I bought the same beast last weekend. Still sitting here looking at it, not knowing where to start. Scan in RGB, or Grey scale? Unsharp mask at scan time, or in PS? And what the heck is that Silverfast stuff? ...I know I loaded the damned thing, but is it working on something in the background, or does it only do it's mystery magic if explicityly bidden?
So far, I've gotten my best results (relative term, ya understand) by scanning prints -- meaning I've made the crucial decisions in the darkroom. But those neg holders sure are neat looking!
Play around with just putting the film on the glass without the holders. When it's base to bottom glass, you get newton rings. Or maybe it's the other way around. Anyway, playing with it you will find you can put the neg on the glass without the rinigs.
A good place to start. http://scantips.com/ I usually scan negs in 16 bit greyscale without onboard sharpening. I clone out any dust, make tonal adjustments, resize, convert to 8 bit save an archive version as tiff, then save for web a jpg. phew!
I've never had any problems with Newton rings, despite scanning nearly everything on the glass plate. The problem is dust...
Strangely enough I have no problems with dust in the film holders or in the darkroom, it's just the scanner!
I have a 3200 since last month, love the thing. It runs usb2 also, which I'm told is faster than firewire, not that I'd know the difference. The Silverfast software is crap, I never mess with it. So is the idiot level WIA Epson software also included. The standard Epson 3200 option that shows in the Photoshop import menu works just fine.
I like the capability of scanning two 6 frame strips of 35mm film in one scoop, using the thumbnail option to find the frames. Do corrections on each frame as needed or set it all on auto and then you can tell it to scan and walk away for 15 to 20 minutes while it does a 3200 dpi scan of each frame sequentially. As I'm trying to archive all my old 35mm film this saves me a lot of time and handling.
It will do over a gig scan of a 4x5 neg. Unless you have a 9600 printer to go with it thats a bit of overkill.....
I just wish I could scan a 4 frame 6x6 strip like it does for 35mm. Not quite big enough.
I use Vuescan. It's amazing how much more detail and tonality a good scanning program can pull out of a film!
Thanks for the kind offer, Aggie -- and I may take you up on it after I know the right questions to ask. I've fooled with the thing for all of one evening and will approach it with seriousness in a little while. I did the same thing when I bought my first 4x5: took one look at the dark image on the focus screen and jambed it into a closet for two months ...I'm not real quick to adapt (putting it mildly).