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TP: Film Scanners

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MojoRick View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MojoRick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2007 at 04:25
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MostlyHarmless View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MostlyHarmless Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2007 at 05:19
Originally posted by Shaocaholica Shaocaholica wrote:

Sure theres always the processing time but I guess I didn't really account for that since the actual film scan takes so much longer in comparison. I do know that it doesn't do multiple passes for the IR and enabling IR scanning doesn't increase the actual scan time (not including processing).


Ah, gotcha. I'd still like to know which scanner you're using. Not that I don't believe you but because a lot of scanners with ICE do show an increase in scanning time when ICE is enabled (for example, the Nikon Coolscan IV can take twice as long to scan a frame with ICE vs. without) so it'd be interesting to know which models perform better.
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analytical View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2007 at 06:53
Thanks to all. I can see already I am suffering from information overload, so give me a day to process.

I am interested in mostly color negatives and also ectachrome slides that are 30+ years old. Now that I think about it, we have some slides from parents that go back more than 50 years.





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Post Options Post Options   Quote DavidB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2007 at 06:57
Good luck in your new venture. I'm sure as you digest this and get into scanning those archives, members here will be available to help you get started without technical overload if possible.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Shaocaholica Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2007 at 07:35
Originally posted by MostlyHarmless MostlyHarmless wrote:

Ah, gotcha. I'd still like to know which scanner you're using. Not that I don't believe you but because a lot of scanners with ICE do show an increase in scanning time when ICE is enabled (for example, the Nikon Coolscan IV can take twice as long to scan a frame with ICE vs. without) so it'd be interesting to know which models perform better.

Hmm, maybe I need to actually time the scans but they didn't seem to be that much longer. I'm using a KM 5400II Elite.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bob J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2007 at 09:45
The idea of getting a scanner to cope with all those 'old' shots is kind of tempting... The Plustek is available in the UK for L99 and I've seen a Dual Scan with SCSI interface new at Walters photo-video for under L50.. Some reviews seem to suggest that you should use Vuscan software with these as it allows an amount of over-sampling (but there is a chance that the reviews I was reading were out-of-date).

Trouble is a film scanner is something I can see myself using intensively for short periods: perhaps it is a good thing for a group of people to get as a joint purchase...

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Post Options Post Options   Quote polossatik Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2007 at 10:06

Seen a lot of scanners does not have ICE, any tips on how to "prepare" your negatives/positives before scanning to minimise dust or have a optimal result?
Blowing with compressed air seams a no-go seen , as far as i can see, it attracts more dust after 2 min's... (due static electricity??? )

just got myself a Konica Minolta Dimage Scan Dual IV ....

Edited by polossatik - 20 April 2007 at 13:26
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Post Options Post Options   Quote revdocjim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2007 at 10:06
I have been using an HP PhotoSmart S-20 for several years but I have upgraded to Vista and there are no drivers for it. So last night I tried film scanning with my old Epson Flatbed and the transparency adapter. It worked well. But I think I might be in the market for a new model that does it all. Epson's flagship model here in Japan is called the GT-X900. I think it is the V750-M PRO in the US. Anyway, it costs about $420 here.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Eclipse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2007 at 11:14
I use film, and the frames I use for work are all scanned with the Minolta Elite 5400. It will do a strip of negs at a time on batch scanning, the strip can be up to six frames long. It has a different holder for slides, which will take 4 at once. It does a very good job indeed, but may just be too slow for archiving a lot of stuff. I only scan the particular frames I need- a very tiny fraction of the images I take. If you don't need a very high image quality, a flatbed where you can scan a lot of strips at once sounds,from what I read above, like it would probably be a better solution for you. You'd still have the neg/slides if you needed to go back and scan something in more detail later on.

Scanned at the maximum, images on my 5400 take a very long time, (several minutes per frame, hard to say exactly as it depends on the settings you're using for multiple passes, ICE, dust and scratch removal etc. )but you can scan at lower resolution if you like, which is faster. Using the scanner's own driver, the image is saved to my disc as soon as the scanning process stops. If I use Vuescan, it takes a little time after the scanning has stopped to save the image to the disc. Vuescan is better for some things, the Minolta driver for others. You have to experiment with the sort of images/film types you have. On the other scanner we have, an even older Canon, the Vuescan software generally gets better images from slides than the old Canon software does.

The 5400II may be faster- perhaps someone with experience of both might know?

With the Minolta software, you can manually focus, which I find works better on some images if you need a really high quality image to enlarge to a large size.

Good luck with your project- you're going to be busy, I can see...........!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MostlyHarmless Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2007 at 18:44
Originally posted by Shaocaholica Shaocaholica wrote:


Hmm, maybe I need to actually time the scans but they didn't seem to be that much longer. I'm using a KM 5400II Elite.

It's possible that higher-end scanners like your's have faster DSPs or ASICs to minimize the overhead of ICE? Poor implementations like the Plustek 7200i SE seem to suffer a lot when enabling IR dust and scratch removal (although the Plustek uses iSRD rather than Digital ICE). The ePHOTOzine review I linked to earlier shows that a full res scan with iSRD for that unit takes over half an hour (!) but about two minutes without iSRD.

It's good to know the 5400II doesn't have too much overhead - that's the unit I'm looking to get.

Originally posted by polossatik polossatik wrote:

Seen a lot of scanners does not have ICE, any tips on how to "prepare" your negatives/positives before scanning to minimise dust or have a optimal result?
Blowing with compressed air seams a no-go seen , as far as i can see, it attracts more dust after 2 min's... (due static electricity??? )

Yes, it's likely due to static electricity but also due to the fact that dust is pretty prevalent even in a room that may not seem that dusty. A big part of it is in thoroughly dusting and vacuuming your work area before you break out your negs and slides.

This article is geared towards sensor cleaning but on the last page, you'll see that the author found that the same method worked really well for scanning his slides: linky

Also, take a look at Polaroid's free dust filter: linky

Definitely useful if your scanner lacks ICE.

Also, on the topic of flatbeds, here's a fairly thorough review of the Epson V700: linky

It does some detailed comparisons of the V700's neg and slide scanning capabilities compared to a Nikon LS-4000, a high-end dedicated film scanner. The reviewer's conclusion as well as mine in looking at the many test images is that the Nikon is still better but the V700 is pretty damn good for a flatbed scanner that is 1) cheaper and 2) more convenient for bulk scanning.

NB: Be sure to check out page 13 where the reviewer writes up his results after he played around with the height adjusters on the film holders. In essence, these height adjusters give you a form of manual focus with this scanner and he was able to get sharper scans after tweaking them.

Edited by MostlyHarmless - 20 April 2007 at 18:52
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Post Options Post Options   Quote colmo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2007 at 20:13
A few points about shooting on film and scanning v shooting digital:

1) If you already have a stack of film to scan, then a scanner is good. Look for speed, batch scanning capability (and thus reliable batch feeder, exposure and focus) and Digital ICE. The Scan Elite 5400 I, the scanner I use, produces excellent results with experience, but batch scanning at full res is not practical - instead, I scan on demand.

2) If you want colour, shoot digital, unless you want the exquisite Velvia look, the only colour film I'd be tempted by instead of digital. The cost of a Minolta Dynax 7 + scanner + buying/processing any amount of film would be equal or more than a Sony A100, which is now available for very reasonable money. Shame I don't have any spare right now...

3) If you want B&W, film is still marvelous (but you must be prepared to love the grain) - in fact, I'd go the fully-manual camera + prime lens route, as my MF 50mm lens shot on Ilford HP5 and XP2 has produced some of my my sharpest images, on equipment worth much less than their AF equivalents.
a) Some folk advocate shooting on colur neg and PPing to B&W - if you want the option of colour as well, sure, otherwise, B&W film gives you that faster. When I scan B&W film, the only thing I have to adjust is exposure + focus - no curves or levels needed at all. That said, I've had good results with the colour neg > PP B&W approach, too.
b) Note that Digital ICE works on chromagenic B&W film, but not silver halide. On the upside, B&W negs of either type don't seem to attract crud like colour slides do, and it shows up as white, not black specks, easier to spot out afterwards.
c) When scanning in B&W, scan in 16-bit mode grayscale or 8-bit colour at least - I use the Minolta software, which disallows Digital ICE in B&W neg mode, so chromagenic is best scanned in colour if this is the case. Note that a 16-bit grayscale TIFF is still smaller than an 8-bit colour image (around 2/3 the size, which makes sense as it is 2/3's the amount of data captured).

4) For really tricky shots (usually with very underexposed sections), a scanner with multisampling can help reduce the noise that will appear there when you try to lighten them with curves, levels etc.

5) If you have plenty of storage and CPU power, scan colour shots in 16-bit per channel mode, saved as TIFF, and do your PP afterwards. If you have a creaking computer and are short on space, do as many of your adjustments (cropping, curves, levels, saturation etc.) before scanning (I'd love to have back the time I've spent waiting for the 3rd or 4th prescan of the same image), and save as 8-bit TIFF or low compression JPEG. I'd love to archive all my images as 100% quality (not lossless) JPEG2000 images using the Fnordware j2k plugin, as the compression is simply staggering (and can retain 16 bit per channel colour), but is simply too slow to save and open.

6) I've discovered that using the standard colour balance tools in scanner software clips the highlights of the affected colour channels. Instead, adjusting levels and output in each colour channel gives finer control and no clipping.

Finally, a gratuitous Velvia (100, rather than 50) macro shot:

Edited by colmo - 21 April 2007 at 20:29
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MostlyHarmless Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2007 at 22:27
Originally posted by colmo colmo wrote:

4) For really tricky shots (usually with very underexposed sections), a scanner with multisampling can help reduce the noise that will appear there when you try to lighten them with curves, levels etc.


One thing to keep in mind is that multisampling reduces scanner noise (ie, the noise of the CCD sensor on the scanner itself). It won't get rid of "image noise", ie film grain. Some film will get very grainy in the shadows and there's not a whole lot you can do about it but multisampling will prevent noise from the scanner's CCD from adding to the problem.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DavidB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2007 at 23:02
colmo, that is an outstanding post on scanning!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote colmo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2007 at 23:13
MostlyHarmless: Very true - I should do tests to show the effect of varying degrees of multisampling on a grainy, dark slide.

DavidB: Thanks :)

One last thing to mention - I've seen it suggested to scan B&W negs as colour slides, then invert them afterwards. It supposedly gives better results, and it means you can use Digital ICE on silver halide film, though who knows what effect that will have? I prefer not to, because of my approach of getting the shot right 'in the scanner'.
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