scanner vs new dslr

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by dork420, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. dork420 macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2007
    What's up

    I love my 35mm camera set up. Old Canon Elan 7 and some nice lenses.
    I have been hesitant about going the way of dslr because I feel that the technology is changing too fast and I don't want to get into a massively expensive upgrade addiction.

    My wife has a point and shoot digital and we love it. We do slideshows on my iMac and print the pics we want. It's a blast. It's changed my entire outlook on photography , presentation and archiving Life is great...
    but I know I can get better shot with the lenses I have.

    I only end up breaking my 35mm out on a big vacation or events and end up spending tons of cash on prints I don't even like.

    So if you were me and on a limited budget, would you keep on shooting film and scanning proofs on a flatbed scanner, or just bite the bullit and buy a Rebel dslr knowing that 3 years from now I can get a full frame for around the same price.

  2. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    I don't think I'd even consider scanning 35mm film on a flatbed scanner. Even cheaper film scanners are better than that. Minolta and Nikon both make good film scanners.

    If you'd shoot a lot more because you don't have to print everything and you can deal with your camera being discontinued in the next 6 months, you should be okay with a digital SLR.

    If you're concerned about every new technology invalidating your choice, wait.

    My reason for jumping to digital was sitting at the computer repairing one negative scan for 6 hours. I love the beauty of 35mm film and of course, the density of the image makes for great photographs, everything else considered but it's too fragile and a small scratch ruins a good image.
  3. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    If you're happy with your setup, I'd say go for the good scanner and stick with your film SLR. That setup didn't work for me (digital P&S, film SLR) personally; but if you're happy with it I don't see the point in spending all that extra cash.
  4. dllavaneras macrumors 68000


    Feb 12, 2005
    Caracas, Venezuela
    If you only use your 35mm setup on big events, then maybe the rebel is not for you. But if you only use it at big events because of the amount of work and money involved afterwards to get the pics, then you might consider a DSLR. Do you use your digital camera a lot? If you're enjoying digital photography a lot as you say you do, I would recommend getting the rebel with a wide to medium zoom. The image quality will be much better than the P&S you have and you won't have to break the bank developing film.

    As for your concern about getting a FF camera in three years for the same price as a rebel now, just ask yourself if it's worth the hassle of scanning for three years instead of getting instant, great quality pics. Besides, in three years you will probably ask yourself "why get a 5D now when I can get XX camera in three years for the same price?".
  5. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2003
    You really have two issues. Even if you purchase a DSLR you still have perhaps 100's of images still needing scanned or printed. If you are happy with your film set up you are better off buying a good (emphasis on good) scanner, not a flatbed but a real film scanner. You can scan images at 100 percent at a high resolution and go from there. If you wanted to you can get your film images put on CD when you get them processed. This is done cheaply and sometimes the scan quality reflects this. This would prolong the purchase of a DSLR. The second part of your situation involves getting a good DSLR because you want to move into the realm of digital photography. This gets rid of film and processing costs and makes for easier computer/photo use. When you do this the same rules apply as if you were buying film gear. Get good lenses and these can be used on whatever digital camera body you have. Nikon lenses that are quite old are still usable on newer digital bodies. Eos lenses from Canon that are not APS sensor size work on all digital bodies. If you are ready to move into digital photography then by all means make the leap. If you are looking to solve your film scanning needs than the DSLR is not the answer to your problem.
  6. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    I was using an AE-1 and a flatbed for a while -- I liked it better than my P&S digital at the time, but I haven't seen any real need to use film since making the plunge for a Nikon D50.

    Already having your Canon lenses will make matters a lot easier for you; first off, you have no reason to consider other brands like Nikon or what have you. Save for holding a Rebel XT in a store, I don't have any personal experience with anything of Canon's line right now, bu they all look like excellent cameras. The Integrated Cleaning System on the XTi is something I wish all cameras had, so I'd suggest that over the XT, but going to anything beyond the XTi would really be a matter of how much you want any of the additional features on the higher-end cameras.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    New high end flat bad scanners are quite good. Look at the Epson "4990 photo". One important and required feature is "digital ICE". This system will detect and remove finger prints and scratches in the film. It uses a second IR lamp and detects the difference between the IR and white light images... bottom line is very good scans but it is very slow.

    But the scanned images can be better quality than my Nkon D50 can do. If you use fine grain negative film, a tripod and careful technique film stil wind over digital. But digital is so much more convenient. Scaning is a lot of work and takes lots of time. You have to sort the negs, place them in holders. put the holder in the scanner, fire up the scanning software, go through all the setting, take a preview scan and get the white balance and then kick off a batch scan process and wait an hour or two. But when I'm done I have 24 huge files that are quite good quality. but you still have to proof them on screen and make small edits and adjustments to each image.

    It works so well I'm thinking of going back to using film but no, not 35mm. I'm going with 4x5 but first I need a computer upgrade first. (Big scans and a G4 mac don't mix well)

    I have a backlog of thousands of images..... I'll never finish

    ICE is a system developed by Kodak and licensed to the various scanner makers like Epson and Canon. each company using ICE gets to set some default parameters so Epson and Canon are not the same out of the box, one may be more aggressive in defect removel or faster to run. But with the better software you get to pick and change many settings.

    My opinion: Technically scanning negs works well but it's a "PITA". Don't waste you time on a low end scanner, you will spend hundreds of hours. Buy the best scanner you can.
  8. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    I found that the cost of buying film, and then developing & printing, added up over a surprisingly short time to more than the cost of my digital maybe you should do some math and figure out how much you're spending in consumables with your film camera
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I keep hearing this as the justification for going digital. Let's see, spend $800 so you can avoid paying for film.

    Lets say film is $12 per roll. $800 is 66 rolls of film. If you are only shooting film while on vacation I seriously doubt you shoot even 20 rolls a year. Film is cheaper. But on the other hand if you are a serious hobby photographer and like to shoot a few rolls every weekend and take trips specifically so you can shoot it's very easy to go through 100 or 200 rolls a year but the average consumer vacation shooter does less than one roll per month on average and in many cases less than half that.
  10. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Most of us here have bitten the bullet. If you'll *enjoy* shooting more, and you'll shoot more, get the Rebel. You'll get two to three years of great shots, a decent hobby and it'll probably average out to a six-pack a month or so cost-wise.

    If you think you'll consider hauling a dSLR around a pain, and that you'll just want to upgrade your P&S, then do that instead, or live with the occasional scan. If you're not going to scan a backlog of stuff, just have the film scanned when it's developed, it's cheaper than a high-end scanner and if you're only shooting a couple of times a year it's much less hassle. Save the money you spend for a new dSLR or P&S down the road.
  11. taytho macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2005
    KC, MO
    gotta go with the digital. the time alone and cost of film will make it worth it. scanning every print (after paying for film and printing) compared to plug and load just doesnt add up to me.
  12. dork420 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2007
    thanks for all your replies

    The reason I only break out the film on vacations and special occasions is that I can;t justify shooting daily pics using film anymore. I would shoot with my SLR everyday otherwise.

    I have a Canon 50 1/8 and the Canon 24-85
    Will I need another lense since the Rebel isn;t full frame?

    BTW- I do have a huge backlog of negative I would liek to digitize. Do you think it's better to get my own scanner. Or just use my light box and weed through to the ones I want to digitize and pay a pro.

  13. dllavaneras macrumors 68000


    Feb 12, 2005
    Caracas, Venezuela
    Well, I take at least one or two trips each week strictly for photo taking, and I take anywhere from 100 to 500 pics for each trip. How much would that cost to develop?

    Besides, I argued in favor of going digital if the OP just shot 35mm on special occasions because of price issues. Since he just said he'd shoot everyday if he had a digital, I think my argument is valid :)

    And dork420, keep in mind that while you can use all your EF lenses on the Rebel, they won't look the same as on your Elan because of the crop factor. Wether you need a new lens or not depends on your needs (tele, wide, etc)
    And personally I'd pay a pro to scan the negatives. Then I can spend the that time taking pics with my new dSLR :D
  14. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    Bite the bullet and get a Canon 400D (Rebel XTi)

    Enjoy :)

  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    OK then you COULD save money by getting a DSLR if you shoot more.

    Yes, if you like the 28mm end of your zoom and want a lens that has the same angle of view then you will need a lens that is about 20mm for the new DSLR with it's smaller frame size. The "kit" lenses sold with DSLRs typically start at 18mm. That would be the cheapest way to get a wide angle. Your 50mm f/1.8 will act like an 85mm, a nice, fast portrait lens

    Either way, you scan them or a pro does it, you will want to use the light table first, it's pointless to scan the rejects. Good scans are not cheap but then neither is a good scanner. One way to decide is to place a value on your time. Will you work for $5.00 per hour? Will you work for $100 an hour? Pick a number, any number you like and then compute the total cost of scanning yourself vs. hiring out the work. But do NOT underestimate the time evolved in scanning, correcting editing the scans.
    But then even if a pro does the scan yo still have to select the images, import them into your system and organize/catalog them with keywords and comments in folders and albums.
  16. Regis27 macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2006
    Actually, the smaller sensor (smaller than 35mm film) of the Digital Rebels will mean that you use the sweet spot of your full frame lenses--meaning less distortion and corner fall-off in most cases.
  17. wmmk macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2006
    The Library.
    True, although digital specific lenses usually have specialized coatings. This helps prevent a lot of chromatic aberrations that would be experienced with a film lens on a dSLR. That said, I use one 35mm optimized lens on my Pentax K100D, and I've had no terrible problems with it.
  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    "chromatic aberration" is the wrong term. That refers to the fact the an index of refraction is wavelength dependent. This can't be helped by coatings. (You need additional elements or exotic glass.) I think what they try to fix with different coatings is reflections from the sensor. Film is not so reflective as a CCD. The reflections have the effect of lowering overall contrast.
  19. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    It also means you gain depth of field. If you want a shallow focus, you have to shoot at a higher aperture than you would normally with film to get the same effect.
  20. Zeke macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2002
    Greenville, SC
    You'd be better off buying a used 20d than a 400d. You're used to using an Elan 7 which will feel like a downgrade if you go to the rebel.

    The beauty of digital is that it lets you take as many pictures as you want without worrying about whether or not it's worth taking. I'd say buy the dSLR. Don't worry about the progress of the technology as the cameras are very good now and the upgrades are usually minor (slight increase in resolution, anti-dust features, etc...). With my 20d, I routinely print pictures at 16x24 without problem so unless you need some of the new features there's generally no reason to spend the money to upgrade. Just my $0.02.
  21. dork420 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2007
    thanks again everyone

    the more I think about it, the more I am liking my lenses on a dslr

    50 1/8 will become a nice portrait lens which I'm totally down with. In the end I think it will stay on the camera more now than my zoom

    Zoom - 24-85 will become a 38-136 which isn't all the bad either.

    I wish I could keep the 24 angle but in the end I don;t think I would need to buy new glass anytime soon.

    So my next question is where do I get the most reliable used camera body?
    Should I go used rebel XT or just bite the bullit and get the xti?
    Will the extra mega pixels make that big of a difference?
    I guess I need to get my hands on one...
  22. Buschmaster macrumors 65816


    Feb 12, 2006
    I used my dad's film SLR which was great... but when I had that the motivation to go get film developed sucked, plus, sharing the pictures was even harder yet. So I wanted a dSLR and now that is indispensable. I couldn't be without it.
  23. Zeke macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2002
    Greenville, SC
    The XTi has some features the XT doesn't that are nice. The resolution difference is neglibible so don't let that influence you. Nicest thing is the anti-dust feature. Seriously though, consider a used 20d. I used to have an XT and switched because the 20d just feels so much better (like the Elan) and has the quick control dial. The XT, you have to push buttons and go into menus to change settings. Coming from the Elan, the 20d will be a much less drastic shift. Plus they're a bargain used and still great cameras.

  24. devilot Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    I think that that is probably one of the biggest drawbacks to me about working with film. (Not that I do much of anything, but still.)

    I hate developing film because I'm a worrier and I constantly fret that I'm not doing it well, chemical isn't being spread evenly, I'll expose it before it's been fixed, etc. But I love love love the physicality of working with the film in the darkroom. Terrible love/hate relationship with printing. :D
  25. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    digital camera = scanner on a stick.

    go with the dslr. it's easier, faster, and overtime could be cheaper, even (especially if you were looking into an expensive film scanner.. which would be much better than a flatbed for scanning negatives).

    we're getting ready to buy our first DSLR. Right now contemplating between the XT and the XTi.. but leaning towards the XTi (it's only $170 more). Though.. I have read a lot more complaints about the XTi that were apparently not a problem for the XT.. so you might want to do a bit more research into that.

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