Transparencies to Digital - Top Quality

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by benjaminpendleton, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. benjaminpendleton

    benjaminpendleton TPF Noob!

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    Hi Everyone, I'm completely new to the forum... here goes!
    I have some transparencies (Kodalux) from 20 years ago that I'm wanting to transfer over to digital (JPEG). They're of historical value and I'm planning to upload them onto a website (RedBubble) for possible sale as photographic prints and posters. Redbubble is demanding high resolution, 5,000 x 7100 pixels for their largest size poster... I'd like to go for it.

    I am a very low-tech individual. Some (perhaps obvious) questions, if you don't mind:

    The photo shop I took my transparencies to (a very well known one in the Allentown, Pa area) for some reason couldn't get anywhere near the number of pixels I need. I'm not sure why... They were using a flat scanner.

    I read that transparencies don't work as well as film on a flat scanner anyhow... Is that correct?

    One of their salesmen took me aside and said that I'd be better off scanning them with something like a Nikon Coolscan... how do they do with slides? Any Problems? They had one for sale... for $600.

    Someone else said that a drum scanner was the best way to go... but I can't find anyone around here that has one. Do I go to photo shops, graphic designers, printers, check in the Philadelphia area, or what?

    Lastly, someone else suggested another photo store with a Noritsu; I talked to the store and he claimed that he could get "ultra" high quality from transparencies. This place is easily accessible and has convenient hours. Am I going to get "ultra" or just better than average?

    I guess my real question is, should I go to the effort of tracking down a drum scanner or will the Noritsu do an "ultra" job with a lot less hassles?

    Thanks for your time!
     
  2. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Flatbeds vary a lot in quality and price - from under $50 to over $20,000. Most consumer flatbed scanners (ie below about $2500) struggle to achieve a true resolution of 2000 ppi, though their nominal resolution may be 4800 ppi. If you want about 5000 pixels on the short side of a 35 mm frame, you are talking about a true resolution of 4800 ppi at least. A bit of a shortfall below 4800 ppi shouldn't matter too much, however.

    It depends a lot on the quality of the scanner - but you are asking about top quality, and a top quality scanner will have no problems with reversal film. In some ways reversal (transparency) film is easier to scan than negative film, but the scanner has to be able to cope with the higher density of reversal film compared to that of negative film.

    There are a few Coolscan models. The 4000, 5000, 8000 and 9000 are OK, and they do 4000 ppi nominal, and close to that in reality.

    A drum scanner, high-end flatbed or Imacon/Hasselblad Flextight should be OK, if operated properly. I used to hire an Imacon 949 until recently when I decided to buy a decent flatbed, and the 949 did a very good job of scanning 35 mm Kodachrome at 8000 ppi. The 848 and X5 are similar, and the slightly lower spec X1 will also do the business for you. If you do find anyone in your area with an Imacon, it may very well be good enough for what you want.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  3. benjaminpendleton

    benjaminpendleton TPF Noob!

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    Thanks again, Helen, I appreciate your help. The easiest solution for me would be to go with the Noritsu scanner at a local, upper end camera store... do you buy their statement that they could produce an "ultra" quality disc?
     

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