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Author Topic: Scanning Film Negatives  (Read 10586 times)
JB Rasor
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« on: September 01, 2013, 03:21:13 AM »
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Hello all,

I'm going to dive into some medium format film work and was curious what the best way to go about digitizing the files would be?

I know drum scans would be ideal, but I wanted to keep my workflow in house. I was looking at Epson scanners, such as the Perfection V750M, but I also came across dedicated film scanners such as Plustek. I was curious what the best route to go would be? The V750 is $800. Is that overkill?
On a side note, I do print big.

Also, is TIFF the best file format to work with? I'm sure that will come together after I have a scanner but thought I'd ask.

Thanks a lot all!
JB
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2013, 03:42:02 AM »
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Hi,


In my view a dedicated film scanner is to prefer, but I may be wrong. Film holders can be problematic, may not hold focus.

I would work with 16bit TIFFs but convert to JPEG after processing. I have printed 70x100 cm from 6x7 velvia and provia. In general I prefer the image quality from my 24 MP DSLRs over scanned 67, but your mileage may vary.

Best regards
Erik Kaffehr

Hello all,

I'm going to dive into some medium format film work and was curious what the best way to go about digitizing the files would be?

I know drum scans would be ideal, but I wanted to keep my workflow in house. I was looking at Epson scanners, such as the Perfection V750M, but I also came across dedicated film scanners such as Plustek. I was curious what the best route to go would be? The V750 is $800. Is that overkill?
On a side note, I do print big.

Also, is TIFF the best file format to work with? I'm sure that will come together after I have a scanner but thought I'd ask.

Thanks a lot all!
JB
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degrub
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2013, 10:23:31 AM »
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Figure out your common and largest print sizes and multiply by 300 pixels per inch on the short side to get an approximation of the number of pixels you need. Divide that by the size of film ( short side)  to see what minimum optical resolution is required of the scanner. Most of the scanners do fractional scan steps along the long axis so that should match up to the longer side of the film. Then you can figure out which scanner is reasonable or if you will need to use software to up-sample to get enough pixels to print at the desired enlargement. Third party software up-sampling algorithms are generally better than those done in scanner or the scanner driver.

Among consumer scanners, the Epson v750 was pretty popular for MF. One reason was the ability to adjust focus. Otherwise, depending on your needs, you may want to step up to more commercial grade flat bed scanners. The ability to fluid mount can improve the scan results and reduce the cleanup work.

If you primarily plan to display on screen, then the epson should be more than enough. You could then drum scan the ones that matter for large prints. The ScanHi-End yahoo newsgroup is a good resource for finding a recommended drum scanner operator and expert advice. One issue for  the scanners is having the film flat enough to stay within the plane of focus across the image area. The Nikons were particularly tough in this regard.

Frank
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 10:28:22 AM by degrub » Logged
Rhossydd
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2013, 04:22:33 PM »
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A dedicated film scanner would be the preferred choice, but there's not much available these days.
Something like a second-hand Nikon 9000 or  Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro would be ideal, but they very rarely come on the market now and remain an expensive option.

The Epson V700 & V750 are probably the most well regarded flat bed scanners for scanning MF film, if you can afford it the V750 would be the best bet.

Scan at the highest optical resolution in 16 bit ProPhoto and save as TIFF. I'm sure someone will come along and advise on software, but either Silverfast or Vuescan will probably be the best alternative to the default software.
Make sure you have plenty of RAM in your system, scanning really needs loads.
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JB Rasor
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2013, 04:35:17 PM »
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Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm starting to wonder if the film game is worth the money. After having looked at the various scanning options, it seems the Epson V750 is the only device in my budget. There is the Plustek 120 film scanner, but it is close to $2,000 and that seems a bit steep to me.

That said, I'd still love to find and shoot a nice Rollei. Then I think about the cost pushing 5k for a film setup. And that money opens up all sorts of digital options.

Oh well. I'll keep chewing on it.

Thanks again,
JB
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Misirlou
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2013, 04:54:53 PM »
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That Plustek is getting rave reviews. It comes with the full version of Silverfast, which is very expensive on its own. Big learning curve, but very powerful software.

You don't have to spend thousands to get a decent medium format film cameras. I tested my Hasselblad T* 80mm against a pair of 2.8 Rollei TLRs, and could not see a substantial difference among the three. The two TLRs cost me less than $300 each. The Hassy was more flexible, being a system camera, but those Rolleis really are capable of making very fine images. You can spend way more on equipment that is only slightly better than those, or the Hassy.

On the other hand, dealing with film expenses is something I don't really miss.
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AFairley
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2013, 05:02:18 PM »
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Or, the OP can use a V700 for everyday scans and get drum scans for the really special shots.
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Misirlou
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2013, 09:51:52 AM »
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Yes, either way.

It really pains me to see all of those outstanding film cameras lying around unused. Including my own...
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JB Rasor
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2013, 02:27:56 PM »
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Great advice guys! Sounds like a Plustek 120 and a decent Rollei would be my best setup. Now I just need to start saving.

Thanks for the great feedback!

JB
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AFairley
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2013, 03:45:42 PM »
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I do have a general word of advice, though.  Scanning properly is, in my experience, amazingly time consuming, many people find its just not for them and pay to have someone else do the work.  If you can you might want to see if you can find a scanner to try out on before you drop a bunch of dough.
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degrub
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2013, 10:50:02 PM »
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Look into your local community college or university for a public photo class with film. They would be likely to have a film scanner that you could practice on or a semester.


Frank
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SZRitter
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2013, 06:41:44 AM »
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I have had great luck duping my slides/negatives with a DSLR. It is fairly fast, and on a 6x6 gives me in the neighborhood of a 24MP image. That is with a D7000 and 55mm macro lens. It is simple and cost effective if you have a DSLR and suitable lens.

I am in no way saying not to get a scanner. And I am a believer (not yet having had any made) that drum scanners will get a better result, but the DSLR approach is a good one to use compared to some of the options out there.
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Kerry L
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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2013, 10:32:15 AM »
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This may be a little late but...............
I scan 6X9 and occasionally 4X5 film on an Epson v750 Pro, "pro" meaning that Silverfast and other software was included with the scanner. A 6X9 at 2400 dpi gives me a 400Mb 16bit tiff file. The size of a multi-layer image after P/S can be stagering.

The primary reason that I tried the scanner route was that I wanted to use my existing set of Schneider lenses on a 4X5 Toyo with a roll film back. These lenses are very sharp corner to corner with very little CA. I don't have nor can afford the latest top quality DLSR lenses and or a MFDB system. I also enjoy a complete set of movements, something that is often over looked in these discussions. The biggest short fall is in DR.

One common complaint with flatbed scanners is that the film holders are difficult / impossible to get sharp focus, even if you purchase a robust aftermarket holder. I didn't bother, I went directly to fluid mounting, with good success. It is time consuming. I don't do every frame so this isn't too much of an issue for me. I do this only for selected images that will be printed large. I have done side-by-side comparisons against my DLSR using excellent techniques, (cable release, manual focus, MLU, time delay etc) and against a few 4X5 B&W negs / prints. The scanned results are acceptable to surprisingly good. After enlarging to 24"+ the prints are better than my 24meg DLSR but certainly not as good as a 60-80 meg MFDB. I would guesstimate that the cross-over in quality is approximately comparable to a 40 meg back. Below the 24" size, I'm not sure that it's worth the cost and effort.

A drum scan will cost you anywhere from $50 -$200 each. So you can calculate the ROI for a flat bed scanner, it can be a very short payback. I justified the experiment after realizing that I could always sell the scanner on e-bay. All in I think that I have less than Cdn$1000 invested.

This works for me.
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Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2013, 03:30:32 PM »
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> Also, is TIFF the best file format to work with? I'm sure that will come together after I have a scanner but thought I'd ask.
No, like in photography, shooting raw is best, but that will require an Imacon. It can save scans in 3f-format, which is raw.
And if you look for software for susequent editing, consider ColorPerfect: http://www.colorneg.com/scanning-slides-and-negatives/scans/Hasselblad/Imacon/Flextight/FlexColor/
I had my 6x9 transparencies scanned on an Imacon by a scan service. In the few tests I did so far, editing them with ColorPerfect gave colors in a class of its own.
Even if you will not shell out for an Imacon, I would consider ColorPerfect as editing software for scans.
Good light!
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lowep
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« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2013, 07:43:16 PM »
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why not pay to get a couple of scans done then play with them on your computer that will give you a good idea of what the process involves and if it is for you or not then think about buying a scanner if you decide to go ahead...
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