Best scanner for scanning film negatives?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by namethisfile, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. namethisfile macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #1
    Hey guys,

    Does anyone have a recommendation for the best scanner (flatbed or otherwise) that can scan film negatives (color & b&w)?

    Looking for one that is not too expensive. Price ranging probably $50-$600?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #2
    Don't use a flatbed scanner if you want high quality results. Stick to a dedicated film scanner. Nikon makes very good devices, but the prices are $ x,xxx.00.

    Take a look at what this shop has to offer. They are very reputable.

    B&H Photo and Video

    Dale
     
  3. Kyffin macrumors 6502

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    Sep 5, 2010
    #3
    Hi! I've been looking into this a bit recently- there's absolutely tons on (very) detailed information and opinion on film forums but from what I gather the two that look most interesting in that bracket are the Epson v750 (or 700) which is at the top of the bracket but can handle 120 and 5x4 format (if that's relevant to you?) or the canoscans (700f / 900f depending on budget).

    Of course, if you're after just scanning 35mm negs then there are dedicated slide scanners out there (but I've not looked into these as they're too restricted in function for my use).

    If you'd like a good place to start there's some active and informed discussion going on at the Leica Users forum right now (http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/film-forum/) with lots of links to sites that have helped me learn more (such as dedicated film scanning review sites, techniques, and the difference in software drivers even!) its a lot of information and its taking me a while to get a handle on it but I figure its a long term sort of activity (dont want to re-scan everything again, lol)

    TL/DR

    Canoscan 700F looks quite tasty:)
     
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #4
    Depends on your film.

    Generally, if you just have 35mm, look at the dedicated scanners. Even if they don't do a better job, the workflow is easier. But, they are single purpose and you will still need a flatbed if you are doing any other kind of scanning.

    I have the Epson V700. Works well. Does film up to 8x10, plus it does regular flatbed scanning as well. It's highly rated on the photo/scanning forms. There are two differences between the V700 and V750, iirc. The V750 has a kit that allows fluid mounting (no air gaps between film and glass platten) plus the platten is a better quality of glass. What I've read is that the glass makes only a marginal difference, and the fluid mounting can get really messy.... but can make a marginal improvement as well.

    I elected for the more basic V700. Explore other software packages than the one than comes packaged with it. I settled on VueScan. You might like the bundled SW, but be aware that there are options.

    Good Luck.
     
  5. Designer Dale, Jan 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011

    Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #5
    I'm sure the Canon mentioned above is a good general purpose scanner, but none of the reviews on the link to B&H mentioned film scanning.

    Edit: I had a reading comprehension FAIL. The Canoscan 700F is marginal for film, the Epson V700/750 scanners look good.

    Dale
     
  6. Kyffin macrumors 6502

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    Sep 5, 2010
    #6
    Yeah, from what I gather the Canoscan is quite decent as an entry level scanner- I was looking at it to begin with but decided to hold off and invest in something like the 700 of snberk103- just figured that its one of these things worth getting right at the start (from a time perspective if anything).

    I'd be looking at a dedicated slide scanner as you suggested if I hadn't started shooting 120, but not too genned up on whats good as a dedicated 35mm scanner though
     
  7. namethisfile thread starter macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #7
    thanks guys for the replies. i really appreciate the diversity of them. i was thinking exactly of those 3 choices. canon for budget... epson v700/750 for the fences or a dedicated film scanner as i already have a regular flatbed scanner. in fact, there are 2 in the house. both are all-in-ones--a pixma 610 and a hp photosmart 3200 series with the negative film and slide holders.

    i have been using the hp for scanning my film negatives (mostly b&w) and have found it unsatisfactory. this is why I am looking for a better scanner.

    thanks snberk103 for explaining that difference between the v700 and 750. i was wondering what the extra 50 was for. lol. good to know. this is the ideal scanner if i can afford it.

    the canon 7000f/9000f might be good if i don't already have a scanner but i am skeptical that they will have similar performance to the hp all-in-one since they are consumer grade level.

    i feel like a dedicated film scanner is my best option since, well... they're dedicated and have seen ones in the price range of those flatbed canon scanners. my only qualm with them is that i have never used them before.

    i have also looked at the epson v600. does any here have experience with epson 600?

    i guess i have some decisions to make. going to take my time as i need to acquire funds first. just wanted to see what the consensus was out there. so, thanks for the replies.

    lastly, the other decision factor i am aware of too is the software bundles with these scanners. is their a scanner out there with great bundles off the gate?
     
  8. namethisfile thread starter macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

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    Jan 17, 2008
  9. namethisfile, Jan 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011

    namethisfile thread starter macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #10
    do you think i can improve the quality of the film negative scans on this current scanner i have access to, if i can find a way to firmly set the negatives on the glass? and if so, does anyone have a DIY solution to this?
     
  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #11
    Does your scanner have a light in the lid? If not, you likely aren't going to get any good scans.

    Lay the negs down on the glass, and put another piece of glass on top of the negs to keep them flat. You might get something called Newton Rings, which - oh lord it's been a long time - iirc, are patterns of the light bouncing between the two smooth surfaces (neg/glass).

    If you get Newton Rings, there are a couple of things you can try. One is to flip the negs so that the emulsion faces the other way. They used to sell at photo shops a special powder that you would sprinkle between a neg and the glass plate (used in the good ol' days of wet method photography). The powder creates an air gap which eliminates the Rings.

    If Rings are problem, try a slightly frosted glass plate on top - it's possible that the diffusion of the light from the lid might cause problems, but there is only one way to find out. Though perhaps just putting a piece of white paper between the top glass and negs might be enough. If you do this, then make sure the emulsion is down when scanning. The emulsion often has enough texture that it creates the air gaps.

    Good Luck, eh?
     
  11. namethisfile thread starter macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #12
    snberk,

    ok. it does have a light. a strip that sits in the middle of the lid and glass plate.

    not sure how to call the bad scans. they look like newspaper quality instead of photo quality when you examine the images closely. the gradations aren't smooth. but it varies. sometimes it's ok and sometimes it's not.

    i'll try some of your advice when i get a chance.

    thanks.
     
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #13
    What software are you using? I'd have to go look it up to get it the right way 'round, but.... IIRC, you are not supposed to use ICE (the auto clean up routine) in scanning software for ... it's either BW or Colour film, I forget. But film structure in one of those messes up the ICE routines.

    Do some reading on this, lots of info on the web, maybe even the SW Help files. I think some companies call ICE by different names, but it's the feature that "cleans up" scratches and dust spots. The film structure can be confused for these unwanted artifacts.

    Or just turn off the ICE, and see if it helps.

    Also, make sure you tell the SW you are scanning "transparencies" or "film" and not "reflective". That way the light in the lid (I assume you mean the light that is inside the lid, when it's closed, and not on top that is entirely decorative?) passes through the film.

    Also, make sure you are scanning with a high enough resolution. To get any decent sized prints from a small negative, the scan must be at high resolutions. As an example. If the neg is one inch across, and you want a print/file that is 300 dpi and 10 inches across you will need to scan at 3000 dpi. The best results are an optical resolution of 3000 dpi. Otherwise the scanner is doing the same thing as you Preview is if you decide to upscale an image. It has to interpolate (i.e. guess at) what the new pixels should be.
     
  13. jpfisher macrumors regular

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    Dec 5, 2006
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #14
    General rule of thumb: A dedicated 35mm scanner is going to give you better quality than a flatbed. (The Epson V700/V750 may be an exception, but they are close to double the cost of a dedicated 35mm scanner)

    Consider the Plustek 7600i -- it's in your price range, and will deliver the quality you are looking for for 35mm. If you move to medium format or large format later, you'll have to get something else.

    Luminous Landscape reviewed it -- http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/scanners/plustek.shtml
     
  14. atlanticza macrumors 6502a

    atlanticza

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    #15
    I bought a CanonScan 8800F flatbed which did a great job and it wasn't expensive. The other option, of course, is to take the negs/slides into a reputable photographic shop for them to scan.
     
  15. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #16
    Go to betterscanning.com to see if they have something for the scanner you either have or get.
     
  16. namethisfile thread starter macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #17
    ok. i have mentally boiled it down to the plustek 7400 or epson v600 flatbed. i can't justify spending anymore than that even though i listed my budget in my original post as being higher. it was more wishful thinking on my part.

    ideally, the epson v750 offers the best of all worlds, in my view. but i can't afford that lump of sum right now nor does saving for it make much sense as i don't make a living doing this (photography or scanning photos).

    but, i still need/want a good film scanner since i am an amateur photographer.

    so, i am leaning on the plustek 7400.

    does anyone know how the 7400 compares to the 7600i ai?
     
  17. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #18
    Best of Luck. Can't help much more at this stage as I have no experience with the Plustek line, but I'm sure whichever on you get will meet your needs just fine. Just remember that if you have a fantastic neg that needs a bit more scanning quality, you can always take it to a pro shop. The money you save scanning your mid-range negs yourself should allow you to then splurge on the occasional top-end scan.
     
  18. BigRedOne macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    #19
    I recently purchased an Epson V500 photo flat bed scanner. It does a nice job on the old prints I have fed it, I think negatives would come out even better. I would not even consider myself an amateur photographer, so take it for what it is worth. But I suspect Epson V500 would do a good job with a reasonable buy in price (on sale $125.).
     
  19. AlaskaMoose, Jan 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011

    AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    #20
    While not as god as a dedicated film scanner, the Epson V700 Photo series (V700 or V750) can scan 12 slides at a time. These flatbed scanners use two lights to scan transparent films. The top lamp is inside the top cover (one has to remove the plastic panel from the cover before scanning). I use VueScan instead of SilverFast and the Epson software, and set the scans to perhaps 2,800 dpi, with a single pass infrared dust removal. While the scanner can scan at 6,400 dpi, the best quality should be past 2,400 dpi and below 3,000 dpi (after 3,000 dpi there isn't much gain on image quality). Keep in mind that if you want better scans with these printers, you still can set them for multiple passes (not just one scan).

    So far I haven't had the need for more than one pass per image, and I set VueScan to save the image as Adobe DNG, which in turn automatically launches CS5 and then pre-process the image as RAW before opening and finishing with CS5. That initial pre-processing step is very important in relation to the best IQ.
     
  20. ppc_michael, Jan 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011

    ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

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    #21
    I have an Epson V500 flatbed scanner, which I assume is an earlier model of the V700 recommended in this thread. I got it for I think around $120 or something rather recently.

    Anyway, here's a link to an example of the quality I got scanning a medium format B&W negative, in case this helps you make a decision. This is Tri-X 400, pushed a little, developed in diluted Xtol. Certainly not an impressive photo by itself, but I think the scan quality is pretty darned good for most of my needs.

    http://ext.glowingpixel.com/v500scan.png

    Edit: Here's some 35mm color negative from the same scanner. This was expired Fuji Pro 800Z developed with expired C-41 chemistry (oh my)
    http://ext.glowingpixel.com/v500scan_35.jpg

    Both these photos are more or less straight off the scanner.
     
  21. Mustafa macrumors regular

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    Shenfield, Essex, UK
    #22
    Consider eBay

    If you are scanning a once-only archive of negs, you could consider buying a premium dedicated film scanner from an auction site -- a Nikon Coolscan, or a Minolta 5400 -- and then sell again when you've scanned all your negs. The initial cost may be high, but you'll get most of your money back. These scanners seem to hold their value very well.
     
  22. pna macrumors 6502

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    May 27, 2005
    #23
    another link

    I'm not sure how many negatives you're planning on scanning, but I feel like anyone contemplating such a task should really read this other thread, especially ChrisA's comments.

    Scanning negatives can be incredibly time-intensive if you want to do it right. I found it much cheaper in the end to simply use scancafe during one of their big sales (sign up for their email list online) and have them do them all for me. You send them all your negatives / slides, then get to reject and not pay for up to 50% of them, so you don't have to do much sorting ahead of time. Quality was great, and honestly, I never would have gotten it done otherwise, I just would have had a(nother) big project hanging over my head, rather than taking that time to go out and do more photography/music/anything else.

    I ripped and re-ripped my CD collection a number of times, and while I'm quite happy to have all of my music digitally, still remember the amount of time that took, even if it was being done piecemeal in the background. Scanning negatives is much, much less automated than something like ripping CDs, so it would have been a much bigger time sink, when all I really wanted was to have those scans digitally. Looking back, even having paid a fair bit of money to have it done, it was absolutely the right call.
     
  23. lsauer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    #24
    Plustek 7600i

    I have used a lower end 2700 dpi Nikon SCSI film scanner, replaced with a Minolta 5400, and now a Plustek 7600i.

    The 5400 dpi Minolta was the best but it hasn't been made for about 6 years or so and the used ones are getting well over the original new price. The slide tray broke and I couldn't find a replacement.

    The Plustek 7600i is getting better reviews (resolution, dust removal) than the 7400. Silverfast SE is included, but of course, Vuescan works fine.

    Paid $289 for the Plustek on Amazon, I think.

    Nikon prices are insane. And you end up using Vuescan software.
     
  24. namethisfile thread starter macrumors 6502a

    namethisfile

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    Jan 17, 2008
    #25
    hey all,

    i have about 50 pages of negatives. each page containing approx. 7 strips of 35mm negatives and 5 individual frames each strip. so, a bit.

    i figured that i am just going to scan as much as i can with the current scanner that i have using 1200dpi resolution, which is high enough and fast enough and then when i can get a better scanner, rescan the selects in a much higher resolution.
     

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