Which scanner for 4X5: Epson V750 or Microtek M1?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by michael_bradtke, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. I am looking at the Epson V750 or the Microtek M1 pro
    I like the idea of no glass in between the film and the scanner of the Microtek. But I have read a few reviews that say
    that the scanning software has problems.
    I like the idea that if I have a problem with the Epson I can send it in for repair in the US. From what I have read
    Microtek does not have any in country repair facility's.

    I have read a lot of the comments here. But I am looking for some fresher information.

  2. Michael, take a look over at the LF forum, there was a lively discussion there a while back on this very question. There were initial problems with the Silverfast software on the Microtek though it sounds like these have been resolved. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a simple head to head comparison between these machines, or at least, I have not seen one. Ultimately, I suspect the differences, if measurable, will be trivial and that other factors, like serviceability, may play a larger role. I too like the idea of glass-less scanning and have an older Microtek 1800f for my 4x5 scanning. It has been producing excellent scans for a few years for me. It has misbehaved a couple of times and has magically returned to normal function without formal service. I had an old Epson 2400 scanner which worked well, and currently use an Epson 3800 printer. Fortunately, none of my Epson products have required service. Epsons are more widely distributed and more available than Microteks but that may not matter to you. You might call Jim Andracki at Midwest, he's an incredibly pleasant, honest and knowledgeable guy. He has talked me out of a couple of purchases and has also sold me some beautiful gear. Ask him what he thinks about the Microtek, and what he has heard from his customers; he might talk you into it or also might suggest an alternative. To confuse you further, I saw something about a new Epson V900 or something similar on the web.

    Scanner technology is not likely to change much anytime soon. There are only a few choices in the world of 4x5 scanning, consumer machines, like the M1 and V750, Imacons, the high end flatbeds, like the Creo, and always, a drum scanner. There are huge price jumps between these and steep learning curves as well as associated expenses. If you are earning significant money in your craft, you can justify the finest, if you are a hobbyist, like me, you need to be a bit more careful.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  3. Thanks Eric.
    I will stop over to the LF forum and see what they have to say. And I might just take you suggestion about calling Midwest.
  4. I use V700 while a colleague uses M1 Pro, and we have been comparing notes. I scan both medium and large format using Epson scan software. For 4x5 I normally use 2400dpi 48 bits otherwise the files are too big to handle in CS3. He scans medium format and 35mm and use SilverFast Ai software. The conclusion for medium format is that both scanners can produce comparable results after tuning the parameters and work flow. And for 4x5 I would assume the difference even more insignificant.

    Some of his comments on M1 Pro can be found in the following thread:

  5. Thanks Bruce
  6. With the Better Scanning film holder on the V750, I can resolve film grain on 1940's film pack film, which I think was Verichrome. See my sample. That's pretty impressive to me.
  7. Michael
    I have an Epson 3200 and a 4870. I've seen some incremental (not revolutionary) development between these and a 4990, so I expect that a V750 will be that again. I'm waiting for the opportunity to send a 4x5 negative and chrome to a friend who has a V750 for a direct comparison. I'm of the recent opinion that Negative scanning can be as challenging for a scanner as a chrome (particularly the dense parts of the Blue channel, think noisy skys).
    I have read good things about the Microtek, but have not tested them. If you have the opportunity I suggest some quick tests as I have been doing on my Epson. Since both are able to scan in 16 bit mode, the major differences (should there be any) will come down to resolution and ability to penetrate shadows.
    In particular tests which I think you should try are:
    • scanning a stepwedge to see how far it remains linear into shadows
    • and cycling through each of R G and B on a colour scan to check registration is uniform, if not it can make high contrast shots look like there was chromatic abberation present (which was not)
    • also, perhaps if you intend to scan colour negative, try reading this evaluation/study and see if you wish to consider this test too
    I think these are the major things which will reveal perhaps more quantifiably if one scanner exceeds the other for LF scanning
  8. Well I dropped my dimes on a M1 Pro. Should be here some time next week. That will give me time to clear off a space for it

    Thanks for all of your help.

  9. I have lots of experience with several different scanners. My two favorites are Epson and Microtek. I think in general, the Epson software does the best job with the greatest number of films. It swings with old Kodachrome, all color negatives and especially well with color negs made from slides. Many of the high priced scanners to a lousy job when scanning b/w films, that isn't true with Epson, I use them rather than some other available scanners with different names.

  10. Lynn
    Are you saying that I will not be happy with the M1 for B&W? Thats about all I shoot for 4X5.
    What are the drawbacks to it for B&W that you see.

  11. The Microtek showed up today by the Big Brown Truck. The install went smooth and its scans like a dream.
    SO you can say that I am on the happy camper side of the M1 discussion
  12. Unfortunate that Microtek has opted to shutdown North American sales and is now strictly OEM.
    I like my M1, had it for about a year now. It is slow but still, with Silverfast I am happy with the scans.

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