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05-05-2019, 09:04 AM   #1
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Scanning film.....

Now that I am actually taking some pictures with the collection of golden oldies I wondered what do you filmsters use for scanning ? Back a bit I had a film scanner that worked like a slide projector and would take in a slide, scan it and then move on to the next one. It broke down ages back and was trashed but as I am getting back into this I wondered if people had recommendations.

I mostly use a Mac and have plenty of image software for pics but none thats particularly geared for this.

Ideally I would like to scan in b&w / color negs and then go from there. For the time being I am using a local place to do the processing but going forward I am thinking process the negatives (or positives) at home and then scan in for post process work and possible printing. My brother in law handles photo printing professionally so the printing side is easy enough so long as I have a digital image.

Any suggestions welcome for the scanner and any software thats good and useful for this....

05-05-2019, 09:32 AM   #2
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VueScan Scanner Software for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux

As long as there is a 64bit driver (10.6) for the scanner...Even my ancient CanoScan 8400F works.

Make sure your B&W negatives are really clean, or you are going to spend a lot of time touching them up. ICE works for color, but not for B&W...VueScan implements its own IR dust removal, but it still doesn't work with B&W...
05-05-2019, 09:40 AM   #3
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A lot depends on your projected volume of scanning. There are a number of options out there from on-camera to dedicated.

I gave some thought to on-camera using a lens adapter for macro, but tossed that out very quickly. I ended up with a Epson V850, and I'm completely happy with it. I've scanned everything from 35mm negs and transparencies, to medium format, to large format (4x5), to photos. It's a very flexible piece of equipment. It came with a number of scanning frames for film and mounted slides. I also went to the trouble to buy an after market scanning frame for my medium format made of metal and designed for the V850; it provides greatly improved scans (Better Scanning). I haven't tried it yet, but a number of folks are using the V850 for wet scans, which to provide superior scans.


One the most important things is the software. The Epson software is all right, and I'm also using VueScan x64 and Silver Fast 64 bit. The software for the scanners is ideal for one film, say Kodak Ektachrome, but doesn't do justice to Fuji, e.g. Every software package has algorithms which are biased one way, or the other. This isn't a fault, it's just the way things have to be.


There's a learning curve of just how dense you want the scan and the dimensions, what the output will be, etc. I usually output TIF files, and convert in Adobe or Affinity.

This may not be the answer you seek, but there aren't a lot of straightforward answers. For instance, you can spend around $800 for an Epson, but you can also spend up to $30K for the most exotic. Flatbed scanners are a bit of a compromise.
05-05-2019, 10:29 AM   #4
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Some questions/thoughts...

Budget?
Costs of film scanners usually start around a few hundreds, and then go well into the thousands.

Required Output?
Do you need enough scan resolution so that you can make 16"x24" prints from a 35mm negative? This will be one of the biggest factors that will affect the cost of the scanner.

Scan volume?
Are you scanning an entire 36 frame roll every few days? Or the odd select frame?

Format?
Are you scanning only 35mm? Or 120? 4x5?

Software?
Some older dedicated scanners have issues with OEM software and drivers and may be limited to using somewhat expensive 3rd party software.


Given the above questions, I personally think that the best overall value in scanners available are the Epson V7xx/V8xx models.
Flatbed scanners don't have quite as high scan resolution as dedicated scanners, but I can get good enough 35mm scans from my V750 for 12"x18". Prints that I have shown in galleries.
I have found that the Epson software is actually very good and allows the most user control of output.
I wrote a detailed guide to using Epson Scan her,
Getting the most from color negative film with your Epson flatbed. – Photography by Colton Allen

05-05-2019, 11:01 AM   #5
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I've had pretty good luck with the low-cost solution of a decent quality but cheap LED light table and a tripod to take photos of the film by just manually moving the film past the camera, then I cut into strips and sleeve. Even with slight film curvature left over it's fine for online at f/8 with a macro lens; I can re-"scan" anything that I want to print more carefully (I.e., with a film holder or something).

I did a comparison with what I got from a lab Noritsu and was happier with my K-1 than the Noritsu so I stopped paying for scans. Maybe it was just the scanner operator but if I'm happy at the end of the day and it's faster and cheaper...

Edit: for the curious, this was the light source -- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0755C2CBF/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&psc=1&l...language=en_US and these are the comparisons: https://www.dgradyphoto.com/Scan-Comparison/n-7trNfN/i-D7BjF6L/A -- Note the K-1 photos are just for comparison on color/detail; they're badly done without even de-sleeving the negatives. If you do that it's much better and doesn't have the weird line on it.

Last edited by fehknt; 05-05-2019 at 11:15 AM. Reason: added links
05-05-2019, 11:08 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astro-Baby Quote
I wondered what do you filmsters use for scanning ?
I have two film scanners, a Nikon Coolscan 5000 ED for 35mm and an Epson V700 for medium format and 4x5. Neither is a currently available new, though roughly equivalent models are available on the current market. I purchased the Nikon after a series of mixed experiences with "minilab" scans from various stores offering processing. The Epson was bought specifically for the larger formats, though it came with negative carriers designed for 35mm film strips and slides. My thoughts on current options run like this:
  • If using a lab for processing, try to use the lab the pros use. Machine maintenance and chemical replenishment schedules are critical and the results I was getting from the non-photo stores offering processing was that they were not doing a good job. Likewise, scans from the same places are often of poor quality due to over-processing.
  • Using a flatbed scanner for 35mm is doable, but is likely to hit maximum quality at no more than about 2400 dpi regardless of how high the resolution the scanner is set to or what software is being used. This limitation is due to the quality of the scanner optics and the fact that flatbed scanners are fixed focus. BTW, that 2400 dpi figure is for top-end offerings. Less expensive options may max out at 1500 dpi or lower.
  • My Nikon 5000 ED is an amazing device capable of its advertised 4000 dpi (or very close to it, depending on review). It was expensive new and even more so now, even used. I do proof scans at 1100 dpi (to JPEG) and only use full resolution to TIFF for high quality scans destined for print jobs.
  • Should my Nikon break, I would consider a Pacific Image Primefilm XA or XAs. (The Primefilm XA is sold in Europe as Reflecta RPS 10M.) Either would be feature and performance equivalent to the 5000 ED. The current price at B&H for the XAs at $479.90 USD is $800 less than I paid for my Nikon ten years ago. For about $110 less, the Primefilm XEs (Reflecta Proscan 10T) might also be in the running, though with a somewhat more limited feature set. Both will provide a real-world resolution of over 4000 dpi when set to 5000 dpi.
  • For scanner reviews, I am very fond of those provided by filmscanner.info. The resolution values stated above for the Reflecta/Pacific Imaging models are from that site.
  • The quality of scanner software is highly variable in regards to options and user experience. I have been happy with Epson Scan and the Nikon Scan software that shipped with my scanners. I have demo'ed Vuescan and found the user interface obtuse, though with time, I can likely bend it to my will. I have a license for Silverfast, but seldom use it due to complexity. As with Vuescan, I am confident that objection would likely clear with regular use.
  • Scanner IR dust/scratch removal options (Digital ICE and such) can be extremely useful, but sadly only work for color slides and negatives
  • Be aware that driver support for used scanners might be poor for current versions of Windows and Mac operating systems
  • There will likely be several comments on this thread regarding dSLR "scanning". Good results are possible though assembling a workable setup with negative flatness and parallel camera alignment attained might be difficult. A FF dSLR with bellows slide/negative strip duplicator and 50mm lens is probably the easiest option.* There are various options for C41 orange mask "removal" that I can't comment on as to how well they work and whether the resulting image retains good color fidelity to film scanner results.
I guess that pretty much wraps it up.


Steve

* Use of a bellows slide/negative duplicator with APS-C cameras is problematic due to bellows extension limitations at the required 1:1.5 magnification. It is hard to explain, but obvious when actually attempted.
05-05-2019, 11:19 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by fehknt Quote
I did a comparison with what I got from a lab Noritsu and was happier with my K-1 than the Noritsu so I stopped paying for scans. Maybe it was just the scanner operator but if I'm happy at the end of the day and it's faster and cheaper...
Ask the lab to scan with base sharpening and minimal color/image enhancement applied. Minilab scanners can do a very decent job if configured properly. The problem is finding a lab that will do it. There are a few users here on Pentax Forums who own small-scale models (Pakon F135 or similar) that do quite nicely and can batch scan a full 35mm roll.


Steve
05-05-2019, 11:38 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Ask the lab to scan with base sharpening and minimal color/image enhancement applied.
That would help but the main pain point seemed to be loss of detail. Maybe they just smashed it with "enhancement" but it really didn't seem like it should be that bad. I'm sure I could do it better if I configured it to my taste or went back and forth with the lab on several rolls of film but after they ruined a set of negs (luckily I didn't care about them as they were a test roll) I am just kind of sour on "pro" services and would definitely recommend doing it yourself so you can be in control and do it to your tastes, whatever option you choose.

05-05-2019, 01:43 PM   #9
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I just use my local film lab for scans done at the time of processing. (135/120 C41 & b+w and 120 E6) The Lab gives me back 6MB to 8MB TIF files, using a Hasselblad Flextight X5.

This is for what they call "medium resolution" scans and the quality is pretty good. For 135 E6 I use my Pacific Primefilm 7250u for the odd slide I want to post. The Silverfast s/w has a built-in Kodachrome profile that does a very good job for that type of film, the rest is so, so.

Phil.
05-05-2019, 02:48 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
I just use my local film lab for scans done at the time of processing. (135/120 C41 & b+w and 120 E6) The Lab gives me back 6MB to 8MB TIF files, using a Hasselblad Flextight X5...
Something tells me this is not cheap. In my city, a virtual drum scan is several dollars per frame.


Steve
05-05-2019, 03:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Something tells me this is not cheap. In my city, a virtual drum scan is several dollars per frame.


Steve
With 12% sales tax included it's about $11.70 CDN ($8.50 US) for a roll of 135/36 or 120/10. (It's a bit higher for E6)

Note it's a special deal only when you get your film processed and the scan price is "bundled" in with the processing. (I subtracted their cost for "processing only" from the total "special" scan & processing cost, to get the total above)

If you just bring in a slide/negative later on for a scan, then yes the price is way higher.

Phil.
05-05-2019, 05:22 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Be aware that driver support for used scanners might be poor for current versions of Windows and Mac operating systems
I've used VueScan for years. It is not that difficult to learn. I believe it uses its own drivers and, according to the website, supports close to 6000 scanners.
05-05-2019, 08:08 PM   #13
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If you want to go the scanner route and shoot only one format (e.g. 135mm film), I'd go with a dedicated scanner for that format. If you shoot multiple formats, go with a Epson V7xx or V8xx series scanner.

If you go the "digitize with a DSLR & macro" route, you can either do a "1 shot" scan or a "multiple shots & stitch" scan
05-05-2019, 10:45 PM   #14
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I use an epson v500, and epson scan. I like this software.

Epson Scan settings for color negatives.


Configuration>

Preview:

Thumbnail Cropping Area = Large

I have nothing else checked, 3x3 Sampling Area


Color:

Color Control = Checked

Continuous Auto Exposure = Checked

Display Gamma = 2.2

Auto Exposure Level = Low


Main Controls>

Professional mode

48 bit

Unsharp Mask = Checked, Low

Digital Ice Technology = Checked, Speed priority

(I find it easiest to select 'all' in the Thumbnails palette, and then make the sharpening and ICE changes, so they all change at once.)

Thumbnail = Checked


Check mark the frames you want and scan, cropping or not cropping in Epson Scan.
05-05-2019, 11:35 PM   #15
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I have used an Epson V500 and have never been satisfied with the output. Results are not sharp at all and with colour film it's extremely difficult to get accurate colours. Others here will disagree - Colton (Swift1) gets excellent results from his Epson scanners - but I have been unable to replicate them despite hours trying.

DSLR scanning (using a DSLR and macro lens to photograph the negative and then inverting the results) provides far sharper results but for B&W it can be very difficult to get good tones. For colour it's even harder as colour films have an orange mask that is very difficult to account for in the processing of the resultant image files. There is a LR plugin called Negative Lab Pro which is designed specifically for this purpose and I have seen very impressive results from it but have not used it myself. It costs $100 but of course you need to also pay for Lightroom. Look on Facebook for the group "Negative Lab Pro Users" to see results and discussion.

Still, I feel that DSLR scanning is the future for digitising negatives as scanner technology is very old and is no longer being advanced due to low demand, while DSLR scanning is moving with digital camera technology.
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