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03-05-2017, 10:15 PM   #1
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Dedicated film scanner, which is the best affordable?

I spent two days scanning old films, trying old Epson V700, and macro lenses on K-1.
Epson is very good for prints, but I was disappointed with the sharpness of film. I've tried to place film directly on glass using paper frame to keep film in place, holding them with the piece of glass on the top. The sharpness improved, but I got moire, and instead of dust removal the scanner sometimes just "overpainted" spots, which were not dusty.

So, I've tried lenses. Tamron 90mm, and DA 35mm macro, I really liked 35 macro, it goes almost into film, very close, and I shot the frame 1:1. There is so much work with color adjustment, either in Photoshop,or in LR. I liked LR more, it's kind of faster and easier. But it's time consuming.

I'm thinking about spending around $200 for the film scanner. And I'd like to get the quality no less than with macro. Is it realistic?
Scanner is faster for sure, and it the proper tool, imo.

Here is the sampe of "scanning" with DA 35mm, edited in LR. I would be happy with the same result from the film scanner.



(original 7272 x 4840 is on flickr)


Last edited by micromacro; 03-05-2017 at 10:20 PM.
03-05-2017, 11:02 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
I'm thinking about spending around $200 for the film scanner. And I'd like to get the quality no less than with macro. Is it realistic?
Are you buying new or used?

At $200 new, you will get what you paid for. I don't believe you can get a capable dedicated 35mm film scanner at that price point.

In regards to the Epson V700...have you made any attempt to trim the negative carriers? The scanner is fixed focus and adjustment is made by adjusting the height of the negative carrier. The stock Epson carrier support three vertical positions and yes, you should use the carrier to take advantage of the better of the two optical systems on the scanner. Reserve scanning from the glass bed for 8x10 or larger. Once you have fiddled with carrier height, I will break the suspense be repeating what has been stated many times before, that the real world resolution of the V700 is about 2300 dpi or about half the lineal resolution of your K-1 at 1:1. I suggest using the Tamron 90 over the DA 35.

You should be able to do much better with either method than your example photos above. How does the negative look in the loupe? Is it acceptably sharp when evaluated directly? Are you sure you are recording the emulsion side?


Steve
03-05-2017, 11:52 PM   #3
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I like this page to compare different scanners, including dedicated film scanners. It gives test chart results of different scanners.
Reflecta ProScan 10T review: Image quality, resolution, scan speed, handling
03-06-2017, 07:31 AM   #4
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I'm still partial to my Nikon Coolscan 9000. Others must be, too, because they still appear on eBay for what I paid 10 years ago, and that is, unfortunately 10 times your budget. The quality is superb. I just did not have much luck with flat beds.

If you don't need medium format, one of the smaller units will do fine, and they are cheaper. The one caveat is that there is no software driver for any windows version after XP. I have one old computer dedicated to the scanner.

03-06-2017, 09:16 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Are you buying new or used?

The scanner is fixed focus and adjustment is made by adjusting the height of the negative carrier. The stock Epson carrier support three vertical positions and yes, you should use the carrier to take advantage of the better of the two optical systems on the scanner.
You should be able to do much better with either method than your example photos above. How does the negative look in the loupe? Is it acceptably sharp when evaluated directly? Are you sure you are recording the emulsion side?
Steve
That particular image was, I believe on the wrong side of negative, I turned it to fit the frame into lamp (flat, cold LED panel ), I did not make a good setup for macro, still exploring the methods.
The other negatives are better, but they are personal to post online. I made mistake practicing on with personal pictures first. Now I will select non-important negatives to practice.

The point is: my properly mounted film in Epson carrier comes out terrible. Period. Blurry compare to those taken with macro (either Tamron, or DA 35mm)
Placed on the glass bed on scanner, they comes noticeably better.
I got that idea: adjust focus by changing the distance between film and scanning bed. I can buy custom frames, yes, but not really excited about wasting about $100 for the pain of manually nailing the focus with adjusting screws. I can get that pain for free making own frames.

I have only 35mm film to scan, not bigger. It seems that 35mm film is the worst with Epson v700 according to reviews online.

I can imporove the set up with macro lens, and buy the light pad. (which is around $100)
I can buy custom rails for V700, which are also around $100.
Or, I can put that $100 toward the scanner without any headache.

So far I'm looking for minimum headache solutions. Preferably around $200, used or new. Seems like to get a good new solution for that price range is not realistic so far.
03-06-2017, 10:10 AM   #6
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From your description, are you sure you had the correct software setting "Film with Film Holder" on your V700? If you were getting sharper scans off of the bed of the scanner, that indicates that the setting was wrong when you were using the film holder. This settings switches between the two lenses which have different set focus points.

As the other poster said, you also need to calibrate the height of the film holder to get optimum sharpness.

Doug
03-06-2017, 10:22 AM   #7
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Have a look at the Canoscan 9000F MkII. I got mine for $170. It's not a dedicated film scanner, but it works well on 35mm mounted slides (I haven't tried negatives yet). Here's one from Kodachrome 64:
03-06-2017, 10:45 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Doug Fisher Quote
From your description, are you sure you had the correct software setting "Film with Film Holder" on your V700? If you were getting sharper scans off of the bed of the scanner, that indicates that the setting was wrong when you were using the film holder. This settings switches between the two lenses which have different set focus points.

As the other poster said, you also need to calibrate the height of the film holder to get optimum sharpness.

Doug
I use the scanner software because SilverFast SE is outdated now, and the company wants money for an upgrade, from $25 and up. SilverFast was better, but the quality of sharpness for 35mm always was the same. That's why this scanner has been collected dust in our garage, but I wanted to check it for myself. And yes, the sharpness improves when the distance to bed glass changes. Honestly, I have no wish to adjust that part, calibration of the holder means to buy, or make different holders.

I'm thinking Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE is $299 now, about $150 cheaper than the newest version, probably may go for it. I have only 35mm format to scan, and don't need to spend money for multiply formats.
As for prints, V700 is really good, with any software.

---------- Post added 03-06-17 at 10:48 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Skewed Quote
Have a look at the Canoscan 9000F MkII. I got mine for $170. It's not a dedicated film scanner, but it works well on 35mm mounted slides (I haven't tried negatives yet). Here's one from Kodachrome 64:
It's great scan (from my screen of course), but will stay away from flatbed for films since I already have one.

03-06-2017, 11:26 AM   #9
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I agree that it would be hard to get a good new or used film scanner for $200, but at that budget I would go with the Pacific Image PrimeFilm 7200 35mm Slide/Film Scanner new for $180:

Pacific Image PrimeFilm 7200 35mm Slide/Film PRIMEFILM 7200U B&H
03-06-2017, 01:36 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
The point is: my properly mounted film in Epson carrier comes out terrible. Period. Blurry compare to those taken with macro (either Tamron, or DA 35mm)
Placed on the glass bed on scanner, they comes noticeably better.
Well, that is strange. The V700 has two optical systems. The better of the two is used when a properly positioned negative carrier is detected. I am wondering if there is something wrong with your V700.

QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
I got that idea: adjust focus by changing the distance between film and scanning bed. I can buy custom frames, yes, but not really excited about wasting about $100 for the pain of manually nailing the focus with adjusting screws. I can get that pain for free making own frames.
You should not have to buy an aftermarket negative carrier to do basic adjustments. The stock negative carriers have four "feet" that provide stand-off from the glass platen. Those feet allow three height positions. The user manual (see link below) has instructions:

V700: Scan Quality Problems

When working properly, the V700 should be quite adequate for proofs and lower resolution scans.

Quality Low End Scanner Options:

At your $200 price point, I just did a quick look at the B&H Web site. They have a few that you might want to consider:
  • $179.99 on sale: Pacific Image PrimeFilm 7200. You can expect 3250 dpi real world resolution when scanned at the 3600 dpi setting. A review of the similar Reflecta ProScan 7200 is available HERE. The review strongly recommends other than the supplied software, e.g. SilverFast. VueScan might also be a good option.

    Pacific Image PrimeFilm 7200 35mm Slide/Film PRIMEFILM 7200U B&H
    .
  • $329.95 on sale: Pacific Image PrimeFilm XE. This model is bundled with SilverFast SE and will deliver a real world 4100 dpi when scanned at the 5000 dpi setting. That is VERY respectable in the world of low-moderate price consumer scanners. There is a review of the similar Reflecta ProScan 10T HERE

    Pacific Image Prime Film XE Film Scanner PRIMEFILM XE B&H Photo
Yes, the PrimeFilm XE is almost twice the money and I am not sure it is worth it. The PrimeFilm 7200 + SilverFast SE is about $230.* A VueScan license is currently about $80 and should be seriously considered as a software option. BTW, neither model provides automated feed. I would not recommend either PlusTek model offered in this price range.


Steve

*Upgrading to SilverFast SE Plus (adds Kodachrome and multi-exposure capabilities) bumps the total to $300.00.

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-06-2017 at 01:44 PM.
03-06-2017, 01:37 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
The one caveat is that there is no software driver for any windows version after XP. I have one old computer dedicated to the scanner.
Use VueScan. I'm using VueScan to handle a Nikon CoolScan 4000, an Epson V700, and an Epson 2450 under Windows 10 with no issues.
03-06-2017, 01:56 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
I'm thinking Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE is $299 now, about $150 cheaper than the newest version, probably may go for it.
I would not recommend this model. Its real world 3250 dpi requires a 7200 dpi scan. The Pacific Imaging PrimeFilm 7200 provides the same 3250 dpi resolution with a 3600 dpi scan. The difference in file size and scan time is significant. In addition, the PrimeFilm 7200 has better dynamic range for better shadow performance.

PlusTek 8200i Review

The above review includes comparison to the Reflecta ProScan 7200 which is the EU equivalent model to the Pacific Image PrimeFilm 7200.


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03-06-2017, 02:14 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
The one caveat is that there is no software driver for any windows version after XP. I have one old computer dedicated to the scanner.
Are you aware of the custom driver built by Axel Rietschin (author of FastPictureViewer)? It may not work on your scanner, but may be worth looking into. I have been happily using it with my Nikon 5000 ED on Windows 7 Pro (64-bit) for several years. The steps are fairly simple:
  1. Download the Nikon Scan 4.x software for Windows Vista from Nikon
  2. Get the custom driver from Herr Rietschin
  3. Install the custom driver
  4. Install Nikon Scan 4.x (the 32-bit version will work on 64-bit systems)
I can affirm that it works with my Coolscan 5000 ED on both Win 7 and Win 10. Whether it works on your Coolscan 9000, I don't know. The pertinent blog post is:

Axel Rietschin: Nikon LS-40 / LS-50 / LS-5000 Scanners on Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista 64-bit!

and the actual driver download URL is:

http://www.fastpictureviewer.com/bin/NikonUsbScanners64.zip

Edit: Ooops! Sorry! I think I have made this recommendation before forgetting that your scanner uses Firewire rather than USB.
This other hack might work though: http://www.colorperfect.com/XP/Vista/7/driver-for-64-Bit-Windows/Coolscan/Nikon-Scan/


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-06-2017 at 02:27 PM.
03-06-2017, 02:18 PM   #14
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I use an Epson V500 with the original software. Tried Vuescan once and realized it didn't really improve anything above my workflow that I have with the Epson Scan software. Guess I am the kind of control freak with more time than money. I try to scan 'flat', grabbing as much information from the negative as possible, scan it as .tif and then PP it using Photoshop (that Google Nik collection is really worth a try!) or RAW Therapee.

Using any resolution above 2400dpi is a waste of disk space and that is already enough to make visible all the technical shortcomings in my photography. If there's something out of focus or blurred on the scan, that's probably because it is like that on my negative already. I would still love to have more resolution for 35mm scans, but IIRC, the V500 is technically not too different from the V550 or V600, the next step up being the V700, which still doesn't offer any more effective resolution. One option I stumbled across is the HP Scanjet 8300 and could be had for ~250$ used, which is supposed to have an optical resolution of 3200dpi or what, which would probably be enough for my needs. All I know about it is that it offers a little more resolution, though, nothing about how it handles or performs.

Last edited by Arvid; 03-06-2017 at 03:04 PM.
03-06-2017, 03:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
You should not have to buy an aftermarket negative carrier to do basic adjustments. The stock negative carriers have four "feet" that provide stand-off from the glass platen.
Steve, I owe you, you saved me around $300 today! I did not realize that those five plastic inserts were "feet". I removed all of them, then tested the scanner in Auto mode for now.
Here is the first result (the full size in on flickr). So far, I can't complain with the sharpness for printing, let's say, 8x11" photobook.

[url=https://flic.kr/p/Ru2PvT]

---------- Post added 03-06-17 at 03:59 PM ----------

Too early to be happy. I switched to the Professional Mode, 48 bit, and 4800 dpi. The same picture came out less sharp, and with aqua tint all over the image. Something is wrong.
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