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Which Scanner

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Thanks to everyone for their help so far. The MP has been a joy (though I still appreciate my digital M).

 

I continue to be dissatisfied with my local scans, however, and have decided to purchase a scanner. But which one? I typically print to A2, so quality is key. Looks like many have used Nikon Coolscans but those are being discontinued. So what's the best option for < $5,000? Must be Intel Mac compatible.

 

thanks

 

stefan

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The Vuescan software can drive most scanners out there. Check out their list of supported devices. All the newer Nikon Coolscan models are OK. If you only scan 35mm, go for a used 4000/5000 or a V.

 

Rgds

Ivo

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The EPSON 750 flatbed is considered as a very good performer, getting very close to CoolScan terretory in diverse tests (a much more economic option too).

 

I do not own either, making do with a low end EPSON flatbed for the little film I scan for now.

I will definitely grab a Coolscan 9000 deal, should one new or refurbished materialize in my reach.

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I have a Coolscan V, and have been very pleased with it, as has everyone else I know who has one.

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I have had a Coolscan 5000ED and was very happy with it. Although the Epson 750 is OK for Medium & Large Format 35mm really benefits from the Nikon. If ever you think you might use Medium Format I would go for a Coolscan 9000 (which I now have - should have bought it right away rather than the 5000:() which also, IMO, gives slightly better results with 35mm than the 5000.

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The man in Shutterbug who writes the help column recommends the Plus Tech 7600 as the next best thing to a Nikon.

 

Used scanners can be a problem. It will look perfect because it sits on a desk, yet a million frames may have been scanned thus the internals have significant wear.

 

Wet scanning can be done with the Epson 7500 which improves grain and sharpness and if you do it wet, it supposedly does approach the Nikon according to published tests. Dry scaning does not.

 

Flatbeds to me have to be a problem because a 1/4" piece of glass is imposed in the optical path.

 

My brother asked me the same question a few weeks back. My answer was you are a few years late. Scanning has become less and less popular.

 

You can get 5x7 prints from 35mm from common flatbeds. That is the limit unless you go to the Epson and wet scan. Unfortunately there are no medium value scanners out there, only cheapos and expensive like the Imacon and drum scanners.

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I use a Minolta 5400 and I find it to be great. The used prices are a lot more reasonable compared to the Coolscan these days as well. I think it's worth trying out.

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I'm very happy with my Canon fs4000u which is a 35mm dedicated film and slide scanner along the lines of the Nikon. Easy to operate, USB, great software, I think it does ICE but most my scans are B&W and it's cheap because it isn't a Nikon. Around 280.00 in good used condition. I highly suggest it. Bob.

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Stefan, I went through the same process. It is very important to have a true understanding of the kind of scan you want & what role the post processing plays. In the past year I have experimented with 4 scanners, The Nikon 5000 & 9000, the Minolta & the Epson 700 & 750.

 

Here's my take; the Minolta is fine, but very average. The Nikons are superior if you want a very high contrast scan. It "looks good" right from the scanner, if you don't want to make individual interventions.

 

The Epson was my final choice. Here's why, I can control the scan to get all the details I want. I tend to want lower contrast & more details. That way, I craft each image in Photoshop by building the scene as I desire, not the scanner's. As Ansel Adams said, "The Negative is the score, The Print is the performance." Ansel tries to promote the individual expression of what he is feeling, not just a replication of the object through the lens. The Epson along with Vuescan as the front end allows you to set up profiles which you can use as first previews & starting points & allow you to experiment with your scans & the freedom to fashion your own vision of what the final image will be.

 

In any case, good luck & keep experimenting. Scanning is a true art & every bit as important as any of the crucial steps in image making.

Edited by roguewave

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Ben - interesting input on the file differences.

How did you like working with the Nikon neg holders vs the EPSON holders?

 

I have a temporary EPSON V300 and feel, the holders really limit the scan quality and are rather uncomfortable to handle.

 

I imagine, using a Nikon CS 9000 with roll feed might be the most economical way of getting the negs into the computer right after drying (I have some serious curl issues with the EPSON holders).

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I've seen quite a few used Imacon Flextightsn(different models) come up for sale. Anyone have experience with these?

 

stefn

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The Epson was my final choice. Here's why, I can control the scan to get all the details I want. I tend to want lower contrast & more details. That way, I craft each image in Photoshop by building the scene as I desire, not the scanner's.

 

Interesting. I haven't come across this sort of observation before, which intuitively makes sense and which would be good if true (I'm also considering getting a scanner).

 

Does anybody here have "real world" images scanned with the epson v750? I realize there are a myriad of variables that can influence the final output but I just want to see a large-ish scan.

 

Thanks, Peter.

 

PS. Sorry, don't mean to hijack the thread.

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Interesting. I haven't come across this sort of observation before, which intuitively makes sense and which would be good if true (I'm also considering getting a scanner).

 

Does anybody here have "real world" images scanned with the epson v750? I realize there are a myriad of variables that can influence the final output but I just want to see a large-ish scan.

 

Thanks, Peter.

 

PS. Sorry, don't mean to hijack the thread.

 

The most thorough review with very well prepared comparison scans between a Coolscan, the V700 and the V750 is made on the linked site below. It even includes deep insight in the wet scanning options with the V750 in comparison.

 

Indeed a very complete review, showing the high end EPSONs are indeed very, very close to the Coolscan output.

This might possibly another reason for Nikon not going further in development with their Coolscan line, as the output difference seems marginally for a big price differential.

 

The Coolscan 9000 though inherits some more advanced technology (auto focus and it's better optical lens), which makes for the scan quality difference.

 

I am very, very interested, how this advanced technology helps with not ideal, troublesome negatives (heavy curl especially).

 

Digital Scanner Reviews

 

I am still undecided, actually waiting for a CS 9000 deal showing up (Firewire, roll feed adapter, said scan quality - read detail, sharpness, being the factors, that sound interesting to me).

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i scanned this on an epson v500. this scanner is a lower line/range of scanners compared to the ones discussed in this thread. but i only print to 6x4 and if ever, 5x7 is largest i'll go to. i find it to be fine for MY purposes. but just for reference, i thought i'd show you what this level of epsons can do. i've put this photo up before.

 

this was taken with an M6 on fuji superia 200. balances and stuff done in lightroom. i have reduced this a lot, but even at twice the size, it's still sharp.

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I've seen quite a few used Imacon Flextightsn(different models) come up for sale. Anyone have experience with these?

 

stefn

 

Hi Stefan,

 

I can confirm that I have many years' experience with Imacon (now Hasselblad) Flextight scanners.

 

Before I went full time as a photographer I used to work for an image library doing their scans on an 848. It was an impressive scanner which gave fantastic results, however it must be said the scans weren't quite as good as you would get from the very best (and massively expensive and finickety) drum scanners.

 

I was scanning 5x4, 6x17, 6x9, 6x7, 6x6 and 6x4.5 on a daily basis, sometimes a hundred plus scans through the course of the working day. Many of those scans were reproduced over 20ft in length and though there was obviously massive amounts of interpolation involved, having a good original scan was essential.

 

I became good friends with the people who ran the company and they let me scan my own 6x6 and 35mm after hours and the results for 35mm were very good. Ultimately a tool is only as good as the hand that wields it and by that I mean if you want to get the best out of a Flextight you need to learn about how they work and most importantly set up your own profiles. The other thing about scanners is that you need good, properly exposed originals, it sounds obvious, but there are so many people out there that expect a scanner to work miracles - to create information when there is none (in blown out highlights or blocked up shadows). Which leads me onto the next suggestion, if you are going to shoot tranny opt for a less contrasty, less saturated option particularly if you are shooting in difficult or harsh lighting. I would recommend Astia as a balanced option and a huge plus is the very fine grain. Neg is less of a concern - as everyone knows there's more latitude. Additionally get yourself a good monitor and some good calibration software, the whole workflow must be up to scratch or it'll be brought down by the weak link.

 

Finally: I've been needing a scanner over the last year or two since digital has grown in prominence and clients expect a digital or digitised file and consequently I had a good look at my options. Ultimately my decision was based somewhat on the fact I had the prior experience, but also the fact the quality was good and I'd never heard a complaint from a recipient of the Flextight scans so I opted for Hasselblad X1 (essentially a marginally updated 848) which has been giving excellent results for the past couple of months. I suppose that's as good an endorsement as anyone can give because they aren't cheap!

 

Hope the above helps, if you have any further questions just shoot.

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I'd get a Coolscan V/5000/9000. I would NOT pay some of the prices they going for. Maybe $700, $1300, and $2300, respectively. Paying 2k+ for a 5000 seems nuts to me when you should be able to get a 9000 for not too much more.

 

The flextights are nice. I'd love one - a newer one. Should beat the pants off of the Coolscans except for speed. More money.

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I've got a couple of sample scans from the X1 sent to me by Hasselblad. Sadly they're copyright so I can't post them up - and to be fair they're just MASSIVE (and I really do mean that - I think one was 180mb!!) but they are very detailled.

 

It'd be very interesting to see a comparison between the X1 and 9000ED or similar though if anyone could do that? (probably unlikely I realise!)

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