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Thread started 14 Feb 2013 (Thursday) 17:37
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Film scanner (are the cheap ones any good?)

 
weeatmice
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Feb 14, 2013 17:37 |  #1

I have an old EOS film body that I've used to shoot a few rolls of Ilford HP5. I've developed them myself at home.

Does anyone have advice on a film scanner or is there a thread on that (I've searched). Are the cheap ones any good? There are quite a few models on amazon that are £50-100 though I didnt see one that looked inspiring. I'd like quite a few megapixels, considering I'm used to 22Mp I dont really want to work with 5Mp images, 10-15 would be ok.


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TooManyShots
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Feb 14, 2013 18:27 |  #2
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I can recommend the Canon 9000f because I can get the most out of it using a different scanning technique. The scanner is cheap, about $150+. Here is my technique. This is the result of months of scanning and experimenting.

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8516/8473967709_79dba0959c_b.jpg

You notice I have a 8x10 glass on top of the negatives 6x6. This isn't a normal glass. It is an anti-reflective glass. You can get one from your framing store for under $10. Now, if you try to get the same glass online, it can cost as much as $80. In the picture framing business, the glass is called anti-reflective glass or museum grade glass. I got it for $8. One side has a very fine diffuse surface to prevent newton rings. Newton rings show up when a smooth surface is pressing against another smooth surface like a piece of glass. The ring will show up in the scan. You don't want that. So, you have this glass (the diffused side) laying ontop of the negative, the non-emulsion side. Why would I need this glass? This is the ONLY way to flatten your negatives. Curled negatives would produce blurry scans.

Next, you see that I have a paper mask of the film holder. The mask was a thin cardboard cut out. It is used to tell the Canon software if I am scanning medium format or 35mm negatives. I don't use the Canon software at all but the VueScan software. With the VueScan software, it does not care about what film holder you use. On the right of the photo, you see another thin paper mask. That is to use it for elevating the negatives higher, no more than 1mm, if I am getting newton rings on THE OTHER SIDE (emulsion) of the negatives. The emulsion side, the dull side, is resting completely flat on the scanner bed glass. That glass is not anti-reflective. The only way to prevent newton rings from forming on that side to elevate the negatives a bit higher. With 35mm negatives, I don't need to elevate them because by nature, the 35mm negatives are curling up, away from the scanner glass. When I sandwiched the negatives, it tends to flatten it but without putting a lot of pressure on the emulsion side.

The results? Check my Flickr. I can get pretty sharp scans with my 35mm at 1024 resolution. With my medium format negatives, 6x6, I can get good scans up to 4000 pixels resolution.

Here is another tip if you are using VueScan. Don't do multi scanning. It will cause ghosting effect. It is almost like the scanner is having a hard time scanning the same spot of the negative twice or more.

The deal with the film scanner is that there isn't a mid level scanner. You have the low end ones like the Canon 9000f, epson V500, and V600. The epson v700 (around $600) is considered a low end comparing to the Nikon Coolscan ($2k).

Hope this helps and I know it is too much to digest....:)

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weeatmice
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Feb 15, 2013 04:21 |  #3

Ok great some things to think about! Thanks for the help.


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kf095
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Feb 15, 2013 09:58 as a reply to  @ weeatmice's post |  #4

Epson has one under 100$. V330. I used it - works perfect.
Switched to V500 which is under 200$, to support MF scan. Works even better.

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ions
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Mar 10, 2013 14:14 |  #5

Figured I'd cross post this here...

I ended up with the V600, which, upon a lot of reading seemed to be the way to go for my needs and how much money I wanted to spend. This bird pic

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8101/8543607576_3a77d24719.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …istopherbrian/8​543607576/  (external link)
International Bird of Mystery (external link) by Christopher Brian's Photography (external link), on Flickr

is my very first scan with the V600. It's from a 35mm negative using default settings on the Epson scanner software and minimal efforts in Lr4. I am mildly pleased with that result and confident I had made the right scanner choice. Until today. I scanned one of the 120 negatives that I had the lab do previously for comparison. This is their cheap scan which I think they run through a Coolscan 9000 on what I assume is a low-fi setting. I think I pay something like $6 for a 120 roll to be scanned. Yes, I know Burlington Camera is more expensive than options in the city that are immensely inconvenient to me and not worth the extra hassle. Anyway, I figured since the files I got from them were only a couple MBs and it is their budget scan that my V600 would be a bit closer than it is.

Here is the comparison:

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8529/8521591005_7dde08b922_c.jpg

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Redirected to error image by FLICKR


I'll let you guys figure out which is which, I think it's kind of obvious. Anyway, I'm hoping that when I get the time to follow the link and advice that TooManyShots gave here and here. I'm hoping that refining my process I'll be able to get a bit better. But how much? This result is kinda disappointing, I didn't think my baseline would be so low compared to a Coolscan on its lowest settings. :( The difference in dmax is apparent and I'm disappointed in the colour as well. Perhaps because it's darker the colours look muddier? Though there is a difference in detail, it's close enough to where I want and will probably be fine once I figure out the scanners sweet spot, get the anti reflective glass and figure out a better holder system. I'm more disappointed by the Dmax and colour difference. Are my expectations too high?

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ions
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Mar 10, 2013 15:39 |  #6

I don't have time to fiddle with it now but a quick preliminary run with VueScan (external link) made an immediate difference in terms of colour, dynamic range and sharpness. The review here (external link) said it would. Definitely noticeably better. Relieved and pleased. It can output to raw too. Not sure if that's going to translate into some latitude or not. Will have to test that out later.


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Geonerd
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Mar 10, 2013 15:57 |  #7

You might try a used Nikon, Canon, Polaroid, or Minolta dedicated film scanner off Fleabay. Even the older 2700 DPI models will extract more from the film than most any flatbed. It looks like they can be had for ~$100 and up, depending on how patient you are. Get a $10 SCSI card too - most of them were hopeless when running on USB.

I see the Canon FS4000 is selling for a little over $200. FWIW, I'm fairly happy with mine. The out-of-box color needs help, but the scanner does a good job with resolution and tonality. I'd be happy to scan a few of your negs if you like.


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ions
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Mar 10, 2013 16:01 |  #8

I just bought a scanner yesterday. I'm not looking to purchase anything else until I'm sure this won't do what I want. And like I said, VueScan appears to be a viable solution to my problem.


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TooManyShots
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Mar 10, 2013 17:53 |  #9
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ions wrote in post #15698623 (external link)
Figured I'd cross post this here...

I ended up with the V600, which, upon a lot of reading seemed to be the way to go for my needs and how much money I wanted to spend. This bird pic


International Bird of Mystery (external link) by Christopher Brian's Photography (external link), on Flickr

is my very first scan with the V600. It's from a 35mm negative using default settings on the Epson scanner software and minimal efforts in Lr4. I am mildly pleased with that result and confident I had made the right scanner choice. Until today. I scanned one of the 120 negatives that I had the lab do previously for comparison. This is their cheap scan which I think they run through a Coolscan 9000 on what I assume is a low-fi setting. I think I pay something like $6 for a 120 roll to be scanned. Yes, I know Burlington Camera is more expensive than options in the city that are immensely inconvenient to me and not worth the extra hassle. Anyway, I figured since the files I got from them were only a couple MBs and it is their budget scan that my V600 would be a bit closer than it is.

Here is the comparison:

I'll let you guys figure out which is which, I think it's kind of obvious. Anyway, I'm hoping that when I get the time to follow the link and advice that TooManyShots gave here and here. I'm hoping that refining my process I'll be able to get a bit better. But how much? This result is kinda disappointing, I didn't think my baseline would be so low compared to a Coolscan on its lowest settings. :( The difference in dmax is apparent and I'm disappointed in the colour as well. Perhaps because it's darker the colours look muddier? Though there is a difference in detail, it's close enough to where I want and will probably be fine once I figure out the scanners sweet spot, get the anti reflective glass and figure out a better holder system. I'm more disappointed by the Dmax and colour difference. Are my expectations too high?

At those size, I couldn't tell which one is better. The only apparent difference I saw is the ambient sunset glowing light. Of course, if I were you, I won't compare my photos with a Nikon Coolscan. The price difference is just too astronomical. The current used market price is around $3k.


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Wilt
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Mar 10, 2013 18:07 |  #10

We started a discussion about film scanners on this thread, with results of trying to capture film emulsion graininess. I showed an example of Canon 8800F flatbed showing grain in an 8x10 print, yet the same grain was greatly 'smoothed' in scanning the same neg. https://photography-on-the.net …?p=15668832&pos​tcount=103

Later in this thread, another person posted examples of a relatively low cost film scanner, the Plustek 8100, and its ability to capture film grain even when scanning the negs.

If you simply scan an entire neg and look at the resulting entire image, you have no idea of how well or how poorly it handles small details and grain patterns inherent within the emulsion.


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ions
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Mar 10, 2013 18:50 |  #11

TooManyShots wrote in post #15699550 (external link)
At those size, I couldn't tell which one is better. The only apparent difference I saw is the ambient sunset glowing light. Of course, if I were you, I won't compare my photos with a Nikon Coolscan. The price difference is just too astronomical. The current used market price is around $3k.

Sure, it's an unfair comparison I just didn't think the Coolscan would school the Epson just by being in the same room. Anyway, the major difference I see is that tone difference and how much darker the trees are, it's not the detail I'm too worried about. That is pretty close to what I want. I think, ultimately, what I'm seeing is the difference in dmax and will have to learn to accept it. You have said the following in a couple threads around here, to paraphrase you, there is no good mid range scanner. It baffles me that no one is making a good $500ish film scanner. The V700 appears very nice but I can't justify the cost of it. If I had a bit of VC money I would look into that problem because I think there's a niche market that would eat up a decently priced capable film scanner.

Anyway, hopefully I'll get a chance to play with the V600 again soon using Vuescan as it appears to be capable of satisficing me.


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edge100
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Mar 10, 2013 22:00 |  #12

Plustek 8100. Best value in 35mm scanning. WAAAAAY better results than a flatbed, for not much more money.

See the other thread Wilt posted above for my direct comparison with a 35mm HP5+ neg on the Plustek and a 9000F (which I use for medium format, with good results).


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v35skyline
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Mar 23, 2013 18:59 |  #13

I also use a 9000f. It's suitable for medium format, but the results with 35mm are less than desirable. I have ANR glass for it, too.

What I don't like about Plustek filters is that it's an active process. You need to be there to manually push the film holder in to scan the each frame.


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Mar 25, 2013 07:19 as a reply to  @ v35skyline's post |  #14

Medium and large format film scanned with epson V700

IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/RetiredNurse.jpg

IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/CandleBW.jpg

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IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/4X5/Untitled-5.jpg

IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/4X5/Untitled-2.jpg

IMAGE: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/airfrogusmc/4X5/Untitled-1.jpg



  
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v35skyline
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Mar 25, 2013 10:23 |  #15

edge100 wrote in post #15700407 (external link)
Plustek 8100. Best value in 35mm scanning. WAAAAAY better results than a flatbed, for not much more money.

See the other thread Wilt posted above for my direct comparison with a 35mm HP5+ neg on the Plustek and a 9000F (which I use for medium format, with good results).

I regret not getting the 8100 last night (on sale for $50 less 'til yesterday). But I've made a couple big purchases recently and couldn't afford it.

Picked up an M3 and 50mm Summicron DR that I sent to Sherry Krauter and a 500cm with an 80mm CF in the last 2 weeks. I'll probably hold off on developing any 35mm film until I can afford a Plustek and just stick with shooting with the Rollei and 'blad for now.


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Film scanner (are the cheap ones any good?)
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