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  1. #1

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    Flat-bed scanner: Epson 4490

    I'm looking to get a flatbed scanner to scan prints (usually to post on the web), and contact-sheets (so I can create a database of my negatives). Occasionally I'll also want to scan negatives, though I'm not really sure why yet.

    Anyway, I read some previous posts and it looks like everyone's really happy with the Epson 3200 Perfection. Unfortunately, that's either last year's model or not readily available anymore. So I'd like to know what this year's equivalent is. Is it the 4490?

    Specs look a tad better, but I wouldn't really know:

    * Professional level 4800 x 9600 dpi resolution
    * 3.4 Dmax for wide dynamic range and greater image quality
    * Powerful Epson Easy Photo Fix™ to restore faded color photos
    * Built-in transparency unit with dedicated light source for better scan uniformity
    * Versatile scanning with film holders for 35mm negatives, slides and 2-1/4" transparencies
    * Powerful software package for photo and document scanning; includes Adobe® Photoshop® Elements
    Also seems to come is ICE.

    I plan to only use this for B&W. And if it really matters, on a Linux box.

    200$ is about my price-point, give or take 50$. Any regrets with this one?

  2. #2
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvarsoke
    I plan to only use this for B&W. And if it really matters, on a Linux box.

    200$ is about my price-point, give or take 50$. Any regrets with this one?
    There are two models, the 4990 and the 4990 Pro. The only difference is some extra software. However, both models cost much more than you are willing to pay. The cheapest model is around $499, with the Pro being $599, give or take $50. At this time of year you might find it much cheaper.

    As for drivers, very few scanner drivers support Linux. The Epson comes with Windows XP or Mac OS-X included.

    Check out: http://www.kenrockwell.com/epson/4990.htm
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  3. #3

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    I had testet a 4990 model (the larger brother of the one you're eying, clocking in at around 500USD).
    For print scanning, it seem to be a very cabable machine for the budget minded. ICE comes in very handy for saving you from spending endless hour fixing dust and scratches in Photoshop.

    Issues arise when you want to use the scanner for negs or slides. If you intend to scan 35mm - quality is so-so at best. D-max and maximum resolution as stated by Epson is rather optimistic. You don't gain much by using the highest optical res. A dedicated film scanner is a better option IMO.

    I used the 4990 to scan 4x5 slides, and results were a bit disappointing. Since the film is held by it's holder about 1/16" above the glass surface, sharpness suffers (everything appeared soft, in fact A LOT softer than the ancient 3pass Leafscan we used before). Maybe I just got a bad apple, who knows. If you can test your scanner beforehand - by all means do so!!! The Epson I used went back to the store.

    Microtek has the i800 for around 250USD. Don't know ho good it fares against the Epsons however. As for myself, I am thinking about getting an i900 with it's dedicated film tray design.
    You might want to check http://www.photo-i.co.uk/ and search their forum. It discusses everything Espon ad nausea.

    Cheers,
    Chris
    [SIZE=1]Tiptoeing through life's grand theater - and falling down flat.[/SIZE]

  4. #4
    Imke's Avatar
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    I haven't used the 4490 but have the 3200, and I highly recommend it.

    I agree with Chris, the Epsons won't do you good with 35mm film, but I have gotten great results scanning 120 film, with no noticable sharpness or other issues.
    You should be able to find a refurbished one for $250.

    As for the software (I like the Silverfast that comes bundled with it) running on Linux, here's a link I googled (and knowing nothing about Linux, a complete shot in the dark): support.epson.ru/upload/library_file/11/scanner_linux.pdf

    Good luck,
    Imke

  5. #5

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    The Epson 4490 Photo comes with a built in transparency scanner that will cover 8X10. I doubt if it gets anywhere near its claimed 4800X9600 resolution, but it does have considerably higher resolution than most other flat bed machines. From what you say, I doubt if you need that much power in a scanner. The standard resolution for the web is 72 dpi, and most full-sized copy is scanned at about 300 dpi. Also, you say you only do reflective scans, not negatives and transparencies (though that is a possibilty in the future). If you are happy with your current scanner and it is still working well, keep it. If you need to replace it because it is unreliable, there are many good scanners that will do what you describe in the $100-200 range. When you start needing to handle transparencies or high resolution tasks, shop for an upgrade.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jvarsoke
    And if it really matters, on a Linux box.
    Vuescan comes in Linux flavor / it works with my Epson 1260 - a list of supported scanners is on site:

    http://www.hamrick.com/vsm.html

    there is a crippled demo version available so you can test it out

    nn

  7. #7
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    I have to say that I have used the Epson 3200 scanner on 35mm and now have the upgraded 4990, both produce brilliant prints from 35mm onto A3 paper using the Cone Tech Pietzography system with a now obsolete Epson 1160 printer. No point in upgrading I find, while the ink is still available for it.

    regards,

    Stephen.

  8. #8
    rfshootist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvarsoke
    Anyway, I read some previous posts and it looks like everyone's really happy with the Epson 3200 Perfection. Unfortunately, that's either last year's model or not readily available anymore. So I'd like to know what this year's equivalent is. Is it the 4490?
    I bought a 4490 and made it run yesterday the first time. As a first quick and dirty test I scanned a 35mm color neg, IMO the acid test for a flatbed , prints they all do mostly fine.

    As a Newbie with flatbeds I still guess what it's max res is translated in a filmscanner value ? Is it the max horizontal value of 4800 ? The picklist of the scanner offers up to 12800, which maust be a interpolated res ?
    Regards,
    bertram
    Colour reproduction for the C41 neg was pretty off, resolution seem to be fine anyway for a flatbed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    A la recherche du temps perdu: www. bersac.de

  9. #9
    rfshootist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfshootist
    As a first quick and dirty test I scanned a 35mm color neg, IMO the acid test for a flatbed , prints they all do mostly fine.
    The resizing of the gallery software messes it, no serviceable demo .
    A la recherche du temps perdu: www. bersac.de

  10. #10
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foldingcamera
    I have to say that I have used the Epson 3200 scanner on 35mm and now have the upgraded 4990, both produce brilliant prints from 35mm onto A3 paper using the Cone Tech Pietzography system with a now obsolete Epson 1160 printer. No point in upgrading I find, while the ink is still available for it. regards, Stephen.
    I'm surprised you are not using the Epson F-3200 Film Scanner, if you are doing just 35mm, rather than the flatbed scanner. I wish this particular scanner was available in the US, I would buy it in a heartbeat.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

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