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Photography QnA: Photo Scanners

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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Digital Cameras and Accessories : Photo Scanners

Interested in finding the best flatbed color photo scanners out there? Wondering what others are saying? Check out this Q&A for consumer opinions and questions or this article for helpful tips: Choosing a Scanner.

Page 1 : 1 -10 of 12 questions

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Photography Question 
Jenni Wheeler

member since: 1/16/2006
  1 .  Scanning Photos: Do-It-Yourself Vs. Paying Others
Is it more cost effective to purchase a photo scanner for negatives or to have them done by outside?

1/16/2006 10:06:49 AM

Bob Fately

member since: 4/11/2001
  Jenni, I think the answer depends on how many negatives you are talking about, and what you want to do with them digitally. First, you should consider getting a film scanner rather than using a flatbed for film - while the latter can be done, the results are not as good as with film-specific models. Canon and Nikon, as well as Minolta, all make pretty good units from about $500-$1000.
The best of these scanners are capable of 4000-5000 dpi resolution (which nears the grain limit of film anyway) and pretty good dynamic range (dMax of 3.9 or 4.12). You can expect a 4000dpi scan of a 35MM frame in 8 bit color to be about 50-60 MB in size (120-140MB for 14 bit color). So space is one consideration. Of course, you could (and should) burn CDs or DVDs as multiple backups, and use high-quality long lasting blanks for this purpose (as even name brand conventional discs can fail after a few years of storage).
Time is another factor - someone will have to sit there and feed the scanner. So, if you have lots and lots of negatives and want to be able to produce high quality large output from them (I've done poster sized prints from 4000 dpi scans) then getting a film scanner would make sense. At least, you'll want to compare the costs (and time) to whatever per-negative price the service bureau will charge.
On the other hand, if your goal is to be able to produce low-resolution images for publishing on the Web or email attachments, then you won't need to scan at super-high resolutions. This may alter the formula - if the service bureau charges less for low res scans.
Black and white is another story, though - they can actually be trickier than color negs to scan properly.

1/16/2006 10:43:25 AM

Michael H. Cothran

member since: 10/21/2004
  Bob's information is very thorough and accurate. No argument here. Please allow me to elaborate in another direction -
All consumer film scanners are of the CCD (Charged Coupled Devices) type. While the best of them are certainly capable of 4000 ppi resolution, their optics are not. This means that you'll get 4000 ppi, but many of those pixels are added as 'fillers' in much the same manner as Photoshop interpolation. You simply won't get 4000 ppi worth of detail.
On the other hand, not knowing your final use of the scanned images, these consumer scanners are more than enough for most photographers, and will provide you with excellent quality, even with their short comings.
However, if you want or need the very best in scanning quality, you will have to go to a drum scanner, which uses Photo Multiplier Tubes (PMT) rather than the CCD system. The results are much cleaner scans, much sharper, and maximum detail down to the grain. No fillers! File sizes are almost unlimited - it would not be out of the question to get a 200-300 MB file from a drum scan of your 35mm film. For most photographers, this would be an overkill.
The downside to drum scans is their expense. A personal drum scanner in your home could cost as much as your new Suburban. Commercial prices for individual drum scans begin about $30, and go up from there, depending on the file size you request. At Chromatics (www.chromatics.com) I pay $50 for a 300 MB drum scan from a 6x6 neg. I am thinking seriously about a high end CCD scanner instead. The drum scans are the best in quality, but somewhere along the line you have to weigh in the expense vs the quality difference.
Good luck.
Michael H. Cothran

1/16/2006 4:44:58 PM

Larry Larsen

member since: 11/1/2004
  I rented a Nikon film scanner, $45.00 for the weekend. Get organized and be prepared for hours and hours of feeding film into the scanner.
Easy! Larry

1/17/2006 12:25:48 PM

Larry Larsen

member since: 11/1/2004
  I rented a Nikon film scanner, $45.00 for the weekend. Get organized and be prepared for hours and hours of feeding film into the scanner.
Easy! Larry

1/17/2006 12:25:48 PM

Jennifer Cresse
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/12/2005
  Awesome idea on renting! Where can you rent something like that?
I wanna scan all of my old film but my husband said he'd kill me if I bought a negative scanner.
Thanks!
Jen

1/17/2006 1:41:59 PM

Larry Larsen

member since: 11/1/2004
  I would imagine that any major city has a camera store that rents equipment. It is used primarily by professional studios. In Seattle, Glazer's rents just about everything. Do a Goggle search for your location.
Larry

1/17/2006 5:34:17 PM

Jennifer Cresse
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/12/2005
  Thanks!

1/17/2006 7:01:24 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  If you shoot a lot of film, a good dedicated film scanner is a worthwhile investment.
Though not as precise as drum scans, the results are acceptable by most people's standards.

Agreed,...it's time consuming to get good scans at home but cheaper in the long run than having them done by an outside party.

1/18/2006 4:15:16 AM

Jenni Wheeler

member since: 1/16/2006
  Thanks so much for all the hellp! I'm having a hard time finding rental equipment, but I'm still hunting :) thanks again!
Jenni

1/18/2006 5:53:56 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Dan C

member since: 12/25/2002
  2 .  Another "Which One" Scanner Question
Hello all!

I am in the market for a good film scanner. I have considered both the Canon FS4000 and the Nikon Coolscan IV ED.

Half of my 35mm slides are Kodachrome and I have noticed (from reviews) that they both do not work well with Kodachrome as far as the dust removal software goes. Is this an internal drawback (hardware) or a software drawback? Can I solve this in photoshop and how?

Also, allot of my pictures are night shots. Anyone have any experience with these scanners or other scanners for these types of pics? Is black true black? I know that on my flatbed (outdated HP scanjet 5200c) the dark spots tend to "bubble" with print scans.

Last question: Why, if the output resolution does not have to be more than 300dpi, is there the option for such high resolutions?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

7/25/2003 7:40:55 PM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  You're right in that Digital Ice and other proprietary clean-up programs don't work on Kodachrome. When that is the case, simply go in and clone out the dust spots. It's slow and tedious, but it's one option.
Another is Ed Hamrick's Vue Scan (edhamrick.com). It's only $40.
Also, there's an explanation at luminous-landscape.com of how to cut Digital Ice out of the process altogether and do the cleanup another way. It's rather involved.
For your last question, it's because a 35-mm slide is so small that it needs 2400 ppi or more for a decent scan. When you scale the image in Photoshop (Image/Image Size, Resample Unchecked) to a usable size (5 x 7, 8 x 10), the pixels spread out to 240 pixels-per-inch or more, which is ideal for printing.

7/28/2003 5:39:27 AM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  Last sentence sould read, "...the pixels spread out to 240 pixels-per-inch or more . . . ".

7/28/2003 9:59:50 AM

Wayne Attridge

member since: 9/27/2002
  This is really a question more than an answer. As an experiment I scanned a photo on my flatbed Canon at 600 dpi and had my friend scan the negative on his HP negative scanner. At all resolutions up to 2400 dpi, my flatbed was far superior to the negative scan. I would like to scan several thousand negatives that I have but am concerned about the quality. Is the new Canon 4000 going to give me a scan from a negative that would be good enough to blow up to poster size if it was taken on asa 100 film. I don't want to buy one if it is not going to do a good, well better than good, job. Does anyone have some real world experience with this.

7/28/2003 4:04:22 PM

Heather K. Jacobsen
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/10/2003
  Hi,

I just recently bought the Canon FS4000 after I thought I had done my homework well enough. I have mixed feelings now about my purchase.

I was very happy and excited when I scanned my first few batches of negatives. There seems to be no problems with this scanner and negatives. But when I scanned a few of my favorite slides, I was very disappointed. It seems to have problems calibrating blues and greens, so that my pix came out looking muddy, flat, and not vibrant in color at all. Imagine my disappoint, especially when scanning Velvia slides! There is no way to manually adjust calibration yourself. So I searched the interent for an ICC profile (I can explain if you need me to) for this scanner, and didn't have much luck. There seems to be profiles out there for all but this scanner! I returned the scanner to Canon (I live in the Philippines so customer service is a bit different here!) and they could not fix the problem, so they replaced the unit and the same thing happens.

I have since been able to find a way to get around this. I use another ICC profile that makes the image almost close to its original, then make adjustments in Adobe Photoshop. But I shouldn't have to do all this for the amount of money I spent. If I could do it over again, I might have gotten a different scanner.

What really made me want to purchase this one, was the high resolution capability. Since you asked, its good to have high resolution if you have a lot of images that you would like to crop and enlarge to 8x10. I think that you can get a poster size print from this scanner with an uncropped (or not cropped by much) image. But you have to be willing to go through a bit of work to get your slides to look good!

I hope this helps.

7/28/2003 8:12:01 PM

Vincent Lowe

member since: 4/2/2000
  The reason that the dust removal doesn't work with Kodachrome is because the Kodachrome emulsion retains some silver particles. In normal colour films the silver is completely removed in processing and replaced with coloured dyes. When scanning, the slide is scanned with an infra-red beam as well as RGB. The infra-red beam goes through the dyes but is stopped by dust particles; the position of the dust is marked and the software interpolates from surrounding pixels. In Kodachrome the metallic silver particles also stop the infra-red. Kodachrome is unique in this respect for a colour film but note that all 'normal' monochrome films retain the silver so the dust removal doesn't work with these either. This doesn't apply to the chromogenic (I think that's the word?) type monochrome films that are processed in colour chemicals (Ilford XP2 etc.).

7/29/2003 12:58:05 AM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  The Nikon film scanners have been a pro standard for years, first the 2700 ppi LS-2000 (what I have) and then the current LS-4000.
If it's slides you want to do, I'm afraid you really should go with a scanner that allows multiple overscanning, up to 16 times with the Nikons. Slides are SO dense in the shadows, unlike negs which are thin in the shadows.
I wonder if something isn't brewing at Nikon. The 4000 is getting cheaper. Maybe a newer model is on the way. If I had it to do over, I'd get a 4000 ppi scanner with overscanning capability and use Silverfast scanning software.
If you want sizes a lot bigger than 11 x 14, then you should be looking at Photoshop techniques for raising the resolution without wrecking the image integrity, or something like Genuine Fractals.

7/29/2003 5:39:19 AM

Dan C

member since: 12/25/2002
  Thank you all for your answers! Heather, From what you have said I think I will go another route other than the canon and take advice from Doug and save up money for a 4000 dpi Nikon because I have way too many slides to spend so much time with them . By the way what is the ICC thing?

Thanks!

Dan

7/29/2003 6:03:58 AM

Michael Daily

member since: 7/17/2002
  Here is another solution, and that is canon 9900 f, which is flat bed scanner. SO it can scan documents and negatives and photo. The highest dpi is 3200, but more interesting it this scanner will 35mm, medium & large format negs. I purchased one 2 weeks ago and it fast, although I need upgrade my USB connection 2.0. Best of all it is only $400. If you go to Canon's web site and scanners, you can compare the models and this will answer may of you questions.

Bt the way Canon's customer service has been great.

michael

7/29/2003 9:26:37 AM

Dan C

member since: 12/25/2002
  Thank you, Michael. I am wondering though, do you get allot of dust on that scanner of yours? I have a flat bed scanner as well (it doesnt do slides) but dust is a very big problem. I have read that the most recent flatbed scanners are good but they have a tendancy to attract dust no matter how hard you try to physically remove it. It would be neat if they invented an anti static device... So I am under the impression that film scanners are a little bit better since it is internal and dust is kept out... I am truely not sure. I do know that a drum scanner would be a dream to have... but $10,000 is a little much. So anyhow... Thank you for the suggestion. I will look into it as well :}

Dan

7/29/2003 4:39:28 PM

Michael Daily

member since: 7/17/2002
  Dan I have only had this scanner for 2 weeks and do not see a big dust problem so far and have scanned several rolls of film (35mm & medium format) this scanner has an option to remove dust and I have not tried that yet. I purchased this at Fry's and I am not sure where you live, but many large retailers offer 30 day trial period.

The next question involved is price, how much to you want to spend??????
You may want to try it and see for your self.

What I can say is that I am happy (need to upgrade my USB to 2.0) I'm exploring the world of medium format and this scanner comes with trays to accommidate such. I can scan up to 3200 dpi and it is suppose to interpolate to 9600 (I have not figured that one out yet) but $400 I am happy and will kept it.

That is my 2 cents worth. If you have a large retailer near you and they have this unit, to them you reservations about dust etc and see if they will let you try for 30 days or if not call Canon and see if they offer such a solution.

michael

7/29/2003 5:25:14 PM

Dan C

member since: 12/25/2002
 
 
 
Here is a pic that I have scanned with my current flatbed (HP scanjet 5200C). Although this particular pic is a print, I was wondering if you get any effects like this with yours? Im sure there may be a difference between a negative scan and a print scan since the print actualy touches the glass. If I where to invest in another flatbed it would have to be able to scan good prints as well.

The first picture is blown up to show the "bubble" effect that I am talking about. The second pic was worked on in Photoshop (i used a little bit of median noise to mask the unwanted effects somewhat).

If you have an example of waht your scanner can do that would be wonderful!

Thanks!

7/29/2003 6:18:02 PM

Dan C

member since: 12/25/2002
 
 
  Devil's Lak Fog crop
Devil's Lak Fog crop
 
  Devil's Lake Fog
Devil's Lake Fog
Devil's Lake, WI
 
 
Here is a pic that I have scanned with my current flatbed (HP scanjet 5200C). Although this particular pic is a print, I was wondering if you get any effects like this with yours? Im sure there may be a difference between a negative scan and a print scan since the print actualy touches the glass. If I where to invest in another flatbed it would have to be able to scan good prints as well.

The first picture is blown up to show the "bubble" effect that I am talking about. The second pic was worked on in Photoshop (i used a little bit of median noise to mask the unwanted effects somewhat).

If you have an example of waht your scanner can do that would be wonderful!

Thanks!

7/29/2003 6:28:03 PM

Heather K. Jacobsen
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/10/2003
  Dan,

The ICC profile is a digital description unique to each scanner, monitor, printer, etc. on the way it reads colors, since every peice of equipment has a slightly different way of reading colors. This is why it is a good idea to calibrate your scanner, monitor and printer with one another to ensure that what you see on your monitor is what you actually scanned in and is what you will actually print out.

You can get ICC profiles for a lot of digital equipment, or you can create your own by purchasing an "IT8.7 target" which is essentially a card of colors that you scan in to determine how your scanner reads it. I think one of these cards costs about $50, and then you can download free software to make the profile. I tried to do this, but didn't have a lot of luck - I may just not have fully understood the instructions!

At any rate, if you can find an ICC profile or want to take the time to create one, it is probably a good idea. Once the profile is made then you can just apply it to your raw photo after scanning with just one click (at least in Adobe photoshop).

If you are interested in finding out more, you can try this link:

http://www.freecolormanagement.com/color/links.html

I hope this helps.

Heather

7/29/2003 6:33:56 PM

Michael Daily

member since: 7/17/2002
 
 
 
Dan you have brought up a good point on dust issue, this is something I overlooked. But I need to ability to scan medium format & at $400 this new Canon 9900f fits the bill (currently I am going thru a learnin curve with it)

at any rate here are a few scans, 2 are medium format (only cropped-not touched up and scanned Sunday) and then 2 photo from Yosemite trip, half dome was scanned using on old HP PSC 500 (printer copier scan)and the tunnel pic is from Canon I only cropped & resized these these, are as they were scanned.

Hope this helps. Ask your self what do you want to accomplish with the scanner & at what price.

michael
may the lite be with you & your lense focused

7/30/2003 8:22:34 AM

Michael Daily

member since: 7/17/2002
 
 
 
Dan here's some scans & I hope this helps. 2 are medium format (reason I purchased canon 9900f) and other 2 are photos scanned, half dome was using on old HP printer-scanner and Yosemite tunnel vu was scanned using Canon 9900f, I only cropped these images.

Ask yourself what is the purpose & function of the proposed scanner and at what price?

7/30/2003 8:35:52 AM

Dan C

member since: 12/25/2002
  Cool. Very nice pictures, Michael. The bronica medium format does you justice. As far as the scanner goes, wow... Those are realy nice scans for not being worked on!

Well, I guess it would not hurt to have a flatbed scanner tht is good AS WELL as a film scanner. I will just have to wait and save up.

Thank you and may the light and focused lens be with you as well :}

7/30/2003 4:44:48 PM

Larry J. Rhodes

member since: 11/10/2002
  I used to have a studio, and when we closed it, my business partner and I divided the equipment and went our separate ways. Among the equipment that my business partner took was the Nikon Super CoolScan 8000 ED, and, boy, do I regret letting it go! However, I recently purchased a Nikon CoolScan IV ED, which only has a DMax of 3.6, and 2900 dpi optical resolution, mostly because I'm a bit too strapped these days to be buying a bunch of new photo equipment. That being the case, the only decent digital SLR I want is completely out of my price range (the EOS 1Ds by Canon). So, I've decided to continue to shoot film and scan it.

Though a higher DMax of 4.2 and optical resolution of 4000 dpi are nice (as is the case with the Super CoolScan 8000 ED), I've only been the slightest bit disappointed with the CoolScan IV ED, even though it's an entry-level model. And, though it's a four-year-old model, it's still quite a bit above many other new scanners out there.

About the densest color negatives only reach a DMax of around 2.8, if even that, and most regular color transparencies only reach around 3.4. So, having a DMax of 3.6 is more than sufficient for these. However, Velvia can get as high as 4.0, and Kodachrome and B&W negatives can get even higher, depending on exposure and development. But, with a scanner with a DMax of 4.2 or higher, even these extremely dense films shouldn't pose a problem.

If you do inkjet printing, a final image of 300 dpi should be more than sufficient to pull off beautiful enlargements, so even 2900 dpi is great. If you take stuff to labs to have printed on real photographic equipment, those print at 400 dpi, so, after cropping and such, you may find that you have to actually enlarge your final image for print on these machines to get the best detail and sharpness. That might require a scanner with higher resolution, but you can get a used Nikon Super CoolScan 4000 ED for around $600.00 that will have more than enough dpi and DMax to suit just about any kind of printing you might want to do.

8/13/2004 7:45:18 PM

Heather K. Jacobsen
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/10/2003
  Since this discussion has been reopened after over a year, I would like to change my answers from above!! I complained about the inability of the CanoScan 4000 to read my slides. But I since purchased the VueScan software, which I highly recommended to any scanner owner, and that software has no problem reading the colors correctly on my scanner. So I now have no problems with the CanoScan4000. I am sorry that I didn't figure this out last year when Dan was making his decision, but hopefully other viewers of this discussion thread will be able to this into account.

Heather
www.hkimagery.com

8/14/2004 9:54:52 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Joerg C. Jaeger

member since: 10/23/2002
  3 .  Scanning Images
Which Scanner could be best used for scanning a photoprint to the computer. Also I want it to use for damaged pictures, so I could repair them.

10/23/2002 3:37:19 PM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  Almost any flatbed scanner from a major manufacturer would do fine for your purposes here. Look for at least 1200 true pixels-per-inch resolution. When the specs give you a number such as 1200 x 2400 reolution, go with the first number. I've seen decent scanners from HP, Canon, Epson and others for $75, but you'll get a better scanner by jumping a price step or two. To repair damaged pictures, use Elements or the older Photoshop LE. Look for one of these as a freebie in your scanner's software package.

10/24/2002 9:10:43 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Jeff B

member since: 9/11/2002
  4 .  Minolta Film Scanner
I just bought (not received yet) a Minolta Dimage Scan Elite F-2900 for $275. I'm pretty sure this is a good price because other places I've seen on the internet have been advertising for at least $500-600. I've read good reviews about the product but wondered if anyone here knows anything about it. It uses digital ICE technology also. I'm an amateur photographer interested in putting my photos on the web. I like taking night-time photgraphs, and also sceneic photos so I want to make sure that my night-time pictures show up correctly when scanned, but also I want the colors on scenic photos to come out well. From reading reviews, this model seems to be the best scanner for the price, has anyone else heard good things about it?

10/7/2002 3:20:13 PM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  No direct experience with the Minolta on my part, but you got a good deal. My Nikon has Digital ICE also. Turn ICE off to scan Kodachrome, or you'll get some bizzare results. This has something to do with the layers of dyes used in the Kodachrome process. With digital ICE off, you'll spend some time with Photoshop's cloning stamp to get rid of dust spots. Enjoy your scanner.

10/8/2002 8:20:47 AM

Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2001
  Jeff, I am about to buy the same scanner. Seems there are plenty of these out there for less than $300 for some reason. I, like you, was skeptical since Amazon still has them at $700. I'll be there was just an overload of inventory or something, and Minolta is making room for their newer machines. Anyway, you can check out kenrockwell.com for a brief review of this scanner. Check the technical pages. The Digital ICE alone should be worth the $300, I think, since the next machine up that has this is $700-$800. Keep in touch with how your scanner performs and I will try to do the same as soon as I get mine.

10/10/2002 2:54:26 PM

Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2001
  Another thought on this scanner's low price. I believe this scanner only comes with a SCSI connection and not a USB as do the newer machines. Might be a hard sell and the rationale for the low price.

10/10/2002 2:56:30 PM

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Photography Question 
Adrie Uys

member since: 3/29/2002
  5 .  Copying Of Colour Slides and Old Photos
I have a flatbed scanner, Proline Scanmate 310p. I want to load a lot of old photos and colour slides onto my computer. What equipment is available, what do you recommend, and what are the prices? Nobody can help me to recommend something to get my slides onto my computer. Please help.

7/2/2002 3:38:16 PM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  You can scan your prints on your flatbed. You will need some sort of imaging program to scan into. Elements by Adobe comes to mind.

For your slides you can buy a film scanner, OR take them to a shop that will put them on Kodak Photo CD for you. Choose only your best slides for this, or you'll spend enough to buy a film scanner. Check out the articles on my web page for some specifics about scanning.

7/4/2002 7:44:20 PM

T Lee

member since: 11/5/2001
 
 
  Contest Winner
Contest Winner
Notice the dust and jagginess in the image . Scanned by a lab from Print
 
  Precious
Precious
More dust, and that scratch wasn't there previously either.Scanned by a lab from neg
 
  Santa Baby
Santa Baby
Believe it or not, none of the marks are reflections, not even the big one to the right of center. Scanned by a lab from neg
 
  Weed
Weed
Not a very good shot, but it does show the scanner's capabilities. Delta 400, slightly over-processed.
 
 
Hi Adrie,

I was unable to find much when I did a search on the internet for your scanner, so I haven't any information on doing a scan from neg or slide on your particular scanner. One thing that I can suggest though, is instead of a dedicated film scanner, perhaps it is time to upgrade your scanner to a more practical one for your purposes.

I have an Epson Perfection 1250. (1200x2400dpi and 48bit color) There is also a 1650 (1600*??? dpi), but I've never even used the full resolution of the 1250, so couldn't justify the extra money for that one. I generally scan at 300dpi and 24bit color, so the need for 1600xwhatever dpi seems unlikely. I bought the one with the Photo scanner attachment, and it cost me $200Cdn total. I believe that translates to about $135USD.

When I bought it... I didn't expect much out of it. I thought, "really... $200 how good can it be?" It knocked my socks off. It has more than paid for itself since I bought it. I shoot mainly black and white, and learned after the first time that I paid to have it developed, that I didn't want to go that route again. I now develop the film in my basement, and make contact prints. If time does not permit for the contact prints, or if it's too darn cold in the basement ( like in the winter in my uninsulated basement.) and I'm feeling like a wimp, then I sit down and scan the pics onto the computer. The quality of the scans far far outperforms my expectations. I use Delta 400 as my primary film, and have recently been playing with Delta 100, even the grain from the 400 isn't terribly noticable until I scan at HUGE resolutions. I have even scanned Delta 3200, and found that the scans were no more noticably grainy than an 8x10 print.

The other reason that I mention this scanner, is that I have a PhotoCD that was made for me at a lab. It's got dust in it, and poor quality images, even though I supplied them images. I was burnt, and will never go back to that method. (Especially now that I have a scanner that does way better than they did. :) )

Stormi

7/13/2002 5:42:02 PM

Adrie Uys

member since: 3/29/2002
  Hi Doug and Stormi

Thanks a lot for your advice. Thanks Doug for the valuable facts on your web page. It really gave me a better insight. Keep up the good work. Thanks Stormi, I will definately buy me a better scanner. Adrie Uys.

7/14/2002 5:07:16 AM

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Photography Question 
Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2001
  6 .  Leasing a film scanner
Hi, everyone. I just wanted to offer some info I've found while researching the market for film scanners. I found a company who will lease items over $2,000 to "businesses." The company is called CDW, and the number to call regarding their lease programs is
800 356 8291
They have 2- and 3-year plans with the option to buy at the end. Kind of like a car lease but without the interest payments!
The woman on the phone quoted me a price of $107 per mo for 3 years on a $2,000 film scanner. The price drops to $77 a mo. for 3 years. The "balloon" payment at the end is $1. They also have a "fair-market value" plan for those who wish to trade in their equipment in the end. It's a little lower per month, but not much. This option would be ideal for those items like PCs and total systems that would be outdated or obsolete at the end of the payment term. Of course, the more expensive the item is to begin with, the more advantageous this last lease option would be.

Hope this info is helpful to some of you.

As a side note about film scanners, I just purchased the Prime Film 1800U by Pacific Image at Ebay for $145 (USD). This is a handy little scanner for web purposes. Optical res is 1800 dpi with 36 bit color mode. Not sure what the actual dynamic range is, but I've seen 3.2 quoted elsewhere. This scanner will scan individual 35mm slides -- mounted or unmounted--and 35mm negative film.

I would highly recommend finding this scanner with the SilverFast AI scanner software included (Mine did NOT come with SF). I downloaded a free trial of SilverFast from their web site: www.SilverFast.com.

Hope this helps somebody!!

5/30/2002 12:17:24 PM

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Photography Question 
Johnathan R. Peal

member since: 3/11/2002
  7 .  Flat Bed Scanner
My Scanner went out recently and I'm looking for a decent flat bed scanner to replace it. I am leaning towards the Epson Perfection 2450 Photo scanner.

I was wondering if this was a good choice? Or is there a better choice of a flat bed scanner for photos?

5/16/2002 2:40:29 PM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  If reviews are to be believed, the 2450 got a rave review in Shutterbug magazine recently. A recent article in the leading consumer review magazine said that the Epson flatbed scanner it tested (not the 2450) stayed true to color. The ability to scan negatives at a truly useful 2400 ppi resolution is a big plus for this scanner.

A recent user on this Q&A page, though, is having trouble with the learning curve on the Silverfast scanning software. Silverfast is very highly regarded, and has a reputation for very easy color correction.

If my own experience with Epson printers means anything, Epson will work with you on any problem you have.

5/18/2002 4:17:44 PM

Johnathan R. Peal

member since: 3/11/2002
  Doug,

I really appreciate your response to my question. I see so much on here about Film Scanners and nothing really about flat bed scanners. I have read some similar reviews for the 2450 recently on other sites. I've also seen some scans on BetterPhoto.com using the 2450 and I'm very impressed with the clarity and color rendition. From what I see I believe that this will probably be more than enough machine for me. If anyone has other suggestions let me know.

Thanks again.

5/19/2002 11:50:18 PM

Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2001
  Hi, Johnathan. I have been using the CanoScan N650U for the past year to scan prints and the like. If you'd like to see some examples, all my gallery and Web site photos were scanned on this scanner.

Unfortunately, this particular model has been discontinued. I believe the next model up in the CanoScan line would be worth looking at. If I remember correctly, this one also has the optional slide/negative scanning adaptor.

I paid less than $100 for the N650U at an office supply mega store. I'm sure you can find similar models at this price.

5/22/2002 10:34:20 PM

Johnathan R. Peal

member since: 3/11/2002
  Piper,

I checked out your site and all of your photo's look great. I don't think I could go wrong with either of these scanners. I'll have to look more into the CanoScan's for sure. Thanks for letting me know what you use.

5/23/2002 1:01:47 PM

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Photography Question 
Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  8 .  Film Scanner Quandary
So here's a question from me for a change. I'm getting ready to buy a scanner but since I can't see into the future I'm not sure what to get. Someone offered to sell me their Minolta Dual Scan II for $325. But I am also considering a new Canon FS4000US 4000dpi scanner for $872. I'm sure the minolta would get me started buy I'm afraid that down the road I'm just going to end up buying the higher resolution scanner any way.

Here's my requirements as I see them now. I am a portrait photographer and I would like to scan my images to show as digital proofs, add to my website, and do my own digital darkroom work (retouching, dodging, and burning, etc.) before sending them to my lab to get LED prints made. Based on the last requirement I listed I feel like the 4000dpi scanner is my best option. But I don't have any experience with scanners so I don't know if it's just overkill.

Give me some input.

Thanx,

Jeff.

3/9/2002 1:09:30 PM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  If that Minolta works, I'd buy it to get me started in film scanning. If the max scan resolution is around 2700 ppi, you'll get 300ppi with an image size of about 8 x 12. It sounds as if you are a pro or very serious amateur.

Look carefully at 4000 ppi scanners, especially at the customer service. Nikon, after a rough beginning, cleaned up their customer service act. Nikon's Digital ICE works really well. Canon's own system may also, but I'd read some reviews first.

3/9/2002 4:27:44 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Thanks Doug... I think. ;-))) I am a full time portrait photographer so I want the absolute best quality images I can get. That's why I'm leaning towards the 4000dpi scanner. I'm just curious if anyone out there is going to tell me it's overkill.

3/9/2002 4:36:38 PM

Jim Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
BetterPhotoJim.com
Owner, BetterPhoto.com, Inc.
  I definitely won't tell you it's overkill :)

I would lean toward the better one now. You are absolutely correct in that you will just want it later.

In fact, don't be fooled into weighing resolution exclusively. Go for overall color quality - range, dynamics, etc. (This is one area that I think you will find just as crucial as resolution.)

Doug's mention about Nikon is dead on the money - seriously look into that Digital ICE thing. It is amazing and will play a big part in your image quality and scanning efficiency.

Best wishes,

3/9/2002 6:40:25 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  The Canon has it's own version of ICE but I don't know how good it is. The reviews I've read say the Canon is a good unit but most didn't like the software that came with it. It is by far the most reasonably priced 4000dpi scanner I've found.

3/9/2002 6:45:17 PM

Jim Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
BetterPhotoJim.com
Owner, BetterPhoto.com, Inc.
  Do you already have Photoshop or some such thing?

3/9/2002 7:10:05 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Not yet.

3/9/2002 7:16:01 PM

Ken Pang

member since: 7/8/2000
  Hey Jeff.

I have the Canon FSU4000. I can attest to a few things:

1) The dust remover is excellent, and loss in sharpness in areas that used to have dust is so low, that unless you have a lot of fine detail there anyway, you can't notice loss of sharpness.

2) The contrast range is brilliant. You do not lose any details from even the widest exposed slides.

3) The software is pretty average. Had a hard time getting it working on Win2k, to the point where I scan on a Win98 machine and transfer the files over to Win2k to work and print. On the other hand, Photoshop LE is a brilliant piece of software. I know some filters are missing as compared to the $1200 version, but none of the useful filters are gone.

4) Scanning speed is slow. If you want all six frames, go watch an episode of your favourite soapie. You're looking at about 30 minutes.

Other than that, I have nothing but praise for the scanner. Photos are sharp, colourful and serves every purpose. If you want to receive a 65Mb file from me, I am happy to send you a full quality photo scanned from it.

Cheers,

3/11/2002 6:37:31 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Thanks Ken. That really helps. I'll be ordering one today. It sounds like the machine to fit my needs. And you can't get any other 4000ppi scanner for the price.

Thanks everyone.

3/11/2002 11:40:59 AM

Jim Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
BetterPhotoJim.com
Owner, BetterPhoto.com, Inc.
  Hi Ken,

You must be speaking Australian when you mention that Photoshop costs you $1200 (ouch!)

Thanks for all the good info - now I even want one of these Canons :)

3/26/2002 3:32:17 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  FWIW I got the Canon and it's pretty nice. I've never scanned before and consequently have never used scanning software before. I've read a lot of reviews that say the software that comes with it is not the best but being new I have had no problem with it. The FARE (dust and scratch removal) works great. And even though I know nothing about scanning my scans have come out looking very good. Now if I can only get my high res scans to print from Photoshop LE without giving me an error message. sigh

3/27/2002 12:21:16 PM

Ken Pang

member since: 7/8/2000
  Hi Jeff,

Are you scanning in 42 bit colour? Photoshop LE can display, but not edit or print in 42 bit colour.

Jim,

Yes, sorry, that was in AUD. When Photoshop 6 came out, I thought I could get PS 5.5 or 5.0 pretty cheap. The shop did discount it... To $1150. Wow. Photoshop LE certainly does the job, and considering it doesn't cost, I'm more than happy with that.

Ken

3/27/2002 8:04:44 PM

Jim Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
BetterPhotoJim.com
Owner, BetterPhoto.com, Inc.
  Yikes - I certainly don't blame you on that one. Not much of a discount. I am sure Photoshop LE is more than fine, at that rate.

Have fun,

3/28/2002 2:30:01 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Actually the image I'm having trouble with is b&w and was scanned as such. I was having a problem opening it until I set the virtual memory lower. So now I can open it but I still can't print it. Any ideas on that one?

3/28/2002 11:35:53 AM

Ken Pang

member since: 7/8/2000
  That sounds weird...

It certainly sounds as if it's a system resources problem. Can I ask how much real RAM you have, and how large the photos are, when saved as uncompressed TIFFs?

Thanks,

Ken.

3/30/2002 9:56:42 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  I doubt it's a resources problem. It's a brand new machine with 512 megs of RAM. It says the size is 337.5M.

3/31/2002 1:58:03 AM

Ken Pang

member since: 7/8/2000
  Ouch!

Not sure what you're doing there to get the photo size so large, but it shouldn't be that large... I don't think that scanner allows hardware interpolation??!!

ANyway, can you check the colour depth? If it's B&W, make sure it's NOT 14 bit and if it's colour, make sure it's NOT 42 bit. Those colour depths are unsuppoted by photoshop LE for editting and printing - you can only view at that colour range.

Let me know how it goes.

3/31/2002 6:38:08 AM

Jim Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
BetterPhotoJim.com
Owner, BetterPhoto.com, Inc.
  Yes - Ken is right on target here. The image size should be something more like 18MB. 36MB would be HUGE, let alone 338MB.

Some scanning software interface's make it real easy to get scanning that big, though, because they allow you to choose from a bunch of overkill options.

And I am not sure if your software works like the full-blown version of Photoshop but the latter requires three times the file size in order to run efficiently. So if your file is 338MB, you would want twice as much RAM (or storage) as you have - something like a gigabyte.

3/31/2002 10:30:01 PM

Vincent Lowe

member since: 4/2/2000
  I have the Canon FS4000 and agree it's well worth the money. The dust remover works well but note that it will NOT work with ordinary (silver based) monochrome films such as FP4, TriX etc. and also Kodachrome. Kodachrome is unique among colour films in that it retains some silver in the emulsion. The dust removal system uses an infra-red beam to plot the location of the dust particles which block the infra-red, whereas it passes straight through the colour dyes. The software then interpolates from the pixels around the dust spot and fills it in. The silver particles in monochrome and Kodachrome also block the infra-red, that's why it won't work on these films.
Also - consider using a scanning utility called Vuescan, which amongst other things allows multi-pass scanning. See https://www.hamrick.com

For everything you need to know about scanning I can recommend http://www.scantips.com/

4/1/2002 4:44:34 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  I'm going to rescan the image and see if I did something wrong. It was brought to my attention that I may have scanned it for an output higher than what is compatible with my printer. We'll see and I'll let you know if it works... if you're interested.

4/2/2002 10:57:35 AM

Jim Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
BetterPhotoJim.com
Owner, BetterPhoto.com, Inc.
  Your last comment Jeff, may hint at something so I wanted to bring it out.

Many people mistakenly consider their printer's resolution when figuring out how high of a resolution to scan their image. You don't want to do this. The word "resolution" when referring to printers is a very different kind of resolution than that of a scanned image.

Even if your printer prints at a resolution of say 1440 or 2880, you would never want to scan that high. Your image's resolution rarely (if ever) needs to be higher than 300. In fact 150 works just fine most of the time, even if your printer prints at 2880.

So aim for a final image resolution of something like 1200 x 1500 at 150 ppi for an 8 x 10 print.

4/2/2002 11:07:44 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  That's exactly what I found out. Now see, if you'd told me that before you could have saved me $50 on this silly seminar I went to. ;-)))

4/2/2002 12:09:41 PM

Ken Pang

member since: 7/8/2000
  Don't know if this is true, but I picked this one up off another site... it said to calculate the best your printer can do, divide the "claimed" DPI by the number of Ink Tanks, and that's the best that your printer will do.

For example, I have a 1200dpi printer with 4 inktanks, (CYMK?) and so the best resolution that would be perceivable would be 300dpi. This is generally what I aim to get the output at.

If someone would like to comment on the truth of that statement, that would be good.

Ken.

4/2/2002 9:48:26 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  That did the trick btw. I had the output dpi set way too high. As soon as I lowered it to 300 - bingo!

4/2/2002 11:35:47 PM

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Photography Question 
Jennifer L. Vandiver

member since: 8/22/2001
  9 .  Quality and Performance of UMAX Astra 4400 Scanner
My boyfriend is getting an UMAX Astra 4400 scanner as a freebie for purchasing a new computer system. Since he already has a scanner, he's giving this one to me. I'm pretty excited over the chance to start scanning regular photos as well as downloading digital images, but I wonder what kind of performance and quality I'll get out of this product. Any advice or information?

8/23/2001 5:31:28 PM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  I have a much older UMAX, and the 4400, for $100 may do as well as my oldie. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the quality you'll get. If you want to print the photo at the same size on your inkjet, scan at 300 ppi. If you want it twice as big, scan at 600. Yours goes to 1200. Scan at 150 ppi if all you want to do is send pictures as email attachments or put them on a web page. For that you need to downsize (fewer pixels) and compress them in a format called JPEG. Your scanner may have a way to do this. Eventually, you'll need some sort of imaging program to go with this scanner. You will then be able to tweak contrast, brightness, take the black sheep out of the family portrait, put your friends' faces on celebrity bodies-the possibilities are endless. Enjoy.

8/28/2001 8:03:32 AM

Jennifer L. Vandiver

member since: 8/22/2001
  Doug,

Great! Thanks for your response.

8/28/2001 9:14:36 AM

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Photography Question 
Zoe Adlersberg

member since: 8/8/2001
  10 .  Used Polaroid 45 Scanner
HELP. I am thinking of buying a used (3 years) Polaroid 45 scanner over the Internet. My question is this - my budget for a scanner is about $1000 - enough for a good flatbed with adapter for medium format but not enough for a pro Polaroid film scanner.

Which is better - buying a used pro film scanner or a new flatbed? Will the pro offer me more in the way of resolution and speed than the flatbed - even at 3 years old?

There is no way I can see it - so I have to take a gamble. Hoping for some help.

8/8/2001 12:01:07 PM

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