Which Film Scanner?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by elemental, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    It's finally time for me to pull the trigger on a film-enabled scanner for my black and white homemade musings. I like the Epson clearance deals, but being new to this film thing I'm not sure what it is that I need exactly. The two I'm looking at are:

    A. The V100, which has 3200x9600 dpi resolution, 3.2 Dmax, and no "Digital ICE" software but does have dust removal and is nice and cheap, and

    B. The 4490, which has 4800x9600 dpi resolution, claimed 3.4 Dmax, and the "Digital ICE" image correction technology.

    I'd love to hear from anyone who has any idea if the 4490 is worth the extra $40.
     
  2. tasman

    tasman TPF Noob!

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    How many negatives to do you have to scan? Are you buying it online or going in to a store and getting one? If you have lots to scan, get a deticated Negative Scanner. I did, I found the flatbeds dont work all that great. If you can go in to a store, ask to see one demo'd and take some negatives with you and try it.
     
  3. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When deciding on a film scanner, you need to consider the purchase as a large purchase just like any DSLR purchase. Just like low end pocket P&S, many are disappointed with cheaper and low end scanners. Just like DSLRs, the scanners that produce acceptable results cost money.

    From a photographer's point of view, I know I wouldn't be happy with either of the ones listed. From someone who just wants a scanner for many reasons and just want the added capability of doing negatives, I'd take the 4490.

    I went through a purchase decision last year. During that time, I discovered that almost no flatbed scanner can beat a dedicated negative scanner. However, I did find just one flatbed scanner that was close; Epson V700 (or V750). I ended up with the V700 since I need the capability to scan a variety of sized negatives and prints. The scans are very well done and I have no regrets. At around $500 new it wasn't cheap but compared to dedicated scanners, it was a bargain. Another flatbed that I have no experience with but seems to get a lot of good remarks is the old Epson 4990. You might be able to find those in the used/clearance market at a reasonable price.


    If an investment in a good dedicated/flatbed scanner is out of your reach, check a professional local lab and see what they offer. Many will do high quality scans as a service for a reasonable price. If you are needing only to scan a few rolls every-once-in-a-while this is a better option. Just remember to ask the details of what they are going to deliver from such service... resolution, equipment used, format delivered (TIFF versus JPG) etc. Often they have two services; consumer level that delivers medium quality JPEGs and professional that will deliver very high quality TIFF scans.
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    FYI: for black and white negatives, you will generally want to disable Digital Ice.
     
  5. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    Not too many. I'll be about four rolls behind and then it'll just be keeping up with what I shoot, maybe one roll a week.


    If all I shoot is black and white (on film at least), is there no need for that feature?
     
  6. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    I could also spring for a V500 if it's worth it, though these all seem kind of the same.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  7. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Pretty much... When I first got my scanner, I ran color and B&W negatives through it in its default settings (I was evaluating it against another scanner). The color negatives came very nicely but the B&W had some strange artifacts. After some googling, I found out that digital ice should be disabled for non-chromogenic B&W film. Not sure the reasoning behind it.


    Judging from your response, I think it would be wise to take a roll and find a professional level (not the 1 hour ones) lab and try them out for size (price, quality delivered, time to deliver). At least try them out before putting money into a scanner.
     
  8. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, I looked into this and was turned off by the price ($3 or $4 per hi-res scan, and I think the lower resolution scans were still over $10 per roll. Definitely not worth it). Additionally, when I'm at school nine months out of the year the only accessible place that does scans is Wal-Mart, and don't get me started on their black and white capabilities.

    Professional scans were what I really wanted, I just can't do $12 per roll. It sort of goes against my whole low-fi self-developed ethic. What this does mean is that I could buy a crappy film scanner so I could at least see my results and then take my favorites to the pro place for the $3 ultra-hi-res treatment. How's that for a workflow?
     
  9. tasman

    tasman TPF Noob!

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  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That is what i did for a few years with medium format and my old Epson 3170. Scanner is used to examine and post to the web. Real prints were still done in traditional wet darkroom.
     
  11. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    This is what I had in mind (though wet darkroom may be a few years off- for now it would be professional scans to digital prints unfortunately).

    Given this use, is the 4490 worth buying over the V100 or V200 (especially considering that I don't need the image correction)?
     
  12. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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