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A good scanner for film negatives?


TPF Noob!
Sep 25, 2006
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I was just given an Epson Perfection 2480 Photo scanner from a friend who upgraded and was curious if this was a good scanner to scan negatives. I know it handles both medium and 35mm formats, but that is all I know about scanners. I used to get a photo assistant friend to use his bosses scanner and I can't do that anymore.

Beyond that, what settings should I use? What dpi should I set? I hate to sound clueless, but this is what happens when you have to learn from scratch.

Thanks for any help.
Depends how high you set your standards, the best scanners are always the free ones though.
For best quality, they're very expensive.
Try it with the Epson scan software it comes with, there are 3 settings, Auto, Home and professional, if you are happy with the scans on auto theres no need to go any further, if not, you might aswell go straight to professional.
Its easier for you to say what you dont like and for us to say how to fix it.
Well, I am familiar with the professional mode of the epson scan software, from using it with my friends scanner (different friend). So I can maneuver (sp?) around it pretty well and I like the options so that is the mode I will use.

My biggest question is really, is there a scanner that is worth buying (less than $1k) that I should buy rather than just pay for drum scans at the local pro lab? Would buying a new scanner be more cost effective in the long run? I shoot a lot of digital now, but plan on shooting 35mm and medium format until they stop making film, if that helps you to know how much use the scanner would get.

The biggest size I would plan on taking the scan would probably be an 11x14 for my portfolio that I am about to start building. Otherwise I am just looking for scans nice enough to use on my website and flickr (not that nice, I know).

Also, what is a standard dpi for scanning? Or is the dpi related to how large the finished scan is, because if so I will just start scanning at 1200 dpi and down size in photoshop.

Once again, any help you can provide would be appreciated.
If you want a scanner for medium format under $1000 then have a look at the Epson V750 or the V700. The V750 has slightly better optics and a much better software bundle. Third-party negative holders are available for both wet and dry scanning.

The upgrade for the V750 is currently available in Japan, but not yet outside Japan, I think. It isn't a big upgrade.

As far as what resolution to scan at it is best to do some tests for yourself. I prefer to scan at the scanner's native resolution. The optimum resolution depends on the film and format, to a large extent. Some films benefit from scanning at very high resolutions, some don't.

The long-promised Microtek M1 (aka F1?) is currently promised for the end of this month. It might be a competitor for the V750, it might not. Wait until it has been tested.

The alternative might be a used Nikon 8000. Personally, I would go for the V750 or M1 - and I have an 8000 among my collection of scanners.

Another alternative might be to rent time on an Imacon - if there is one available in your area.

Just to follow myself up with a shovel full -

I've read about scanners from one end of the Earth to the other, because I need one myself, the only experience I have is with my 4490 which imo really should shut up about being anything more than pathetic at scanning film.
There is nothing I'm interested in for less than $1000, heck the V750 only just makes it at £450 in England.
This is what I read - Dedicated glassless negative scanning is the best you can do short of drums, 4000dpi optical not interplorated resolution is an ideal level to shoot for, and the software can have a measurable impact on image quality.
I kinda fancy that V750 but it isn't glassless, I've seen some good and some hazy reviews and the advantages of wet scanning with it have not been proven...that I can tell.
So whats left, Microtek Artixscan 120tf aka Polaroid sprintscan 120, Its available now at Amazon for about $1500, I think they knocked a few hundred dollars of it just recently, glassless, dedicated (they dont scan anything else but film) and 4000dpi, I buy one myself tommorow but ofcourse they're not available in England and even if they were they would be $3000...:meh:
Minolta did a decent one Dimage pro multi, but they're no longer manufactured.
Coolscans 8000 and 9000 are the two Nikons that scan M/F and 35mm, I think theres a wet mount for the 8000 but I havent read anything about that.
Consensus is Silverfast Ai is the dogs cajones for software, some scanners include it, some dont.
These are all bang out of 1000 dollar range.
So like Helen says for $1000 its gonna be a V750
1200 dpi isn't enough by the time you've enlarged to 11 x 14 print, thats about A3 I think, the final dpi shouldn't be less than 300, I dont know the calcs cos its midnight and I'm stupid, but a 6x6 @ 1200dpi wont be 300dpi @ 11x14

This is all stuff I have read/disclaimer
I bought the V700, and it's great. There's some of the disadvantages of a flatbed - negative holders can be fiddly, and oh the dust, the dust... I got fed up of having to blow the dust off the glass every time, so I made a cover for it. Oh and it's not exactly small. But otherwise I'm very very happy. It does a great job with colour negatives and slides even using the auto exposure in Epson's software, and with black and white it's much more convincing than my previous experience of flatbeds.

I wasn't convinced that the V750 was worth spending an extra £150 (the price difference at the time)... and I'm happy enough with the V700 that I'm glad I saved the cash.

As always, a good dedicated scanner is going to do a better job... but a good dedicated scanner costs more, and restricts you to one format. I like being able to scan both 35mm and medium format and get great scans (and great prints) from either. So I can forgive the inconveniences of a flatbed and definitely recommend the V700.

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