Scanning negatives w/ flatbed scanner/printer

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Jelly, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. Jelly

    Jelly TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    I'm shopping for a new computer printer/scanner and want to spend $100-$150. I know I can get good enough print quality for my needs in this range. I would also like to scan negatives (I shoot medium format 120 film) just to see the quality of the photos to decide which to have printed. I don't need professional quality scans (I won't print from them), I just want to save money on processing-have the film developed, scan at home, decide what to have printed. I've read online that it's possible to scan negatives with a basic flatbed scanner, but I haven't been able to find any detailed info. If anyone has any experience/knowledge on what to look for in a printer/scanner for this purpose it would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. thoughtcryme

    thoughtcryme TPF Noob!

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    Good luck finding that.
    If you could actually find a decent scanner for that, that also comes with a transparency adapter, the quality would likely be crap.
    You'll probly want it to have at least 2400ppi(optical) resolution and 48bit color.
    Your price range might restrict you to 1200ppi and 24bit color.
    Many scanners confuse you by claiming 9600ppi "interpolated resolution", which is just the software adding in estimated pixel color and brightness values.
    You're not really getting that resolution natively.
    Even though film is tiny, it packs alot of resolution into it's frame.
    Depending on what you're doing, a brand new scanner in that price range isn't gonna get you very good results.
    I tried for about a month to get a workable image by scanning negs.
    I tried it with a reflective plate above it, I tried it with a light from above.
    When scanning negs they have to be backlit.
    The transparency adapter reflects and refracts the light from below and re-routes it above.
    But the resolution sucks using that method.
    It's just about the same resolution as when you take a digital photo of a negative on a backlit surface.
    Low end scanners like what you'd get for that price don't come with a transparency adapter either(in most cases anyway).

    To go for an all in 1 center with a printer further restricts your options.
    I'd say get a seperate printer and scanner.
    Buy one now and the other later.
    Or even better get more money built up behind the purchase and get a good scanner with the adapter.
    Then do it again and buy the printer.
    $100-$150 isn't gonna get you much of a printer OR scanner, let alone both.
     
  3. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    if all u need are proofs then digital photos of your negatives on a light table should be good enough--just invert the photos in post to create positives
     
  4. thoughtcryme

    thoughtcryme TPF Noob!

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    If you want the negatives you take digital photos of to have good contrast and not be real soft you'll need a macro lens, or a camera with macro mode(the macro lens is a much better option than a cameras built in macro mode).
    It's a fun process, and you run into obstacles that you have to resolve which further your overall knowledge of lighting and imaging.

    Just be careful trying to white balance the image using the film gutter
     
  5. Proteus617

    Proteus617 TPF Noob!

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    An Epson V500 has a transparency adapters for 35mm, slides and 120. If you're patient, you can get one for refurb for $150 on the Epson site, a bit more new. I picked up an older Epson 3170 from *bay for $38 shipped. The quality of scans I've been getting is much better that what my lab has been sending me for $10 a roll.
     
  6. a_spaceman

    a_spaceman TPF Noob!

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    i have an epson v300, which doesn't do 120 but works very well. that just to say, if you can get your hands on a v500 (which does 120 indeed), you can be sure it'll work a treat.
    another scanner in your price range is the canon canoscan 9600. i personally don't have direct experience with it but seems to work well, too. try and have a look on flickr for negs scanned with it.
     
  7. xamblin

    xamblin TPF Noob!

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  8. vidrazor

    vidrazor TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys, I just ran across this thread. I found an interesting alternative to "scanning" negs that you may find useful. It's not perfect, but I imagine it can be calibrated. It's also a bit convoluted, but it come in handy for hard to focus images and especially larger format negs..

    As you may know, most scanners are pretty poor at scanning film, even most film scanners. This is because almost all of them have no provision for keeping your negs or chromes flat, or to focus for that matter. So your edges or even entire image are typically out of focus. Strips are sometimes better at this, but mounted slides are the worst. Most scanning software tries to compensate by adding sharpening, which can make things worse.

    However, if you have a good resolution digicam, get yourselves a decent slide copier and true macro optic, or for larger format film a lightbox of any sort (make sure you white balance) and slide copy your negs. Save 'em as RAW if you can, but JPEG is fine.

    Shoot at optimum aperture with your macro optic and you should have enough DOF to get a sharp image across the board.

    Get a copy of Vuescan and open it up. Have your scanner on, even though you're not going to use it.

    Then set "Input | Source" to "File" and set "Input | File" to the name of the raw file (Vuescan can rcognize some RAW formats), or JPEG file.

    Then set "Input | Mode" to "Transparency" and "Input | Media" to "Color negative". Hit "Preview".

    You should see a color positive of you image. The colors and density will be off, you can elect to try some film types to see if you find a halfway decent starting setting. Make additional color and density changes to try and bring it around.

    Set the save file type as a .DNG file and hit the "Scan" button. If Photoshop is open, your image should immediately open in Camera RAW. Make further adjustments as needed. Bring it into Photoshop and make further adjustments if you want.

    I know this is somewhat convoluted, but if you can calibrate a setup you can use this technique to get sharp images across the board, as well as copy larger format negs. Admittedly I'm not sure what the best way to calibrate is, but you can make IT8 tables in Vuescan, so this may be a way to go.

    Hope this helps.
     

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