Scanning of LF Transparencies

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by russ_lowgren, Aug 7, 2003.

  1. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on good scanners for LF
    film. How well do flat bed scanners work for LF film? Having it done
    in a drum scanner is very nice, but rather expensive. I'm looking
    more for a home scanner to scan mainly for website use, but still at
    good quality.
  2. If you are using a 4X5 the Epson 3200 will fill your needs for web scanning nicely. You can also achieve some good prints from the 3200. If you are only scanning for the web you can get by with a much less expensive scanner, but if you will be printing the 3200 is IMHO worth the cost.

    Good luck,
  3. If you're shooting 4x5", there's been some discussion of the earlier film scanners which are still quite good, appearing at more reasonable prices on the used market. Look for the thread on the Polaroid Sprintscan 45. Others in this class would be the Leafscan 45 and Nikon 4500AF and I think there was also a Kodak scanner for 4x5.
  4. pvp


    I use the Epson 2450 and get good prints. I can't speak for the 3200, but I hear it's even better. I've seen a couple of web pages where someone did comparisons of the Epson vs an Imacon and a drum scanner...yes, you can see the difference, but if cost is a factor then the Epson looks awfully good.
  5. I have an Epson 3200. It's quality is very good at 1600 dpi (the setting I use for 6x6 and larger), which, for a 4x5", will yield something slightly less than 6400x8000 pixels (which is plenty if you ask me). Can be had for a few hundred dollars and comes with 35 mm, 120/220 and 4x5" film holders.

    Note that the transparency unit is not huge; I doubt it will cover 5x7" and I'm sure it will not cover 8x10", if that's your aim. I believe Canon had a similar model that might solve this.
  6. There is a Leaf scanner with a full compliment of accesories on the auction
    site. It needs it's own scsi port to work effectively. We had one at work here
    and used it hard until we got 2 Imacons. At home I have a Microtek IV that I
    like and can be gotten for several hundred USD.
  7. pvp


    The transparency unit on the Epson 2450 is 4" X 9"; I wouldn't be surprised if the 3200 is the same. I've seen some HP scanners with a transparency unit that you plug into the back of the scanner and manually place over the film, but I don't recall if those were big enough to handle larger than 4x5 (will definitely do 4x5 tho.) Haven't seen any scans though, so no idea how they hold up to the competition...
  8. Negative film is not as big a challenge for a scanner. Chromes are different--if you care about extracting shadow detail which requires low noise and good dMax performance.

    While I have no personal experience with it, the Microtek Artixscan 1800 had some very impressive specs (dMax) and got favorable reviews from others here on This may be the only affordable solution (~130-1400) if you are looking for an 8x10 scanner. Maybe the prior poster can tell us more about the 8x10 canon model. I can't find it on their website.
  9. I was referring to the Canon's a link to a review page showing the scan area. I'm still not quite sure if it does 8x10 (it does not have a holder for it anyway, but that's hardly surprising), but it would seem to be able to do it.
  10. I have an Epson 2450 (specs similar to 3200) which I use for reflective scanning. I also have a Polaroid SprintScan 45 Ultra. There is quite a bit of difference between flatbeds and dedicated film scanners; it's not all about resolution, optical density range is what tips the advantage to the film scanner. The Polaroid has an optical density of 3.8; the Epson 3200 o.d. is 3.4; that is a non-trivial difference.

    Of course, quality is in the eye of the beholder; what is acceptable to one person may be unacceptable to another. Only you can make the decision if the dollars/quality equation is satisfactory for your own purposes.

    I purchased my SprintScan 45 Ultra around two years ago, shortly after they became available for $3995. I am not disappointed with that purchase. Among the options for scanning 4x5, I consider it the best compromise between dollars and performance, a good point between the best flatbeds and the much more expensive options such as the higher end Imacons or drum scanners. I consider my 4 grand well spent. The machine has served me well.

    At the time of this writing, you can purchase a new Polaroid SprintScan 45 Ultra, in the original packaging, including all manuals, on Ebay for $1500. (I have no connection whatsoever to the seller; I just went looking on Ebay out of curiosity.) Needless to say, I consider this an absolute steal.

    Also, you may want to seek out George DeWolfe's article on the Polaroid SprintScan 45 Ultra in View Camera Magazine. I don't recall which issue.
  11. WRT to the above comments, the "reviews" of the Sprintscan 45 Ultra that appeared in View Camera and Camera Arts really tell you very little about the scanner's performance. I read all of the articles, but in the end, they did very little to influence my decision to buy one of these scanners (the factor that influenced me the most was the price -- as low as $600 just a few weeks ago -- and after that, the facts that there is/was an optional glass film holder available for it, and it's supported by Vuescan).

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