Scanning 35mm Slides

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by rickdwyer, Aug 22, 2020.

  1. I want to scan 35mm slides and print them as an 11x14 photo. I am using an Epson Perfection V600 Photo scanner in Professional Mode and scanned a single slide twice, once with the target size set to 'original' and again with the target size set to 11x14. I printed both versions as 11x14 but neither produced good results, both were pixelated.

    What target size should I use, and what other parameters do I need to set?

    Thank you.
  2. Set the dpi at 2400. That would give you approximately 1.4"x2400=3360 or 305 pixels per inch on the long side for the 11" length of paper.

    If you're scanning color film, set it at 48 color bit or 16 bit grayscale for BW film.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2020
    Moving On likes this.
  3. Sounds like your scanning settings are way off, or your printer driver isn't doing a very good job of interpolation.

    Here's a tiny crop from a 12 megapixel image that prints nicely up to A3 size.
    Full image with crop enlarged.
    100% pixels
    And how the same area looks in the final A3 inkjet print.
    No pixelation, thanks mainly to the printer driver's interpolation.
    Moving On likes this.
  4. The V600 is supposed to go to 6400dpi (So Epson says.)

    It may or may not be able to actually resolve that, but the output should at least
    interpolate to that many bits. That is, it should smooth out the pixels, so you don't
    see pixels (unless you really zoom in). (Note, for example, that the sensor might
    do it, but the lens might not, or the focus might not be that good.)

    It also has an interpolated mode for 12800dpi. At that point, they are telling
    you that it is interpolating (smoothing) with no more actual pixels from the film.

    I don't recommend using 6400dpi mode for really big scans, like 8x10, but
    yes use it for 35mm film. Or get a dedicated 35mm scanner.
  5. There's no detail in film above about 4000 ppi. So scanning at more than 4800 ppi is pretty pointless, even if the scanner lens can resolve to that level of detail, which the lenses fitted in Epson scanners can't.
    Moving On likes this.
  6. Yes, but the files aren't all that huge.

    Even if the resolution isn't there, it still smooths out the pixels.

    But yes, 4800 is probably fine.
  7. The point is that you shouldn't have to scan at anywhere near 4800 ppi to get rid of pixelation in a print.

    My first 35mm scanner was only capable of 2700 ppi, yet I could get smooth looking A3 prints out of it. And even my first 5 megapixel digital camera files would print at A4 size without showing blocky pixels.

    Most printer drivers should smooth out any blockiness automatically, and you really have to interfere with their default settings quite drastically to get visible pixelation.
    Those maker's resolution/MTF figures are got under totally unrealistic laboratory conditions. You're lucky to get a true, real-world resolution of 80 lppmm out of any film, which translates almost exactly to 4000 ppi.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2020
  8. Looking at a few scans I have, 1000 isn't so bad, and 3000 looks good, even with zoom.

    The OP didn't indicate the scan resolution. (Or file size, which gives a good indication.)

    It seems to me that JPEG has, in addition to the pixels, a suggested viewing size.
    The size doesn't normally do much when printing, but it is there.

    It looks like the OP is changing the size, but not the number of pixels.
  9. Anyone know how my ancient Nikon Coolscan V (still working, thanks Vuescan) compares to modern scanners (flatbed or otherwise)?
  10. What modern scanners?

    Scanner design hasn't basically changed in over a decade, and there hasn't been a new model for about 5 years. That's discounting Epson's flatbed offerings that really can't compete with a dedicated film scanner, and just revamp older models.

    Flatbeds can offer faster per-frame scan time and a wider range of formats, but at the cost of image sharpness and true resolution.

    So, is there anything better than your Coolscan V to be had today? Not really. A true 4000 ppi resolution will still beat a bogus 6400 ppi got via a lens that can't resolve more than about 3000 ppi.

    Maybe digital copying via a 24 megapixel or higher resolution digital camera could get you slightly improved 'scans', and certainly at a faster rate. However the investment in equipment and acquiring new skills might not make any improvement worth while.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2020
    liuhe likes this.
  11. I'm wondering if slide scanning technology is still being developed and fielded or if you can only do good scanning with OLD scanners like mine and the one you show at Goodwill.
  12. Someone has to make a drum scanner where you stick the film in one end and five minutes later while you're preparing a cup of coffee, it pops out the other end without human interference.
  13. I very much doubt it.
    The tri-line sensors used in amateur/semi-pro scanners are based on old CCD technology. While modern flatbeds have moved to CIS sensors, at least for low-end models. Tri-line CCD sensors are still used in scanning cameras for some industrial image-recognition systems, but that's a very niche market and one where a budget of several thousand dollars is brushed off without much thought.

    There's obviously a small market for low-cost and moderate quality 'scanners' that are basically a cheap digital camera in a box, but the enthusiast and semi-pro market is tiny. And probably more than catered for by pre-owned scanners, Epson's flatbeds and digital camera copying rigs.

    Will we see a Coolscan 8000 beater at an affordable price? I'm not holding my breath.

    You're more likely to see an updated version of Bowens' old Illumitran or Honywell's Repronar design IMHO. Now maybe that's an opening for a crowd-funded project?
  14. DSLR scanning???
  15. The V600 is lucky to actually resolve 2200 to 2400 ppi. With that, I would set to 3200 and leave it there. With a high Rez scanner, you can benefit from more. For example, scanning fine grain films and comparing 4000 ppi with 6300 for example on an Imacon, looking at a 16x24 or larger print, there is a bit more detail and a natural look in comparison. The grain looks better. Splitting hairs really. For 35mm, the new Plusteks released the last few years are pretty decent and will surpass your V600
  16. I got an ES-1 mailed from Japan for about $41. It took a long time to arrive, but it looks new and in the original box.

    I still thought that was expensive for what it is, but should work well enough.

    I think I like DSLR scanning for slides, but still like real scanners for negatives.
    (Besides that the ES-1 won't hold film strips.)
  17. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    ES-1 works a treat for 35mm slides. Scanning has worked well for me with negative strips. If there were a few key negatives you wanted to copy with the ES-1 and camera, snap in slide mounts are still available and relatively inexpensive.
  18. Yes, but then you have to cut the strip. There is also the complication of the mask and low gamma for color negative films.

    I have a ScanDual IV, which works well for negatives, though is a little slow.

    I have a cheaper scanner (that I got used for even less) which uses a whole frame CCD, with
    at least enough resolution for screen images. That is pretty fast once you put the strip in the holder.

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