Scanning 35mm B&W

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by lopezjohnston, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. Good evening.
    I have beed doing homework looking for a good film scanner. I came across with two brands.
    1) Pacific Image PrimeFilm XA Automatic 35mm Film & Slide Scanner
    I read that this one is good for color (c41), but "cannot see well" b&W.

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]OpticFilm 8200i SE Film Scanner[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]From this one could not find specific details about how it does with either color C41, slides or B&W.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I used to have access to a Coolscan V but not any more... and have become exceedingly expensive... I am in the search of a good option.

    Thank you for any input, comments, experiences about these two or other potential options than these two.

    Best regards
  2. Another option is a slide/film copying setup that was used in the film days.
    • It is either a bellows or adjustable extension tube with a lens (bellows uses a separate lens, tube had a built in lens), and a slide/film holder.
    • Attach it to your DSLR.
    • Then get a light source behind it, and you are ready to go.
    Another option that I saw in use was a small copying setup.
    • a small copy stand
    • a small light box
    • DSLR with a macro lens
    • The guy that I watch was copying slides, but I see no reason that you can't do uncut film as well. Just have to rig something to hold down the film, especially if the film has a curl.
    Both of these options will require post processing with an image editor
    • You have to reverse the B&W image in your image editor to get a positive image.
    • I do not know if any of the image editors has a built in feature to convert color negatives, but I am sure you can do it manually. Once you figure it out, it will be fast to repeat it.
  3. I have a Plustek 7600i that I have been using for several years. I like the scanner. However I do not know if it's better then other systems as I have not used anything else. Anyway I would just buy a new one if I needed it.
    lopezjohnston likes this.
  4. Keeping life simple, I have been using an Epson V600 for over 6 years now. Affordable (in the scheme of life's OTHER toys), it offers both 35mm & should you bite the bullet, medium format (6x6 & 6x9) scanning. The included carriers work well if you have flat negs, should you not, there are optional carriers with excellent records. I have & use both the Better Scanning 35 & 120 carriers. Bundled software produces excellent scans (IMHO) and one only needs a simple post production software package to handle the prints. I have been using PhotoScape since ditching PS years ago. Give this unit some thought. Aloha, Bill Photo is from my Fed-2/Jupiter-8 35mm. Ultrafine Xtreme 400 film, PyrocatHD developing & V600 scan. I have produced a stunning 11x14 from this scan. 2k17-026-010 ces13 bc 4x6.jpg
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  5. I forgot this. Many rolls of color negative material went thru the V600 during a two year period of putting my families "snap shots" into digital form. Using the PhotoScape software, all the ill's of color shift (some negs were from the late 60's) & "Nessies" were worked out. A large number of prints from my Mother & Father's families were sometimes copied on the flat bed & reworked in the computer. Bill
  6. I have the Reflecta ProScan 7200, which is identical to the Pacific Images 7200 (the model previous to the current XE model). I also have a Nikon CoolScan V on loan at the moment to see if it would be worth my money to "upgrade" to an unsupported product without warranty for which spare parts are getting rate. Used both with VueScan with identical settings, only difference is that the CoolScan has focus (incl. autofocus) while my own scanner is a fixed focus. Most of my work is B&W, but I also compared C41 and E6.

    To my surprise, there is shockingly little to convince me to buy a CoolScan. The scanner I already own does nearly as well. I expected the CoolScan to do clearly better but it just didn't to my eyes. I could have considered jumping to a Coolscan if the results would blow me away, but as it is, I'm going to stick with the Reflecta/Pacific Images since it's supported, cheaper and available new in case it breaks down.

    I'll post some comparisons shortly.
    lopezjohnston likes this.
  7. Left Nikon, Right Reflecta, both resized full frame (for the record, Tri-X in HC110 dil. H). The Nikon consistently had slightly brighter end results. All these images are unedited - no sharpening, no levels or exposure corrections and all that is also de-activated in VueScan. So it's not a scientfic test, but it should be close to apples-to-apples comparison.

    trix400_0005Nikon_full.jpg trix400_0005Reflecta_full.jpg

    Crop from the centre, first the Nikon:

    And the Reflecta:

  8. Sometimes the slightly brighter images of the Nikon are a benefit, as it gives a bit more recovery in the shadows, though with the Reflecta I never ran into major issues, and for highlights, there is usually a lot of wiggle room. So I'd rate the Nikon slightly better for the exposure it makes, but not vast enough for me to pull out the wallet.

    The below two examples are probably the worst difference I've seen between the two. AGain Tri-X in HC110.

    Nikon first, Reflecta second:

    trix400_0004Nikon_full.jpg trix400_0004Reflecta_full.jpg

    Shadow details in this case give the nod to the Nikon:


    The reflecta fares worse (though, again, with some editing it could be better):


    Again, this was the biggest difference I've seen between the two.
    I did scan other films as well, but the examples I have at hand (Delta 100 in Perceptol, with a very nice tonality and detail) I unfortunately cannot post publicly. Results are consistent with the two examples shown here, though.

    As may be clear from the preceding posts, I'm not too confident about searching a scanner that will cost me nearly double the price, which will have no warranty or spare parts to replace a scanner that is for all normal intents and purposes marginally behind. My largest print size is 16"x20" (A3+), and so far the Reflecta lived up to that without giving me big concerns. So, despite every thread here and elsewhere praising the CoolScans every time, I would give a serious look to Plustek and Pacific Imaging if I were you.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  9. Maybe one last point; my Reflecta scanner doesn't have the automatic feed that the XA model has; it's more like the Plustek 8200i with a holder for 6 negatives which you have to advance manually. The Nikon as I tested it has the automatic feeding for negatives.
    There are pros and cons to both in my view. Generically, the automatic feed is really nice, and makes scanning much more "fire and forget". Since it's a time-costly process anyway, that sure is welcome. But the second the automatic detection of frames doesn't work, it all becomes very iffy. I also tested a roll of C41 developed in Rodinal which gives extremely dense negatives. The Nikon drove me a bit nuts. Similar a roll where frame spacing was very uneven. Sure, these are exceptions, in most cases it'll do its thing.
    The manual advance is a bit a nuisance and getting a second negative holder could well be worth the extra spending. But you always keep a decent level of control on the frames, and can adjust as needed and when needed. If you consider the PrimeFilm XA, I would actually also have a look at the XE model - it's a fair bit cheaper, and from user reviews I've read it seems the autofeed on the XA can be a bit a nuisance to get right. No first-hand experience with it, though.
    lopezjohnston likes this.
  10. Between Plustek and Primefilm, I'd choose the Primefilm every time. I had a Plustek and returned it. No autofeed and fairly soft focus, and definitely nowhere near the claimed 7200ppi resolution. Very slow scan times and hated the crippled Silverfast software it came with as well.

    The less-well specified (on paper) Primefilm 3600 pro beats it hands down.
    lopezjohnston likes this.
  11. Thank you Sir, for your ideas.
  12. Thank you Sir, I will seriously consider your comment!
  13. For 35mm, my choice is a dedicated 35mm scanner. The optics and sensor are all optimized for the film width.
    There are some discontinued models that are available used for reasonable prices.

    I have a ScanDual IV, which works well, though is slow at the highest resolutions.

    But the Epson V series are good, especially for larger sized negatives and prints.

    I have an Epson 3200, which is an older model, that I use for larger than 35mm negatives.
  14. I second the DSLR. I have a Nikon 8000 ED that I rarely use because the Slide copying method works so well. If you are familiar with Ming Thein, go to his website under film reviews. It really works better than film scanners. It is much quicker.
  15. Agreed that copying with a digital camera is far quicker for slides. However negatives require a bit of processing in an image editor, and need a RAW or high bit-depth TIFF file for best results.

    It's been years since I used Ed Hamrick's Vuescan. I seem to remember that it can take a TIFF file as input and process it as if it was a scan. If so it might be a possibility to speed up the image processing by using Vuescan to convert the negative camera files to useable positives.

    Anyone tried this?

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