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Old August 28th, 2004, 08:18 PM   #1
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Advice for Scanning Film

I don't own a scanner of any type, but, having picked up a very nice color inkjet (Canon i960 - highly recommend it), I have recently resolved to finally blow up and print some of my favorite photos.

Not having a scanner of any type, I am trying to decide if I should get a dedicated film scanner or a good all-around scanner that also scans film. Of course, I'd rather get an all-around scanner, but I need to make sure that the negative scanning (both b&w and color) is very acceptable, since that's the whole point.

So, anybody know of a scanner that they have tried and tested and scans 35mm film very well?
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Old August 28th, 2004, 08:24 PM   #2
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If you want to scan negatives and slides, then get a dedicated neg/slide scanner. Flatbed scanners do a very poor job of scanning negs and slides. Konica minolta has a decent film scanner for $269 from B&H.
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Old August 28th, 2004, 09:06 PM   #3
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Well, I was thinking that too, but was doing some research since this type of technology advances so fast. And then I stumbled across this in-depth review of the Epson Perfection 3200 which I'd heard some great things about.

The page numbers are up top but this link takes you right to the page of the review that discusses film scanning.

http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/int...200/page_7.htm

In one of the tests, he found this scanner to scan film better than his older dedicated film scanner. Which seems in line with the usual way of things in technology - the best of yesterday is at or below the average of today.

I'm going to dig around to see what other reviewers are suggesting too. I did find though, that it seems the 3200 is discontinued and the 3170 is actually the same thing just without firewire.

The plot thickens...
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Old August 29th, 2004, 06:27 PM   #4
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At the Lab I works at we use a Nikon LS-8000 and we get excellent results. The Konica/Minolta that Jeff has recommended is a fairly good bang for the buck and should be good for 8X10 prints. If you are doing quite a few scans I would recommend you look at a scanner that is equipped with applied Sciences Digital ICE, ROC, GEM and DEE. These tools are usually built into the scanning program and will greatly reduce the need to go into PS to clone out scratches, dust and reduce noise along with reduce contras, and correct any color shift from aging slides/negatives. If you do decide to go with a scanner equipped with those features I would recommend the Nikon Cool Scan 5 or Minolta/Konica 5400. Both are about the same price and are fairly reputable.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 03:22 PM   #5
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I have a 3170 and I've used it for scanning slides and negatives for quite a while now. Sharpness and contrast are excellent to around 2000x1500 using 3200dpi. Post-sharpening is mandatory. Color is a bit off but easily corrected in Photoshop. And it's only around $150 (when I bought it). Personally, I don't think the extra cost of a dedicated film scanner is worth it given that it's only marginally better than the Epson, if that.

Here's some street photography I did in Shanghai over the summer. I bought the scanner for the sole purpose of getting them online. Shot on Fuji Sensia 100 (E-6).

http://www.the-hegemony.com/china/

Of course, images were desaturated in PS.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 07:01 PM   #6
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That's some nice photography - and very interesting too.

Thanks everyone for the input. Considering that, after a rebate, including shipping, the Epson Perfection 3170 is only $150, I've decided to give it a shot. I've read only good things about this thing, and Xiaoli's was yet another pebble on the scale.

I'll post back once it arrives and I get a chance to fiddle with it.

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Old August 31st, 2004, 08:08 AM   #7
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I've got an Epson 3170 and quite frankly I'm blown away by the quality of 35mm & 6x7 scans. The only problem I have with it is that it seems to be a little tempermental campared to some other scaners that I've used. And it is a little slow but then again I'm still using USB 1.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 12:45 PM   #8
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I have recently got into medium format 6x6 photography. The quality of these negs blow digital out of the water at the moment IMO.

I also have the Epson 3200 and have been most impressed by the results. The only problem I have found is dust. Even the tiniest bits look very large and having to re-scan images can be annoying.

The neg holder that comes with it is handy as well. The 35mm holder is way better than the 6x9 one unfortunately (for me), but it still holds the negs firm and flat.

3200 dpi is also ample resolution for my 6x6 scans. They are about 7200x7200 (52 megapixels!) and saved as high quality jpegs are 50mb each.

Jeff (or anyone), can you say what troubles you have had with flatbeds? I would be interested to know, and might consider a dedicated scanner in the future if they do a much better job.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 02:47 PM   #9
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Well, a good dedicated film scanner is going to have other fringe benefits, but the main failure of flatbed scanning negatives in the past has been that the quality was just not good.

I really do think that the current techology in flatbeds is turning out to have made great strides in this arena. So it's just a matter of technology moving on.
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Old September 7th, 2004, 10:54 AM   #10
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Dave, my issues have been related to speed and quality. I've yet to see a flatbed scanner in the under $1000 to $1500 range produce a scan comparable to a 4000 dpi film scanner in the same range.
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Old September 9th, 2004, 07:20 PM   #11
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Well now that I've got power back I finally unpacked the Epson 3170 and decided to give it a whirl. I haven't done much yet but run through a few scans using its default configurations/wizards. I must say I'm very impressed. This is way beyond flatbed film scanning that I've experienced in the past.

I was especially concerned about my black and white photography, because I tend to use high speed, high grain b&w film, and I've had nasty results with it in flatbed scanners in the bast. This Epson, however, did a wonderful job.

The following is a scan of one such snapshot. It was shot on Ilford Delta 3200 B&W, with a red filter for contrast. I've had this shot developed several times, so I'm very familiar with it, so figured I'd use it as a test subject. Using just the easiest settings I was able to product this very nice scan that preserves the grain as it should be preserved. I then just took it and did a quick 100% save for web jpg in photoshop for posting here.

http://www.theseventhlevel.net/image...leFilmScan.jpg

I'll get more into the color scanning this weekend. From what it looks like so far, it's equally good. Although I haven't scanned any higher definition shots yet.

Oh, and the above scan was done at 3200dpi. I can see a couple of small flaws with the scan in a couple of the brighter spots, but I haven't tweaked settings yet - this was just default.
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