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Best scanner for retouching/restoration work??

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Old 01-09-2011, 11:04 PM
jkjohnst's Avatar
jkjohnst jkjohnst is offline
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Location: Washington, DC
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Question Best scanner for retouching/restoration work??


I am just starting out with a photo retouching and restoration business. I'd like to purchase a new scanner that has all the range I will need for restorations. Obviously I'm looking for a scanner with great resolution, dynamic range and bit depth... but I'm at a loss with finding one in my price range ($300 +-). I know the higher-end models have the higher-end prices... but $10,000 reeeally isn't do-able for me right now (or ever)

Anyone have any suggestions of specific models out now on the $300-$400 range or less that is a quality product?

While we're on the topic, are there any other MUST HAVE tools you would recommend looking into purchasing for a retouching business? I have a (1 year-old) 27" imac and a Wacom Bamboo tablet so far.

Any help is very much appreciated!

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Old 01-10-2011, 11:33 AM
Mike Mike is offline
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Re: Best scanner for retouching/restoration work??

For photo restoration work I would buy a camera instead of a scanner.

Some of the advantages: can copy large photos at one time, no need to scan in pieces and trying to splice them back together, can solve any silvering problems before the image gets into the computer, if you have a number of originals to copy, its faster than a scanner, can be used for more than just copy work.

For about $1500 you can get what you need.
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Old 01-15-2011, 06:48 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Best scanner for retouching/restoration work??

also bear in mind that mike is a professional photographer and knows exactly how to do that to get great results. the rest of us maybe not so much. still, it's an option and since mike is a pro, dont let me talk you out of it.

myself, however, i prefer a scanner except in the rare case where the image is so damaged that i almost dare not even touch it (and trust me, you'll run across these), in which case the camera is a must. putting such an image in a scanner is a guarantee of ruining the image completely.

i'm also going to say that you probably dont even have to pay as much as $300 for a good scanner. half that shld get you something pretty decent, including having features like digital ice.

i'd also invest in a dedicated film and slide scanner. my experience is that these tend to do a better job than that plastic plates that come with some scanners. it's also a slightly different, and in my opinion better, technology for scanning film/slides. on these you can pay as little as about $100 up to whatever for more automation and such.
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:07 PM
jesterjeni jesterjeni is offline
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Location: indiana
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Re: Best scanner for retouching/restoration work??

I have a "magic wand" it is an amazing little handheld scanner that you just swipe right over the top of your photo and presto! you hook it up to your usb port and immediately you have your is less time consuming than my cannon printer/scanner combo that I paid $300.00 for....the magic wand was only $100.00 of course if I want something larger than an 8x10 I would have to stitch them together.
if you are just starting out...the tablet is also wonderful ..that was a very good choice ..I have a little wacom tablet myself...

as far as any "must have" items....hang around awhile reading these posts you will be overwhelmed with the amazing skills people here on retouch pro have
and enven more amazed that they are willing to share them !!!
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:40 PM
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Florin Florin is offline
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Re: Best scanner for retouching/restoration work??

Epson are very good ones. I'm using the 12 Mpx camera only for the large pics or paintings. Scanner is much more precise, provides much more details, it is capturing from 0.5cm distance from the picture.
You'll not belive, I'm still using an oldie Acer ScanPrisa since the last '90th. It's like the old dog of the family, accurate, a little slow, never fails and still a great quality, up to 19.200 dpi (yes, 19.200). Never broke, has the same laser light and everything working over all these yers. The only bad thing is its print port connection, it is not an USB and a little slower. Works with my son's PC, mine has not this port. I love him and do not want to throw it away, it's a sentimental part of my retoucher career.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:59 PM
PoppyCock PoppyCock is offline
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Re: Best scanner for retouching/restoration work??

pretty much any scanner these days will get the job done.
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:39 AM
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Tony W Tony W is offline
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Re: Best scanner for retouching/restoration work??

As you are just starting out in photo restoration do you have any idea yet about the volume and sizes of neg, transparency and print that you will need to cater for?

I agree with Mike you can do an awful lot more with a camera including tricks to deal with silvering etc and the benefit of being able to handle virtually any size of artwork. As far as negative and transparancy are concerned you can also copy using a lightbox or even a window (with a suitable diffuser behind) or if you are doing a lot of 35mm a slide/film duplicator should work.

On the other hand I also agree with Craig and I have invested in an Epson V500 which I find to be very good with reflectence and also very acceptable for negative and transparency scanning. I did look at the Epson V750 but just could not justify the added expense for the benefit of a larger transparency scanning area (the V500 only accepts up to 21/4" inch film due to the limit of its scan area in this mode)

I would also suggest that if you find you are doing a large percentage of negs/trans in the future that you may want to consider a dedicated unit. There is no doubt in my mind that the Nikon coolscan is, if not the best, one of the very best for the job - but you pay a huge premium for this which may not be justified. I have tried the cheaper film scanners and must say that I was dissapointed with the quality. In fact my inexpensive Epson probably performs better - albeit a little slower to operate.

Couple of links you may find of interest one on the 750 one the 600:
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:13 PM
spotter spotter is offline
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Location: England
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Re: Best scanner for retouching/restoration work??

We have the epson V750. It is an excellent scanner but I use a Nikon Coolscan 5000 for 35mm and the coolscan 8000 for larger negs and trannies.
I am using vuescan as my scanning software for all 3 of these machines. I like it better than the nikon software and the epson scanning software.
We have a larger format scanner for bigger work as I often have 8 x 10 trannies and bigger sized posters .
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