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. The above pic of the bird in Japan was a 35mm V600 scan. Default settings on the Epson scanner software and minimal efforts in Lr4. I was mildly pleased with that result and confident I had made the right choice. Until today when 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 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 a comparison:
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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 a couple pages back and here I'll be able to get a bit better but this result so far is 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. Perhaps because it's darker the colours look muddier? Dunno... Are my expectations too high?
I've been using my V600 with the included Epson software, found it simpler to use than VueScan and gets the job done.
if you have the cash, I would recommend getting some ANR glasses like what TooManyShots is suggesting for your v600 as well.
I ordered for 35mm and 120mm from http://www.betterscanning.com/ and should be here this week.