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Which slide scanner?

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I am looking to get a slide scanner to digitise my slide collection, and was wondering what models I should be looking for?

Obviously I am prepared to spend a good amount to get very good results to do justice to the images I have obtained with the lenses I have.

Any advice appreciated!

 

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The fastest high quality scanner would be something like a Hasselblad X5 or X1. I think this is overkill for most use, however, unless you plan on printing very large and scanning thousands of images. I use one at my lab, but it is not really worth it for most casual users. Scanning an entire slide collection is usually not a practical endeavor. Scanning full resolution from an X5 or X1 would mean that each slide is around 500mb, and as you might imagine, that both takes a long time and is extremely taxing on storage space. For most people, I think today it is generally better to consider a camera based scanning system if you are doing large numbers of 35mm slides. Most high resolution digital cameras have enough resolution and dynamic range to capture nearly everything you might want out of a 35mm negative, and if you have a file that you really want to get everything out of, you can either have it drum scanned or scan it on an X5/X1. If you would consider camera based scanning, Nikon offers a film scanning adapter that works with their cameras, and it likely can be adapted to use with other cameras. Since you are doing slides, you do not need to worry about removing the orange mask from color negative film, which is the most difficult part of scanning. An added benefit to camera based scanning is that you will be able to scan MUCH faster, and also apply batch corrections to your images. If you are primarily concerned with 35mm, I think this is the best way by far. When you get up to medium format and especially large format, scanners come into their own. Done very well, however, camera based scanning is slowly taking over the high end as well, despite some challenges regarding transport etc.

If you are set on a regular scanner, the Epson V850 is the best balance of cost to quality in a current scanner.

Edited by Stuart Richardson

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For 35mm slides and negatives, it's hard to beat a Nikon Coolscan V ED or Super Coolscan 5000. Long out of production but still easily available via the used market, and VueScan drives these scanners perfectly. 

G

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29 minutes ago, ramarren said:

For 35mm slides and negatives, it's hard to beat a Nikon Coolscan V ED or Super Coolscan 5000. Long out of production but still easily available via the used market, and VueScan drives these scanners perfectly.

We used those scanners in our lab. Besides their good optical quality the auto focusing feature was very good. I appreciated the film strip feature, too.
 

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FWIW I use a Nikon slide-copy attachment and rephotograph the film using a 60mm macro lens and Sony AR7II.

My particular set-up ultimately yields me 24 MP images which no dedicated scanner can match.  It is also much faster - only a few seconds a scene.  Can colour-correct in Capture One as well, which is much more sophisticated than the Vuescan I still use on the flatbed for 6x6 or larger films.

B&W and Transparency films are easy, C41 negatives are hard (but not impossible).

Worth a thought.

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In my view and experiences, there is no universal scanner as to deal with every situations.

To go further, ask oneself , scanned images for which use .

 

Since 2007-8, I began to scan my multi-decades slides with Nikon Coolscan V ED : nice output but very long to scan slides or negatives.

I bought this scanner because it has "Kodachrome setting", very useful but usable also with Velvia or Provia as base setting and customize from that.

Since then, I've scanned thousands of images but far from ending my project of scanning my tens of thousands slides.

 

So, to quick scanning with digital camera was good send at first.

After "scanning" with many devices ( BEOON + Focotar + digital M Leica  along with Nikon SLR + bellow and macro lens , etc. ),

now I return to Coolscan V ED for best quality than those "camera scannings": dust was my first concern and ICE is very effective for slides, but dust removing

is not usable with b&w negatives (in this case, camera scanning can be handy if removing dust in PP can be done).

 

I use along the two processes,

camera scanning for b&w negatives

and Coolscan V ED for slides and color negatives where I obtain best results if counting on the long scan time.

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I use a camera linked to a laptop for focussing and exposure + an adapted excellent double-rail Olympus bellows with their add-on slide fastener and its matte white diffusing rear cover. The Rodenstock Apo Rodagon gives reasonably sharp snaps, and if needed you may be able to get the  Olympus 80mm that was  computed to give best reults at 1:1.

 

During daytime, colour temperature and intensity  of the light is suitable, otherwise a flash might do. It takes time to rig, but each exposure is faster than my minolta scanner. For negatives, however, that and Vuescan is necessary. Flatbedscanners may be OK for large negatives. Polaroid made a not very reliable one with an external light source and  frames for the usual dimensions. Scans of 35mm on a flatbed seems destined for low resolution.

p.

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Some of my Kodachrome slides scans can be seen here, in this thread (link)

In real size, on computer screen those Kodachrome scans are "almost as nice" as original projected minus some

"vividness" , "3D", color subtle hues very difficult to scan,

and Kodachrome color palette and slide latitude not easy to duplicate 😇

 

 

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I have been digitizing hundreds of my father's slides and four sizes of b&w negatives much quicker than with a scanner by attaching my Leica T digital camera and 60mm Elmarit-Macro lens to my copy stand, setting the aperture to f/5.6, the speed of the camera to 200, and placing the slides and negatives on a thick, bright  light box. Once focused on one negative, I don't need to focus again; thus, I can speed through hundreds of slides and negatives easily. I then attach the image card to my PC, start Photoshop, and then invert, crop, and perform any other adjustments needed. With the aforementioned camera settings, every image I open in Photoshop is sharp and exquisite! The attached image is of me in 1953, taken with my dad's Zeiss Ikonta camera (he shortly thereafter completely switched to Leica equipment which he had used during WWII.)

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I use both camera copy and Nikon Coolscan V scanner techniques. The camera copy technique is faster but more prone to errors and inconsistencies—it's easier to get sloppy. The advantage of VueScan, particularly for color negative work, is utterly consistent focus and reversal once you've sorted the proper configuration. The output resolution (using a CL and Coolscan V as the capture/scanning tools) is very very close ... That said, the camera capture and the scanner do image slightly differently.

Which proves the more pleasing imaging, and which workflow you prefer, is wholly up to you to determine. There's a fairly steep but short learning curve for either technique. 

I've been capturing film images to digital since the 1980s, both professionally and personally. And been doing slide/negative copying since even before: I recall I've had a Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5, M-Tube, and ES-1 since about 1971. :)  I've used every technique, every set of tools, that exists. None are perfect, nearly all can produce outstanding results with attention to detail and practice. 

It's attention to detail, and practice, that makes the biggest difference. 

G

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Get a Hasselblad or Imacon scanner for the important stuff, especially if you intend to make large prints. 

The quickest, potentially cheapest and easiest way to scan the rest of your film archive is to use a digital camera.  To make it even easier, take a look at the Nikon D850 and slide copying attachment.

Personally for speed and convenience in creating  a high resolution digital archive from your transparency archive, I would take the Nikon D850 route in preference to buying a used and now unsupported Nikon film scanner.   

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I have given up with film scanners. I used to have a superb Polaroid Artixscan 6000 which had autofocus, IR dust reduction, auto-transport and worked beautifully with Vuescan. The problem is that like many high quality scanners of the period, it used the SCSI interface. I could not get a SCSI card when I upgraded to a dual processor G5 Powermac and used a RATOC Firewire 800 to SCSI powered dongle. I am convinced it was this dongle, which was very buggy, that set the scanner on fire by failing to power down the very bright halogen scan light. Since then I have tried a Plustek Filmscan and an Epson V700. The Filmscan is fixed focus and you are thus wholly dependent on the register of the film holder to the film and film holder to the scanner for accurate focus. My Filmscan is just not as sharp as it needs to be - a very disappointing device. The same issue applies to the Epson V700. You can get focusing medium format film holders but not 35mm and it is just not pin sharp. I have therefore reverted to an older technology, which I have found works very well. I use a Leitz BEOON film copier, with a Leica SL601 digital camera and an LTM39 Schneider-Kreuznach 50mm/f2.8 Componon S reprographics lens (focus at f2.8; scan at f5.6). This lens has very high resolution and a very flat focus field. I can scan a 36 exposure film to perfectly focussed 6000 x 4000 pixel DNG files in around 2 minutes. I use a 5600ºK good quality LED light box under the BEOON as my light source. I set the SL to fixed base ISO and fixed 5600ºK greyscale/white balance. I import "on the fly" using a mini-HDMI to USB-C cable into Capture One for conversion/PP. 

Wilson

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