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08-23-2009, 02:25 AM   #1
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Slide scanners. Is there any real choice?

Okay, so I keep looking at all those drawers of slides, and thinking that the job of scanning them isn't going away.

Being as I don't have boatloads of money to burn at the moment, I'm wondering if I keep on waiting for prices to plunge while quality and features greatly improve (which doesn't seem to be happening over the last couple of years), or just try something affordable for now.

I have given myself a ceiling of something around $750, although I would move a bit higher than that if it looked right. That seems to put the Nikon 5000 ED - the default choice for ordinary people as it were - out of my reach at around $1100.

But then there's the Opticfilm 7500I Ai 7200 Dpi Silverfast Ai Studio Isrd. About $490, seems to get good reviews. But I've never seen one.

So anybody out there current on what's available right now on the market?

I'm not doing professional work, just converting 40 years of slides to digital, the usual range between "why bother" and "Wow, I really hit it with that one". I'm a pretty average photographer, so most of my stuff won't justify the uber scanner...

Looking for, first, suggestions on a slide scanner.

Second, opinions on if it's worth it to go with something within my self imposed price range or else just wait another year or so to see if scanner technology and prices start to move.

Thanks for the help.

08-23-2009, 05:18 AM   #2
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Check out the Epson V700/750. Flatbead scanners have come a long way in the last few years. It sounds like your budget would allow the "750 Pro" while I opted for the 700.
I've only done a few slides so far, but have a few thousand to go through yet. I have scanned a lot of prints and b&w neg's and have goten excellent results.

hth
08-23-2009, 05:28 AM   #3
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What resolution do those flatbed scanners with the slide/film strip attachment scan a slide at?
08-23-2009, 05:43 AM   #4
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Google is your friend

Epson V700 V750 PRO

Epson Perfection V750-M Pro Scanner, Overview - Product Information - Epson America, Inc.

08-23-2009, 06:36 AM   #5
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I think the OP is looking for a dedicated film/slide scanner, not a flatbed.

Chris
08-23-2009, 07:47 AM   #6
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You may want to look for used Minolta 5400 scanners. I own the original as well as a Microtek 120tf. The Minolta with Silverfast is a superb scanner. I have used it to scan old B & W and am presently scanning some Kodachromes from the 40s.
08-23-2009, 07:56 AM   #7
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Or you can go the really cheap route...

If you already have DSLR, you can "scan" your slides just by photographing them. This actually works very well. Assuming you have a tripod and a macro setup that can image the slide in focus to (nearly) fill your frame, you can do this for very low cost. [A macro lens works best, but you can make extension tubes or reversed lenses work too.] The only expense is a lightbox (I used a tiny, cheap one < $50) and mask to block all but the slide. (I used cardboard with a hole cut into it.) You might try modifying an old 35mm slide copier. They are setup for 1:1 magnification which is too much for an APC sensor due to the crop factor. If you have a FF camera, they should work perfectly.

Here's are two example (downsized for the web) that I did for my brother a couple years ago with my *istDS. They are treasured shots of one of his trips to Antarctica.




The first shows some the slide mount frame and that I don't have rotation quite right. Simple fixes in PP. The vignetting in the 2nd is true to the slide.

There are more details / examples and feedback in a thread I started on dpreview back when I first worked this out.

I'm holding out doing my own collection until I upgrade my camera someday.

Best wishes with your slide conversions

08-23-2009, 08:18 AM   #8
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I have a Nikon V ED scanner that I used to scan a lot of 35mm negs/slides a few years back. From what I've seen, your results with a flatbed will not be as good as using a dedicated film scanner that has significantly higher resolution; my understanding is that resolution specs for flatbeds are overstated. You need to test whatever you are looking at to see if it can deliver the type of output that meets your needs (end use for the scans).
I am starting to go through the same process, as I am starting to shoot MF film. From everything that I know or have read, I will need to get a film scanner as opposed to a flatbed, but I'm not going to move on it until I have a handle on what kind of volume I will be generating. In the meantime, I'm looking for a local lab that will develop film and do scans at the quality level that I want (not so easy to find anymore).
One approach would be to cull your slides and find a lab to scan them; the economics might be better than buying a scanner.
08-23-2009, 08:49 AM   #9
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I own the Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED. It is pretty impressive, but expensive. I bought mine on a day when I was under the delusion that I had money. My second choice would have been the Plustek Opticfilm 7500 Ai. While the true scanning resolution is closer to 3200 dpi and it is fairly slow, the bundled Silverfast software makes the deal. If you are willing to wait a few months, Plustek has a new model, the 7600 Ai that features "cool" LED illumination and faster scanning. Unfortunately, the 7600 is not currently available in North America, but rumors are that it will be here soon.

The suggestions above regarding used Minolta scanners should be considered. The Dimage Scan Dual IV and Dimage Scan Elite 5400 offer excellent performance. (I have used the Dual IV and have friends that own the 5400.) Pity they are no longer made.

Edit: Here is a link to a German Web site that has scanner reviews. They are pretty complete and objective:
Test reports film scanner: Reviews, experiences, comparison, overview: Nikon, reflecta, Plustek, Canon, Microtek, Quato, Umax
Steve

BTW...Nikon is discontinuing the 5000 ED. The available choices continue to shrink...
08-23-2009, 02:27 PM   #10
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I recently bought an Epson V300 flat bed scanner - very cheap at under $200.
My aim was to scan 100's of old slides I had sitting around in boxes from 30 years ago.

The V300 can only scan 4 slides at once, so its a long process, but I have to say I was blown away by the quality of the scans. This scanner has definitely exceeded my expectations.
08-23-2009, 06:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I think the OP is looking for a dedicated film/slide scanner, not a flatbed. Chris
You are in fact correct. All my other scanning needs (what little they are), are covered.

I am torn between wanting to get on with scanning all my old slides (or the ones worth scanning, anyways) or waiting some more to see if prices come down into my budget range - or my budget range picks up another $400 or so.

The difference in Dmax values alone suggest I'm out of luck right now, as I think I'm looking at something like 4.2 for the Nikon and about 3.5 at best for anything in my purchasing range. Given how many of my slides are high contrast shots, I suspect I might be disappointed to give up that much.

Anyways, reading some interesting comments here, thanks.
08-24-2009, 09:08 AM   #12
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I've just started this massive task of scanning a closet full of slides with a Nikon Coolscan 9000.

I paid the extra cash for this one because of its prowess with Kodachrome. So far, it has done a superb job on this film, especially K25. K64 is so contrasty, that the slides require a good deal of PS time, even with the excellent recovery features built into the 9000. As I get to know the scanner better, the tweaks in settings get better results with less fiddling around.

However, even my K25 best scans are not quite as sharp as the original slide, and I estimate that they would basically print well one size smaller than the originals did on Ciba.

My 30 year old Agfachromes do not fare as well. Digital ICE, GEM and ROC make a very nice effort to bring these back to life. The before and after previews show a stunning difference. However, with the grain that scanning this film emphasizes (even with GEM at full force) and mixed levels of sharpness, these scans will never be printed larger than 4x6 or maybe 5x7. I bought and processed these slides in Germany where it I had most of my slides processed as unmounted strips, and I suspect my technique with the Pakon mounts left something to be desired.

I highly recommend this scanner, but apparently, scanning old slides still has its limitations with any equipment, and be prepared to spend some time in Photoshop with many of them.

Last edited by GeneV; 08-24-2009 at 09:22 AM. Reason: Typos
08-24-2009, 09:21 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote

Steve

BTW...Nikon is discontinuing the 5000 ED. The available choices continue to shrink...
Some Nikon demos are starting to go for more on Fleabay than the list price.
08-24-2009, 09:32 AM   #14
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another good feature of the Nikon is that its native DPI is less than most other ones

you get better quality with smaller files, easier to work with.
08-25-2009, 10:35 AM   #15
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What is the typical file size for other scanners? An 8 bit TIFF scan of a 35mm slide is 57mb with the Coolscan 9000 at 4000dpi.
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