen removing spots.
  13. "...I would never put small or medium format on a consumer level flatbed. No lab should do so either, its pure incompetence..."
    "I've seen a number of very good prints made from 750's. Someone who knows their sharpening techniques can surprise you..."

    I'm glad you contradicted yourself. The second statement is more accurate.
  14. I'm not here to disrespect anyone's scanner. We all have different budgets at our disposal and we all do the best we can. However, I have some some good prints from consumer level scanners, however, they were from larger film, or very small. It is not reasonable to expect quality from a 35mm piece of film and a consumer level scanner.
  15. I think ill leave getting a scanner maybe in a years time ill look into it a lot more
    I thought scanners would be perfect but now im not sure
    I need to do more research
    as a result
    I went into my attic and got all my darkroom stuff back down cleaned it all up and modified a meopta film gate from 6x6 to 6x8 ive a set of 6x9 bellows on the way to solve the vignetting
    and ill be picking up a de vere 504 5x4 enlarger in a couple of weeks
    I think once I start using it ill not want a scanner I don't know
    but I know printing and I was realy good at it even with a meopta and a belar 4.5 lens
    this time im determined to be even better this time with Schneider lenses
    and ill do my mpp and bsch pressman 6x9 and a pile of 6x9 folders the justice they deserve
    thanks to all of you for answering my post
    ill be reading over it again a few times in the next few days to take it all in
    many thanks to you all its been very helpful
    regards Andrew

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