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recommendations on a new scanner

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  #21  
Old 07-11-2015, 04:39 AM
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Tony W Tony W is offline
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Re: recommendations on a new scanner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caravaggio View Post
I'll try out Vuescan or Silverfast and see whether I like them better. Thanks for mentioning as I wasn't aware other software for scanning existed.
Seems I was out of touch with costs; Silverfast IMO a step too far financially! Vuescan Professional would fit the bill nicely and is very comprehensive at a cost of £79

Quote:
In epson scan, I've been scanning in professional mode, increasing dpi to 1200 and saving as a tiff 24 bit. Should I be saving as 48 bit if want more data and better quality?
If 1200 @ 24 bit were for prints and the original did not require much in the way of pp then that is fine. However for slides or negatives 1200 spi is probably too low. Better to scan at 3200 or even 6400 to make sure you resolve all the detail you can (within scanner limitations). 6400 may seem like overkill however it may help to relieve grain ailising.

The main reason for scanning 16 bit (48 bit) is for editing after the image is scanned. Editing a difficult image captured in 8 bit you could run into banding quite quickly whereas editing that image from a 16 bit capture will give you a little more head room

It is my opinion that almost always you want to capture an image to obtain the best data you can - that would be 16 (48) bit. In this case after capture and editing you can reduce bit depth as required for a reasonable sized file

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I haven't been adjusting the histogram inside epson scangear
You are definitely referring to Epson as Scangear is a Canon product?

Quote:
The Auto Exposure level inside scangear is a slider that slides from low to high but can't be turned off as far as I can see even if one is working in Professional Mode.
I will be dragging the scanner out over the weekend and will try to remember to have a look again
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  #22  
Old 07-11-2015, 07:10 AM
Caravaggio Caravaggio is offline
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Re: recommendations on a new scanner

Thank you Tony, Mercifully I won't be dealing with the slides so the project scope at this point is limited only to scanning prints. I'm now just scanning using the Epson Scan software and retouching later in photoshop. I incorrectly referred to Epson Scan as scangear before.

Whatever its limitations, Epson Scan is good enough for the quality of the original photos so I probably won't be spending any money on additional software.

I confess that I didn't know that 48 bit was 16, but understand now. I wasn't noticing any banding issues when I was scanning at 24 bit but have switched to 48 as a precaution.

Thanks for trotting the scanner out (do so only if you feel like it) and thanks for taking the time to educate me and fill in some gaps in my knowledge.

Last edited by Caravaggio; 07-11-2015 at 07:19 AM.
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  #23  
Old 07-11-2015, 07:30 AM
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Re: recommendations on a new scanner

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Originally Posted by Caravaggio View Post
Thank you Tony, Mercifully I won't be dealing with the slides so the project scope at this point is limited only to scanning prints. I'm now just scanning using the Epson Scan software and retouching later in photoshop. I incorrectly referred to Epson Scan as scangear before.

Whatever its limitations, Epson Scan is good enough for the quality of the original photos so I probably won't be spending any money on additional software.

I confess that I didn't know that 48 bit was 16, but understand now. I wasn't noticing any banding issues when I was scanning at 24 bit but have switched to 48 as a precaution.

Thanks for trotting the scanner out (do so only if you feel like it) and thanks for taking the time to educate me and fill in some gaps in my knowledge.
Glad to be of some help

As you are now going to be scanning prints only I agree likely no benefit to be had looking at other software. Also it is likely that you will find little improvement in image quality scanning beyond 600 spi although there are always exceptions - if in doubt try scanning jus a small area at differing resolutions. Good luck
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  #24  
Old 07-11-2015, 03:25 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: recommendations on a new scanner

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Originally Posted by Caravaggio View Post
Thank you klev for the information and for reassuring me that it doesn't make much difference what I export, given the insufficient quality of the scanner. The originals are small casual snapshots taken with a point and shoot so there is not much in the way of subtle color variations and tonal transitions to preserve anyhow.
I was commenting on specific aspects of the quality. Silverfast was mentioned, and it's quite expensive, even for cheaper scanners. I wanted to ensure your expectations from it were reasonable. It gained a lot of recognition for achieving good negative scans early on due to a set of custom profiles that attempted to compensate for the mask differences between negative types. This is more difficult than it sounds for a scanner, because you have so much less analog control than you would with an enlarger. The lamp itself isn't really designed for negative film, and you don't have any color filtering available. Photoshop's controls are not really ideal for this kind of correction.

Anyway Silverfast came up with their toolset aimed at dealing with this around 2001 or possibly earlier. I just remember it was a long time ago. They still make progress, and they support a lot of scanners. It's expensive, so the licensing costs are high. They can only improve digitized data though. Signal to noise ratio, collimation of lighting, scanner depth of field, and resolution are all analog dependent.
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  #25  
Old 07-18-2015, 04:52 AM
insmac insmac is offline
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Re: recommendations on a new scanner

First of all, to put things in perspective, I'm used to the Nikon Coolscan 5000 / 8000 / 9000 / Imacon 848 kind of quality and I've been scanning tons of negatives with them since the beginning of 2005.

That being said, I have a cheap Epson v600 on my desk which I use for all medium format reflectives that:
a) do not require blowing up further up than A4
or b) are good quality to start with (proper exposure, in good focus)

First things first, proper scanning requires a skilled operator no matter the scanner. If you want to simplify things, establish a relationship with a trusted pro lab and they might have a workflow tailored to suit your needs.

Now, I have choosen the v600 over the v800 (850 is the same except for the Silverfast software, the guts aren't upgraded) because I've seen hundreds of files from it and they are not worth the price. You can find a used Nikon Coolscan 8000 in v850 price range (I've found one for 900 USD and it was in excellent condition with all the holders) and it blows away anything that is flatbed.

There is only one reasonable (money wise) option for scanning 35mm and this is the Nikon Coolscan 5000. Unless we're talking National Geographic slides shot on tripod, all in focus, blown up to something around 2 meters on the wider side - you're not going to resolve much more sharpness with either Imacon or drum scanners on the same negative - I've scanned the very same image on both the 5000 and Heidelberg drum scanner and enjoyed the Coolscan result more. It's fast, very compact and outputs razor sharp files.

The main difference in working pipeline between the flatbed and a dedicated film scanner is the Unsharp Mask filter or the USM. You *need* to apply USM at some point when using flatbed because the way it works it's a bit different than, say, a Nikon. That's the reason every scanner software (be it Epson Scan or Silverfast) comes with that filter preselected at a medium level (more or less). But the exact radius / amount to be used at a certain situation is up to you and needs practice - you might also scan with the USM disabled and adjust it later on in Photoshop.

Coolscan series live up to their reputation. Most of the time, they hold strong against higher range scanners and if you're not comparing at a pixel level, it's really great. The thing is, Nikon stopped the production line years ago and at that point the price went bonkers. 9000 I've been using has been in constant use for the last 10 years and hasn't malfunctioned to date. It's really a tank but it comes at a price. Most of the time they run at around 3000 USD but - like I've mentioned early on - you can good the earlier model, the 8000, for a third, if you keep your eye on eBay.

As for the software, Silverfast is cheap! I have a brand new Silverfast 8.5 SE which is great, for 49 EUR. Greanted you might get one of the absurdly expensive ones (including the AI Studio) but, honestly, you have all the goods in base version: built in negative profiles (they are great!), curves, color adjustments, all sorts of stuff. It's also way faster than the Epson Scan software for the same resolution settings.
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  #26  
Old 07-18-2015, 05:04 AM
insmac insmac is offline
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Re: recommendations on a new scanner

Enough with the yadda yadda, let's have some fun.

Here are two photographs, taken by myself. The left one is from TMax 100, whereas the right one is shot on TMax 400.

These are scanned on two different scanners: Epson v600 and Nikon Coolscan 9000. Guess which is which

http://cl.ly/image/29120w1A3V04/scans_comparison.jpg
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  #27  
Old 07-18-2015, 11:38 AM
klev klev is offline
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Re: recommendations on a new scanner

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Originally Posted by insmac View Post
These are scanned on two different scanners: Epson v600 and Nikon Coolscan 9000. Guess which is which
The left one appears to be the Nikon, although your depth of field is quite shallow. I think the difference would be more pronounced at larger sizes.
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  #28  
Old 07-18-2015, 11:53 AM
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Re: recommendations on a new scanner

Quote:
Originally Posted by insmac View Post
Enough with the yadda yadda, let's have some fun.

Here are two photographs, taken by myself. The left one is from TMax 100, whereas the right one is shot on TMax 400.

These are scanned on two different scanners: Epson v600 and Nikon Coolscan 9000. Guess which is which

http://cl.ly/image/29120w1A3V04/scans_comparison.jpg
TBH the comparison is not meaningful. They really should be from the same negative and both examples should be made to get the best out of each scan then a cropped section displayed
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  #29  
Old 07-18-2015, 03:45 PM
insmac insmac is offline
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Re: recommendations on a new scanner

Like I said, it was just for fun. I'm no pixel peeper anymore
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  #30  
Old 07-18-2015, 04:57 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: recommendations on a new scanner

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Originally Posted by insmac View Post
Like I said, it was just for fun. I'm no pixel peeper anymore
I wasn't pixel peeping (realized you may not have meant me, but I assumed it could be at both preceding posts). These are black and white images, and aside from annoying clipping issues, they tend to generate fewer headaches than some other types of film when it comes to scanning on scanners in the under $10k range. I figured there might be some film difference, as I recall the difference between Tmax film speeds. They are pretty significant. There were a couple things that I used to see from low end scanners in terms of gradation, which was how I made my guess.

The earlier posts were just to emphasize expectation management. When you haven't compared results, it's easy to convince yourself that slightly better equipment is the only thing missing.
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