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Author Topic: Are there any scanners in the $500 and under range worth getting?  (Read 7090 times)
jenea
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« on: July 15, 2012, 05:22:25 PM »
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I have about $500 to spend on a scanner. I want to be able to scan both color and B&W negs as well as mounted color slides (i have thousands of my dads old Kodachrome which i know present their own issues when trying to scan them so I'll stick to my velvia slides for now). I would love to be able to get a nikon coolscan but dont have the money for it. Are there any flatbeds worth it? I have read severl online reviews of whats out there. looks like the epson 750/700 is top of the heap. and the 600 falls somewhat below that. I have not looked very hard at the canons. The plustek is an option but from what lieelt ei can find out about them they reports say the epson 700 out performs it.

so my questions are is there a big difference between the epson 600 and 700 and between the 700 and 750? or is it not worth getting any of them and picing the best ones to send off to have them scanned. I would be willing to print the best ones at 17x24 size

thanks
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Pete Berry
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2012, 12:19:21 PM »
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Here's a link to a number of comprehensive scanner reviews that may help you. I've been using an Epson V700 for several years, and scans of sharp 35mm film, with close attention to optimum cassette height setting and careful deconvolution sharpening can give quite acceptable 12x18 prints - though not up to the resolution of current 16-18MP DSLRs.

http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/scanners_page.htm

I've read that the actual res. of the 700/750 scanners is in the low 2000's LPH, but I scan at 4000 PPI to give an file close to 360 PPI at 12x18. 17x24 would be stretching things too far to stand up to close inspection, though, but could look fine several feet back, I'm sure, as my old 6MP 17x25s do.

Pete
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AFairley
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2012, 02:05:22 PM »
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If you have a recent DSLR, you might be as well or better off reprocopyign the slides with it.  For sure you will get better results than with a v700 (which I own and have used) if you have a good macro lens.  http://www.scantips.com/es-1.html
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WayneLarmon
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 10:25:47 PM »
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Read

Plustek Optic Film 7600i-Ai Film Scanner Review
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/scanners/plustek.shtml

which compares the 7600i (which is within your budget) with a (discontinued) Nikon Super Coolscan 5000ED, and with an Epson V750 flatbed scanner.  Short answer: the Nikon is best, followed by the 7600i, followed by the Epson.  But the differences weren't that large.

I have a 7600i.  And I also did a lot of slide digitization using a Canon 60D + Canon 60mm macro lens, + PhotoSolve Extend-a-Slide. 
http://www.photosolve.com/main/product/xtendaslide/index.html

I was very impressed with the results I got with the 60D combination.  I think (but can't prove) that the Canon RAW files give me more bits of data than what I get from the 7600i.  Resolution-wise, the 60D and 7600i are similar. 

If you already have a good DSLR and macro lens, then using something like the Extend-a-Slide is an attractive option.  But if you don't, then buying a DSLR + macro lens would be expensive and you probably should go with a scanner.

One big attraction to the DSLR route is that if your slides are in good condition (so you don't need to do extensive scratch and dust removal), then digitizing slides with a DSLR is very fast.  Scanners offer IR scratch and dust removal.  However, scanning a slide with IR removal (at a usable resolution) takes at least several minutes per slide.

My slides and negatives are in tough shape, due to poor storage, so the Plustek's IR scratch removal saves me time, compared to how long I spend in PhotoShop fixing the damage.  (But the IR process can remove image detail, so if you are a stickler for maintaining image detail, then you may not want to use IR scratch removal.)

Negatives are a different story.  I could digitize negatives with my 60D, but could never figure out a workable way of removing the orange mask and compensating for the weird curves that different negative film stocks have.  For negatives, I stick with the 7600i and VueScan (VueScan knows about a lot of film negatives--this is a big deal.)

It all depends....
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jenea
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2012, 12:59:45 PM »
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i have a nikon d700 with the nikon 105 macro lens. But i never really thought of shooting a pict of the neg. will give it a go. I asked as i have $500 worth of amazon gift cards i got when my miles card had a deal, so for 25000 miles i got the cards. so if amazon has an option I'm gonna go with it when i get the gift cards next week.

But in the mean time I'll give shooting the negs a shot (no pun intended). how would i set them up to take the picture? a light table?
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2012, 02:47:08 PM »
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i have a nikon d700 with the nikon 105 macro lens. But i never really thought of shooting a pict of the neg. will give it a go. I asked as i have $500 worth of amazon gift cards i got when my miles card had a deal, so for 25000 miles i got the cards. so if amazon has an option I'm gonna go with it when i get the gift cards next week.

But in the mean time I'll give shooting the negs a shot (no pun intended). how would i set them up to take the picture? a light table?


That's exactly the same combination of camera and lens that I've used to copy 6x6 slides. Okay, only the central area of the sensor is doing anything, but it works pretty well if you have a proper lightbox balanced for daylight. The only difficulty is getting the two items, camera and lightbox, parallel in all planes, but if you make a close-fitting mask out of black card, then once you've got your system set up, you can copy a series of originals quite quickly. Oh - in case it slips your mind: switch off available light in the room you choose to do this work when you expose, and remember that tube room lights retain a glow for a helluva long time after you think them out!.

I'm searching for a couple of examples for you, both from Exktachrome in Hasselblad; shot probably in the late 70s, they survived well!

Rob C
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WayneLarmon
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2012, 11:48:36 AM »
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i have a nikon d700 with the nikon 105 macro lens. But i never really thought of shooting a pict of the neg. will give it a go.

 I asked as i have $500 worth of amazon gift cards i got when my miles card had a deal, so for 25000 miles i got the cards. so if amazon has an option I'm gonna go with it when i get the gift cards next week.

But in the mean time I'll give shooting the negs a shot (no pun intended). how would i set them up to take the picture? a light table?

As I said in my earlier post, processing images shot from negatives is very difficult, so you might consider not starting out with negatives.  But if you want to experiment with processing negatives here are some suggestions from the owner of PhotoSolve:
http://www.photosolve.com/main/resources/pw_film_conv/index.html

You have a good DSLR and macro lens, so all you need is a way of suspending the slide/negative in front of the macro lens.  As i suggested earlier, the PhotoSolve Xtend-a-Slide works well for 35mm slides.  They have a mount for negatives, but I didn't have good luck with it.  YMMV.

But you can do a feasibility check to see if your D700/macro lens will give you good enough results to consider investing in something like the Xtend-a-Slide by suspending a slide in front of your D700/macro lens, with some source of illumination.  Some people have done this by just balancing a slide on a window ledge and using  natural daylight for illumination.  I did my own feasibility test by putting a slide on my Logan lightbox/slide sorter, mounting my 60D/macro lens on my tripod (I have a geared head) and tweaking the alignment on the tripod until the image (from the DSLR) was a good as I could get it.  After a bunch of trial and errors, I decided that the image quality was plenty good enough, so I ordered an Xtend-a-Slide.  (Aligning with the lightbox was too fiddly for more than a few test shots, IMO.)

If you have any questions about the Xtend-a-Slide, email the company.  I have found that the owner is very responsive to emails and he will answer any questions you have.
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AFairley
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2012, 07:03:15 PM »
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The problem with the extendaslide on a crop sensor DSLR is that you will need some extension tubes to go between the gizmo and the front of the lens.  I personally would opt for the Nikon slide copy adapter ($60 at B&H), though with the 105 macro, you will still have the lens to slide distance problem.
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WayneLarmon
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2012, 08:31:10 PM »
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The problem with the extendaslide on a crop sensor DSLR is that you will need some extension tubes to go between the gizmo and the front of the lens.

There is a good chance that this is true.  The Photosolve site has compatability charts for various camera and lens combinations.  They don't have a listing for the Nikon 105mm macro, but the Canon 100mm macro is listed.  For that, you need two additional Xtend-a-Slide tube sections.  (The standard Xtend-a-Slide comes with three tube sections--if you need a longer tube, you buy additional tube sections.)
http://www.photosolve.com/main/product/xtendaslide/Manufacturers/CANON.html

Again, write PhotoSolve if you have any questions.

 
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I personally would opt for the Nikon slide copy adapter ($60 at B&H), though with the 105 macro, you will still have the lens to slide distance problem.

Can you buy extensions for that?  The Scantips.com writeup on the Nikon slide copy adapter says that extensions are needed, but they aren't available
http://www.scantips.com/es-1b.html

This is a very long page about where to find extensions for the Nikon slide copy adapter. 
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AFairley
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2012, 10:25:13 PM »
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Can you buy extensions for that?  The Scantips.com writeup on the Nikon slide copy adapter says that extensions are needed, but they aren't available
http://www.scantips.com/es-1b.html

This is a very long page about where to find extensions for the Nikon slide copy adapter. 


EBay -- you can find the old manual sets that have threaded 52mm extension rings, and there is a seller who sells only the rings.  Some Chinese tube sets also use threaded extender sections but don't specify the diameter, so step up/down rings might be needed for them.
 

www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-K-extension-tube-set-K1-K2-K3-K4-K5-genuine-macro-F-/200769223126?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ebec739d6&_uhb=1 ( I found a set for around $30 shipped)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/52mm-Extension-Tube-Ring-28mm-Deep-Use-with-Nikon-ES-1-Slide-Copier-Copying-/270984711411?pt=US_Camera_Camcorder_Accessory_Bundles&hash=item3f17f28cf3&_uhb=1
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Ray
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2012, 08:26:43 PM »
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Now that high quality scanners seem to be going out of fashion, photographing one's slides with a DSLR seems as though it could be the best option.

I've never tried it. I guess I've been put off by the relatively low resolution of the average DSLR compared with the best desk-top scanners.

I'd also be a bit concerned about the fact that the edges and corners of the slides will have the usual fall-off in resolution that one expects with all full-frame images. If one then photographs a slide with a full-frame DSLR like the D700, trying to achieve a 1:1 magnification which will fill the D700 sensor, the resolution fall-off at the edges will be even worse, a sort of double whammy.

To overcome such problems, I wonder if the Nikon D3200, 24mp cropped format, used with, say, the Micro-Nikkor 60mm/2.8 1:1 macro, would be the ideal alternative to scanning slides.

Both camera and lens seem very affordable, probably about $1,000 in total. Maybe a bit more outside the US. The resolution of the lens at the edges will be excellent, and the total resolution of the resulting image high enough for a good size print.

There's still the disadvantage of 'no automatic scratch removal', but the improved tools in recent editions of Photoshop, such as Healing brush and Spot healing brush should help enormously.
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WayneLarmon
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2012, 09:16:32 PM »
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To overcome such problems, I wonder if the Nikon D3200, 24mp cropped format, used with, say, the Micro-Nikkor 60mm/2.8 1:1 macro, would be the ideal alternative to scanning slides.

That is very close to what I've been using.  As I said earlier in this thread, I have a Canon (18 megapixel) 60D and a Canon 60mm macro lens.  I have a few slides that are sharp corner to corner (buildings with lots of fine grates and corrugated sheet metal) and images from my 60D are sharp corner to corner.  (But then again, so are images from my Plustek 7600i.)

One thing about crop cameras is  that they have less intrinsic DOF than FF cameras do.  Usually this is noted as a deficiency, because (apparently), the shallower the DOF, the better.  But this is decidedly not the case when doing copy work.

Yeah, the lack of IR scratch/dust reduction is a bummer, but I've resigned myself that scanning my family's archives is a labor of love, so I don't begrudge the time it takes to use PhotoShop's tools to fix damage.  (The new content-aware-fill powered healing brush helps a whole lot with this.  I rarely need to use the clone tool anymore.)

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AFairley
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2012, 08:45:32 AM »
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I have a few slides that are sharp corner to corner (buildings with lots of fine grates and corrugated sheet metal) and images from my 60D are sharp corner to corner.  (But then again, so are images from my Plustek 7600i.)

Same here using the E-M5 and 50mm f2 macro.  In fact, corner sharpness is less of an issue than it is with the Coolscan; because of slide curvature and the Coolscan's depth of field, I would have to do two or three scans at diffErent focal pints and merge in PS to get grain-sharpness throughout the whole image.  I don't see appreciable corner degradation -- but the 50mm f2 is a stellar macro lens to start. Having said that, I did compare it to the old f2.8 Micro Nikkor, and the Nikkor is very very very close to it (impressive considering it has an image circle that's twice the diameter).
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Ray
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2012, 07:39:36 PM »
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Another issue may be dynamic range. The best film scanners had 16 bit processing. A DSLR has only 12 or 14 bit. Whilst it's true that a slide, or even negative, could never capture as high a dynamic range as a modern DSLR, particularly a modern Nikon, it seems to me that taking a photo of a slide or negative is quite a different scenario to taking a photo of the original scene.

The issue may be, how much additional noise is the DSLR going to add to the densest parts of the emulsion?

On the other hand, if it is a problem, and I'm not certain it is, I suppose it could easily be overcome with exposure bracketing.
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2012, 02:08:19 AM »
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Avoid the infrared dust/scratch removal. It does work, the problem is on a flatbed it also seems to often the film making it sag. You wont notice on that scan as it is the last process. You will notice if you ever rescan it. The film will have a pillow surface shape (particularly mounted slides). Kiss your flat field scan goodbye.

Beat dust by putting your scanner in a large clear plastic bag. Have a hepa filter blowing clean air in to inflate it. Have the dust being blown out at the hand holes. 
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rgs
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« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2012, 11:33:24 PM »
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I have an Epson V700 with which I am quite pleased. But I have 6x7 and 4x5 chromes as well as 35mm. If I had only 35mm, I think I would look for a good used film scanner. I also recomend buying VueScan and taking time to learn to use it. I have both VueScan and SilverFast AI. I get better results with VueScan and don't have any upgrade expense. I use the Epson scanning software only for scanning documents and making copies.

I would not recomend any other flatbed including the Epson 600 for 35mm.

I came to digital kind of late and frustration with the quality of the commercial scans I was able to get in my city was one of the reasons. I am getting better results with my Epson. 
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WayneLarmon
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« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2012, 02:29:20 PM »
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I wrote

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Negatives are a different story.  I could digitize negatives with my 60D, but could never figure out a workable way of removing the orange mask and compensating for the weird curves that different negative film stocks have.  For negatives, I stick with the 7600i and VueScan (VueScan knows about a lot of film negatives--this is a big deal.)

Since I wrote this I experimented and found that I can process negatives that were shot with my 60D.  (I have a bunch of 110 negatives and the Plustek 7600i flat out can't scan 110.)   I found that VueScan could process 60D RAW files of negatives if I put a strip of Rosco #3202 tungsten-to-daylight filter in between the light (daylight balanced CFLs) and the Xtend-a-Slide 35mm negative carrier (that I modified to accept 110 negatives.)

Rosco # 3202 Full Blue CTB Color Conversion Gel Filter $5.50
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/44119-REG/Rosco_RS320211_3202_Full_Blue.html

I first tried converting 60D files shot without the 3202 filter, but VueScan couldn't produce any usable colors.  I had a Rosco filter sample kit (from the good old days when you could buy them from B&H for a penny), and the tungsten-to-daylight filter seemed like a good starting point.  I since bought a full sheet of #3202 from B&H.  And also #3203 (slightly paler blue) which is a better match for negatives that are a different shade of orange.

When I shoot using the 3202 filters, VueScan processes 60D RAW files with the same quality that I get when scanning 35mm negatives with my 7600i.  Meaning that it is a good start, but I usually need to tweak the color balance with PhotoShop.

I'm really happy with the results I've gotten from our 110 negatives.  The images are way better than the original prints.  Both resolution wise and in lack of blown highlights. 

Also note that 60D raw files are about about 15-20 times smaller than scanner "raw" files.  A 35mm frame scanned at 7200 PPI and saved as a 16 bit TIFF is about 400 megabytes.  An 18 megapixel 60D raw file is about 25 megabytes.
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