Suggestions for 35mm film scanners

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Yukon Jack, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. Yukon Jack macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    #1
    I have an old Epson 4990 Photo flatbed scanner that is as slow as molasses, even using its firewire port. I'm trying to locate a newer flatbed that is USB 3.0 capable that is equipped to scan 35mm negatives. I've searched Amazon and a couple of the online camera shops but the listings for scanners do not mention if they're USB 3.0 as they just say that they're USB. I'm not interested in any of those dedicated 35mm scanners as they all look like they've been produced in the same factory with different brand labels slapped on as the go out the door.

    Any help, including links, would really be appreciated.

    -yukon jack
     
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Location:
    Atlanta
  3. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    #3
    Thanks for the helpful info. I've done business with both these shops and have always gotten quality assistance when I had questions. I got word that the interface speed isn't that much of a factor as is the resolution selected and the speed/accuracy of the scanning head.

    -YJ
     
  4. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #4
    Unless you have continuing need or a very large collection it can be cheaper to use one of the scanning services like ScanCafe.
     
  5. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #5
    If you want quality, slow is just the nature of the beast and moving to USB 3 won't really help it.

    My SCSI Polaroid scanner is lighting fast but only 2700x2700. Even moving up to a flatbed at 3600x3600 over USB 2.0 slows things down a whole lot, and scanning a 6x6 transparency takes a HUGE amount of time. Add in IR cleaning and multi-pass scanning(to reduce noise on a "thin" negative) and you get even slower.

    Decide if you can live with lower resolution and you will speed things up a lot. Also, spend some time on the light table making sure you're actually scanning good stuff. One of the best piece of advice I ever got was that every good photographer has a trashcan next to their light table.
     
  6. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    May 14, 2010
    #6
    Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately our collection is HUGE.
     
  7. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #7
    Amen. And don't bother importing every shot you take. Cull first and them import. If you are keeping over 50% of your shoots you are either an amazing photographer....or you are kidding yourself. :)
     
  8. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    #8
    That's the consensus and I'm going with it.

    heh heh! The trash can is nearby. However, I'm making decent progress simply slipping the strips of film into the Epson carrier, blowing the dust off with canned air, and scanning everything. I figure that I can discard the "stale gum"* when previewing on my Mac. That's easily done.

    *I took a jr. college course in motion picture photography (that's what they called it back in the 60s) and our instructor referred to anything that got cut was stale gum. He suggested that the more adventurous student would save it all and splice the pieces together. I preferred the trash can method.
     
  9. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #9
    I admit that it's not as easy to slide negatives-especially one negative in a strip of 6-off into the trashcan as it is when dealing with mounted transparencies(all my film photography these days is either B&W or transparencies-I don't mess around with negatives).

    The preview option is very useful, though. It takes about 20 seconds to run on my scanner, and picking the stuff to scan from there is easy.
     
  10. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    May 14, 2010
    #10
    That's a good idea. Unfortunately the software for this scanner could use a good update. The preview function in "full auto" is non-existent.
     
  11. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #11
    Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of VueScan. I completely quit using the scanner-supplied software after buying a copy of it

    It will allow you to "unlock" a lot of features of your scanner that may not be accessible with the standard scanning software. Multi-pass scanning is possible, and with some scanners it's also possible to manually focus(useful if you're dealing with a slide or strip that has "buckled." It has built-in profiles for a lot of common films, and also has great color restore features for older negatives and slides. It made some old family E-4 process slides look like new.

    There's a free preview that will give you full functionality feature wise, although the scan outputs are watermarked with dollar signs.

    A lot of folks also swear by Silverfast, although I've avoided it because it is licensed to one specific scanner. Vuescan is licensed to one computer(actually as many as 5 depending on how many computers it's installed on) and as many scanners as you want. In fact, when I'm scanning I have all my scanners turned on and just select which one I'm using from a drop-down menu.
     
  12. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    May 14, 2010
    #12
    @ bunnspecial: Thank you for the details above in re VueScan. I've been experimenting with the demo and it does have a lot to recommend it as a replacement for the scanner-supplied software, plus it's got a decent price tag. I've had to ask a couple of questions of the dev and he is very quick to respond with replies that resolve my problems.
     
  13. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #13
    One huge advantage of the services is that they have some good auto correcting software; Nikon once had a great product for that. Saved me days of dust removal, scratch removal, and color correction. Not sure if you can still get much of anything, since the consumer market for scanners seems to be drying up, but maybe something like it is still out there.
     

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