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Film scanner for home use?

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  #1  
Old 01-25-2007, 06:44 AM
bodegg bodegg is offline
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Film scanner for home use?

I checked out the earlier thread about film scanners, but as this was more business orientated (too expensive!), I didn't want to clutter it up with recommendations for cheaper stuff.
I discovered a load of colour negatives (various sizes) containing pictures that I no longer have the prints of, so it would be nice to see what they are. I've been looking at the 'Epson Perfection V100 Photo' which at around £60 is an ideal price for something that will only get used occaisionally. Has anyone had experience with this device? Other suggestions welcome!
Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 01-25-2007, 11:44 AM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Re: Film scanner for home use?

Sorry, haven't used it. Have you read any reviews on it?

Here are a couple links-

http://printscan.about.com/od/flatbe..._EpsonV100.htm
Their Conclusion: "At just under $100, the Perfection V100 is at the low end of the Epson line of photo scanners. And while it doesn't have some of the snazzier add-ons like automatic film strip readers, if you're looking for a low-cost way to scan your family photos, the Epson Perfection V100 Photo is an excellent way to do it."

http://products.howstuffworks.com/ep...ner-review.htm
Pros: Nice price, good technologies built in
Cons: Not as high-resolution as some other photo scanners

When I'm buying something and want to know what the worst possible things to be said about it are, I check Amazon.com reviews by "customers". I'm not sure how many of them are honest rather than either marketing ploys (extra positive comments) or internet vandalism (extra-negative comments), but it still gives me a good range of comments. Amazon U.K. didn't have any customer comments, but Amazon U. S. did -- ranging from "Perfection" to "absolute garbage"

http://www.amazon.com/Epson-Perfecti.../dp/B000H94WCG

Hope someone here has actually used this machine, or that some of this helps. I have the higher priced Epson 4490 (which also has Amazon reviews ranging from bad to good), and it replaced the Epson 1200 (I think) that I used for years -- I have been happy with both and never had a problem with either machine. I replaced the 1200 just because I thought the newer model would have enhancements, which I think it does, but the 1200's images were well done. I would hope that speaks well for an Epson purchase.
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Old 01-25-2007, 12:00 PM
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lcramer53 lcramer53 is offline
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Re: Film scanner for home use?

I bought the Epson Photo Perfection 1260 a few years ago that came with the slide and negative adapter and the light thing for it. I have a thousand slides to scan and am doing them individually. Am pretty happy with the results except that for low-light slides (of which I had many during a photography course) the Epson software or twain wouldn't recognize anything. As a result, I found an excellent software/twain program for around $75 that will recognize ANY of my slides, no matter how dark they are.

I know that you didn't ask about the 1260, but I saw this same model on EBay just last week with the light and adapters with a starting bid of around $20. I was actually thinking about picking it up just as a backup but I'm a bad procrastinator.

Good luck!
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Old 01-31-2007, 08:08 PM
NPiek NPiek is offline
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Re: Film scanner for home use?

I have the Epson 750 pro and love it $ 750. This is about as low end as I would go. If you like good prints at the end it starts with the scan.
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Old 02-03-2007, 09:49 AM
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lcramer53 lcramer53 is offline
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Wink Re: Film scanner for home use?

Hi,

I think that I need to retract my previous post (suggestion) about using my Epson 1260 w/slide/negative adapters. I'm new here and hope to learn a lot, I need to learn a lot.

Anyway, I bought this scanner a few years ago specifically because at a fairly affordable price, it filled my need of being able to scan slides. I've got over 1,000 slides that I want to transfer to digital albums for my kids. I didn't have time to get started on this project when I bought the scanner, because of my 50+ hours/week job in accounting.

After a long-distance relocation, I have lots of time to dedicate to all of the scanning I need to do. So, I started on my scans and am running into troubles. A lot of my slides are very, very dark. The software that came with the scanner wasn't even able to recognize that there was an image there. I did a lot of reading and found a 'twain' program (VueScan) that allowed for adjustments and the scanner was then able to identify that there actually were images.

Well, now my problem is quality. (I'm attaching a sample.) 'Good light' images have produced 'good light' scans. What I'm running into with the low light slides is green, blue and red stripes. I don't know that I can even fix this problem in photoshop or if it's possible, where to start.

Any suggestions please? I apologize if I'm posting this in a wrong area.

Thanks!

Last edited by lcramer53; 12-20-2008 at 07:45 AM.
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  #6  
Old 02-03-2007, 10:28 AM
Cassidy Cassidy is offline
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Re: Film scanner for home use?

Suggestion: We have here places where you can hire a scanner for the weekend, is a tad pricey, but not as pricey as a bad mistake
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  #7  
Old 02-03-2007, 11:35 AM
Jerryb Jerryb is offline
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Re: Film scanner for home use?

hi,
I am just a novice myself... to me it will take a lot of work to try to get all those lines out of the picture.... and still have a nice picture...

I would look at maybe the scanner first.... my experience, beside that it might be a scanner hardware problem.. most of the time it DUST!! dust on the scanning tube and it's reflector...!! I think if those were cleaned up real good the issue of lines would go away.

then after that it a whole lot easier and faster to address other issues like that picture with the red cast.. where a simple curve adjust on the red channel by itself did wonders, but the experts here could give better technique.s..
Quote:
Originally Posted by lcramer53
Hi,

I think that I need to retract my previous post (suggestion) about using my Epson 1260 w/slide/negative adapters. I'm new here and hope to learn a lot, I need to learn a lot.

Anyway, I bought this scanner a few years ago specifically because at a fairly affordable price, it filled my need of being able to scan slides. I've got over 1,000 slides that I want to transfer to digital albums for my kids. I didn't have time to get started on this project when I bought the scanner, because of my 50+ hours/week job in accounting.

After a long-distance relocation, I have lots of time to dedicate to all of the scanning I need to do. So, I started on my scans and am running into troubles. A lot of my slides are very, very dark. The software that came with the scanner wasn't even able to recognize that there was an image there. I did a lot of reading and found a 'twain' program (VueScan) that allowed for adjustments and the scanner was then able to identify that there actually were images.

Well, now my problem is quality. (I'm attaching a sample.) 'Good light' images have produced 'good light' scans. What I'm running into with the low light slides is green, blue and red stripes. I don't know that I can even fix this problem in photoshop or if it's possible, where to start.

Any suggestions please? I apologize if I'm posting this in a wrong area.

Thanks!
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  #8  
Old 02-04-2007, 03:56 PM
NPiek NPiek is offline
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Re: Film scanner for home use?

So you purchase a PC, Scanner, and a printer if just one is low end you will fail. If I had 1000 photo to archive for my kids and its not just your kids but years beyond. I would start with good equipment and take a year or so to learn it. It’s the person eye and understanding of what a good archive photo that makes your time and effort worthwhile. Also identifying everything about the Photo. Notes from a scanning workshop I attended
You must test your scanner to determine the method that produces the ‘best’ results! This goes for all aspects of the scanning process, as well as the output and editing steps too. Each step in the process can be considered independently, but the interaction of each step along the way can produce unexpected synergies and conflicts, so it is important to consider each step independently as well as in the context of the entire digital workflow.
There is a lot of ‘Scanner Voodoo’ out there. You need to understand a little bit about how a scanner works to use it to it’s optimal capability. Some simple care, along with an effort to understand enough about the technology to use it to good effect will pay back in improved scanning results.
Don’t believe that one method is better than another unless you have tested it to verify. Things that work well for some people don’t work well for others. A lot of this has to do with the tolerance level that some people have for compromise. A procedure or device that is perfectly acceptable for some people will be completely unacceptable for others due to the performance expectations of the individual.
Scanners cannot produce a better result than you direct them to do. You must give it good input settings (and a good negative or slide) to get the best results. This is the source of most scanner problems, as many people simply do not scan as carefully as they should.
Just as you would not typically accept prints from a one-hour machine or package printer, you will have to learn the methods that will produce a high quality print to meet your needs. The learning curve required to master a digital workflow is similar to that for traditional darkroom printing; while it may be fairly easy to quickly produce a moderate quality print, the time and effort required to produce a masterful print will be comparable with both processes. There’s no free ride.
Scanning (alas, the entire digital workflow) is a process of numbers. Understanding a bit about mathematics, how to read charts, graphs and other representations of information are crucial to the success of a digital workflow.
In the world of scanning, you do generally get what you pay for. If you purchase a more expensive scanner (for example, a $1000 scanner compared to a $500 scanner, both with about the same original size capabilities) you will typically get a better scanner with higher performance specifications. Will it be worth the added cost? That is a personal decision that only you can decide.

Resolution Issues
There is very little reason to scan at a higher resolution than the scanner can actually deliver. That resolution is often much, much lower than the ‘claimed’ resolution in the performance specifications or marketing literature. Scanning a higher resolution than the scanner can deliver will produce a larger file, but there won’t really be more information in the file. If a higher scan resolution is desired to produce a larger print, either a better scanner will need to be used, or interpolation of the image can be done to increase the file size appropriately.
PPI, DPI, and LPI are not the same thing! PPI (pixels per inch) is generally used to refer to the frequency of the scanner sampling per linear inch. It is also used for output pixel frequency per inch to a printer or other device.
LPI (lines per inch, or line pairs per inch) is a measure used in the printing industry, and represents the number of line pairs per inch (one white line and one black line) that are resolved in a particular device, whether it is a scanner, or printer. It typically is accepted that a minimum of two pixels are required to represent a line pair, so the PPI value is often 2X the LPI value for a given performance specification.
DPI (dots per inch) is only appropriately used for output in the printer, and represents the number of ink dots per inch that a printer is set to use for it’s output. The DPI of the printer and the PPI of the printer are not the same. PPI is always smaller, because it takes many ink dots to build up the full range of colors capable from a single pixel in the image file.
Many Epson printers can print in 1440 DPI or 2880 DPI for their fine print settings, but the image resolution that is normally sent to these printers is typically 360 PPI, because the printer driver operates in it’s native (uninterpolated) mode at 360 PPI. It is possible that the newer printers may operate in 720 PPI uninterpolated, but extremely unlikely that it is any higher than that. Canon printers may be built around 300 PPI as their native image resolution.

Sending a file at a different PPI to the printer (other than multiples of 360 PPI) will force the printer driver to interpolate. This is not necessarily the optimal situation, as it is probably better to do this interpolation in Photoshop rather than in the printer driver software.
Consider the output requirements for your scans before you start. There is little sense to scanning at a resolution substantially higher than you will ever need for printing, and it is foolish to scan at a resolution that is too low for future prints. It is best, and most efficient to scan the image once and then properly archive the raw scan so that you do not have to scan the original again for a different use.
The viewing distance ‘rules’ that are touted on the internet for prints are appropriate for casual image viewing, but not for people who seriously appreciate photography. A person who cares about really appreciates photography will go up to a print and ‘print sniff’ it, regardless of the size of the print.
Small prints invite close inspection due to their size, but large prints encourage close inspection because there is an interest in how much detail or information is in the image. This does not mean that on normal viewing of the image the viewer will move in close, but you can expect that at least at the time of purchase, a buyer will inspect the print carefully as part of the exploration of what the print is, and how the buyer relates to it.

Density Issues
Film density is measured in logarithmic units of density (Dlog, or D for short). Since the units are logarithmic, every .31D units of density represents a doubling of the density of the film. Most people round to .3D for a density doubling as the standard convention.
Most scanners on the market cannot ‘see’ through the highest density that typical chrome films are capable of producing. This results in problems with scanners being able to represent shadow detail from chrome originals. As the density of the original increases, the signal to noise ratio (S/N ratio) decreases, which results in more apparent noise in the shadow areas of the scan. This is the reason for all the attention that is paid to the claimed DMAX specifications in the scanner literature. Unfortunately, as with the resolution claims, the actual performance of the consumer scanners does not come anywhere near the claimed performance.
This noise can be a result of noise in the power lines, but it is likely that the noise is mostly generated within the scanner by the motors and electronics contained within. Placing the scanner on a high quality line conditioner with noise filter and voltage regulator may subtly improve the S/N ratio, but this measure is probably not worth the expense for a consumer-grade scanner.
Scanner noise is a real problem for chrome originals, but is not a substantial problem for B&W or color negative film originals. Negative films typically do not have the density of chrome originals; in fact, they often are substantially lower in maximum density, and are well within range of even the typical consumer scanners. A typical B&W negative may have a density maximum (DMAX) of approximately 1.4D (1.1 dynamic range, .15 to .2 base+fog, and .1 to .15 for specular highlights). Even a negative developed for alternative processes (platinum/palladium, carbon, VDB, POP) are well within the range of a consumer scanner for the most part.

Workflow Issues
The scanner software you choose to use must give you enough control over the scanner so that you can effectively place the endpoints where they need to be without causing clipping of information at both ends of the image. This appears to be a relatively simple thing to do, but the fine-tuned control that should be possible with scanner software is often a bit less than satisfactory.
Vuescan is a very good scanner software package that is inexpensive, has support for many scanners, and permits the installation on three computers simultaneously. This program does a good job scanning, especially for beginners, but I have found that it is not as precise or as predictable as the high end software that is used for more expensive scanners.
It is certainly possible to produce high quality scans with Vuescan, but I find the software less satisfactory than the modern Epson scanner software that is packaged with the LF scanners. The fact that Vuescan has essentially the same interface for literally hundreds of scanners is a point of consideration that cannot be ignored, however. This would be especially useful if you have two different scanners, and wanted to not have to learn the interface for both of them independently.

Silverfast is another very useful program, and many people feel it produces the best interface for consumer scanners. Both of these are available for download in trial versions for a variety of scanners. The trial is a good way to see if the software meets your interface needs.
I believe the most important part of the scanner software is the histogram and black and whit point setting capabilities. It is important that you be able to set the black and white points precisely on the histogram, and also define where these points will be assigned in the output file. Vuescan in particular falls a little short in this requirement for my preferences.

Profiling Issues
Profiling is an attempt to develop a common color language throughout the digital workflow to increase precision and accuracy in color output and maintain a high level of soft proofing predictability in the process. This is a very important aspect of a professional digital system, but can be a bit more trouble than is worth for hobbyists and non-commercial photographers.
A B&W digital workflow can also benefit from profiling, but the benefits are much less apparent. The gamma settings on the monitor and gamma settings in the computer will affect the appearance of the image on the screen, and it is important that the monitor be configured properly for your workflow.
Both Mac and PC computers have a built-in program (Adobe Gamma on the PC, and the ‘calibrate’function built into the ‘displays’ system preference panel on the MAC) that can be used to calibrate the monitor to a reasonable level of accuracy and consistent with the industry display standards.
However, the purchase of a profiling program and optical sensor will obtain a higher level of accuracy, and provide better predictability for professional users. This is overkill for most artist/photographers, and the money spent on a profiling package would probably be better spent on an improved printer rather than on profiling software and hardware.
The most important aspect to obtaining high quality, consistent results is that the operator must become familiar with the equipment, inks, and materials being used. Find a paper and printer that you like, and then try to be consistent about how you manage images, and you will build an understanding of the process, and in innate appreciation for how the edits you make in the computer will affect the print.

Color Space Issues
First, there is the color model to select. For almost every fine art photographer, the only logical color model to be using for most applications is the RGB model. Some situations may warrant the use of the L(ab) color model, but very few situations will need the CMYK model.
The L(ab) model represents the gamut (range of colors) that the human visual system can distinguish. However, this gamut is considerably larger than most output devices that may be used, so the colors that appear vibrant and distinct on the screen can become compressed and ‘dingy’ in the final print.
The CMYK model is used primarily in the printing industry, and is a reflective light based model. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and BlacK are the inks used for four-color printing, and there is a high level of color control available by working directly in the colors of the printing press. However, the CMYK model has a very restrictive range of colors, with the smallest gamut of all the ordinary color models. This color model makes sense if your primary output is a printing press, but otherwise, you will be limiting your output color gamut to an unnecessarily small range, much smaller than most printers can produce.
The RGB model is based on transmitted light, and is the primary way scanners, monitors, and many other digital devices operate. It is far and away the most used color model for digital imaging. It is also the color model that is most supported in Photoshop.
Within the RGB color model, the color space that you edit your image in is important because it defines the gamut that is possible within the file. Selection of a color space is a fundamental part of the digital workflow, and is important to produce the best range of colors that your system can produce. However, it is not without pitfalls.
Most color photographers work in the Adobe RGB color space, and sometimes in a color space that has an even larger gamut. Adobe RGB is a fair representation of the color capabilities of many quality printers on the market, but it is still larger than most of them, so some care must be taken. As printers improve, the color gamut they can produce will probably grow closer to the Adobe RGB gamut, which will make printing a bit more straightforward.
Photoshop comes configures to work in sRGB colorspace. This is not the ideal color space for most color image editing. It is the ideal color space for editing images for the Web, however, so it is important that images that are being used in Web pages be converted to sRGB color space to increase the color consistency from monitor to monitor for the people who view your website.
For B&W work, the color space is monochrome, and in general it is desirable to set the color space to match the gamma of the monitor that you are using. In most cases, this will be either 1.8 for Mac users, or 2.2 for PC users.

Scanner Output Issues
Never scan to a JPEG file. JPEG is a compressed file format that does not use lossless compression. So, for all the effort you put into the scanning, a significant portion will then be thrown out during the compression when using this file format. JPEG file format is best used for compressing files for web use, as well as compressing files for final output (but only with a very high quality setting in the compression algorithm). JPEG is also an 8-bit file format, so a substantial amount of color or gray level information may be lost when using this format.
There are several formats that are very suitable for source image files, including TIFF and PSD. Any file format that will save the information in an uncompressed state or in a lossless compressed state will be suitable. TIFF seems to be the primary format used by most scanners, and PSD is the Photoshop default. There is no losses when converting from one to the other, and the PSD format provides a better integration into the capabilities of Photoshop, so most people work in that format once within Photoshop.
Good Luck Neal
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  #9  
Old 02-04-2007, 10:31 PM
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lcramer53 lcramer53 is offline
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Smile Re: Film scanner for home use?

Thank you so very much, NPiek, for your in-depth input; your concentrated response was more than I ever expected or hoped for and I am truly grateful.

Forgive me, I'm at a bit of a loss here and still digesting the knowledge you lent to me.

I suppose that firstly, I must evaluate several things: the ability of my actual scanner and my personal ability. (My computer is fine and up to the task.) Secondly, what are these memories worth to my children? Definitely, they are worth more than the streaky images as portrayed in my earlier post.

My original objective was simply to scan them and portray them in DVD movie format, not thinking that print-quality could be an issue but then I noticed some finer slides which I need to distinguish and save as larger files. Luckily, the slides which they may want to enlarge are of good quality. Yet, I have way too many that are of low-light and I'm now wondering what the quality/speed of the film was that I originally used to take the shots. I do remember that I had gone through a "low-light" phase which did not suffer while projected on the screen, but is surely suffering now due to my lack of scanning abilities.

At this point, I see that I have two choices:

1- Learn more about scanners, software, implementation of the scans, etc.. and follow through

or

2- Pay someone to do it for me.

I already know my choice. Learn, and do whatever upgrades are necessary and stay tuned to Retouchpro for knowledgeable persons as yourself.

Thanks again for taking the time for all of your input.
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Old 05-19-2007, 02:01 PM
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miamimarshall miamimarshall is offline
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Re: Film scanner for home use?

AVOID the HP4890! It cannot scan B&W negs; defaults to color (RED), then make them all grayscale -- fergedaboudit! The software is a kludge. I had the HP Photosmart S28, a dedicated neg scanner. Great until I could no longer calibrate it <sigh>.
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