My Indecision On Film Scanners

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Bighead, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    Okay, I'm buying one with some tax money... I shoot the occasional wedding and portraits, I need to be able to provide digital proofs and maybe print some 4x6's... Archival and images to post as well as for my website...

    I was convinced I was going to buy a Nikon Coolscan V... Thinking a dedicated 35mm would be the way to go. Also heard the they get a better quality scan from this type instead of a flatbed type...

    I was also convinced that I would later want an Epson Perfection 4870 (now they have the newer model 4990) for medium format and print scanning.. As well as the ability to make digital contact sheets....

    My question is, if I were to only get one, right now, what should I get?? Could I be happy with JUST the flatbed?? Can I get good enough 35mm scans from the flatbed?

    What are the pros and cons of both??

    Thanks guys.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2005
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I have owned various scanners over the years, including drums and flatbeds, I have not found a flatbed that will give you the quality of a dedicated 35mm film scanner yet, for my dollars I would get a 35mm dedicated scanner, then also pick up one of the flatbeds designed with the light lid for your medium format stuff, I have a microtek flatbed, that I got a couple of years ago, with the light lid and it works good for 120/220 and 4x5, but is terrible with 35mm.

    I have heard the new Epsons are pretty good, but I think you will find that you will still be happier with a dedicated film scanner.

    Just my experiance and opinions, I am sure others have various ideas.

    Dave
     
  3. panchromatic

    panchromatic Member

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    Just get a nikon coolscan 9000 and be happy lol

    actually, i'm not an authority on this subject but i think the coolscan V is a nice piece of hardware.
     
  4. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    Yeah, good idea!!!!

    The Nikon V is great... I have used one at school. I just want my cake and eat it too.. I also don't want to make the cake, or pay much money for it and I want someone else to do the dishes...
     
  5. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    There are several Howtek drum scanners on ebay at this moment. I bought a D4000 last year to replace an Epson 4870. The quality difference is stagering, especially for 35mm and medium format. I paid $700 including the computer. Many will say this is overkill, but why waste your time with a crappy CCD scanner when you can get a drum for not much more?
     
  6. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    Sounds like a great idea, but I know nothing about these things... Have any links to discribe??
     
  7. Robert Brummitt

    Robert Brummitt Member

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    I'm looking at the Epson 4990 as well. I've been told its a very nice scanner of the money and this came from a photographer who's work I admire and trust his judgement. He's been working color scanning for many years.
     
  8. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    The best resource is the Yahoo ScanHi-End group. Despite what people will tell you they are not that difficult to operate. The hardest part is wet mounting the film, but a few practice tries and I had it down where I don't have air bubbles 75% of the time. Just make sure you get the software and dongle (they all seem to use dongles) or you will need to shell out $700 to $1500 for a software package.
     
  9. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Only one of the Howteks looks in good condition with everything you need, and it's already $600. If it needs repairs, the costs will escalate exponentially. I know, as I recently bought an Agfa Duoscan T2500, a large pre-press scanner that cost $4000 a few years ago. While it scans slides fairly well, it bands severely with bw negatives, which are what I mainly need to scan. Repair estimates for the machine are several times what I paid, and they can't guarantee that all the issues will be fixed. So buying used professional equipment can be a great buy, or it can be a waste of money.

    -Peter
    www.desmidt.net
     
  10. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    DAGNABIT, L, now I want one! I didn't think I had anything I needed to buy on eBay, and now you've gone and given me something else to lust after...


    Whew! Thanks Peter! You stopped me before I spent again! :D

    -chuck
     
  11. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    Good point. I hadn't read the other two auctions - it does look as if two of the three scanners are duds. The Howteks D4000 is a pretty robust scanner, but things still can go bad in it. So, as mentioned, it is riskier than buying a new Epson with a waranty. It was worth the risk to me because the owner of mine was a pro who had a reputation that I am sure he didn't want tarnished. Hell, even if it died today I still have saved money over sending the drum scans out.
     
  12. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    I just realized that with the NIkon V we have at school, we also have an Epson flatbed... I will test both and see what I get. Maybe make some prints from it and see if I am satisfied...

    I will like some more feedback though.. Anyone??

    Thanks everyone.
     
  13. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Depends on how much you want to sepnd. If you are looing for high end look a the imacon. Excellent scanners and can pull detail out of the shadows like no others. If you are in need of a FlatBed look at Microtek 1800F. The results are better than most of your dedicated film scanners and excellent up to 8x10 as well.
     
  14. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

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    What you should first consider is how much time you really have to sit around the computer. Scanning is VERY tedious and time consuming and may not be the most viable solution to a fast paced business. I own a Coolscan 8000ED and when scanning a 6x7 negative/slide at 4000dpi, I'm looking at 15-20 Minutes each. But these scans are from my personal outings, and I don't have a deadline to meet. I've owned numerous scanners in the past: Minolta Dual II, III, & IV, Leafscan 45 and all of them are slow and requires very careful calibration.

    Personally, if I were doing weddings, I would be shooting di*g**l. Shoot a bunch, run it through the frontier system for proofing, and hand it to the customer. When they want reprints, then I would take the time to retouch it then shoot it off to MPIX or Millers labs for reprinting.

    For film, just hand it to a lab and let them deal with it. :smile:

    The most important thing for any scanner is proper scanning technique.. More importantly, properly exposed negatives.. Too many times have I heard people complain about a bad scanner when it is really their negative that's horribly exposed to begin with.

    Andy
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2005
  15. jmilliron

    jmilliron Member

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    I got an Epson 4990 yesterday and I'm very happy with it. From the reviews it looks like a nice little step up from the 4870. It's pretty fast and easy to use. The scans are a little soft but the detail is there so you just need to run a pass of USM. Haven't tried printing yet but it looks like there is more then enough to do medium size prints. Might want to get a professional scan for the occasional large print.

    There was a post on photo.net comparing the D4000 to the 4990. The D4000 was a little better but not even near worth the $300 plus cost difference.

    Some web samples here:
    http://milliron.org/photo/dogwood_n_misc/

    EDIT: Great photo you have attached there Andy.
     
  16. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    Andy, you pose some important points... The fact is, I want my cake and eat it too.... I want to be able to offer Quick, inexpensive 4X6 proofs or digital proofs. I've scanned a weddings worth, one at a time, with a Coolscan, The flatbed does 24 at a time... Maybe not the best scans but I think good enough for 4X6's... I also want to be able to offer a few nice, archival quality, fiber prints from film..... Not to mention, I may use it for personal stuff for color stuff..... So, I may be in my underwear for 4 or 5 hours, scanning away....