Film Scanner recommendations???

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ftaok, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
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    East Coast
    #1
    Hello all,

    I know this gets asked all the time, but I'm going to risk it by asking again. Besides, the latest forum stuff that I've seen is at least a few years old.

    Here's my situation.

    I want to scan in the negatives of my wedding. We had our wedding photographed professionally, and subsequently, I bought the negatives from the photographer. It's mostly medium format (120 film ... I think) and some 35mm for the B/W stuff. Now, most of the photos (800 total) are not that great and I would say about 100 are good and 25 are great.

    My desire is to scan all of the negatives at a moderate dpi setting so that I could print up 4x6's and 5x7's. The good and great photos, I would want to scan them in at a higher setting. And then maybe the really great ones, I would get professionally scanned (or just send the negative out to get printed 16x20 or higher).

    We also have a bunch of old fim photos (and presumably the negatives) from before we went digital. I would like to scan them in as well. The intent would be for printing 4x6s and 5x7s and iPhoto slideshows.

    The budget would be around $400 or so.

    I see the Epson 4990PHOTO scanner available for about $300 after rebate. I read some very good things about this scanner, but it's 2 years old. Has it been surpassed? Also, I'm looking for comments about how well the negative adapters work. All of my 120 film negatives are cut individually ... will they still work with the film adapter?

    I also like Canon products, but they don't seem to have a 4990 competitor.

    The Mac that we are using would be a Macbook 2Ghz Core Duo. I like that the Epson has Firewire. I have a Photoshop Elements 2.0 that I bought a few years ago, but it's not universal.

    We also have a Dell 2.4ghz P4 laptop at our disposal, but it's only USB1.1, but does have 4-pin firewire. I could set this up as the scanning system and network it to the rest of the house.

    Thanks for listening. If I need to provide any more info, please let me know.

    ft
     
  2. teleromeo macrumors 65816

    teleromeo

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    #2
    have a look at the Nikon coolscan series. They are much better than flatbed.
     
  3. ftaok thread starter macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #3
    I just checked them out. Looks like the only Nikon that does 120 film is the 9000. That sucker is $2000. Way out of my budget.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Incidentally, does anyone have the Canon 9950F? It looks like it's comparable to the Epson 4990. But it seems to have been discontinued.

    ft
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    People say that all the time but can you say how the results differ between the coolscan and the 4990? Also with a $400 budget the coolscan is out of concideration
     
  5. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    Mar 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wenonah, NJ
    #5
    I have a Canoscan 8600F I think. I hate it for scanning film. I bought it hoping to digitize my 120 negs and I can't get colors to look right and everything is super soft. I'd love to have a nikon 9000, or even the 8000, but alas, too much money. For the black and white negatives, I can live with the 8600F I have though.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    I have one of these Epson scanners. They work well and yes the film holders will hold even single frames of 120 or 35mm film. Buy a set of white cotton film gloves and get a light table. You will need them. A 4x loupe helps too when you want to select negs to be scanned. Check focus _before_ you scan

    Technically the scanner works well and will capture all of the detail on the film. I can see the film grain in the scans. The hard part is just the sheer amount of work and the time it takes. Finding the negatives, putting them in the holders and then doing a pre-scan, rotating the images so they are all "sky side up" takes some time. and then with the "Digital ICE" feature the scanning is slow.

    Don't expect perfect color from a scanner. Each batch of color film is slightly different and you will need to "tweek" the color. You ned to set the white and black point manually. Be sure and _calibrate_ your monitor. There is quite a bit of manual work involved although the "ICE" feature really does work well it does not do everything.

    In short. You can get good results with the Epson but it is not effortless. Put in a few hours a week and over time you will make headway.

    The other option is to outsource this labor intensive process to someone who is happy to work for less than a buck an hour. see www.scancafe.com
    Send the bulk of your stuff to Scancafe, some of it to a local Pro lab and do some of it yourself with an Epson.

    I started to scan everything myself and after 20 or so hours of work I realized it would take another 300 hours to complete.

    One more thing. The Digital ICE process does eat up some CPU processing. On my old G4 mini I would just start a scan of 20 negatives in the morning and then go to work. In the evening I'd photoshop that batch and
    I'd start a scan last thing before going to bed. That way I could get in two batches per day. It's that slow on a G4 Mini. But the ICE saves me from 10 minutes per image in Photoshop so on balance it's a "win" With a new Intel Mac it goes much faster and does not bring the whole machine to a crawl.
     
  7. MK2007 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    #7
    For the size of prints you want and the quantity of film you have it would be overkill to buy a Coolscan.

    You can get excellent results from a modest film scanner or an all-in-one scanner and printer. Epson includes software to correct and improve your film and prints. Use some of the corrections or none at all.

    Be aware that most scanners don't support 120 film anymore. They won't come with a holder for it.

    My experience with labs scanning photos and film has been bad. All they do is scan your work with the machine on auto and then charge you for what is often mediocre quality. You can do a much better job yourself.
     
  8. teleromeo macrumors 65816

    teleromeo

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    #8
    here are 2 scans.
    One made with the epson 4490
    the other one made on my Fuji Frontier minilab.
    The scan on the Frontier is not altered, just the normal colour corrections that usually are done on a minilab. The scan on the flatbed is done using high sharpening, auto colour correction and adjusting levels and curves on the scan software. I let you guess wich one comes from the flatbed.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. l33r0y macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    #9
    First scan looks better to me.

    More detail in the shadows, more natural and less 'flat' - so I think the first is the Fuji
     
  10. cardsfan62 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    #10
    Just a thought

    I've heard of people who use their DSLR to take photos of their slides or transparencies. You need a lightbox, a macro lens for your camera, and you'll need to make a black "sleeve" to shoot your slide through. Google it, I'm sure there is a more complete description somewhere. I have no idea about the quality.
     
  11. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    Wenonah, NJ
    #11
    I'll guess that the second is the fuji or we wouldnt be having this question. Scanning film is not something that can be totally automated. I'm sure that the lab put no work into it and thats why there is no shadow detail. You can have the best scanner in the world, but if you don't work the scan, it's worthless.
     
  12. filmamigo macrumors member

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    Sep 17, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto
    #12
    I'm guessing that the top picture is the Frontier.

    The true resolution is higher than the bottom picture. The blue sky shows grain the way most of my Frontier scans do. The Frontier oversharpens, but both of these pictures are oversharpened, so that evens it out.

    Finally, the bottom picture has less dynamic range -- usually the sign of a less capable scanner.

    'Course, I could be wrong! :)
     
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #13
    Thanks for posting the example. This is the only way to have an informed discusion aboutr scanners and images. Real examples.
    I assume the file named "epson.jpg" was done by the Epson scanner?

    It kind of reinforces what I said that My Epson scanner can do good work but it is not quick and easy. Each image was to be color corrected but the end result is good. It seems you had to do a bit of work too.

    I think it got all there was on the film. The dynamic range of that image was right on the edge of what the film could capture and it looks like the scanner got it. I think I paid $270 for my Epson scanner from the Epson refurb store.
     
  14. ftaok thread starter macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
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    Location:
    East Coast
    #14
    Thanks for those examples. The first one looks better (and as ChrisA pointed out, that's the Epson).

    It looks more and more that the Epson 4990 fits my needs best.

    Thanks everyone for the help and suggestions.
     
  15. teleromeo macrumors 65816

    teleromeo

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    #15
    The first one is made with the epson. The colours are not good but can be corrected and the image is not sharp even with sharpening on at the highest level.
    I really don't understand that some people buy expensive pro-camera's like Hasselblad and then use an ordinairy scanner to make scans. It's a bit like driving a Mercedes with a Lada engine in it.
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    #16
    We are looking at a 600x600 reduced resolution scan. It is IMPOSABLE to judge sharpness using web-resolution image. For that you would need a full size 4800 DPI scan.

    If this was in fact taken with a Hasselblad then the frame size is 6cm x 6cm and a full size scan is more then 10,000 x 10,000 pixels or about a 100 megapixel image.
    the image posted here on the forum is about 1/3rd of a megapixel But when talking about resolution we don't care about total pixel counts. What matters is the number of pixels along the longest edge. The posted image has 600. the scanner can do 10,000. The scanner can produce files with 16x more resolution then we see posted here.

    This is kind of like judging the quality of my stereo system by having me place my cell phone next to the left speaker so you can hear it. To judge scanners you'd really need to see the 16-bit TIFF file, all 200MB of it. The small JPG just gives you a kind of the idea of what can be done.

    We also don't know how good the negative (or is it a transparency?) really is. It looks a little out of focus and the exposure is not perfect either. But it is a good example of a hard to scan image.
     
  17. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    51st State of America
    #17
    I'm looking for a film scanner and Canon are just about to bring out the 8800F Canoscan. It uses LED's with no warm up time and seems much improved over the 8600F. Reasonable price as well for it accepts 120 film.
     

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