Are any flatbed film scanners any good?

Discussion in 'Scanners' started by Still A Film Photographer, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. I normally get my film scanned by a lab, but the cheap lab I've been using
    has had a change in management, and have raised their price to be on par
    with every other expensive place in town, plus they will no longer do the
    higher quality option which gives images about 3300x2200. Now they will only
    do the basic 1800x1200 option.
    So, I'm now looking for a scanner to scan my own film. I'm thinking of
    either a Minolta Dualscan 4 or Primefilm 3600, that I can get at reasonable
    prices. I am also in need of a new flatbed scanner, so was thinking of
    killing two birds with one stone and getting a flatbed with film
    capability - but only if there is a decent one. A friend has a HP 3670, and
    I found it delivers terrible quality scans - colours are woeful and even
    with heaps of photoshop fiddling I can't get anything vaguely close to what
    it should be like. Plus the fact that it can only accept 2 negs at a time
    was a pain in the butt - I get my negs cut into 6's, so I'd have to cut them
    again to use the middle 2 shots. My mounted slides wouldn't fit into the
    film holder on it, so I couldn't test it with slides. The images were also
    somewhat blurry.
    My father has an Epson RX510 multifunction, which I thought was a very nice
    machine until I tried it's film scanning - colours were spot on, but the
    images were incredibly soft - it was like it didn't focus properly. The
    scans looked like you were viewing them through fogged glass (yes I did
    check everything was clean). The colour neg holder worked well and holds
    strips of 6 which is good, but the slide holder was a pain - it took forever
    to get the slides sitting on it properly.
    So my question is, are any flatbed scanners any better? I was considering
    the RX510, but not anymore. I'm now considering the Epson 4180, which is
    about the same price as the above dedicated film scanners, but also offers
    higher resolution and the option to do 120 format. Does anyone know if this
    scanner is worthwhile? Are any of the Canon/HP offerings any good for film?
    Still A Film Photographer, Apr 1, 2005
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  2. No, no amateur-class flatbed scanner is capable of delivering quality
    results with film.

    The Aztec Plateau and other high end flatbeds are good, but below
    these there is no comparison to a dedicated film scanner.

    If one uses a flatbed for film, the results will be far inferior to
    the output from a digital camera. If one uses a good film scanner, as
    the Nikon LS-50 or LS-5000, the image quality will be very high. Film
    is still a viable recording medium, but only if quality equipment is

    Per Inge Oestmoen, Norway
    Per Inge Oestmoen, Apr 1, 2005
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  3. Still A Film Photographer

    MikeM Guest

    How close does the Epson 4990 come?


    MikeM, Apr 1, 2005
  4. Still A Film Photographer

    Alan Browne Guest

    Still A Film Photographer wrote:

    IMO, for the reasons you stated, flatbeds are not very good, esp. if you
    want to blow up an image very far.

    If you need a new flastbed, a basic model is about US$70 to $100. So
    get one for flatwork.

    Then get a seperate scanner for negs and slides. The better affordable
    ones generally being Nikon and Minolta. The new 5400 II (Minolta) is a
    speed demon and is less than US$600 at B&H.

    Alan Browne, Apr 1, 2005
  5. Still A Film Photographer

    Tony Guest

    I would (and did) go with the Canon 9000 series. It does up to 24 negatives
    at one time with individual adjustment for each - takes forever but you can
    go away and do something else at the time. This is how I do "contact"
    prints. For full scans I still use my Nikon 4000, but if I were buying today
    I would go with Minolta. After 360 dollars worth of "repair" plus shipping
    to Nikon Melville TWICE. It now focuses again, but operates so slowly (45
    minutes to do a full 4000 dpi scan with ICE) it is useless most of the
    time - which is why I bought the Canon for making the contacts and running
    any less than completely critical scans. Nikon Service is the absolute pits
    and they now don't even answer my emails as to why they screwed up my
    Tony, Apr 1, 2005
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