Scanning in a photo club?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by peter697, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. Hi All,

    I'm an amateur experimenting with 4x5 photography. Does anybody know if there is a camera club in the Philadelphia area that has a "digital darkroom"? - I would rather pay a membership fee and be part of a community than pay for an expensive scanner for a format that I'm not yet fully committed to.

    I checked a few places in the area that have scanning services, but the price of $12 a sheet is ridiculous (have about 30 sheets that I want to scan that I developed myself). I also tried the digital camera approach but I'm not getting great results for some reason and it's very time consuming.

    Thank you.

  2. I can't answer your question directly(especially as I don't live in that area) but an Epson 4990/V700/V750/V800 will do more than a passable job for 4x5 and can be had-especially used-for a fairly reasonable price.

    I've had my issues with these(or specifically the V700, although the problem I have I think is likely common to all of them) with medium format film, but have had nothing short of great results with 4x5.
  3. To expand on what been said, getting a used scanner can often be the best way to go. Watch Craigslist, post a WTB notice on your local NextDoor, etc. You can also buy from the clearance center on the Epson website where they sell refurbished units with full warranty.

  4. Thanks Doug and Ben for the quick reply and mentioning used scanners. I actually started looking for used scanners on ebay but I heard horror stories about how it's impossible to run them because their driver requires an old operating system, etc. What's your experience?
  5. Old OSs don't scare me off, nor do old/obsolete interfaces.

    With that said, VueScan will run any of the Epsons mentioned, and it's kept up to date. I don't know what Windows compatibility is like, but I'd expect the Epson software to not just completely quit working. I run my V700 on OS X Snow Leopard(10.6.8)-you might have issues with a version of Epson Scan that will operate your scanner and run on macOS Catalina(10.15) but as long as you continue running 10.14 or earlier you should be fine.

    I think, but couldn't swear to it, that the 4990 is Firewire only. On most Macs made in the last ~7 years, you'll need an adapter that's around $30 to connect to add a Firewire port to your computer. I can't speak to what you'll need to do on PCs to get Firewire. The V700 has both USB and Firewire, so it can be plugged into most any computer made in the last 20 years.
  6. The 4x5 format is large enough that this is one area where a good quality flat-bed (film) scanner can do quite well.
    Something like a CanoScan 9000f or the older 9050 will do fine. Besides at the limit of 4000 ppi for almost all scanning, the size of a 4x5 scan is VERY large. These are not very expensive and it's really much handier being able to do it yourself at home. Professional services are available when you really do need more.

    Here is a scan on the former of a Tri-X film pack image of pothunters (=looters) being apprehended, taken with a Combat Graphic 4x5 for the Smithsonian. It's possibly my most published photograph, having been used in anti-looting pamphlets.
    39SL4 looters.jpg
    South Dakota in 1961​

  7. Great picture and scan! So which scanner did you use to scan this? Some of the scanners you mentioned only do medium format, eg, the canoscan 9000, did you stitch the image from multiple scans?

  8. Yeah, I have a new mac so I guess I have to find a firewire adapter. I don't know how I could go back to a version before Mojave (the one I have), but I'll look around. Thanks for the info Ben.
  9. Remember, with a V700 or newer, you can use USB directly.

    Without testing(I'm not sure if I have a computer that is running Mojave) I think you should be fine with the current version of Epson Scan.

    The one at this link

    Epson Perfection V700 Photo | Perfection Series | Scanners | Support | Epson US

    Works fine in 10.13, and should continue to work in Mojave(10.14). I DO get warnings, however, about it being a 32 bit app, which means Mojave is the last version it will work with. Considering that Epson still sells the similar V600 and V800, hopefully they will see fit to release an updated version that will work in 10.15.
  10. if you want to save a lot of $$ get a HP Scanjet G4050 flatbed scanner. I brought mine years ago used for $40 and for large format film it equals my V700 ! - BUT only if you use it with VueScan software, (ie, the HP software is not very good besides it being out of date anyway).
  11. I generally run my Epson V750 with SilverFast Ai. Quirky but reliable, film profiles are a plus. VueScan works, but I've had trouble with the preview window looking nothing like the actual scan. Software quality control issues. Both run natively on latest Mac OS.
  12. It must have been on the CanoScan 9950F.

  13. Maybe cheaper and easier to get an old contact-printing frame and a box of paper.

    5x4 is big enough that a contact print can look impressive. And you can always scan the print on a cheap reflective flatbed to reveal a lot more detail.
  14. I have an Epson 3200, which is somewhat older than the V series, so cheaper
    on the used market, and should work with modern systems.

    With OS X, it uses the Apple ImageCapture software, which might not give all
    the features that Epson software gives on others, but it should do 4x5 just fine.

    There are some scanners with a backlight not wide enough for 4x5, though.

    Not so long ago, I almost bought an Epson V300, which has many features of the
    later V series, but the backlight is only wide enough for 35mm.
    (The price was good, but I don't need another 35mm scanner.)

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