Enlarger vs. scanner

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Robert Ivy, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. Robert Ivy

    Robert Ivy Member

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    I am considering buying a scanner to archive older slides and scan new 35mm and 120 slides. I work in both color and b+w. I have been offered, by a close friend and retired commercial professional photographer an Omega D2V with both condenser and cool head, timers, trays, chemicals, lights...basically what he used. He's asking $400 for the whole kit and kaboodle plus showing me how to use it. The scanner is good for 4000 dpi and from what I read would be equivalent to anything I could get out of the enlarger. Cost of scanner would be around $1800. All my film work is performed by a local commercial photography company. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanx, Bob
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    In my opinion, learning good darkroom technique will enhance the mastering of scanning and Photoshop.
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I would get the darkoom setup, learning good darkroom technique will be more beneficial in the long run as well as learning how to process you film, $1800 for a scanner to archive and scan new slides is a bit over the top in my opinion..

    R.
     
  4. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Spot on! If your task for the scanner isn't to produce saleable or portfolio prints, but rather to have an archive along with the film originals (which are THE archive anyway) $1800 is waaaay too much to spend. Ask your friend for ONE lesson in the darkroom. Watch the magic unfold. If you aren't seduced, jettison the whole analog deal and get yourself a digicam and start snapping a bajillion...um....whateverthehellyacallem....electromagnetic arrays, perhaps...and buy yourself the version-de jeur of Photoshop and a nice big printer.
     
  5. david b

    david b Member

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    And just think, you get to buy a new scanner every 18 months to keep up with technology.
     
  6. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    enlarger... enlarger... enlarger!

    gene
     
  7. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    I do not understand how you can "archive" using a scanner when you have the film originals. Archive them. If you want digital copies then fine, buy a scanner, but this is not the forum to ask detailed questions on choice of scanners: this is a traditional materials only site.

    The enlarger + other kit seems good value at $400 so I for one would snap it up if I was only interested in B&W printing and didn't already have a setup. As you may know, cold light and condenser heads are only suitable for B&W negative printing unless you use separate colour filters.

    But you appear to be talking about two different scenarios. One: scanning for digital copies of film originals, and Two: an enlarger that is intended for making prints from negatives. It does not seem like an either/or question. The two do different things.

    Bob.
     
  8. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Actually, having a d* archive stored off-premises isn't a bad idea in the event of fire, flood, etc. But, along with that needs to come the recognition that the "archive" needs to be replaced/renewed every few years in order to avoid the CDs or DVDs becoming unreadable.

    In the interim, you get to learn darkroom techniques with a bargain-priced set up. Could life be better? :wink:
     
  9. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I think Jovo's suggestion of asking for a darkroom demonstration is a good one, if you're not already familiar with how to use a darkroom. It'll give you an idea of what's involved, how quickly you can get a good print (well, once you're up to your friend's proficiency, which won't happen overnight), etc. You can then try manipulating some prints for which you've got scans (say, on CD-ROM from a photofinisher) in Photoshop or the GIMP, ideally with help from somebody who's proficient with this process, if you don't already know how to do it. That'll give you a basis for comparison.

    Of course, there's no reason you can't use both a traditional wet darkroom and a scanner; but in that case, you probably won't need an $1,800 scanner. My Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 cost me about $500 or $600, IIRC, and it's a fairly high-end consumer scanner. It's perfectly capable of producing scans that more than meet my needs. I've even got digital prints made from scans made with my scanner hung on my walls (from before I started doing my own darkroom work; today I'd do it in the darkroom).
     
  10. battra92

    battra92 Member

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    I use an Epson 4990 and it only cost $400. It does a great job with MF chromes for me
     
  11. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Sorry, but there is no such thing as a archival digital medium; yet.

    Massive, costly data migration is currently the only digital safeguard and, honestly, who here does that on a regular basis?

    Film is truly an archival medium; a well washed negative can last well beyond 100 years and that has been proven repeatedly.

    Archive on film, access (if you must) digitally but don't confuse computer archiving with film archiving; apples and oranges.
     
  12. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    What comes out of a scanner (bits), and what you make with an enlarger (prints) are completely different things. You can't compare, or equate them. Your slides are already an archival medium.
     
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  13. Samuel B

    Samuel B Member

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    Go for the enlarger, of course. It will produce real photos. Film is much more archival than any digital media.
     
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  15. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    "The scanner is good for 4000 dpi and from what I read would be equivalent to anything I could get out of the enlarger"

    Please forgive me if I'm mistaken, but this is one heck of a thing to say on your first post here. If you intend to ever make a print (I'm kinda assuming that's why you would archive something), there ain't no equivalent to the enlarger.
     
  16. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    Hello Robert Ivy,

    You have come to the wrong group to ask about scanners, though your question about an enlarger can easily be well answered here. You might try the large format photography forum over at:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info

    While mostly large format, there are many posts you can find about various price ranges of scanners. Best of luck in your search.

    Ciao!

    Gordon
     
  17. matti

    matti Member

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    This might sound obvious. But compare the enlarger with a printer, not a scanner. The scanner will not produce prints to look at and put up on the wall. I scanned a lot of negatives and worked on them in the computer before I came to the conclusion that analog printing is actually a faster way to the finished print and gives great results. And best of all: it is nothing like my day-job, sitting in front of a computer. I don't know about colour, though.

    /matti
     
  18. Robert Ivy

    Robert Ivy Member

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    Thanx for all the info. Knew that I'd get all the data that I'd need. Will move out with the scanner.
    Bob
     
  19. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Maybe you like the quality of the scanner, but you can never get to see it on a piece of paper just because there's no real good digital photo paper for B&W out there yet.

    So, you'll probably end up staring at your computer screen forever if you haven't cover the basics of how to do it right. Or you'll have to stick to something rather cheesy most of the time.
     
  20. kwmullet

    kwmullet Member

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    oh bother.
     
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  21. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I don't understand what you mean though. The scanner and enlarger do different things. You can't make print with a scanner.
    If you mean that you would scan than print with a printer then I would definitely go for the enlarger.
     
  22. kwmullet

    kwmullet Member

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    oh bother.
     
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  23. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! What else can I say.
     
  24. battra92

    battra92 Member

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    Some people don't want to learn the other way?

    Personally I hate spending time in a darkroom. It's hot, stuffy and boring. So I got a scanner and scan my film negs and sit in front of a computer that is tedious, distracting and I don't get a print until I send it to Adorama to print it for me. I can get it made into a silver print on Ilford B&W paper should I choose. It's called picking your methods.
     
  25. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    The only issue I have with choosing a scanner or an enlarger is that in terms of slides I have real trouble finding any direct positive materials such as Ilford in my market. Neither Kodak or Fuji make internegative film. It seems to me that a digital system, scanner and high end printer wins by default. I had a local pro lab print some 33mm slides so I could compare them analog prints I made and I still feel that the analog prints I made 10 years ago are better than the new digital prints.
     
  26. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I think you would be better served with the enlarger. What you learn in the darkroom will carry through should you ever find the need to use a digital negative. $1800 is also very expensive for a scanner, a good Nikon scanner is only about $900 - I have a new Minolta Dimage Scan II Elite, which is a fantastic 35mm scanner but no longer made.

    If you are doing B&W, you would be better served sticking with an enlarger. When doing color, you could go either way, depending upon your situation. You can easily find someone to print on traditional color paper (which looks better than ink jet, IMO) from a digital negative. A color print from a digital negative onto a traditional photographic paper is indistinguishable from one made by hand.