Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by nicole_elizabeth, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. Ive been looking into a scanner that will scan my medium format film as well as some 35mm film so far Ive looked into the
    Canon canoscan 8800
    and Epson Perfection V500 Photo Flatbed
    Im working with a limited budget, does anyone have any reviews or suggestions?
  2. Hi Nicole,
    I'm fairly happy with my V500. I'm definitely a hobbyist so am not overly critical.I have scanned/printed, b&w, to 11 X 14 and been satisfied with the results. If you decide on the V500, I would strongly recommend getting the BetterScanning neg holder with ANR glass.
  3. I have a V500. It's usable for digitizing the larger 120 film formats. A 6x7 frame yields a usable 20MP or so. By the same token, however, I would say that the V500 is inadequate for the smaller 135 format films. Expect no more than 5MP of usable pixels, so prints around 4x6 are acceptable. This shows sample scans from an Epson 4490 (just a V500 with a different light source.)
    Don't bother the Fisher holder for the V500. The scanner optics are very limited. Expect about the same level of sharpness (or rather the lack thereof) across at least 2mm of film height variation. The default Epson film holders can keep film curl well below this threshold.
    By the way, I wouldn't expect the Canon 8800 to outperform the V500. Inexpensive flatbeds are all about equal in capability.
  4. I use V500 for both MF and 35mm and I am happy with the results.
    It is simple and just good enough for digitizing and occasional 8x12 prints from it.
  5. david_henderson


    It depends entirely on what you want to do with the scans. The Epson will be fine for producing on-screen images. If you want to make prints big enough to hang on a wall it won't do IMO- very marginal with 120, a non starter on 35mm. But if the bulk of your need is for on screen viewing, and you're prepared to get a lab film scan for an occasional few you want to make bigger than proof sized prints from, it should be fine. If you want to own scanner that is good enough for the most demanding applications as well as the simpler one then you need to buy a film scanner
  6. Maybe I'm just easily satisfied; I've got a V500, and I've got some 16x20 prints on my walls at work from 120 negatives, that look very good to me. When I want a good print, as opposed to low-res scans for the web or my snapshot album, I usally use Vuescan instead of the Epson scanning software. But I've been satisfied with the V500.
  7. Another vote here for the V500 and's ANR glass for the holders.
  8. I'm getting great results with the Epson V750 for a few dollars more.
  9. Seems to be a function of pickiness? I too find it more than acceptable for 120, and marginal for 35mm. But many people find even GOOD scans of 35mm are limited to 12mp or so...the capability of a DSLR.
    The common thought is the V500 (and the entire line for that matter) are worth about 2400dpi. This gives 35mm a scan size of about 2400x3600...or 8-9mp, perfect for 8x12.
    The V700/750 may not gain resolution, if I recall correctly. You gain Dmax and possibly sharpness due to better focusing....which would mean better pixels, of course.
    I have the V500 and find it more than acceptable for 120. I also shoot 11mp digital back and 12mp DSLR and have no qualms printing all formats up to 16x20. Haven't gone higher.

  10. The V500 here is about equal to out old Epson 2450 in performance.

    Here is a 35mm scan at a 2400 dpi setting from our Epson 2450; with stock Epson holder; stock Epson software. Both are really about a 1600 to 2000 dpi devices by our tests.The first three shots are a full frame 35mm scan of a tri-x negative; pluse two crops to show details. A higher end non flatbed scan at 2700 or 4000 dpi shows more details in the wind knob area and film matrix table on the Argus A2. The last strip photo shows a the same 2400 dpi flatbed scan; pluse two done at 1200 and 800 dpi and upsized. For a poster printed and viewed at 4 feet; the 72dpi print of 31x48 inches is sharp; from a 35mm negative.

    This same scanner has been used for 35mms scans for 12x48 foot billboards; and is total overkill. Even our 10 year old Epson 1200U 1200 dpi is over kill for billboards; using a 35mm input.

    The bottom color shot of Joyce is a MF chrome original 6x6cm scanned at a 1200dpi setting with our 10 year old Epson 1200U flatbed; a scan pulls out many details; put not as much as high class flatbed like a V500 or Epson2450.

    The biker shot is a 6x6cm tri-x negative scanend at 1200dpi with the 10 year old Epson1200U. For such a simple web photo; even a 15 year old 600 dpi scan would be fine.

    The Epson 1200U is still being used today to scan a customers 70 year old 4x5 B&W negatives; to make 8x10 and 11x14 prints; it is an overkill for that job.
    A new Epson flatbed pulls out allot of info in an original; but not the whole cigar. Often they are totally OK for what folks want to do; it all depends on the enlargement factor and viewing distance; or if one has a totally sharp original. You can always farm out the critical ones if you need more details.
  11. I'd consider getting two scanners: a dedicated 35mm scanner, and a flatbed for the medium format. Getting one flatbed to do both tends to shortchange the 35mm.
  12. Getting one flatbed to do both tends to shortchange the 35mm.​
    With respect, after reading reports and reviews for the past few years, and owning an Epson, I have come to the conclusion that this idea is more about popular rumor, and in practical terms for the majority of users, is refuted by the results Kelly has shown.
    All scanners have their capabilities and their limitations. One has to be very experienced and with very demanding requirements before those limitations are met, especially concerning the Epsons discussed.
    I bought a V700 because of the multi-format capability 35mm >> 8x10 inch + reflective copy to A4.
  13. Here I got our first 35mm slide scanner in 1989; 2 decades ago for our service bureau/shop.

    With MF we first got 300; then 600 dpi; then 1200 dpi pro flatbed scanners.

    Each 600 and 1200 unit costs several grand; more than a brand new Hassleblad kit (new body A112 back and 80mm lens!).

    The dumb consumer 250 buck ten year old Epson 1200U flatbed is better that our mid 1990's 3 grand 1200 dpi flatbed; better dynamic range.

    Each new unit I get seems to be a lessor jump in performance; I sort of feel flatbeds peaked 5 years ago and it is more a marketing gambit.

    Today a modern Epson flatbed costs in real dollars 1/20th what an mid/early 1990's pro flatbed cost; and has 1.5 to 2 twice the resolution and a WAY better dynamic range.

    Ancient consumer flatbeds used a parallel port and pro units used SCSI. One had to reboot for ones computer to find the SCSI device. Ancient pro flatbeds had removeable and replace glass; one clean them and replace them too. Ancient pro units had a calibration focus ; one did a scan and adjusted the z height for best focus.

    Often ones new consumer flatbed is just better in dynamic range because the glass is brand new; no outgassing and fogged glass.
    A modern flatbed doesnt pull out all the info in an original; but is a fantastic bargain and a great tool for many appliciations; for many folks alot. The key is to understand when ones tool is the limit.
  14. I've owned 5 Perfection series scanners from the first up to the 4870 Photo. I agree with most findings in here. Perfection scanners seem to had peeked at around 2400 dpi (some say less). With every new generation of these scanners resolution increase decreased exponentially. At this pont is only a matter of of other features like DR, conveniences and speed. After the 2450, adding after-market hardware became more important. Curious enough, Epson hasn't come with a new one in 3 years. In the past, every new Perfection came every 2 years or so. It could be one of 3 things:
    1. The V700-50 is the last of the saga for Epson. (Non-industrial flatbed)
    2. They working on some new technology (for this scanner category)
    3. They working on some new technology (revolutionary for the industry)
    My choice is number 2. Which would be yours?
  15. Kelly--MANY thanks for posting the sample scans. Very helpful!
  16. another vote for Epson - 500. i've had it for about 8 months and scanned around a thousand frames (35mm) of Kodachrome64, various color Fujis and a few rolls of neopan 1600. unless you have to print big prints from files and not from film this is a very good scanner for the money. here are some samples - . however get good scanning software.
  17. Nicole,
    I've been following this thread with interest as I bought an Epson 4490 a week ago, then returned it because my particular item was defective. I was intending to get another one as soon as the dealer got it back in stock, but since then I've been having second thoughts, wondering if it was really good enough for what I need. From the responses above, and by following some of the links suggested, I've come to the conclusion that it probably is.
    However, my research led me to discover that ScanCafe claim to scan slides and negatives at 3000dpi, and that they use the Epson 4490, as well as the Nikon 5000ED and 9000ED. Whether they use the Epson for film, or just for prints, is not made clear. If you're interested you could ask them.
    My problem is that my wife now wants to send a lifetime's slides away to be scanned, which should produce good results at a considerable (ie, vast!) saving of time, but which will likely cost more than the scanner. I will still want the scanner to convert my current and future MF and 35mm film output on an ongoing basis. We can't afford/justify both.
    The old slides have to be done, and I don't relish the logistics of months of rainy weekends spent hand-feeding a slow scanner, so we'll probably send them off to be done. My toy will have to wait. This is not a hint to Santa.
  18. I was about to get the V750 (in addition to my Coolscan V for mf), but changed my mind when I had the chance to test an Epson V600. Sure, V750 would have been better in some regards, but at the cost of the V600 I decided to invest in lenses and go for the V600. So far I have been absolutely happy with the V600, resolution is good enough for normal prints even from 35mm negs, while mf scans create huge files, but also quite impressive quality even for prints. I'll try to add a scan from a family picture I took a few years ago with my Rolleicord Vb.

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