Scanning 8x10 (and other sizes) negatives on Epson V700

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by bruce_hata, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. My temple has just received several boxes of negatives from the past 60 or 70 years. The largest is 8x10 and also have other formats, 5x7, various 120/220, 35mm, etc. We want to digitize it for archival purposes.
    After a previous post, we're thinking of getting an Epson v700. So I've read about some of the ins and outs of wet mount scanning as well as using 3rd party mounting adapters for use with Anti Newton Ring glass. Specifically I've been looking at the ScanScience and BetterScanning websites.
    A few things were written that I am a bit confused with.
    1. Focus points. If I'm understanding correctly, there are two. Where are these focus points and what triggers one point vs. the other? Is it specifying "Film (with Film Area Guide)" vs. "Film (with Film Holder)"?
    2. Low pass filter vs. High pass filter. Is the filter based on the specified scan resolution? I was told that it was the size of the film (which doesn't make sense to me).
    3. Does the Epson 8x10 "Film Area Guide" keep the negative off of the scanner glass or is the negative sitting on the scanner glass? I was told the former, but I haven't found a picture of what the guide looks like so I can't see how it would be able to keep it off the glass.
    4. I was told that
    "the real resolution meaning resolved pixels of the V750 is only about 2400 dpi. However the scanner can produce 6400 pixels because the stepping motor stops to take more shots but it does not take smaller shots, it simply piles up the extra pixels on top of one another adding up to the file size in the process. It is a good way to clutter the hard disks with useless data."​
    I don't really understand what he means by "does not take smaller shots". Is this 2400 dpi true? If so can someone explain it in a different way to explain how Epson claims 4800, 6400, and 9600 dpi?
  2. Since you seem to have only negatives, why are you not getting a dedicated film scanner such as the Nikon Coolscan 9000? It has almost doubled the optical dpi but only costs 20% more. It will not do the larger size film but I suspect that the number of those that you have is only a fraction of the number of 35mm and medium format film. It may be within your budget to have those scanned by a lab and the quality of the scan will be better than what you get with the V750.
    As for the dpi question, there are any number of extrapolation techniques that can be used to increase the apparent dpi beyond the optical dpi. Sometimes the technique produces a better scan. Mostly the higher dpi numbers you get is marketing hype.
  3. Resolution is measured in lp/mm at a given MTF, not ppi. In mathematical theory, using very fine steps (much finer than the pixel size), which is what the Epson scanners do, does improve MTF at lower lp/mm levels and does provide real, but mathematical, resolution (i.e. a non-zero response) at higher lp/mm numbers. But the MTF at the higher numbers is so low that you can't see it in real life. At least that's the theory. Then there's also the problem of where the V700 focus point is and whether or not you can hold your film at exactly that height above the glass.
    The good news is that old photos aren't that sharp. Click "original" to see a V700 scan of an 8x10 neg taken in 1920. Just slapping the things down on the glass should allow you to get most of what's there. Really, you don't need any more than 1200 ppi, which is, of course, a 28x36" print from a 7x9 area of film (8x10s are a bit smaller than 8x10).
    3. The "film area guide" puts your film in a place where the scanner will see it, and has a "key" that tells the scanner what you are doing.
    I've been having very good luck with not getting Newton's rings with B&W films of late. So I'd recommend, again, just slapping the negs down on the scanner glass and seeing what a 1200 ppi scan looks like. My bet is that your V700, at 1200 ppi, will be perfectly adequate for the job. The other thing, of course, is that even a 1200 ppi scan of an 8x10 negative is a large file: 230 MB at 16 bits/pixel grayscale. Handling such files is quite possible, but you may run into irritations, problems, and delays.
  4. "but only costs 20% more"
    The V700 is under US$700 and the 9000 is over US$2,000. And that's if you can find one. The 9000 seems to show up in only occasionally. The price of the V700 is an irritation, but it's about right in terms of performance vs. the 9000.
    My response was soley concerned with 8x10s. For MF and smaller, the V700 isn't up to the 9000's quality. Still, with care, Vuescan, and the BetterScanning MF holder + AN glass, you can get decent 5x or 6x enlargements. I've spent a lot of time squeezing the most out of MF film with my 8000 (and now 9000) here over the last 7 or 8 years, and it's a pain. IMHO, scanning everything on the V700 and sending out the stuff that the V700 is clearly not doing well enough on is, I'd think, the better part of valor. (Although scanning even on the V700 is a time-consuming pain.)
  5. "The V700 is under US$700 and the 9000 is over US$2,000."
    Oops. It is way pass my bedtime where I am, so I should call it a night.
  6. Danny - Actually about a third of the negatives are 8x10. There are only a few 35mm. The negs are from a professional photography studio whose family are members of our temple and have donated many of the old negatives (they are still taking photos, though digitally).
    David - I need to research more on the MTF thing... not understanding yet... need my morning coffee...
    David - So with regards to focus points, are there two? Since you have place negatives on both the scanner glass and the BetterScanning adjustable holders, have you determined whether the focus point changes?
  7. Bruce, don't worry about the MTF thing. All you need to know is that the Nikon 9000 is better than the V700, and that "drum scanners" can be better still. But that to see the difference, the negative needs to be razor sharp. Oh, yes. Scans are, generally much much larger files than what you get from a digital camera, and can appear much less snappy and sharp at 100% on the computer screen. You need to work with them a while to get used to them and figure out the best ways to get them onto prints or downsampled for web display.
    The scanner automagically selects the focus point (based on the shape of the "key" on the film holder or film area guide; which is why they are important). As I understand it, it has two lens assemblies, one for reflective things and one for film, and the film one is focused at a point slightly above the glass. The BetterScanning medium format film holder lets you adjust the film height to be exactly right, and for critical work, this is important. My experience is that performance is quite good even if you don't have the film at exactly the right height but gets noticeably better if you get it exactly right. I don't know what happens for 8x10. Hopefully, Epson sets the focus point for just at the glass, not 3 mm or so above it. For the V700, I strongly recommend using Vuescan to scan instead of Epson Scan. It's UI takes more than a bit of getting used to, but it's a superb program. (If you have any color, its IR clean function is worlds better than EpsonScan's ICE.)
  8. David,
    Thanks for your insights. I do have Vuescan and recently updated to the current revision to do some tests on my old Epson 3200. I'm not sure if it was me, but I couldn't get consistent scans even when I tried to lock in exposure.
    Also, I heard Silverfast SE was pretty good. I haven't used it before but since it comes with the V700, I was going to give that a try as well.
    Gee, I heard Epson's Digital ICE was better than VueScan. Maybe it's a YMWV thing.
  9. I've have had reasonable results from Vuescan over the years and don't understand what you mean by "inconsistent" results. On the other hand, I've never even tried the lock exposure function, so maybe the things I'm scanning aren't that challenging. I do everything on a one frame at a time basis, and don't do any batch scanning. Silverfast doesn't come with the V700 over here, so I've not tried it; for free, it's worth trying. On the ICE bit, I found that Epson's ICE generated nasty artifacts at sharp edges, whereas Vuescan's IR clean didn't. This was on some fairly old slides, and was repeatable. If you see what look like gross sharpening artifacts, it might be ICE going haywire.
  10. David Litttleboy comments about MTF : have any resolution charts ever published for the Epson V750 on which he bases his comments? if so would you kindly provide a link?

    Resolution in digital systems is determined by the sensor density of the CCD array. A CCD array with 300 sensors / inch can reproduce an image at 300 ppi resolution. In order to have 600 dpi resolution the sensor density would have to be 600 sensors / inch. The sensor density does not change by how the stepping motor moves and so the resolution is fixed by the sensor density. To have greater resolution the sensors have to be smaller and smaller. It is arguable that by having the stepping motor stop more frequently to take a shot the rendition of the image is smoother but this does not seem to pan out into higher resolution, as you can readily verify, because the stepping motor is not an optical device and to put it another way, does not shrink the sensors. A very good explanation of how a scanner works appears in
  11. The epsons could have a great CCD with 10,000ppi but until Epson does something about the lens between the film and the CCD we will never see the potential resolution. The Epson V500 claims 6400ppi of resolution but it does not come close to resolving that. It likely does not really resolve 2000ppi. In another thread
    there is a sample comparing the Coolscan 9000 at 2000ppi to the V500 at 2000ppi and the Coolscan is better. The Epson scan can be improved by sharpening but still won't quite match the Coolscan. There have been many reviews of the Epsons where resolution charts have been scanned and the same conclusions are drawn that the Epson scanners don't resolve close to the claimed resolution on the box.

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