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Author Topic: Scanning backs for large format  (Read 10874 times)
Kumar
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« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2012, 02:51:21 AM »
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I don't think you'll see Betterlight at Photokina. As you say, interest in scanning backs is pretty low, unfortunately. Also, the Seitz D3 isn't a true RGB back, but interpolates 2/3rds of the pixels, like a Bayer array.
I bought my 6K-HS for $8,000 in 2005, and looking at current prices, it has held its value remarkably well.

Kumar
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 02:53:03 AM by Kumar » Logged

torger
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« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2012, 03:13:10 AM »
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I've looked at the Seitz, and I was impressed that they could do moving water without artifacts, and I think that is thanks to the bayer array, you don't get the color separation problem. Since my target is landscape, and landscape often involves water, I'd probably prefer a bayer solution. Color separation artifacts is really bad to my eyes, but I guess they are somewhat fixable in post-processing in many cases.

However, I've also seen on the Seitz examples of the 6x17 camera that they are not at all as sharp as betterlight examples, or just pixel peeping a regular DSLR. I wonder if it is due to poor technique, outresolving lenses or some problem with the scanback. It scans pretty fast so I would guess that could induce movement in the system.
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henrikfoto
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« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2012, 03:16:01 AM »
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Torger!

I wonder were you find these fantasy-prices.......

Scanbacks seemed quite obvious. But with the prices they have, stitching from an entry level medium format back might be a better option. Say a $80K 22 megapixel 36x48mm sensor, perhaps $50K refurbished (large sensor area and large pixels is ideal, 22 megapixel 9 micron is ok, corresponds to 2800 ppi scan resolution), and use the geared shift/rise/fall to stitch 9x9, that way you'd get near the 4x5 area, say 96x128mm 156 megapixel.

Seitz cameras do a lot interpollation to get the fast scantime.
The results suffer, but they are fast and easy to use.

Henrik
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 03:25:08 AM by henrikfoto » Logged
henrikfoto
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« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2012, 03:54:11 AM »
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A 22 mp back now is about 10.000 new (not 80K) or used 5.000. All in $.

Henrik
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 03:55:58 AM by henrikfoto » Logged
Kumar
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« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2012, 04:00:18 AM »
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Betterlight does indeed seem to have one of the best offers. It is a bit sad though that the market for these things is not larger than it seems to be, because I don't it needs to be as expensive as it is. The tech should be rather similar to a flatbed scanner and substantially cheaper than a digital medium format back need to be.

In fact, it is the same technology as used in the Kodak/Creo iQSmart/EverSmart scanners, which have the exact same sensor. And in their time, those scanners cost much more than the Betterlight.

I'm looking into moving to large format film because medium format digital is too expensive, and 35mm digital has not the view camera workflow I desire.

That might actually be the right thing for you, if you have professional labs nearby, or if you do your own processing. Film can be easily bought over the internet.

I see that betterlight actually had a €45K back (sold out), which I probably could afford, but I don't hassle around wih large format to get 18 megapixel images which is the resolution of that back.

The cheapest betterlight that can be bought today is $150K (€100K) 48 rgb megapixels, the same price as a 44x33mm 40 megapixel digital back. If it is about that kind of money, and it is 48 rgb megapixels scanned vs 40 megapixels bayer-interpolated all in one shot, I'd go for the latter, even if digtal mf lenses will cost me a bit more than the analog large format.

I think you are getting your math wrong, and you've not seen the decimal point: $14,995.00 and $17,995.00 equivalent to 11,400 Euro and 13,700 Euro.

Kumar
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torger
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« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2012, 04:07:00 AM »
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Haha, now I understand my fantasy prices too... yes I moved the decimal point one step, sorry about that Smiley. Thing is that my mind is wired for Swedish Krona which is 10x Euro... I was having the right prices in my mind all the time, but writing wrong... I just modified decimal point my old message to get it right. I'm a poor amateur so even $15K is quite a lot of money. $5K can get within budget though. It is a tough world loving high resolution landscape photography and being poor :-)
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 04:16:17 AM by torger » Logged
Kumar
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« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2012, 04:12:52 AM »
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So do they look more affordable now?  Cheesy

Kumar
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torger
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« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2012, 04:36:52 AM »
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So do they look more affordable now?  Cheesy

I understood the prices correctly all along, but I made typos in my message since I hade already kind of converted to Swedish currency in my mind.

When economy is a factor one compares with alternate solutions which cost similarly.

To make high res landscape photo today there's these alternatives
 - 35mm DSLR pano head stitching - cheapest
 - 36 megapixel Nikon D800 DSLR - likely exceeding more expensive entry level MFDB
 - Medium format digital, on SLR camera
 - Medium format digital, on tech camera
 - 6x9, 6x12 rollfilm
 - 4x5", 5x7" or 8x10" on film plus drum scanning ($50 - $150 per shot including scan service), ~100 megapixel for 4x5, 300 for 8x10
 - 4x5" scanback
 - 4x5" stitching using large pixel MFDB

With a 4x5" camera I get the flexibility to work with both 4x5" sheet film and 6x9 and 6x12 rollfilm plus some digital solution in the same system. And I get to work with a view camera, which makes photography experience so much nicer, this is a hobby for me afterall (with some artistic goal making large prints and selling a few etc, but no way near financing the costs), so I want it to be pleasing to shoot. Result is important, but also the process. I've done a lot of pano head work, and it works and gives great results but it is not as pleasing from a photographic experience aspect since you don't really do all the compositional work at site, you just gather data so you have enough and stitch&crop back home.
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darr
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« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2012, 07:12:43 AM »
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D
I understood the prices correctly all along, but I made typos in my message since I hade already kind of converted to Swedish currency in my mind.

When economy is a factor one compares with alternate solutions which cost similarly.

To make high res landscape photo today there's these alternatives
 - 35mm DSLR pano head stitching - cheapest
 - 36 megapixel Nikon D800 DSLR - likely exceeding more expensive entry level MFDB
 - Medium format digital, on SLR camera
 - Medium format digital, on tech camera
 - 6x9, 6x12 rollfilm
 - 4x5", 5x7" or 8x10" on film plus drum scanning ($50 - $150 per shot including scan service), ~100 megapixel for 4x5, 300 for 8x10
 - 4x5" scanback
 - 4x5" stitching using large pixel MFDB

With a 4x5" camera I get the flexibility to work with both 4x5" sheet film and 6x9 and 6x12 rollfilm plus some digital solution in the same system. And I get to work with a view camera, which makes photography experience so much nicer, this is a hobby for me afterall (with some artistic goal making large prints and selling a few etc, but no way near financing the costs), so I want it to be pleasing to shoot. Result is important, but also the process. I've done a lot of pano head work, and it works and gives great results but it is not as pleasing from a photographic experience aspect since you don't really do all the compositional work at site, you just gather data so you have enough and stitch&crop back home.


I personally went with an Arca Swiss M Line 2 view camera and a used digital back. I still have my Ebony non-folding 4x5" camera (not accurate enough for use with a digital back), but with the scarcity of color film, problems with shipping chemicals (nothing available locally), the time involved with scanning (outsourcing scans was too expensive) and costly scanner software updates, I ended up becoming frustrated with the supply chain and saw the writing on the wall and sold off gear and bought into digital.

I use my 4x5" for black & white, but the digital in the long run makes me happier. Just my 2 cents.

Good luck with your decision.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 08:24:31 AM by darr » Logged

darlene almeda
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RobertJ
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« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2012, 09:40:46 AM »
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I wouldn't say color film is "scarce," but to do LF sheet film successfully, it really depends where you are.

I continue to buy 4x5 and 8x10 boxes of Fujichrome, mainly Provia, along with Kodak E100G, and Kodak's new Portra 160 negative film is barely ever in stock, people are buying it so much (hard to believe, but this stuff goes out of stock very quickly).

My location allows me to buy film, shoot it, use a lab in New York to get E-6 development, and the good ones can get drum scanned from a place like westcoastimaging if need be.

If you can't buy/develop/scan then LF ain't gonna work.
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torger
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« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2012, 08:55:46 AM »
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I wouldn't say color film is "scarce," but to do LF sheet film successfully, it really depends where you are.

I continue to buy 4x5 and 8x10 boxes of Fujichrome, mainly Provia, along with Kodak E100G, and Kodak's new Portra 160 negative film is barely ever in stock, people are buying it so much (hard to believe, but this stuff goes out of stock very quickly).

My location allows me to buy film, shoot it, use a lab in New York to get E-6 development, and the good ones can get drum scanned from a place like westcoastimaging if need be.

If you can't buy/develop/scan then LF ain't gonna work.

I've looked around and it does seem like LF film is feasible, but it won't be local labs or suppliers so I will need to use the mail a lot. I can get film and get it competently developed in Sweden, but Swedish drum scanning services are a bit expensive, about €100 per sheet. I probably only drum scan those that have "fine art" quality, which is something like 2 - 4 images per year, so it is survivable though. My idea is to use 6x9 and/or 6x12 rollbacks on the same camera, which is much lower cost film & development so I can gain experience with the system that way. I'm grown up on digital so the film workflow will surely take a while to get used to Smiley.

I have more research to do on the digital aspect though. I thank you all for the thorough feedback on the digital scanning backs. From what I have learnt I don't think a scanning back is the right thing for me. Tethering systems from the 90's or early 2000's is a nightmare, mechanical stuff failing etc. From my 35mm work I'm very used to stitching, so I'll investigate that option more. P25+ and similar backs can be quite affordable second hand these days.
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brunovandermeulen
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« Reply #31 on: February 19, 2012, 05:29:02 PM »
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A manufacturor of scanbacks in Europe is Anagramm: http://www.anagramm.com/. German quality!!

Bruno
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DanielStone
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« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2012, 12:18:20 AM »
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why not just shoot film and have it drum scanned?

it'll extend your costs over a longer period, rather than a big expenditure all at once.

-Dan
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torger
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« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2012, 02:24:55 AM »
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why not just shoot film and have it drum scanned?

it'll extend your costs over a longer period, rather than a big expenditure all at once.

If I get a film system I surely do that, I wouldn't get 4x5" to only do digital. However, having a digital option as a complement would be nice, but it must be the right quality at the right price to be useful to me. Currently it seems like scan backs do not work for me, either they are fairly expensive, or they are ancient. Ancient products are risky due to two reasons, the mechanical parts may be in poor condition, and cabling and tethering software may require an ancient computer system, and on top of that the digital image quality of the 1990s is not really the same as today.
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Josef_Meier
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« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2012, 08:40:06 AM »
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torger:

you are right the old technology is an issue with the scanbacks.
Especially the old phase one, like powerphase and photophase are hard to use.
And the have stripes in their images like mentioned before. Th often mentioned super colors did not impress me at all.
You often need an old computer system to get them running.
Betterlight seems to be easier to use, but I would recomend to borrow one and try the workflow. So different to "normal" photography.......

Unfortunatly not manny manufactures are interested in making them these day as there is not much interest.
They could be really cheap today, as the line sensors are verry, verry cheap now.
And with high speed electronics of today, they could be much faster than they were.

You can search the web for intersting DIY projects on this.
There is this guy in Japan, that converts an Epson scanner in an ultra high resolution scanback. Nice quality an verry cheap.

And for the b&w guys it is easy to modify a Canon lide scanner to a really big scanback, you can actually scan 20x30 with it. But only BW as the light flickers in color with these scanners.

Maybe some clever person in china will build one and sell it for cheap $$ some day.
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torger
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« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2012, 09:45:35 AM »
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Yes, I really think there is a market to make a low cost scanback product for large format enthusiasts. Today it is probably better business case to do that than trying to sell to professionals. Professionals don't like slow inflexible solutions -- slow workflows cost money, when there's a fast simple solution that's good enough than it will take over, and MFDBs is probably killing the pro scanback market as we speak -- they have reached "good enough". I think quite many large format enthusiasts would buy a scanback though if the price was right.
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dietmarhammerschmid
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« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2012, 11:06:09 AM »
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I use a Phase One Powerphase FX+ and a Photophase plus scanback for architecture and landscape.
The only difference between the backs is the resolution and the interface.
The Powerphase FX has a firewire interface and the Photophase plus is connected via SCSI(i connect it with a SCSI PC card to a dell notebook).
I can΄t see any difference in image quality between the two backs.
If a resolution of 7200x5000 is enough, the Photophase plus would be a cheap deal.

When shooting landscape a full resolution capture at 1/125 linetime (the photophase has ISO 400 and ISO 800 settings!) wil take about 60 seconds.
I never had problems with lines in the image, I think that could be caused by dust on the ccd line sensor.
The Phase One image capture software has a very good tool for focusing!

I think a scanback would be a good deal if you want a high resolution system for 4x5 and you only shoot stills or landscape.
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tzjcomet
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« Reply #37 on: April 29, 2012, 11:38:01 AM »
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Is anyone aware of a Better Light scanning back that is for sale for 4X5?
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BJL
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« Reply #38 on: April 29, 2012, 01:59:29 PM »
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Unfortunately, the Better Light line of scanning backs has been greatly reduced lately, including discontinuation of the highest resolution model. This is probably related to the discontinuation of many of the linear sensors that these backs use, and which came from Kodak. (The discontinuations happened before Kodak sold the whole sensor division.)

Also note that none scans an image more than about 72mm (3") high, not the full height of the 4”x5” frame.

All in all, the trend seems to be away from scanning backs, towards high resolution "645” backs used on view cameras adapted to that format size.
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gerald.d
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« Reply #39 on: April 30, 2012, 08:32:50 AM »
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A bit late to the thread I know, but there is another option that you may not have considered -

You can get a motorised 6x17 back from Canham and attach it to a 5x7 large format camera.

Regards,

Gerald.

I understood the prices correctly all along, but I made typos in my message since I hade already kind of converted to Swedish currency in my mind.

When economy is a factor one compares with alternate solutions which cost similarly.

To make high res landscape photo today there's these alternatives
 - 35mm DSLR pano head stitching - cheapest
 - 36 megapixel Nikon D800 DSLR - likely exceeding more expensive entry level MFDB
 - Medium format digital, on SLR camera
 - Medium format digital, on tech camera
 - 6x9, 6x12 rollfilm
 - 4x5", 5x7" or 8x10" on film plus drum scanning ($50 - $150 per shot including scan service), ~100 megapixel for 4x5, 300 for 8x10
 - 4x5" scanback
 - 4x5" stitching using large pixel MFDB

With a 4x5" camera I get the flexibility to work with both 4x5" sheet film and 6x9 and 6x12 rollfilm plus some digital solution in the same system. And I get to work with a view camera, which makes photography experience so much nicer, this is a hobby for me afterall (with some artistic goal making large prints and selling a few etc, but no way near financing the costs), so I want it to be pleasing to shoot. Result is important, but also the process. I've done a lot of pano head work, and it works and gives great results but it is not as pleasing from a photographic experience aspect since you don't really do all the compositional work at site, you just gather data so you have enough and stitch&crop back home.
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