Drum scan or Artixscan?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by eedmondson, Nov 26, 2006.

  1. eedmondson

    eedmondson TPF Noob!

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    I've got an upcoming exhibition early next year and I have to start getting some prints ready for sale. The images were all shot with my RB67, but for reasons of cost and consistency, I have decided to print the "for sale prints" digitally. I also have a large amount of 35mm and 120 film that I need to digitize. Thus, the time has come for some serious negative scanning.

    I plan on printing most of the images 16x20, and possibly a few up to 20x24. From what I have gathered, my options are to go with a neg scanner like the Artixscan (or possibly Nikon 9000), or have everything drum scanned. In the end, the drum scans will be considerably more expensive, and I'm wondering if the difference in quality really justifies the price difference (for 20x24 & smaller). In the end, my primary concern is image quality (I am used to printing from 6x7 negs after all), but I do have to keep the cost within reason as well.

    Anyone have experience making large prints from scanned negatives? Or have any other advice for this type of situation?

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. eedmondson

    eedmondson TPF Noob!

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    Note: I'm not even positive the Microtek or Nikon can go as large as I want, and still look good. So I guess that's part of the question too.

    Cheers~
     
  3. xvvvz

    xvvvz TPF Noob!

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    I would go with the Nikon 9000 and a Nikon glass holder (most users find it really necessary to keep MF flat) over any Microtek. With proper scanning and post-scanning Photoshop skills, you should be able to produce excellent work in the size you stated (and a bit larger if necessary). The thing to remember is that the scanner is only part of the equation. Operator skill is actually even more important and it takes practice to get these skills. A drum scan has the potential to produce incrementally better scans (IF IF the operator is good). The question is whether you will really value any incremental improvement in the scans AND whether it will be worth the increased cost. My recommendation is to find a service that uses each of those scanners and have a test scan made of the same image. It will be worth the piece of mind for you to know for sure your expectations are both being met :)

    My $.02,
    Doug
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    if you scan from MF, I think you should be fine with a film scanner.

    I had some of my slides scanned with a drum scanner but most of them with a Nikon 5000 and some of them with a Minolta filmscanner ... Of course this was all 35mm, but extrapolating to MF gives me the feeling you will be fine with the Nikon for your size prints.

    I would not reccommend anything else but Nikon if you think of a film scanner. I tried others and they were all disappointing and much slower.

    think of using some external noise reduction software, as the scanner GEM-algorithms are a pain and not really convincing.

    after noise/grain reduction and some sharpening results can be excellent and get a bit closer to the Drumscans. Also scratch/dust removal algorithms like ICE work for the Nikon, but not sure if there is an equivalent for drumscanners.
     
  5. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    A 2 1/4" film at 4000dpi scan resolution will give you 9,000 dpi to work with on the narrow side, 10500 on long side. Divide that by the average print of 300dpi. At max scan on the Nikon you can print a 6x6 neg to 30"x30" at normal print settings (300 dpi). So you could even have room for higher print dpi if you feel you need it using the nikon. I have never had a drum scan. Always flat scanned at home. And with a very good negative have had good results. But just average negatives come out poorly. Need really clean good scratch free negs. Or going to need software fixes that slow things down. I have ICE on my new scanner and its works good. Not perfect but does clean the scans up. But at max resolution of 4,000 and ICE it takes a while to scan just a 35 neg (several minutes close to 8 on average). I load 8 at a time and let it go for about an hour, I go and do other things (epson scanner).

    Maybe do a test. Find somewhere that uses a nikon and have a negative done on it. Then have the same frame drum scanned. Compare the two.
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    from my experience, even with Fuji Velvia 50 the Nikon is perfectly able to scan the film grain. Therefore higher number ppi is of not much use ... in the resolution it is not the number of pixels which is the limiting factor.

    from my experience drum scans are just somewhat sharper, give more detail and hence more resolution (at the same number of pixxels)
     
  7. eedmondson

    eedmondson TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the input everyone! It looks like my next step needs to be a comparison test. In the meantime, any thoughts on how the Nikon prints will compare side to side with traditional prints from the same neg (at 16x20)? Of course, any links with pertinent info would be greatly appreciated as well.

    It looks like I've found a winner with this site! :D

    Thanks!
     
  8. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    As long as you have a halfway decent scan, I think you will see a bigger difference in choices of ink/paper combos than the kind of scanner it was done on when you compare to traditional prints. Will they be color or b&w?
     
  9. eedmondson

    eedmondson TPF Noob!

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    I do have a lot of chrome and B/W negs, but these particular ones are color.
     
  10. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    You have more choices with color prints. Doing b&w prints with color ink can be problematic and should be done with at least one grey in the inkset; preferably three. A lot of labs don't have this if they use an inkjet. If they are using a Lightjet, it isn't an issue, as they aren't using ink.

    For paper, pick a high-quality one that is acid-free. Most of the good ones won't be found at Comp-USA; you'll have to get them online. Since you are printing 16x20, you will probably have to have it done at a lab, so they will supply the paper.

    Make sure you have an ICC profile for the ink/paper combo you will be using with the printer. If you are going to have someone else print them, get the profile from the shop. You use it for soft-proofing so you can see what the print will look like while editing.
    http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/profiles.htm
     
  11. eedmondson

    eedmondson TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info Mark! Btw you've got some really nice work on your site.

    So, I found a local rental house that has a Coolscan 8000 for $100 per day. I'm wondering if I just made a day of it and scanned like a madman, could I potentially put off a large investment, and achieve good enough results to satisfy my need for now? From what I can tell, people aren't as fond of the 8000, but I'm uncertain to what the difference really is between the two. I see that the 8000 is more expensive, which kinda confuses me since newer models usually have higher numbers...

    Thoughts?
     
  12. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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