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Author Topic: Scanners?  (Read 6831 times)
Lisa Nikodym
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« on: March 12, 2005, 11:02:51 AM »
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I haven't checked out the scanner market in a couple of years, but, last I checked, Nikon & Minolta were the two big names in good-quality film scanners.  You've found the Minolta, but you should check out what Nikon currently has too for comparison.  (I have a fairly old Nikon scanner, and it has served me very well.)

Hopefully someone with more up-to-date info can give you more details...

Lisa
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jasonb1
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2005, 03:29:33 PM »
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Nniko and Gabe,

Thank you very much for you time in replying. My concern about the nikon is that it is not able to handle certain types of positive film e.g  kodachrome. I have enquired locally at a store who recommend the Minolta. Since my question on this forum I have also been reading reviews on the Minolta multi scan pro which has good reports though a little dearer.

I guess I want something that I'm going to be able to make prints from and I'm mainly shooting on tranny and b&w.

I will check out the Imacon scanners on Ebay. I will do some more research into those as well.

Many thanks,

Jason
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Gabe
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2005, 12:13:28 PM »
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My concern about the nikon is that it is not able to handle certain types of positive film e.g kodachrome.

Hmm.. I confess that this is the first time I've heard of a film scanner not being able to handle certain types of film. Huh Out of curiosity, what's the issue there? D-Max related in some way?

I've pulled some truly spectacular scans from 35mm KC on the Imacons I've used (whose D-Max is well larger than the KC requires), but am now wondering if I was missing something subtle along the way..

-[before anyone gets suspicious, let me state for the record that I don't work for Imacon in any way.. although I have donated rather generously to their cause over the years (wishing there had been an eBay way back when!!)]-
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Gabe
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2005, 07:59:37 AM »
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I have also heard b&w can be a struggle to mainly due to the LED component. The cathode lighting system in scanners seems to work (per my reading and other advice) better than than the LED system.

Yes, I have certainly found scanning B&W neg to be more challenging than any other type of film, although results are still generally excellent and if you work in high-bit, there's always plenty of data to push and pull the way you need to in PS.

Actually I've found (and this method stinks from a workflow POV for obvious reasons) that the best scans from B&W often come from taking the neg into the darkroom, making a careful print of it, and then scanning the print... Sort of an 'inter-print' approach, if you will. Not recommended, but the results are terrific!
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b2martin
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2005, 02:23:17 PM »
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You can find reviews of the Epson scanners at this site:

http://www.photo-i.co.uk/
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b2martin
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2005, 08:22:32 AM »
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I purchased an Epson 3200 when they were first available, but returned it within 4 weeks because I was not satisified with scan results for film - image too soft and dedicated film scanner with 1128dpi for medium format was better.

I read a report somewhere about Digital ICE limitations on one of the Epson scanners with large files.  You may want to check it out.  

I don't know if the later models are better, but I purchased a Nikon 9000 and it works great.  I only have 35mm and medium format to scan - no large format.
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framah
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2005, 04:38:08 PM »
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I currently have a Nikon coolscan 4000 that works great and handles my old Kodachromes just fine. There is a setting for just that type of film so I'm not sure why people are saying that there is a problem with KC in the Nikon. The advantage of this scanner is that it scans at 4000dpi... considerably higher than any flatbed and it is a scanner dedicated to 35mm film , either pos or neg.

 For 4x5 transies that I need to scan as well as any flat art, I have a Creo iQsmart2 scanner. It is one of the top of the line flatbed scanners out there at present and at $12,000 not in everyones ballpark. I made this enormous leap as I need the best scan I can get to be able to create the best reproduction of my clients art possible. The idea here as well as in any profession is to buy the best equipment you can afford as skimping at this point will show up later when you really need the quality. When I send my files to my Epson 9600 the prints come out looking exactly like the original art.
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jasonb1
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2005, 12:40:06 AM »
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Hi everyone,

I've been shooting on digital for the past 2 or so years and recently ran some transparency film through my old Canon F1. Well that was enough for me to seriously consider my return to film. I'm now in the market for a scanner. I have been reading a couple of reviews on the Minolta Dimage 5400 mark 2 and this seems to be the way I will be going but I would be interested to hear anyones experience with this or other scanners. i will mostly be scanning colour trannies and black and white neg. film. I have heard that the mark 2 uses a different light source which may be detremental to b&w scans.

Many thanks for any contributions,

Jason Blake
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Gabe
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2005, 11:37:28 AM »
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There are some fantastic deals to be had on Imacon scanners via eBay. For the kind of money people are asking I don't think you'll find a better film scanner than one of those..

Anything Precision II or above is still fully supported by Hasse/Imacon, and will give you the ability to scan reflective materials at the same incredibly high-quality as you get with film if you need to. Software can't be beat either and is updated very regularly.

Different beast altogether than a Nikon or Minolta, but highly recommended if you're getting serious about scanning film
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b2martin
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2005, 06:10:59 PM »
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If you are considering the Minolta Multi Scan Pro, you should look at the Nikon 9000ED scanner.  I have a Nikon 9000ED scanner and it works great.  I am only scanning color negatives at the present time, but it will scan Kodachrome and since the Nikon 9000 has Digital ICE Professional, Digital ICE will work with Kodachrome - Nikon list is as working with Kodachrome.  Digital ICE on the Nikon 35mm scanners (V and 5000) will work with most Kodachrome.  Digital ICE will not work with regular B &W film since it has silver in the emulsion.
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jasonb1
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2005, 04:10:42 PM »
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Gabe,

I don't believe that there are any dramas with the Imacon- obviously an advanced scanner. i have heard that some scanners I.E. Nikon struggle with films like kodachrome,not that I use it. I have also heard b&w can be a struggle to mainly due to the LED component. The cathode lighting system in scanners seems to work (per my reading and other advice) better than than the LED system. Maybe I have misinterpreted this. Perhaps someone can shed some more light on the subject.
Regards,
Jason
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tshort
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2005, 06:16:17 PM »
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In the FWIW department, I just last week asked my photo instructor this very question.  He is the department head responsible for specifying what equipment the department gets; and he also works outside the college as a consultant to companies to help them set up their own in-house digital photo labs.

The school has a few of the high-end Imacoms, and these are likely the best bet.  But I can't afford that, so I asked him what he would recommend for under $1000.

He said he just bought four Microtek 120tf scanners for the school.  These retail at about $1800 - they are dedicated film scanners.

While I was surfing the site I also noticed cnet liked the Microtek i900.  At $600, I like it better, too. This is a combination flatbed/film scanner - it has a drawer under the bed that you can pull out and put film into for direct scans, rather than through the glass.  

Lastly, a guy demoing equipment for Mamiya at our school said he just bought an Epson 4870 (retail about $400) and recommends it for film scanning.

All the above support the digital ICE technology.

The reason this is a FWIW, is that I know absolutely nothing about any of these myself, other than what I've read on the company websites (and CNET's review).  

I am curious, tho, that no one on this thread has mentioned any of these, which leads me to believe that a) they are not the level of gear people here demand, and don't compare to the Nikon and some of the other ones mentioned.  Or  they are newer than when people here last bought a scanner, so perhaps they are not familiar with them.

Any input on that front would be helpful, as I, too, am interested in scanning film up to 4x5, and intend to focus on b+w, but also do some color.

Thanks for the interesting posts.
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-T
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Gabe
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« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2005, 01:16:31 PM »
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tshort,

I hear very good things about the 4870 from a magazine publisher that I occasionally do work for. They recently replaced their Heidleberg Sapphire Ultra II with one, and to hear them tell it the 4870 is better in all regards (which is reasonably high-praise IMO, as the UII is capable of producing some truly lovely scans in the right hands. Very impressive results from film for a flatbed). They're extremely pleased with the purchase.

I've not yet seen their results from the 4870 first-hand or had an opportunity to use one myself, but (FWIW) they're not the kind of shop to suffer mediocre equipment for long in their production chain..
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tshort
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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2005, 04:09:50 PM »
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Gabe - thanks for the confirmation.  That coming from a shop that uses it for business is quite encouraging.

And B2, that site is where I did some followup reading (someone earlier recommended it) - that guy does a great job of comparing performance, rather than just specs.  Based on his test and what he wrote, you'd have to jump up to a dedicated film scanner like the Nikon to get better scan quality, and even then it would be questionable as to whether it was worth the extra money, according to him.

He also said there is a new model coming out that is slightly higher spec than the 4870, called the 4900 (?) from Epson, that looks pretty much the same.  His tests (on that uk site) indicated some increase in performance, but still not quite as good as the Nikon.  But he points out that for enlargements up to 44" or so, it may not be noticeable.  

Anyway, all this is confirming what I suspected: that one of these lower priced Epsons may well get the job done.
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-T
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2005, 11:54:31 AM »
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I shall speak only from personal experience - not what I read or what others say. I bought a Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 over a year ago and I find it excellent. To me it appears to drag every last droplet of detail out of the films I've scanned with it. Most of my scanning is color negatives, (hence usually a need for some post-scan color adjustments, as confirmed in Blatner/Fraser "Real World Photoshop CS", page 341). It offers great flexibility to produce very high quality scans from negative film. I have also used it with old (e.g. 1958) Kodachrome transparencies. Minolta itself says that ICE will not clean-up old Kodachromes, but I tried it anyhow, and strangely enough it worked wonders. My experience with this has been published (cf. "Mastering Digital Printing Second Edition", by Harald Johnson, pages 83 to 89). This is a 35 mm scanner only. I have not tried B&W negs with it, so I can't vouch for how the scanner would perform with them.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
svein
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« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2005, 12:14:27 PM »
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I've got access to a Nikon LS-5000 and an Epson 4870.

Here's what I've found.
1. The original ICE (hardware dust removal) as found on the old Nikon LS 2000 couldn't handle Kodachrome, or at least had some problems with it. That's probably why some people (still) think there are a problem with Kodachrome slides and Nikon scanners. Note that it was just the dust removal that had the problem, the scanner worked fine with Kodachrome as long as ICE was turned off. This has been corrected on the LS 4000 and the current LS 5000.
2. Same goes for B&W film, scanner will handle it, but ICE won't work on silver based B&W. That's true also with current models. B&W (with ICE) based on color process should work, but I've never tried this.
3. The LED light in the Nikon scanner is harsh/focused (don' really know how to describe it). This gives extremely good resolution/sharpness. I've seen several tests rating the 4000dpi Nikons as equal (or better) in "real" res as the 5400dpi Minolta scanenrs.
This is great when iCE works, but when it doesn't as on B&W films you will see every tiny imperfection on the film surface. With old/dusty film it's a huge job to manually clean the images in Photoshop afterwards. So, although the end result can be great I've found that scanning old B&W negatives on the Epson 4870 is actually quite a bit easier. The diffuse light of the flatbed seem to be more forgiving, so you end up with less detail, but images that are usable with less post processing as long as you make fairly small prints. Also, the autoexposure/default settings seem to work better on the 4870.
4. Epson and ICE. The 4870 also has ICE dust removal. Works with the same limitations as on the Nikon (but think the Epson ICE is one generation behind the Nikon ICE). The big difference between Nikon and Epson (with ICE) is scan time. ICE use on Nikon hardly influence scan time, but with the Epson scan time (already slow) triples with my 2.4GHz PC. A faster computer would reduce the difference, don't know by how much. The new Epson 4990 is basically the same as 4870, slightly sharper scans, slightly lower scan time.
If you want a flatbed the alternative is (in my opinion) Canon 9950 which give about the same results, faster with FARE (Canon's version of ICE) than the Epson models.
5 (and last). Nikon is much faster, better resolution, better in all areas possibly except B&W handling. Also much more expensive. Canon 9950 and Epson 4990, excellent value and good enough even for 35mm scans (with a lot of USM) for moderate output sizes.
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