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Film scanner?
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mojomonkey


Nov 20, 2012, 7:25 AM
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Film scanner?
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Anybody want to recommend me a film scanner? I have lots of old photos and want to scan the negatives to help preserve them. I don't have any slides so functionality there isn't a concern. My main concerns are quality of the scan and then speed. Most of my negatives are cut, but some are not. Capabilities to load as much of either and walk away while it works is key.

I'm not really sure on price ranges so am flexible. I was guessing ~$100 would get me something good, but if bumping up to $200 makes a big improvement that is fine. If you have the knowledge to highlight the differences I'd see at different price points, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks for any info from my vague requirements!


marc801


Nov 20, 2012, 8:03 AM
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Re: [mojomonkey] Film scanner? [In reply to]
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mojomonkey wrote:
Capabilities to load as much of either and walk away while it works is key.

I was guessing ~$100 would get me something good, but if bumping up to $200 makes a big improvement that is fine.
Those two desires are mutually exclusive.
There are scanners with optional slide feeders, but I'm not aware of any that are at that price point that can feed stacks of negatives.

Slide/film scanners vary quite a bit in price - how much you spend will really depend on what you want to do with the output. Nice photos for a web site or 4x6 prints for a scrapbook or 24"x36" or larger wall hangings? Do you need/want the scanner to do image repair (eg: dust and scratch removal)?


mojomonkey


Nov 20, 2012, 8:28 AM
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Re: [marc801] Film scanner? [In reply to]
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marc801 wrote:
There are scanners with optional slide feeders, but I'm not aware of any that are at that price point that can feed stacks of negatives.

How much is the delta? Are we talking $500, $1000, more? I have quite a bit to get through so the automation vs me babysitting it to reload is worth some cash. I'm not settled in my head how much though.

marc801 wrote:
Slide/film scanners vary quite a bit in price - how much you spend will really depend on what you want to do with the output. Nice photos for a web site or 4x6 prints for a scrapbook or 24"x36" or larger wall hangings? Do you need/want the scanner to do image repair (eg: dust and scratch removal)?

My goal is archival, so high quality. Ideally these would be a reasonable backup to the negatives should anything happen to them or as they deteriorate. I'm concerned about how well the scanner does at image repair, and think I'd lean towards skipping repair on import on the thought that when the time comes I want to print some, software could do a better job. If there is some reason the hardware on scanning has advantages in some facets of repair, I guess I'd be open to that. Last time I did a round of these (10+ years ago?) I wasn't a huge fan of photoshop's automated dust/speckle removal and felt I had better results with manual correction as needed. I'm sure it has improved in the meantime.


guangzhou


Nov 22, 2012, 10:53 PM
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Re: [mojomonkey] Film scanner? [In reply to]
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Might be easier and more cost effective to have these scanned instead of buying a scanner.


kovacs69


Nov 23, 2012, 12:13 PM
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Re: [guangzhou] Film scanner? [In reply to]
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guangzhou wrote:
Might be easier and more cost effective to have these scanned instead of buying a scanner.

Seconded.


styndall


Nov 23, 2012, 8:30 PM
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Re: [mojomonkey] Film scanner? [In reply to]
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The Epson film scanners, particularly the V700, are really nice, and they've got holders for 35mm, medium format, and 4x5. I bought a V500 off craigslist, and I like it quite a bit. If I weren't still shooting film, though, I'd probably not have bought it.


brooklynclimber


Nov 25, 2012, 4:58 PM
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Re: [styndall] Film scanner? [In reply to]
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There are two characteristics of a film scanner that relate to the quality of the scanned image: the mechanical elements such as the lenses and mechanism and its ability to sample the film. Some scanners can capture fairly high resolution images (to make decent sized prints, you'd want about 2000 samples per inch. Most scanner companies describe this as dpi or dots per inch, but this is a misnomer) however, their optical and mechanical qualities are not as good as the more expensive scanners.

The highest quality scan you can get from film comes from a drum scanner, but they cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Hasselblad makes a scanner called an imacon which costs a few thousand, and can produce exhibition-quality scans from negs.

Many semi-pro and economy minded pros use the Epson V-series, as styndall says, and they produce uniformly high quality results. You can batch scan up to thirty five or so negatives by laying the film strips in the film holders.

I think these are probably the best bang for the buck.

Nikon made a film scanner a while ago (not sure if they are still making them, but may be available on eBay) that was quite good. I also recall reading a review of a newer scanner recently, perhaps in Photo District News.

How many negs do you want to scan and what do you want to do with the images? Also be aware that high quality scans will produce large files which of course require that you have sufficient storage.


brooklynclimber


Nov 25, 2012, 5:01 PM
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Re: [brooklynclimber] Film scanner? [In reply to]
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As for dust removal, most people suggest that sharpening and dust removal be done after scanning, as the automated sharpening and dust removal is not very good.

Just read your post more carefully and see you want 'archival' results. I'd recommend reading a bit on the forums at luminous-landscape.com and also have a look at dpbestflow.com which talks about ways to back up and archive image files.

If you decide to send them off to be scanned, you should send a few at first and then try to make a print to see if the quality meets your standards/needs.


brooklynclimber


Nov 25, 2012, 5:19 PM
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One more thing: I don't know of any photographers who go to the trouble of scanning all their negatives. It can be very time-consuming, expensive and requires a lot of storage as mentioned above. You might be better off simply storing your negs under archival conditions: archival sleeves, acid-free boxes, a bit of humidity control, etc. Print File is a good source for these, as is Gaylord which makes library supplies.


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