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Medium Format SlideFilm Scanner

carlzeiss

Member
I've been shooting MF for a few years now and am researching into a means to scan the 120/220 negatives into digital format. Does anyone have suggestions based on their actual experiences with various MF scanners, e.g. the Polaroid Sprintscan 120 or EPSON Perfection 3170 or 3200? Any input about these or other MF scanners would be much appreciated!
 

tessar_man

Active Member
Hi,
A lot of people seem to recommend the Epson 3200 Pro, which includes LaserSoft Silverfast Ai6, a package everyone seems to recommend for optimum results (see for ex&le David Brooks in Shutterbug Sept. 2003), but then you are at $599. I would like to go with a less expensive MF scanner that also still gives decent scans of 35mm slides/negs so I extend Carlzeiss's question to other lower cost models. -Jan
 

geoffrey

Member
I've been using a Linotype Saphir Ultra 2 for several years, with very god success. Scanning at 1200 dpi, wiht a bit of Genuine Fractals, it works for good BW prints up to about 11" square.

I too was interested in newer technology, and got the Minolta dimage Multi II (Scsi) for about $500 a year ago. Its better than the Linotype, but not by very much.

I haven't used the Epson, but did checkout the Imacon 343 (not cheap at all - about $5k), and it really is superior. It scans without glass (less cleaning needed) and can give you 3800 dpi, or about 27" square print without Genuine Fractals or serious re-ressing (just changing to 240-300 dpi to print). So too, the scanning quality was significantly higher - not night and day, but noteworthy. If you want, I could email or post s&les of the differences.

The one downside of the Imacon is that it really doesn't do slides very well - they have to be de-mounted. But good MF scanners are not easy to find in any case.

Geoff
 

garybd

New Member
The answer to your question is dependent on what size final print you regularly make. For smaller prints there are many solutions which will satisfy most needs. The lower cost solutions will not however have a very broad Dmax. If you would like to extract as much shadow and highlight detail as possible, and make full use of the MF resolution printing to 3O" square or larger, you will need to generate higher quality scans. I have been using a nikon cool scan 8000 for two years with excellent results. I used to have 6000 dpi drum scans done costing $100 dollars each. Although the 4000dpi scans are not quite as sharp as the drum scans, they are of very high quality. There is not much remaining info in the transparencies that scanning with this machine does not get. This of course is operator dependent. Photoshop 7 Artistry by Haynes and Crumpler has a very good discussion of relevant parameters and considerations for scanning. Kind Regards, Gary
 

carlzeiss

Member
Geoff and Gary, Thanks for your feedback. Like Jan, I am really looking for a reasonably priced MF scanner, say between $200 and $400, realizing full well that I won't be able to get the full dynamic range as Imacon or drum scanners. My purposes are humble, i.e. not to make commercial scans to sell, but to be able to post some decent images on the web that does justice to the promise of MF. Presently, my web-posted 120/220 images are scanned from 5X5 or 5X7 prints printed from MF negs. Pathetic, huh? Judge for yourself at
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.

Has anyone out there used the Epson 3179 or 3200? Best regards, Eric
 
Eric,

The new Epson Perfection 4870 Pro costs $600, but is an excellent scanner that should satisfy your MF scanning needs.
Print scanning it's very fast and spot on with colours. For film scanning, Epson have supplied a good selection of film holders that should cover your needs. 35mm scans were good, but need a heavy dose of USM to get the best quality. The 4870 produced better scans than the old Nikon LS1000 (film scanner), but not as good the newer 4000 Nikon Coolscan (35 mm only).

For medium and large format scans the 4870 produced outstanding quality, certainly good enough for any professional photographer to use on their work.

The 4870 is cheaper than buying a dedicated medium format film scanner. The Digital ICE works a great on both transparencies and colour negative, this feature is going to save you a lot of retouching time
 

geoffrey

Member
The Epson was also recommended by the local Calumet dealer as a nice (cheaper) alternative to the Imacon. The digital ICE was noted there as well. I think I'll try a negative comparison and see how it is. But $600 is tasty.
 

perrycas

Member
I bought a 3200 after doing a bit of research on it - and then found the quality was only what you could describe at best as disapointing.
I then (too late!) talked to several people on the photo.net site and they all said the same thing - that the e3200 is overated for its use with MF. I havent bothered using it for 35mm, i have a canon 4000 which I believe is fine.
I have been told on the photo.net site that the E3200 has poor optics. i didnt find that the laser soft software helped very much. in fact i played with it and found better results with the epson software. One person described the process as taiking Zeiss image and running it through an instamatic camera. i wish i had bought the canon. All the reviews i have read so far agree it has better optics. It is a bit more expensive.
 

tessar_man

Active Member
Hyper_focal
Does the Epeon 4870 come with a holder for mounted 6x6/6x4.5 sides?
Jan

"...The new Epson Perfection 4870 Pro costs $600, but is an excellent scanner that should satisfy your MF scanning needs. .."
 
Tessar_Man,

The 4870 scanner is supplied complete with Transparency Unit and film holders for film formats from 35mm to 5 x 4". On most flatbed scanners the transparency units are sold as an optional extra and can cost as much as the scanner.
The construction of the film holders is of a very high standard and when used correctly each kept the film perfectly flat. The 35mm strip holder has a couple of clips at the end of each strip, this stops the film from moving whilst trying to load other strips. Extra care must be exercised when closing the double strip holders, if they don't click shut properly then the holder will have a slight distortion which could result in uneven focus. On the end of each of the holders there is a raised clip, this makes lifting the holder easy and should avoid finger marks on the glass plate. The 120 holder is a vast improvement over the previous 3200 120 holder, three strips of 120 film can be loaded at a time and it can now scan a 6x12cm frame.
A complete strip of 3 - 6x6 or 3 - 6x7 or 4 - 6.45 frames could be scanned in one go.

Hope this helps...

HP
 
Tessar_Man,

There are 2 different Epson Perfection 4870 scanners. Visit
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for specifications. I own the Perfection 4870 Pro Model, which is about $150 more expensive. The pro model has advantages that justfied the higher price for me.

HP
 

tessar_man

Active Member
HP:

Thanks for the link and endorsement of 4870. It did look like a nice package with lots of bundled software. However, after checking all my option yesterday I bought a refurbished Epson 3200 scanner for less than $300 from B&H.
Jan
 
C

Cwoodhou

I recently tested a 4870 scanner for actual optical resolution. It resolved 33 lp/mm which is equivalent to 2000 dpi. The same negative printed on 8x10 paper and then flatbed scanned at 1200 dpi reproduced 56 lp/mm resolution equivalent to over 3700 dpi. The resolution was done using an MTF chart and taken at the 50% point. Hence the 2.66 dots per line pair conversion.
 

carlzeiss

Member
I realize that I started this thread earlier this year, and confess to still having not shelved out ~$400 to purchase a scanner.

Recently, I spent a lot less on Kodak Portra 160VC 220 film and processing, plus burning CDROMS by the lab. Until scanner prices drop further, I find the inexpensive MF service at Long's Drug Store in the Fremont Hub a godsend! If you are in the SF Bay Area, please send your MF films there and ask for Wayne, who will put your scans into a CDROM at a resolution per square frame that is almost 3000 X 3000 pixels! He can do TIFF or JPEG. Your patronage will ensure that this service continues! I am pretty sure that this is the one and only Long's Drugstore that has this service. The only down side is they don't have Digital ICE to clean dust spots, but you can do that as post-processing.

I was lucky to chance upon an ancient costumed parade in Alsace that is still carried out annually. Here's a s&le photo; note that you can even see the strands of hair against the blue sky background:

3848.jpg


Check out this link for some shots from this recent shoot that was processed at Long's in Fremont. I reduced the image resolutions for the web. Click on any image thumbnail to enlarge:

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