Slide/negative scanners

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by glenthompson, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    #1
    Any recommendations for slide/negative scanners? Looked on Ebay and see a wide variety of prices. Main thing I want to scan are color slides and B&W negatives. All 35mm.
     
  2. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #2
    How many will you be scanning? Suggestions are going to depend on that.
     
  3. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #3
    Nikon CoolScan 5000 w/stack loader is generally considered one of the best. I paid somewhere around $1200-$1500 new... and I could probably get close to 2X that amount now if I sold it used.

    I will be eventually selling it when I am 100% certain that I will not be using it for old slides and negatives anymore. Everytime I think I am done... Some relative dies, and I get a ton of pictures to scan. The most recent is from an uncle who was the "family photographer" for decades. I have 4 large cardboard boxes (breadbox sized) to scan now. This should be it... I am running out of living relatives.

    /Jim
     
  4. glenthompson thread starter macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    #4
    Probably less than 100 slides and 200 or so negatives. If I ever print drom the scans I doubt that I will go above 5x7.

    Are you thinking I'm better off sending to a scanning service?
     
  5. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #5
    Plustek OpticFilm 8100.

    $300, 3800 dpi (and that's a true 3800, not an inflated number like all flatbeds).

    Drawbacks are that you have to manually load each frame (from a 6 frame holder), and it doesn't have dust/scratch removal. But if you use a rocket blower, dust wont be an issue.

    It's the scanner I use for all of my 35mm work (I'm 100% film; 35mm and medium format).
     
  6. pna macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    #6
    Absolutely. I had about 2000 images scanned (slides, b&w and color negatives) by scancafe.com , and was happy with the results (they use similar high-end technology to that being discussed here), and that I didn't have to become a professional scanner or suffer through that tedium myself. I just signed up for their email list, waited for a special to drop the price a bit, threw them in a box, tracked it via ups, and got back the scanned images.

    The big caveat is that they generally send the images to India, and some have concerns over the safety of their images in transit. I weighed this very, very carefully, as these were all of the negatives and slides that my late father had taken during his time as a photographer. In the end, those negatives weren't going to get used or viewed without being scanned, I was never going to have the time to do it, and they weren't going to get scanned at the much higher prices that domestic places were charging at the time. Scancafe now has a domestic option as well, but you'd still be shipping them.
     
  7. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #7
    If I had only that many, I'd be tempted to go for something like an Epson V600. It will do a decent job with the slides (a handful at a time) and one strip of negatives at a time, and the quality should be fine for what you're doing.

    Then when you're done, you still have a good flatbed scanner to use for other things. I have a Nikon Coolscan 4000 but hardly ever use it because the Epson I use (V600 Photo) does a good enough job for my purposes, and is a lot faster.

    pna used Scancafe, and I expect to do that as well, because I have, I suppose, 6000 or more transparencies and negatives, and I can't consider doing that big a job myself.

    But for your size of job, I'd set aside a day to experiment and dial in settings, and then another day or two at most to do the scanning.
     
  8. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #8
    As others have mentioned, you can scan the film yourself via flatbed or dedicated film scanner. Another option is to search the web for services that do this type of work professionally. Most will use Nikon scanners or better. The cost is not so bad and are done in the USA (their labs).

    If you plan to scan yourself, if your images are to be printed no larger than 5x7 then a flat bed scanner used correctly should serve your needs quite well. I have seen scans done from flatbeds that look impressive at 8x10 and even a few chromes printed on 13x19 paper (full frame).

    I have a flat bed scanner and also a film scanner (Minolta Dimage 5400). The latter is superior but my flat bed scanner does a more than reasonable job for typical purposes (Epson V750 using either Vuescan or Silverfast software).
     
  9. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

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    Nov 9, 2011
    #9
    If I were you'd I'd use a bulk scan service. As Phredd says, there are a few than can provide decent scans at a good price and don't send to India. If it is not going to be an ongoing thing for you, then the hassle and cost of getting the machine, setting it up, learning the scan software (getting a good scan is a nontrivial exercise), etc. is not worth it.
     
  10. blanka macrumors 68000

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    Jul 30, 2012
    #10
    If you can find one: The Minolta Elite II is a legend. But it costs second hand the same as new back in the days. I experience much better dust removal than with the Nikon ones, which IMO is quite important, as you want as little aftercare as possible.
    It produced gorgeous 5400dpi 16 bit files.
     
  11. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #11
    That is quite a testimonial. I have the Nikon CoolScan 5000 and with the 4th light source... it essentially eliminates all dust, fingerprints, and even scratches.

    Prior to the Nikon, I had an HP photosmart scanner and it was nearly impossible to use. I had one of those radioactive brushes to reduce the ability of dust to stick to the negative, plus filtered canned air, plus white lintless gloves... and still, the scans came out with specks all over. It was especially bad with dark backgrounds. A black background would look like a "star trek star field".

    With the Nikon, and with the extra UV light source, plus ICE4 (or whatever it is called)... I get essentially zero artifacts. I don't bother with any of that crap anymore (except some canned air for really bad items)... and I dont wear gloves, or ever try to keep my fingers off of the emulsion. It just works.

    BTW: For anyone considering the Nikon... you probably need to buy VueScan software, as I do not think the older supplied software from Nikon work anymore on newer OSs.

    Back to my original comment... I would love to try the Minolta because it must be fantastic... but I would also not disuade anyone from going the Nikon route either.

    When I first bought my Nikon Coolscan... I was looking at multiple other options. I came to the conclusion that for the amount of work that I had... buying a crap flatbed with illuminated cover would be horrible. I already knew that a cheap consumer slide scanner (HP Photosmart) was impossible to use with good results (i.e.: ton's of photoshop cleanup on every scan)... and I was in a quandary about what to do. I finally realized that by buying a very expensive pro-model scanner essentially was free... as long as you could afford the initial purchase price... because the resale market was so strong. When I originally paid (I think in the $1200-$1500 range)... the new vs. use pricing was within $100 because supply was so limited. Once Nikon discontinued production (as did just about everyone else), then the price skyrocketed. This is the first piece of electronics that I will actually make money on... so the total cost was "less than free". I would guess that I am about $1K to the good.

    /Jim
     
  12. HantaYo macrumors regular

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    Nov 24, 2012
    #12
    I would stay away from ScanCafe if you have kodachrome slides. I sent samples of my kodachrome to various slide scanning companies and ScanCafe was one of the worse. I went with DigMyPics.
     
  13. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #13
    Nikon Coolscan was king of the hill in its day even though a couple of other makers had as good if not better film scanners (Minolta 5400 and 5400 II as well as their medium format able version and one of the Polaroid scanners that was properly tweaked). These all sat at prosumer level and to this day are used in some labs (Coolscan).

    I think the software worth investigating is Vuescan and Silverfast. The latter is a far more polished software but Vuescan gets you right into the mix very quickly. As for dust suppression - it is a mixed bag given that ICE and others can do a great job at the cost of some 'visual sharpness.' These dust removers should be played with until you get the right combination that works for you with suppression and 'visual sharpness.' For me, I tend to go light or not at all on dust suppression and spend the time doing the removal in a post file software such as Photoshop. It can be time consuming but I use the time removing spots as time to think out what things I may do to adjust or modify the image (contrast, luminance, various layer related items and of course - colour correction). - Thinking out steps often leads to gaining an understanding of logical order of corrections/changes.
     
  14. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #14
    I use Vuecan... but had looked at Silverfast as well. Quite frankly, I cannot remember why I made that particular choice... other than the fact that Nikon software was poor at keeping up with the Microsoft OS treadmill... and nearly non-existant on keeping up with OSX.

    Using Photoshop across all of my scanned images (about 50,000) would be an insurmountable task. I'd be dead long before completing it... even assuming that I quit my job and dedicated my life to the task.

    Instead, as we scanned through decades of material, we "date stamped" each envelope of negatives/slides, and filed them chronologically... matching the Aperture projects that were created. Hence, I am able to go back and re-scan any image quite easily. In the mean time, I have images that are generally quite usable.

    /Jim
     
  15. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

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    Jan 15, 2006
    #15
    Chiming in quite late but I do quite a lot of scanning compared to a lot of people who have now moved to digital.

    Depending on the output the Canoscan 8800f that I use it perfect for web use and some printing.

    If you want better than that then I would recommend getting someone professional to do it for you as they will have better equipment and experience.

    I use VueScan and it works nicely enough. When I bought the scanner it came with both that and SilverFast and Vuescan is my preffered app in terms of GUI and ease of use.
     
  16. MiniMoke macrumors member

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    Nov 12, 2009
    #16

    I second this proposal, the Plustek 8100 is a great scanner, though slow if you intend to scan large quantities of negatives / slides.
     
  17. ChrisA, Sep 30, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013

    ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #17
    Don't buy a scanner for such a small job. Send them to a scanning service. They will use very high-end equipment and charge well under $100 for the entire job. Also, you can NOT expect this to be 100% automated. You need to LOOK and CORRECT each scan


    Also it is NEVER worth your time to do it yourself. Each slide or negative needs to be handles and at leas some minimal corrections done in Photoshop. Yes there WILL be dust, color balance and so on. count of five minutes minimum work. If you can scan 10 slides per hour you are working at a good rate. There are sevices that will do this for you for as low as 25 cents per slide, and yes for that you get a real human to look at the image and correct it as required. So for every hour you work you save $2.50 But the scanner cost $3,000 you to scan LOTs of slides to break even. Or buy a cheap scanner and don't bother with corrections. But why when some other guy will do all this for you at lower than the cost of a scanner.

    If you do buy a scanner make sur it has a fourth color channel for infrared (IR) this is needed for automatic dust detection. Kodak inveted this process and calls in "ICE". It is about 80% effective and save yo a TON of work.

    Only two reasons to buy a scanner (1) you need very fast turn around on one of two images and can't wait for a scanning service. (3) you don't have a job or anything else to do and can spend days on end doing what will become a borring and repetive task.

    figure 10 per hour, 200 slides is about 20 hours of work. But that is only after you get a routine going, The first 100 slides will go much slower.


    I've used this service but there are others. This is there standard pricing, they are always running specials. So sign up fo their emails and wait for a $20 off or whatever deal.
    http://www.scancafe.com/pricing
     
  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #18

    I agree 100%. Use VuScan and I let ICE do about 80% of the work. Yes it slightly messes the imge up because it has to "guess" what should replace the dust spots. But if you dust-bust by hand you still have to create the data using an Adobe clone tool or healing brush. The Adobe tools are good

    What I do is send the bulk of th job out to a service. They can turn around a 1,000 scan order in a week or so and I'll re-scan a few of them where I'm willing to spend an hour of my time on. Only a few shots are worth this

    Do be warned that even with a dust blower and inspecting the scanner glass and using gloves and a hat, and cleaning the table and the floor there STILL will be dust. You WILL need photoshot and ICE. expect to spend 10 minutes per image for routine shots
     
  19. glenthompson thread starter macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Virginia
    #19
    After all the comments, I will probably go with a scanning service. Even though I have plenty of free time (recently retired) I don't want to spend that much time on it. I'm also doing a lot of culling beforehand. I really don't need all those pix of my ex-wife. A lot of these pictures have been stored in a bin for the past 20+ years. I think the B&W negative contact sheets date from about 40 years ago. If I don't recognize someone in the picture, I figure I don't need to keep the pix.
     
  20. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #20
    Chris,

    In general... I think this is really good advice. It is especially true with negative strips (4 images per). It becomes a full time job to babysit the machine.

    Things are different with slides if you have a stack loader. I have that option for my Nikon ED5000 and it makes a world of difference. It holds 50 slides at a time, and runs uninterupted.

    My wife and I did many thousands one weekend at our beach condo... and it was not that hard. We would open each box of slides... and use green/red magic markers to mark the edge of the first/last slide in each deck.

    Then we would load the stack loader with 50 slides... and let it rip. There would be more than one (full or partial) deck in the stack loader at any time. When it was about 1/2 empty, we would add more slides... and whenever the red slide was complete... we would re-assemble that deck using the green/red indicators. It was easy to keep the pipeline filled... and it was a pretty automatic process.

    It still took a few minutes to scan each slide... but it was not taking up much of our personal time.

    In the end... I had a 50,000 slide/negative project to scan. I really did not want to spend $10,000 plus to do the job. I would do the same thing again.

    I do have another big job... my brother sent me 4 boxes (approx 8" X 12" X 18") full of slides from a recently deceased uncle who was a pro photographer... and was the unofficial "family photographer". I haven't opened the boxes yet... but I am guessing there are another 5000+ slides to scan. Luckily for me, these are all slides, and not negative strips. I expect it will take us a good weekend to repeat the process with the stack loader.

    /Jim
     
  21. twitch31 macrumors regular

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    Feb 12, 2013
    #21
    +1

    Plustek is a great option if you actually enjoy the process and want great IQ.
     
  22. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #22
    Why do people fare India? The cheap services in the US are more risky because they use autometic feed machines. These can and do jam. The scan cafe service in India uses hand feed which never jams and crunches the film.

    Also because of the cost of labor is low they can afford to have a person look at each and every images and correct it for color balance, straitening and to remove some of the dust and scratches. This hand work is always needed but you don't get it with automation.

    If you are worried about loosing slides in the mail, that is likely were they will be lost, in the US mail so do NOT use a US based service unless it is local and you hand deliver the package

    If you only have a small batch of 200 images, don't even think about buying a scanner. It is not worth it. Any service will do this for way less then the price of a scanner and do a better job than you can. (yes unless you have a long experience in this, the technicians in India are going to do a better job and they use better equipment.)
     
  23. jkester macrumors member

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    Nov 11, 2006
    #23
    I've had more than 35,000 family photo negatives, some very very old scanned by ScanCafe, and I think they do a pretty darn good job overall. Basically, if you have enough negatives that you're considering buying a scanner, you probably have too many to expediently scan them yourself. For you, you have relatively few negatives and you're going to get better results from ScanCafe for a cheaper price than a good scanner. You can also select the ScanCafe service where they give you an untouched TIFF and a color-corrected ICEd jpeg. That's what I did and I like the results.
     
  24. HantaYo macrumors regular

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    Nov 24, 2012
    #24
    As I mentioned, ScanCafe's service was terrible for me. Image quality was the poorest of several companies I sent samples too. Use them if you prefer cheapness over quality. Their marketing of Scanning by Hand is just hype.
     
  25. blanka macrumors 68000

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    Jul 30, 2012
    #25
    I have to say I don't know the Nikon 5000, but the ones prior to that did a really dirty job on scratch removal on close inspection. You could easily find the repaired parts. With the Minolta I'm totally unable to find any repaired areas in the final scan. But the 5000 might be as good. Not 5400dpi though.
     

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