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Archive 2013 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?
  
 
angeloks
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p.1 #1 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


Hi,

I've been playing with digital cameras a lot lately and I'm missing my old film cameras (Leica IIIg, Zeiss Ikon, etc...). I use to have a Coolscan 5000 which I sold months ago. I'm not gonna do that much film, maybe 3-4 rolls per month. I'm also buying Mamiya 7ii for which I'll need a MF scanner.

So far, I've been checking some Coolscan 9000, but at around 2.5k, the price is steep for what I intend to do. I saw that Plustek will make a 120 scanner at 2k, but it hasn't been released in the real world yet... Should I wait ? There's also the Epson V750-M Pro, that looks nice and the price seems right. I'm not really looking for a fast way to scan tons of negatives. I just want something what will deliver the best IQ from my negatives.

What should I get ?



Feb 05, 2013 at 04:44 PM
ISO1600
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p.1 #2 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


You're already on the right path. Epson should be the best currently available new scanner for the money, when it comes to 35mm and medium format.
The 750 and its varieties have long been considered some of, if not the best, flatbed film scanners.



Feb 05, 2013 at 06:20 PM
old yorker
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p.1 #3 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


Flatbeds seem pretty good for medium format (from what I see of others' work) but if you want a neg scanner the new Plustek 120 is worth a look and cheaper than a Coolscan.


Feb 05, 2013 at 06:36 PM
ISO1600
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p.1 #4 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


IS that new plustek out yet? I looked on B&H last week, and IIRC they didn't have a date yet.


Feb 05, 2013 at 06:37 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.1 #5 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


There are plenty of good options for dedicated 35mm film scanners, but for 120 film, I'm afraid the only feasible option is the Epson. Certainly the 35mm scans will turn out a bit soft but for about 5 to 8 mp scans it should do fine IMO.


Feb 05, 2013 at 06:41 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #6 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


I have gotten nice scans from the Epson V750 of 645 negatives, yielding 20MP or so. These aren't as sharp as digital, but are plenty good for printing quite large. I have a 60x80cm print of one which looks great.

However, I don't think I would recommend that any more. Use a FF digital camera with a macro lens and a light table, and photograph your negatives. There are several recent articles on how to do that, from Ming Thein also I believe. With a D800, you would get 36MP "scans"



Feb 05, 2013 at 07:43 PM
eosfun
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p.1 #7 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


Listen to what Carsten says. Shooting slides or negatives with your D-SLR gives you more than reasonable results. I use a 1Dsmk III and an "old fashioned" slide duplicator from Bowens that I bought for 25 euro some years ago. I had it adapted for another 50 euro or so for a 1DsmkII since it didn't fit when I sold the 10D that I had before and adapted fine to the original Illumitran unit with built in flash. The speed of "scanning" makes up for the quality difference.

I also have a Nikon Coolscan 8000ED that gives indeed a slightly better result, but making a good scan is taking between 2 and 15 minutes per slide. The main advantage, besides a better dynamic range, is the dust and scratch elimination function of the Coolscan scanners. That is a time saver on postprocessing if you have dirty or scratched slides/negatvies. For everything else the difference in image quality isn't that big.

In general therefor I prefer the method that Carsten mentioned. Use your DSLR, a macro lens and some good light source. You set it up carefully, especially taking care of how you avoid lighting of the dust and scratches, do some test shots in manual exposure and off you go. If necessary make exposure brackets and stack files to capture all of the highlights and get deep shadows without noise. No need to have a scanner and spend the money on something else.

I found a good page on the Bowens Illumitran copier.



Feb 05, 2013 at 08:09 PM
old yorker
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p.1 #8 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


ISO1600 wrote:
IS that new plustek out yet? I looked on B&H last week, and IIRC they didn't have a date yet.


They are out there and people have them. Where to buy I don't know. Ask them?

http://plustek.com/usa/products/opticfilm-series/opticfilm-120/

Using a DSLR to copy film is an interesting technique (and one with with artistic possibilities) but it amuses me to hear some of the pickiest lens/camera critics on the internet champion it as good enough because it is quick and easy.



Feb 05, 2013 at 10:41 PM
eosfun
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p.1 #9 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


old yorker wrote:
They are out there and people have them. Where to buy I don't know. Ask them?

http://plustek.com/usa/products/opticfilm-series/opticfilm-120/

Using a DSLR to copy film is an interesting technique (and one with with artistic possibilities) but it amuses me to hear some of the pickiest lens/camera critics on the internet champion it as good enough because it is quick and easy.


You forgot to mention: cheap. Because the OP mentioned I'm not gonna do that much film, maybe 3-4 rolls per month. that seemed to be quite relevant to me. The solution with a slide copier and a D-SLR that someone already owns is really a very low cost solution for a great quality. I don't understand why you belittle this solution as amusing and 'good enough because it is quick and easy'. The quality of a slide copy done with a dedicated slide copy stand like I mentioned is definitely better than the results from flat bed scanners, a method that you recommended. Files from a 22mp D-SLR on Illumitran are just little behind that from a top film scanner like the Coolscan 8000/9000ED and not just interesting for artistic possibilities.



Feb 05, 2013 at 11:03 PM
old yorker
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p.1 #10 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


And you forgot "I just want something what will deliver the best IQ from my negatives". That would be a film scanner, no?

I am not belittling anything. Amusing is good. Artistic possibilities are good. Film, digital, scanning, tiny sensors, huge sensors, small format, large format, alternative processes, sharp lenses, dreamy lenses, lightrooms, darkrooms, pinholes and on and on are all good. Whatever you want and whatever you like. It's all about amusement and all about artistic possibilities.




Feb 05, 2013 at 11:36 PM
 

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eosfun
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p.1 #11 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


OK, got it.
If the OP wants the best IQ from the negatives he should the negatives have done by a drum scanner at some scan service.



Feb 06, 2013 at 12:03 AM
DaveOls
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p.1 #12 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


I've copied some of my old slides with a Nikon D 80, Nikon AIS 105 F/ 2.8 lens, Nikon +4 close up lens and an LED Lightpad. The results were very good and fast. I'm not about to spend $ 1,000-$ 2,000 on a dedicated scanner.


Feb 06, 2013 at 12:29 PM
angeloks
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p.1 #13 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


Okok, indeed the best IQ will be delivered by a drumscan, but I don't really have 10k... And I want to scan the negatives at home. What I wanted to say is that I don't mind having to deal with a badly designed machine as long as the results are there.

I guess that I'll wait to see more from the Plustek 120 scanner (http://rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=128661). Some samples look promising.



Feb 06, 2013 at 01:36 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #14 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


old yorker wrote:
Using a DSLR to copy film is an interesting technique (and one with with artistic possibilities) but it amuses me to hear some of the pickiest lens/camera critics on the internet champion it as good enough because it is quick and easy.


Do you have some evidence that it is less good than other solutions? As far as I understand, it actually *beats* other solutions, short of drum scanning, if done carefully.



Feb 06, 2013 at 01:43 PM
alwang
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p.1 #15 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


I haven't used the DSLR technique myself, but it seems like it only makes sense if both of the following are true:

- you already have a good portion of the necessary equipment available, including a light box, a studio light source, a short focal length macro lens, a decent film holder (the homemade film holders I've seen people using often don't look like they'll keep the film flat enough, plus you need separate holders for each film size), and of course a 20+MP FF DSLR (I'd say you probably will only be able to beat an Epson with a 30+MP DSLR). Compare that against an Epson v500, which is $145 (and is very close to a v750, assuming you're not wet mounting)

- You have a large amount of scans to do at a time, rather than a few scans spaced out each month. While the DSLR approach would be much faster once you've got everything set up for a run, I imagine it would take more attention at the start of a session to make sure everything is aligned well, lighting temperature is correct, etc. - unless you really had a FF DSLR lying around that was just dedicated to this process. Because you're shooting in an open environment, I'd also imagine you'd have to be more vigilant about dust as you go along. For these reasons, I think this approach makes more sense for 35mm film, or maybe 645, where you have a good number of images per roll. It also makes sense for people who are trying to scan a large archive of old negatives. It doesn't seem that efficient for someone like me, who shoots 1 or 2 rolls of 6x7 or 6x6 a month.



Feb 06, 2013 at 02:12 PM
ISO1600
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p.1 #16 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


the dust issue for DSLR method would have to suck, compared to a nice scanner with ICE/ROK... but those scanners are expensive.
the editing/processing will suck regardless of what method used, it's never fun to get the most out of a good scan.



Feb 06, 2013 at 03:45 PM
mh2000
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p.1 #17 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


I gave my girlfriend a beautiful Lubitel-2 for her birthday and she's been shooting up a storm. Going through all the options, what is working best for her is an Epson v500 -- bought refurb from B&H for $99 -- and then having our prolab scan the ones she wants to exhibit. She doesn't print that huge so the intermediate prolab scans for a couple bucks is good enough -- doesn't go with full drum scan. The Epson isn't really great, but fine for web images and prints easily up to 8x8".

Of course having your own Nikon scanner would be great, but if you don't have $2000+ to spend, prolabs can really do a good job and save you lots of money if you aren't scanning thousands of negs.

As side note, I've gone this route for color prints as well. Spent lots of time and money maintaining my own large format printers in the past... till in a pinch to get some prints to a gallery and found I was out of ink cartridges had to get prolab prints made... came out great and cost barely any more than my home prints cost. Now my printer is covered in dust and Ijust send out all my prints, way less agrivation! Had to get over the lack of paper choices, but really, what's wrong with a photo looking like a photo



Feb 06, 2013 at 03:53 PM
luminosity
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p.1 #18 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


Pick up a Flextight 5. If you're on a budget, go with the 1.


Feb 06, 2013 at 09:16 PM
alwang
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p.1 #19 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


luminosity wrote:
Pick up a Flextight 5. If you're on a budget, go with the 1.


The OP is balking at the price of a $2K scanner, so you're suggesting a $15K scanner?



Feb 06, 2013 at 09:56 PM
old yorker
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p.1 #20 · Film Scanner Suggestions ?


carstenw wrote:
Do you have some evidence that it is less good than other solutions? As far as I understand, it actually *beats* other solutions, short of drum scanning, if done carefully.


All the examples I have seen looked like a digital photo of a slide/neg and lacked something of the subtlety I see in a decent scan and in the original.

Perhaps the drum scan > film scanner > SLR > flatbed quality scale no longer applies but that is my impression and seems to be eosfuns's experience, too. [edit: I'm not sure which way round the SLR vs flatbed should go]

Angeloks is looking for something under 2.5k so the quality of a D800e, macro lens/bellows and so on is moot unless they are already in the cupboard.



Feb 07, 2013 at 09:21 PM





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