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07-24-2010, 04:07 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
I've tried very hard to love Vuescan, but I haven't yet felt that it was able to control the features of the Nikon scanners. In particular, I could not get it past what appears to be its own dust and scratch removal to use the ICE that works with the Nikon hardware. The program seems a little too basic, but I'm probably haven't exposed that feature set.
The big revelation for me was when I discovered the full set of expert controls by clicking the "more' button. I was unaware of Vuescan not using Digital ICE when it is available. Can you elaborate?


Steve

07-24-2010, 04:48 PM   #17
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I tend to use Epson Scan, but it has its quirks.

Home and full auto mode do no allow digital-ICE! Dumb constraint.

Professional mode doesn't automatically determine the extents of the negatives, so I've got to do it by hand. Maybe I don't know how to use it right.

Office mode does digital-ICE and automatically finds frame extents, so I stick with this mode.

I wish it would save as DNG.
07-24-2010, 06:11 PM   #18
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Hi Drew

If you'd like to see some real world results with the V700, drop by the Nanaimo Art Gallery downtown branch. They have several of my large black and white prints in their current show. I'm not sure which ones are up now, but I think there is one roughly 18x36 inches scanned from a 35mm neg, and two about 24x30 inches from 6x7 negs. Las time I was in they were above the reception desk.

John Poirier

---------- Post added 07-24-10 at 06:48 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Aegon Quote
I tend to use Epson Scan, but it has its quirks.

Home and full auto mode do no allow digital-ICE! Dumb constraint.

Professional mode doesn't automatically determine the extents of the negatives, so I've got to do it by hand. Maybe I don't know how to use it right.

Office mode does digital-ICE and automatically finds frame extents, so I stick with this mode.

I wish it would save as DNG.
Near the bottom of the main window in Professional mode there is a check box labelled Thumbnails. That is where you turn on automatic frame detection.

Also in Professional mode, if you click on the Configuration button and select the Preview tab you'll find a slider that adjusts thumbnail cropping area.

The Histogram Adjustment in Professional mode is key to controlling highlights and shadows to avoid clipping. In my experience, combined wiith the Tone Correction function, it tends to produce better results more easily than Vuescan or Silverfast.

John

---------- Post added 07-24-10 at 06:59 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The big revelation for me was when I discovered the full set of expert controls by clicking the "more' button. I was unaware of Vuescan not using Digital ICE when it is available. Can you elaborate?


Steve
I suspect that Ed Hamrick didn't want to add the cost of licensing Digital ICE to Vuescan, so cooked up his own equivalent that uses the relevant hardware components. It's been several years since I've used Vuescan's version, but as I recall it was quite decent.

John

Last edited by John Poirier; 07-24-2010 at 06:35 PM. Reason: finger problems
07-25-2010, 08:59 AM   #19
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Oh, great info, thanks for the tips John Poirier.

07-25-2010, 02:41 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Drew,
I think there is at least one Plustek user on the forum. Perhaps they will weigh in. A decent review of the Plustek 7500i can be found here:
I've only had my 7500i a couple of months and have not really spent much time with it. I prefer to wet print my shots but I use the scanner to preview and select the shots I want to wet print (I find 35mm contact sheets too small). I will also be using the Plustek for anything I need to publish online. Here's a shot I developed and scanned today.



ME Super, Takumar 28mm. TMY2@400 in D76.



!00% crop.
07-25-2010, 05:05 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vendee Quote
I've only had my 7500i a couple of months and have not really spent much time with it. I prefer to wet print my shots but I use the scanner to preview and select the shots I want to wet print (I find 35mm contact sheets too small). I will also be using the Plustek for anything I need to publish online. Here's a shot I developed and scanned today.



ME Super, Takumar 28mm. TMY2@400 in D76.



!00% crop.
What resolution were you scanning at with the 7500i? How much time do your scans take at that resolution? I generally do my proof scans at 1100 dpi on the Nikon and down-sample a little to publish to the Web.


Steve
07-25-2010, 11:08 PM   #22
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@ John: Thank you for the helpful advice! I would love to see your work.

@ Vendee: That's a pretty good image. Do you have one in color you could post?
07-26-2010, 01:46 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone;1119342@ Vendee::
That's a pretty good image. Do you have one in color you could post?
I don't shoot colour film but I did find some 20 year old negs shot possibly with a K1000 and using some unknown 200 asa film. Crap quality but I wasn't really into photography then. Just a straight 7200dpi scan. No scratch/dust removal or multiscan etc.




Last edited by Vendee; 07-26-2010 at 02:41 PM.
07-27-2010, 02:02 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
What resolution were you scanning at with the 7500i? How much time do your scans take at that resolution? I generally do my proof scans at 1100 dpi on the Nikon and down-sample a little to publish to the Web.


Steve
Sorry Steve, I replied to your post last night but it I had some difficulties and it didn't appear.

The b&w statue scan above was at 7200dpi, which according to the reviews is actually closer to 3500dpi in reality. I normally scan at a lower resolution when I'm previewing for wet prints. The 7200dpi scan took 3.5 minutes. Colour scans take the same but when you enable multiple scans and scratch/dust removal, it takes a lot longer than that.
07-28-2010, 07:46 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vendee Quote
I don't shoot colour film but I did find some 20 year old negs shot possibly with a K1000 and using some unknown 200 asa film. Crap quality but I wasn't really into photography then. Just a straight 7200dpi scan. No scratch/dust removal or multiscan etc.
This could just be the negatives, but this looks a wee bit soft for a 7200dpi image. Thanks for providing a scan though! Based on the color casts, I'm guessing your "unknown 200 asa film" is probably a a Fujicolor of some kind. I've always noticed old Fuji negs (and the Superia color film line) to have very strong green/magenta tendencies.

---------- Post added 07-28-10 at 08:44 PM ----------

Also, on the campaign trail:

I found this review: Scanner Review: Epson Perfection V600

Now, yes, the V600 wasn't part of the original deal. But the world of scanning is getting murkier and murkier as I dive deeper and deeper. You see, for reasons that may or may not have anything to do with me buying a Super Takumar 85/1.9 recently, I've become acutely aware of just how much money a V700 is, so I've been searching for some justification for those dollars. As it turns out, perhaps looking for justification is the best thing I could have done.

It looks as though, at least to me, this review points out two things. The first, if you take a look at the three-way comparison between the V600, V700, and HP scanners on the Yellowstone scan, the V600 produces the most lifelike colors of the lot using EpsonScan. More important, and something I had trouble getting my head around, is that the V600 scans are sharper. If you look again at the three way, and compare the 600/700 images blown up, there is a leafless tree just right of centre in the frame, and the branches, aside from being a warmer color, are notably sharper at the pixel level. This was intriguing considering the $400 price difference.

Secondly, I don't think I'm going to be happy with either the EpsonScan or the SilverFast software that comes with the V700. EpsonScan does not produce reliable color scans of negatives (online and first-hand, as my previous flatbed, a 4490, couldn't properly reproduce color negatives without massive corrective intervention either). SilverFast, at least the version that comes with the V700, doesn't allow for multiple exposures, nor does it do ICC profiling, something I'd have to pony up another $100+ for if I wanted a solution from LaserSoft. Thus the price of the V700 is going skyward.

In this vein, this review provided something else. If you head down the page and take a look at the three-way comparison for the V600/V700/V600 using VueScan, there is a clear benefit to having a profiled scanning program, not to mention the ability to inform the scanning program itself what kind of film you are attempting to scan. Thus, VueScan I think will be the software I'll want to be using.

Which brings us down to crunch time. I can get a V600 for around $250 with my discount from work. Add $80 for VueScan with all the pro bells and whistles, and you have a $330 price tag. The V700 is $550 with taxes (heavily discounted through work of course because off-the-shelf they are $649), plus $80 for VueScan, and you have a $300 difference, which may or may not be even seeable unless I want to pore over pixel-level details all day (and which EpsonScan seemed to prove was a non-issue, see Yellowstone comparison above). One concern that has been expressed is the difference in DMax measurement, 3.4 vs 4. I understand what DMax is and why a higher one is better, but my question is, if you do multiple exposures, do you not make up for a lack of DMax?

I think for all intents and purposes, a V600 is the new leader in the debate. Anyone here have one, or want to dissuade me from my choice? I'm still open to all manner of debate on this, but I wanted to throw in my recent logic so everyone knows where I'm going with this. Thanks again for all your input!

Last edited by drewdlephone; 07-28-2010 at 10:45 PM.
07-29-2010, 10:09 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
This could just be the negatives, but this looks a wee bit soft for a 7200dpi image. Thanks for providing a scan though! Based on the color casts, I'm guessing your "unknown 200 asa film" is probably a a Fujicolor of some kind. I've always noticed old Fuji negs (and the Superia color film line) to have very strong green/magenta tendencies.

---------- Post added 07-28-10 at 08:44 PM ----------

Also, on the campaign trail:

I found this review: Scanner Review: Epson Perfection V600

Now, yes, the V600 wasn't part of the original deal. But the world of scanning is getting murkier and murkier as I dive deeper and deeper. You see, for reasons that may or may not have anything to do with me buying a Super Takumar 85/1.9 recently, I've become acutely aware of just how much money a V700 is, so I've been searching for some justification for those dollars. As it turns out, perhaps looking for justification is the best thing I could have done.

It looks as though, at least to me, this review points out two things. The first, if you take a look at the three-way comparison between the V600, V700, and HP scanners on the Yellowstone scan, the V600 produces the most lifelike colors of the lot using EpsonScan. More important, and something I had trouble getting my head around, is that the V600 scans are sharper. If you look again at the three way, and compare the 600/700 images blown up, there is a leafless tree just right of centre in the frame, and the branches, aside from being a warmer color, are notably sharper at the pixel level. This was intriguing considering the $400 price difference.

Secondly, I don't think I'm going to be happy with either the EpsonScan or the SilverFast software that comes with the V700. EpsonScan does not produce reliable color scans of negatives (online and first-hand, as my previous flatbed, a 4490, couldn't properly reproduce color negatives without massive corrective intervention either). SilverFast, at least the version that comes with the V700, doesn't allow for multiple exposures, nor does it do ICC profiling, something I'd have to pony up another $100+ for if I wanted a solution from LaserSoft. Thus the price of the V700 is going skyward.

In this vein, this review provided something else. If you head down the page and take a look at the three-way comparison for the V600/V700/V600 using VueScan, there is a clear benefit to having a profiled scanning program, not to mention the ability to inform the scanning program itself what kind of film you are attempting to scan. Thus, VueScan I think will be the software I'll want to be using.

Which brings us down to crunch time. I can get a V600 for around $250 with my discount from work. Add $80 for VueScan with all the pro bells and whistles, and you have a $330 price tag. The V700 is $550 with taxes (heavily discounted through work of course because off-the-shelf they are $649), plus $80 for VueScan, and you have a $300 difference, which may or may not be even seeable unless I want to pore over pixel-level details all day (and which EpsonScan seemed to prove was a non-issue, see Yellowstone comparison above). One concern that has been expressed is the difference in DMax measurement, 3.4 vs 4. I understand what DMax is and why a higher one is better, but my question is, if you do multiple exposures, do you not make up for a lack of DMax?

I think for all intents and purposes, a V600 is the new leader in the debate. Anyone here have one, or want to dissuade me from my choice? I'm still open to all manner of debate on this, but I wanted to throw in my recent logic so everyone knows where I'm going with this. Thanks again for all your input!
Hi, Drew

The V600 appears to be a good bet in terms of hardware.

However, I think the review you linked to may have misled you in terms of software.

To give you some context for my comments, I'm very experienced in scanning. Much of the last 20 years of my professional career was spent reproducing archival photographs, initially in a high-end film operation, then (beginning in 1993) digitally. I did a lot of very high-quality work for many publications and museum exhibits, and designed and managed mass scanning projects for image collections as large as 12,000 items.

In the introduction the review states that it is taking the perspective of a duffer who wants to scan a large number of images with a minimum of corrections. From that perspective the recommendation of Vuescan makes sense. I used it for many years in mass scanning projects because it produced pleasing results much more consistently and productively than both OEM software and SilverFast.

However, there is a huge hole in the review in terms of producing results that are excellent rather than merely pleasing. The review gives you a bit of a clue in this paragraph:

But VueScan doesn't simply give you a credible scan. It gives you control over the image much like an image editor so you can optimize the scan. You can actually manipulate the conversion curve after you've scanned the image, although the control is a little less responsive than what you might have become used to in Photoshop or Lightroom or some other recent image editing package.

The hole in the review is that it does not refer to the key image correction functions in Epson Scan Professional- Histogram Adjustment, Tone Correction
and Image Adjustment. These tools are far more flexible for advanced image correction than is the Vuescan interface. (They are not as refined as the equivalent functions in Photoshop or even Photoshop Elements.) The only reason I can offer for this omission is that the review is aimed at duffers.

You do need to have a good understanding of image quality and image editing to make use of those advanced tools.

The uncorrected negative scans produced by Epson Scan Professional used as examples in the review look crappy because they are crappy. In Epson Scan Professional, they would serve as a starting point to be corrected by the tools listed above, not as a finished product.

My goal in scanning is not to produce a perfect, finished image. My scans would look pretty ugly to most people. Instead I make scans that contain all necessary information for final corrections in proper image editing software, which offers tools that are much more refined than the best scanner drivers.

While I'm dumping on the review, I have to say that the Yellowstone images you refer to are all pretty crappy by my standards. Colour and tonal rendition are horrible. Resolution is too low even in the larger versions to make any meaningful comparision of sharpness.

The differences in colour rendition between the Yellowstone images are insignificant and have no meaning in terms of evaluating scanner performance.

You may find it strange, but in my experience the IT8 question is in part a non-issue. IT8 calibration can be useful when scanning large numbers of images with the goal of pleasing rather than superb quality with a minimum of individual adjustments. However, if you are correcting images individually to a very high quality level, the adjustments available in a good image editor make IT8 calibration rather irrelevant. Hence the absence of IT8 cabability in Epson Scan is of less significance than you might think.

(I've scanned a lot of old colour negatives for which no IT8 targets or Vuescan profiles are available. In my experience the generic colour negative setting in Vuescan works very well.)

So go for the V600- but you won't get the most out of it unless you do some in-depth studies of scanning and image editing. Look for a good book, or some really advanced Web tutorials.

As I pointed out in an earlier posting, you have an opportunity to see some real-world scanning results at the Nanaimo Art Gallery. I think you would find it quite an eye-opener.

Hope you find this useful.

John
07-30-2010, 06:28 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I don't have vuescan but my understanding was that it cannot do ICE with Nikon scanners. It has it's own dust removal that may make use of some of the hardware's features, it might not be as effective.

Paul
I get ICE with VueScan and my Nikon scanner. In fact I get the following choices in a drop down list under Filter->Infrared Cleaning
  • None
  • Light
  • Medium
  • Heavy

And the last color neg I scanned was a dream compared to BW. I did not have any cleanup to do.
07-30-2010, 10:30 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
So go for the V600- but you won't get the most out of it unless you do some in-depth studies of scanning and image editing. Look for a good book, or some really advanced Web tutorials.
I picked up a V600 this evening, and will look into what you've suggested. Thank you John. And thanks everyone for the help. I'll post some results when I get the knack of it.
07-31-2010, 01:29 AM   #29
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Scanning is a world on it's own. I have done it a lot over the past 20 years, with various equipment. I want to show you my personal list of gear and methods, starting with the very best and going down to the worst.

The ultimate best scanner I ever worked with was a Heidelberg Tango, a beast weighing 250 kg, it cost ca. $50-70,000 new, the used ones are sold for $10-15,000. Not easy to use, but very efficient and the best quality possible for any kind of scan from a film. There are similar drum scanners from Hell and Crosfield, none of them fits into an average budget or on an average desk.

The second best type of scanners are the Imacons, so-called 'virtual drum scanners', much easier to use than the real drummies. Today Imacon is part of Hasselblad, and they are labeled X1 and X2. They fit on a desk, but not into a budget. Used ones start at $3,000 if you are lucky, a new X1 costs ca. $13,000. Quality is amazing, but they are not really fast.

The Nikon Coolscans were the number one for many years as negative scanners because they were the only affordable negative and slide scanners with a useful quality. But apart from the fact that you can't buy new ones any more they have their pros and cons. Good news first: they are wonderful if you have tons of 35mm slides or color negatives. You can get a slide feeder and just need to refill it every now and then. The 'now and then' means a longer period because the Coolscans are not exactly fast, epecially if you want a high resolution, ICE etc. Scan quality is okay though grain is emphasized - as long as you don't want to scan traditional black-and-white negatives. For b/w they are not very suitable: ICE does not work with traditional black-and-white film, Dmax (the dynamic range) is not sufficient and very often highlights will become plain white. But the worst thing is that the very focused LED light source emphasizes grain and dust in a way that you will blame the film... it's not the film, it's the scanner.

In the past there were similar scanners from Konica/Minolta. The Dimage Elite II delivered the same quality as a better Coolscan, was much faster and much better for b/w but notoriously unreliable. Mine was repaired three times in one year.

Plustek makes some negative scanners that are one or two quality levels below the Coolscans. They are a little cheaper, even slower and less reliable, and there is no slide feeder available.

Here come the flatbeds with a slide or negative holder. The best ones are somewhat okay, especially for medium format scans where choices for scanners are really limited, but they are not great, and all of them are really slow. They are not so great if you look at the price tag and the scan speed, especially if you have lots of 35mm slides or negs. At these prices quality and productivity should be better. The cheap flatbeds do the same but at a quality level that is just out of the question.

Then, there are the el-cheapo negative scanners - hooray, welcome to the world of PacificImage, Reflecta, Polaroid, Rollei, VuPoint, Wolverine and dozens of other trade brands that sell the scanners of Ninghai Yiqun Plastic Co., Ltd. from Zhejiang in China, a company that also produces coffee machines, pet products and those great vegetable choppers that we all love since we saw them on QVC. Sounds like 'chinese quality'. It does not disappoint you: your scans will have all the quality that you can expect from a cheap chinese scanner.

That does not look like good news, I must admit. But there are some alternatives:

If you have color negatives or slides and a simple office flatbed scanner it can be enough. It's quite simple: go to a lab and get some prints, then scan the prints. For my prints I use a $60 Canon LiDe scanner, and quality is great. No kidding. As prints from films are so cheap today many people can simply get all their negs printed for the price of a dirt-cheap negative scanner.
If you have b/w negatives talk to the lab operator, he might be able to create good prints, but they can be either expensive or bad, or great. Make a test.

Those of you who own a very good DSLR own a great negative and slide scanner - well, almost. You need a macro lens - I mean, a real macro lens, not a close-up lens that is screwed on a normal lens and screws image quality. The lens you need to look for is one that is optimized for 1:1 size or similar. Then you need something to hold the film and a very bright light source. Some people built all this on their own, but with an adapter you can easily mount an old-fashioned bellows with a slide/negative copy attachment to your camera. That means, all this does not need to be really expensive. I decided for an Olympus bellows with a slide holder and the legendary Olympus bellows head (lens) 80mm f/4, the sharpest beast ever built for this purpose... it was not exactly cheap, but all this together cost me less money than a new macro lens. Good news is that this works fine with b/w and color negatives and slides, but they must be 35mm if I use the slide holder. Bad news is that it does not have and kind of dust removal, so it is important to be pedantic when cleaning the negs (a dust-free blower and antistatic brush is needed).
Depending on the quality of the lens and the resolution of your DSLR you can get very large scans very quickly and at an amazing quality... and a good macro equipment is included, too.

One thing must not be forgotten.

If you scan images you need a backup. And a backup of the backup. Etc. Do you know that CDs and DVDs last only a few years, only five years in many cases? If you use hard disks, how long do they last? Five years? Backup in time, you might easily lose your visual family heritage.

What I want to say is this: for heaven's sake, don't throw away your prints, negatives and slides. Most of that analog stuff will last longer than all our digital toys.
07-31-2010, 11:49 AM   #30
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Hi CXO,
Thank you for your input. A few notes regarding non-high-end scanners:
  • Reflecta scanners are a German product* (not Chinese) as are corresponding Pacific Imaging models. Reflecta is in direct competition with the Plustek range (also German) and provides similar performance. The Reflecta ProScan 7200 (not yet available in N. America) has enjoyed very positive reviews at a projected U.S. price point of under $500 USD.
  • The Nikon 9000 ED is still sold in N. America, though availability is spotty. You can back-order one at list price through Adorama. Both the 9000 ED and 5000 ED are still sold in Asia and possibly other markets.

Steve

* As with most things now days, the actual country of manufacture may still be China...

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-31-2010 at 11:59 AM.
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