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Author Topic: Choice of medium format desktop scanner  (Read 6195 times)
ThisIsGregers
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« on: February 26, 2013, 04:07:04 PM »
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Hi There,

I'm a proud new member here, thanks for having me. I do art photography and just ventured into medium format - got my Hasselblad 503CW with a 60mm CF lens a few days ago. SO excited! Next up: A scanner...

I already own a Minolta Dimage Elite 5400 II (with a Nikon CoolScan V as backup) that I use with great satisfaction for my 35mm stuff. Thus, the new scanner will primarily be used for medium format. Please keep that in mind when discussing resolution further down.
Also, I have quite a bit of scanning experience. I currently prefer Vuescan, but have some SilverFast experience as well. I'll use whatever comes with the scanner, except for questionable and outdated scanner-manufacturer software.
 
My budget is somewhere between $2.000-$3.000. Resolution and general quality of the scanner is more important to me than scan times. I'm not interested in flatbeds.  

I've done a ton of research with everything from Rockwell and many of the excellent discussions in here, yet I remain having a few deciding questions. Hope there's someone out there with proper scanning experience who can broaden my horizon...

Again, with this beast to be used primarily for 120, these are the contenders I've nailed it down to so far:

Minolta Dimage Multi Pro
Nikon 9000 ED
Plustek Opticfilm 120

Knowing that both the Minolta and Nikon do really nice jobs, I still feel reluctant to pay $2500-$3500 for machines that have long been out-phased and is no longer serviceable. If the Plustek turns out to do just as fine a job, if not better, it's a no-brainer. Otherwise, sure, I would consider one of the "oldies".

Here's where I get confused: What is the actual difference in resolution between these scanners. For instance, I know that the Nikon is spec'd at 4000 DPI, but does it ACTUALLY scan 4000 DPI with medium format? And I can't find the DPI for the Minolta - does anyone know?
Now, the Plustek is spec'd at 10600 DPI/5600 DPI optic - what's the difference between the optic DPI and the general DPI? What max DPI does it scan 120mm? Also, I haven't been able to find any proper scan tests/comparisons from that scanner, only the less-than-optimal "released" scans from the company website.  
A customer review on B&H Photo mentioned the following:
"I have been scanning my Hasselblad negs at 2650 dpi resolution with the Plustek, and the Coolscan max resolution was 4000, so the scans I'm getting with the new scanner are slightly smaller, though still plenty big for a 24x24 print at 300 dpi. I have made some scans at 5300 resolution on the Plustek, which makes for a file size over 300MB in size, and they look great, too, though I haven't done any careful testing to compare them."
Does that mean that Plustek "only" does 2650 DPI for 120mm? He doesn't mention whether the 5300 scans he did was 35mm or 120mm.

Lastly (sorry for this long post), I know that the Plustek comes with a fixed focus lens. Is that an issue? I mean, isn't focus up to you as a photographer when shooting the picture?

Thanks very much on advance for your time and interest in helping me out. I'm excited to see what some of you recommend.

Best,

Gregers
Flickr: ThisIsGregers
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TMARK
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2013, 08:54:57 AM »
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I'd get the Nikon.  Better is an Imacon/hasselblad.  The Minolta is great, but the bulb is hard to source.

The Plustek, from samples I've seen, looks to be better than the Epson 700/750, but maybe not by much.  I sold my Imacon 646 in 2006 and my Nikon 9000 last year.  I now use an Epson 750 for smaller prints.  Anything needing a better scan goes out to a service bureau for drum scaning.

T
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ThisIsGregers
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2013, 09:16:06 AM »
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Hey T,

Awesome, thank you for your reply, it's kind of my feeling as well.
Just curious, what did you sell your 9000 for?

Best,

G
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2013, 09:35:40 AM »
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Hi,

Having the Minolta it was at 3200 PPI for 120 film and 4800 PPI for 135 mm. I still have the scanner but it sees little use as I am essentially digital now.

There was an older model that scanned at 2800 and 1120 PPI.

I used and still use Vuescan, and I happened be the DSMP owner who helped Mr. Hamrick with testing the drivers for the DSMP, an interesting experience.

I have a two perfectly good scans from 120 Velvia on the DSMP printed at 27"x40" hanging on my wall (70x100 cm).

Best regards
Erik
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 02:41:50 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

TMARK
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2013, 09:53:27 AM »
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Hey T,

Awesome, thank you for your reply, it's kind of my feeling as well.
Just curious, what did you sell your 9000 for?

Best,

G

With the glass holder, in the box with everything it came with, $3300.

I sold it because I hadn't used it in a while, finding the Epson to be faster for proofing and smaller print sizes.  When everything hits, meaning the film is flat, the negative has enough density on the emulsion side to thwart Newton's Rings on the glass holder's non-AR coated side, the scans were amazing, on par with the Imacon.  It just takes work and patience to get there, while the Epson gives consistent, if lower quality, results very easily.  Perfect for 16"x16" prints from a 6x6 neg.
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DanielStone
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 02:36:06 PM »
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Firstly,
Congratulations on your fine choice of MF system, Hasselblad V Smiley

Now, on scanners:
Personally, I'd recommend an Epson V750 and also the BetterScanning film holder for it:
 http://www.betterscanning.com/scanning/models/vseries.html

Epson didn't do a very good job when designing the film carriers, hence the recommendation of the B-S holder.

There is also a wet-mount kit for the V750, and IMHO, taking a 6x6 neg/chrome past 12”x12”, I'd recommend a wet scan.

But for starters, I'd get the V750 and the BetterScanning holder for it.

And if you decide to take something BIG(say, past 16 x16”), get a drum scan made by a quality operator/service.

-Dan
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 02:39:28 PM by DanielStone » Logged
TMARK
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2013, 03:38:52 PM »
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Firstly,
Congratulations on your fine choice of MF system, Hasselblad V Smiley

Now, on scanners:
Personally, I'd recommend an Epson V750 and also the BetterScanning film holder for it:
 http://www.betterscanning.com/scanning/models/vseries.html

Epson didn't do a very good job when designing the film carriers, hence the recommendation of the B-S holder.

There is also a wet-mount kit for the V750, and IMHO, taking a 6x6 neg/chrome past 12”x12”, I'd recommend a wet scan.

But for starters, I'd get the V750 and the BetterScanning holder for it.

And if you decide to take something BIG(say, past 16 x16”), get a drum scan made by a quality operator/service.

-Dan

Dan,

I think you can go 16x16 with a V750 and the BS holders.  That being said, I've never done anything at 16x16 in color and of anything other than portraits.   

T
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DanielStone
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2013, 08:40:51 PM »
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Tmark,

Just saying from MY experience comparing drum scans and V750 files, I'd much rather print from a quality drum scan at that size than from a V750 file. A wet-mount V750 scan can yield smoother tones and color gradation, but a drum scanner has a way of rendering film differently than CCD-based scanners.
There are still a few quality operations/labs out there that are willing to furnish quality drum scans for less money than most people think they cost. And when you compare the cost of a V750+the betterscanning holder vs. the cost of a used Nikon 9000 or the new Plustek, you'll have a lot of $$$ left over, and you can dedicate that to drum scans of the best shots, or ones you plan to go large with in printing.

For 12x12 prints, the V750 is more than capable of handling the job. As long as the film was exposed well, and doesn't have too much density(aka over-exposure), the V750 can deliver really good results.

But definitely budget some for drum scans. They DO have a different level of quality to them, as I'm sure you're aware of Smiley

-Dan
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HSakols
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 09:47:20 PM »
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I still have my Minolta Multi Pro.  I mostly scanned using the glass holder.  I made some very good 16x16 inch prints from Velvia.  I also scanned 6x9 film from a Horseman view camera. Some of those scans are still some of my favorites. Does the Nikon come with a glass holder?  I think film flatness is important in good scanning. 
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FredBGG
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2013, 02:53:15 AM »
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The scanned samples Plustek posted on their website are not IMO much better than what can be done with the Epson v750.

The v750 has the advantage of scanning 4x5 and 8x10 film.

Here is a scan of a 6x8 negative:



and a crop:




One more.



and a crop



These are 6x8cm scans of Fuji gx680 negatives so they are larger than 645 or 66.
However I made these two scans to see how well the scanner did with a dry scan.
Better results would be obtained with a wet scan.

One issue with the v750 is that the flat bed glass can become hazy from the inside.
I have had to open mine up and clean the inside of the flat bed glass.

All scanners require cleaning sooner or later. It's quite easy to clean the v750, but it could be make easier.

A friend of mine was complaining about his v750 and taking a look at the scanner I could see that the glass was a bit hazy.
Cleaned it and it made a huge difference. The difference is more than you would expect.

I've also heard that some v750 scanners had haze even when new.

For smaller negatives wet scanning is important, actually it's important for all negative sizes.

It's quite easy to do and it also reduces surface issues, newton rings etc.

Here is how a wet scan is done with the v750   (in italian)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8l0rLtsCLg&feature=share&list=PL18BACFAAD2F32C75
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 11:43:02 AM by FredBGG » Logged
nightfire
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2013, 06:30:29 AM »
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The Minolta is great, but the bulb is hard to source.
The bulb is not Minolta-specific, but a standard-issue part readily available from a number of electronics component retailers.

It's also available on eBay from a Chinese seller. I very recently bought one from him myself without any transaction or shipment issues.

Apart from that, +1 for the Minolta. Like the much more expensive Imacon/Hasselblad, everything has been said, ranted, researched, and optimized about this scanner 10 years ago, therefore no surprises, firmware fixes, reinventing the wheel or having to play guinea pig/early adopter as in the case of the Opticfilm Plustek 120. The Minolta has a glass holder! It's got autofocus! It works with Vuescan! Take that, Plustek...   Roll Eyes
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TMARK
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2013, 08:24:23 AM »
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Tmark,

Just saying from MY experience comparing drum scans and V750 files, I'd much rather print from a quality drum scan at that size than from a V750 file. A wet-mount V750 scan can yield smoother tones and color gradation, but a drum scanner has a way of rendering film differently than CCD-based scanners.
There are still a few quality operations/labs out there that are willing to furnish quality drum scans for less money than most people think they cost. And when you compare the cost of a V750+the betterscanning holder vs. the cost of a used Nikon 9000 or the new Plustek, you'll have a lot of $$$ left over, and you can dedicate that to drum scans of the best shots, or ones you plan to go large with in printing.

For 12x12 prints, the V750 is more than capable of handling the job. As long as the film was exposed well, and doesn't have too much density(aka over-exposure), the V750 can deliver really good results.

But definitely budget some for drum scans. They DO have a different level of quality to them, as I'm sure you're aware of Smiley

-Dan

Dan, I agree and think you give fine advice.  The 16x16 prints I make from the V750 are "good enough".  I think at that size you can see the difference a drum scan makes, and you are right, its not necessarily about resolution but more the tones.  My workflow of V750 for proofs and smaller scans and then drum scanning anything that needs it works very well for me. 

I was looking for another 646 but decided I'd rather pay for drum scanning for larger files or even, gasp, print them with my old OMEGA.  My deliverables were often prints that magazines would then drum scan. 

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FredBGG
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2013, 11:49:33 AM »
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I found this comparrison:



Quote
I don't have the Plustek 120.
Anyway, this is a 100% crop from a 35mm scan prepared for an A3+ print (I think it's 13"x19" ?).
Minolta 5400-II (at least as good as the Plustek 120... maybe quite better) vs. Epson V700 with Betterscanning holder.

The Minolta is very slightly better, but I think that a wet scan would improve the v700 scan significantly.
Also the v750 has slightly better optics than the v700. The v750 can also do dual exposure for better shadow detail on negs or better highlights on slides.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 11:51:19 AM by FredBGG » Logged
DennisWilliams
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2013, 07:54:22 PM »
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I was ready to respond but reread your post and you specified that you are not interested in flatbeds so I'll just say enjoy your new camera.

All my online presentations/ proofs  are original negatives /positives via flatbed Epson and my b&w enlargements are direct from the negatives.
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2013, 08:31:09 PM »
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I own nikon ls8000 and scanned lots of 6x7 bw delta 100 film. Film flatness is a problem and anti newton rings glass holder does not solve the rings problem, so wet mounting will be a better option. I found a dirty workaround against the newton rings while using the anti-rings glass holder is with a very faint sprincle of baby powder... ugly, but fast and not messy. The powder can be cleaned with infrared on color film (I did not try this, but imagine it should work, just as cleaning off hair/dirt, etc.) or a photoshop action when using BW film, as infrared will not work on it. If using CS6, select powder particles and use content-aware fill. Powder can be applied using a fine brush, where necessary-mount film first, see where rings occur, then treat that area, gently. Powder comes off easily with air blower and a brush.

Nikon is only useable with Vuescan (which I highly recommend). Besides tif and other types of output, Vuescan can also output dng files which can be processed in various raw processors. Other useful options using Vuescan with almost any scanner are multisampling and multipass scanning. Multisampling shows some improment at great expense of time. Multipass works only if scanner can reposition film for the second pass exactly. Nikon 8000 actually can, most of the time. Another option is to scan with exposure (via scan time) compensation two frames, save as tiff and align/superimpose using another HDR software. Nikon8000 easily handles latitude of any bw film negative in a single pass without need for multisampling. While scanning slides, multi options can be useful to expand dynamic range (which is already decent here) and to reduce noise in shadows.

« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 05:50:42 AM by MichaelEzra » Logged

Richard Man
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« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2013, 09:01:07 PM »
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I use a Nikon LS-9000 (previously LS-8000) for anything up to 6x17 with the glass carrier, and the V700 for 6x17 (and hopefully soon) 4x5.

The LS-9000 is definitely better but it can only scan up to 6x9. I'd recommend it though if you want to make your prints sing from your MF negs.
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TMARK
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« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2013, 09:45:21 AM »
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I just used TMAX, thicker base, less curls.  Delta 100 was a real pain in the ass.  Generally what I found is that one of the methods for scanning would work without rings on Delta 100:  Glass holder; stock holder (hit or miss with flatness); or stock holder I made with Linotape spacers and a piece of gallery glass.  This worked, usually.  One of these methods worksed.  I also had good results from Nikon Scan, at least for 35mm and actually acheived great color from it.

For now its the Epson and soon the Durst.

I own nikon ls8000 and scanned lots of 6x7 bw delta 100 film. Film flatness is a problem and anti newton rings glass holder does not solve the rings problem, so wet mounting will be a better option. I found a dirty workaround against the newton rings while using the anti-rings glass holder is with a very faint sprincle of baby powder... ugly, but fast and not messy. The powder can be cleaned with infrared on color film (I did not try this, but imagine it should work, just as cleaning off hair/dirt, etc.) or a photoshop action when using BW film, as infrared will not work on it. If using CS6, select powder particles and use content-aware fill. Powder can be applied using a fine brush, where necessary-mount film first, see where rings occur, then treat that area, gently. Powder comes off easily with air blower and a brush.

Nikon is only useable with Vuescan (which I highly recommend). Besides tif and other types of output, Vuescan can also output dng files which can be processed in various raw processors. Other useful options using Vuescan with almost any scanner are multisampling and multipass scanning. Multisampling shows some improment at great expense of time. Multipass works only if scanner can reposition film for the second pass exactly. Nikon 8000 actually can, most of the time. Another option is to scan with exposure (via scan time) compensation two frames, save as tiff and align/superimpose using another HDR software. Nikon8000 easily handles latitude of any bw film negative in a single pass without need for multisampling. While scanning slides, multi options can be useful to expand dynamic range (which is already decent here) and to reduce noise in shadows.


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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2013, 02:41:20 PM »
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Hi,

Here is a Velvia scanned on the DSMP at 3200 PPI
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/images/ScanOrShoot/JPEG/20111002-DSMP_SCAN.jpg

And the same slide drum scanned at 6096 PPI
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/images/ScanOrShoot/JPEG/20111010-drum_scanned.jpg

Not all drum scans are the same.

Best regards
Erik



« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 04:25:06 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

FredBGG
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2013, 03:42:16 AM »
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I use a Nikon LS-9000 (previously LS-8000) for anything up to 6x17 with the glass carrier, and the V700 for 6x17 (and hopefully soon) 4x5.

The LS-9000 is definitely better but it can only scan up to 6x9. I'd recommend it though if you want to make your prints sing from your MF negs.

One should keep in mind that the V750 is the higher end Epson and the difference is not just the bundled software.

V700
Quote
Professional quality film and photo scanning.
Get professional quality results from virtually any photographic original with the Epson Perfection™ V700 Photo scanner.
With groundbreaking 6400 dpi resolution, this powerful scanner consistently delivers precision color and detail,
whether scanning slides, negatives or medium format film, and with a 4.0 Dmax, it offers exceptional image quality,
excellent detail in shadow areas and remarkable tonal range.

The Epson Perfection V700 Photo represents a breakthrough in flatbed scanning by offering the
highest optical scan resolution (6400 dpi) available for photo studio applications.
This powerful performer gives you the industry's leading scanner technologies, all right at your fingertips.

V750
Quote
Specialized fluid mount capabilities.
Enjoy unparalleled performance when scanning negatives, slides or prints, with the Epson Perfection™ V750-M Pro,
the first flatbed scanner with groundbreaking 6400 dpi resolution and unique fluid mount capabilities for photo studio applications.

With amazing 6400 dpi resolution, this powerful performer consistently delivers precision color and detail. An enhanced optical system (High-Pass Optics) consisting of anti-reflective lens coatings and a high-reflection mirror provides the highest level of image quality and helps you achieve faster scans. In addition, the Dual Lens System from Epson optimizes each scan, automatically selecting from two lenses for the desired scan resolution.


Different optics....
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jsch
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2013, 05:38:23 AM »
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Hi,

if you don't have the budget for an Imacon, I would go with the V750. But Imacons have their issues too.

With the V750 some things are vital. If you don't want to do this don't use the V750:
– Check whether your scanner is good. With my first V750 a good scan was not possible, because it was out of spec and broken. It was difficult to find that out. It switched for example not between the two possible planes of focus physically but said so in the software menu. It was sent in few times. Finally I got an other one from Epson. Service was horrible. It is not easy to deal with Epson. I was able to compare to different V750ies and could demonstrate the problem with the one I had, by delivering scans of the same neg with different scanners almost with scientific accuracy. The one I use now is fine. In my opinion many of the bad reputation of this scanner comes from scanners which are actually out of spec or broken in any way already on arrival.
– Find the plane of sharpest image. Cumbersome and lengthy process. To go higher with the plane is easy. You can add spacers to the 4 screws that hold the top chassis of the scanner. To go lower is more complicated. You have to add spacers to the glass mount. If you do so, you avoid additional glass holders/surfaces. I optimized mine for 8x10. If you optimize for 6x6, you don't have to lower the scanner glass. Finding the right hight is enough.

Ohter things which are important during usage:
– Clean scanner glas. Top and bottom, as mentioned by FredBGG.
– I put the neg dry to the glass. Around the neg I have a mask with the same thickness of the negative. Atop of this I put a AN glass from an enlarger. That adds minimal pressure to the neg to keep it flat, by doing so, the tendency to Newton rings is decreased.
– Being careful you can wet mount directly on the scanner glass.

You can optimize your "dust" workflow:
I develop myself with an Jobo CPA/CPP (very easy) and use only demineralized water (clean). I dry the film without a dryer. Just hang them. If dry I scan at once without putting the film in sleeves or anything. I almost have no dust spots to clean. With b&w film you can go to higher densities. This reduces the tendency to newton rings.

Fun with your Hasselblad 503 cw. I'm such an idiot that I sold mine in the year 2000.

Hope that helps.
Best,
Johannes
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