Digital scanners - Any good?

Discussion in 'Scanners' started by Joe, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. Joe

    Joe Guest

    I've never used a digital scanner before, but I have loads of old negatives
    I'd love to see as JPEGs onscreen and possibly printed out as photographs.
    The thing is, how good are these scanners and are there some better than
    others? How does the scanned negative JPG file look compared to say a
    6Mpixel digital camera like my Canon EOS 10D? Are the files produced by
    scanners huge?

    Any advice appreciated.

    Joe, Jul 23, 2007
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  2. Joe

    Noons Guest

    Nothing wrong with that.
    Some are so-so, others are good, others yet are
    very good. Depends on how much you want to
    spend on the hardware and invest in learning
    how to use one.
    With a good scanner and reasonable negatives,
    film can definitely look better. Cutoff point seems to
    be about 10-12Mpixels: after that, digital has a
    definite advantage compared to 35mm film.
    At high ISO settings, 6Mpixel can look a
    lot better than an old high ISO film. That is
    not so true with modern high speed film.

    They can be, if you scan at high resolution.
    You can always apply compression techniques
    to bring them down in size. Typical tiff file
    at 2000dpi, 32-bit colour and lzw compression
    is around 10Mbyte. When moved to jpg it
    comes down to around 1Mbyte.
    Go here:
    and here:
    to see many examples of old and new film scanned with a
    modern, high quality scanner. Most are reduced in size
    to either 1600 or 1280 max width, from
    original scans at 2000dpi - which translates to
    around 2800 pixels on the wide in the original.

    Of course you can always scan at higher
    resolution or reduce a scanned size.
    Up to you and how much disk you got.
    Noons, Jul 23, 2007
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  3. Joe

    ray Guest

    They can be very good - depending on the hardware. They can be quite huge
    - depending on what resolution you set. Good as a good 6mp camera? -
    that's in the eye of the beholder. I have an Epson Perfection 4490 Photo
    scanner. It produces what I consider to be acceptable scans - it also
    handles up to about 2 1/2" negatives - most only do 35mm. I'd suggest you
    look for 4800 dpi resolution - you can do the math. I recommend the Epson
    online store - I've had excellent results there, and good prices.
    ray, Jul 23, 2007
  4. Joe

    Marvin Guest

    Some are better than others. Even some inexpensive scanners
    do a good job.

    How does the scanned negative JPG file look compared to say a
    The answer to both depends on the quality of the scanner and
    the scan settings, such as resolution (ppi). A decent
    scanner can capture all of the detail on a negative.
    The topic has been discussed frequently on this and other
    photography newsgroups. Use Google to find those postings,
    and reviews in computer and photo mags, etc.
    Marvin, Jul 23, 2007
  5. Joe

    Cats Guest

    Scanned film can be very, very good indeed. The files can be huge as
    well - if you scan a 35mm negative at 2,000dpi there are (approx)
    3,000 x 2,000 pixels in the image. However, dust and scratches can be
    the pits unless you use a scanner with Digital ICE technology, and
    even if you have one of those it usually can't be used on Kodachrome

    Warning - scanned film can be very, very bad as well!

    I have some images taken from scanned film at Flickr (there's a mix of
    film & digital originals there) and whilst they have all had some work
    done on them after scanning, hopefully they show the quality which is
    possible - the camera is a Pentax ME Super, the film is Fujichrome and
    the lens is a Pentax 50mm in some cases or a Sigma 28-70 zoom:

    There is also a group for Nikon scanner users:[email protected]/pool/

    Obviously I've choosen my best images to upload, but you can see the
    quality which can be obtained. I used a Nikon Coolscan 5000 scanner
    plus a batch feeder to scan a whole slide at a go.
    Cats, Jul 23, 2007
  6. Joe

    Noons Guest

    Noons, Jul 24, 2007
  7. Joe

    Noons Guest

    Great resource. Thanks for that pointer.

    Great images! Thanks for sharing them.
    Have you used much the GEM and DEE stuff in Nikonscan?
    I'm having a lot of fun with it at the moment!
    Noons, Jul 24, 2007
  8. Joe

    Cats Guest

    No problem. There are probably other sites with something similar if
    one searches. There is also a specific usenet group for scanning:
    Thanks. I didn't need to do anything except use D-ICE when I scanned
    - they are all slides taken recently so there is plenty of colour in
    them already.
    Cats, Jul 24, 2007
  9. Joe

    Pat Guest

    Once in the topic and once in the post you mention "digital
    scanners". I'm not sure they make an analog one. If they do, it's not
    really in the consumer markets.
    Pat, Jul 24, 2007
  10. Joe

    Karl Winkler Guest

    Scanners are not necessarily easy to use, but the results can be very,
    very good depending on these three factors:

    1) Scanner hardware, i.e. how much resolution, accuracy of light
    source, mechanical quality, DMAX (dyanmic range), A/D conversion
    quality, inclusion of dust-suppression technology, etc.
    2) Scanner software. I've mainly used Silverfast by Vuescan. Lots of
    control, fairly decent interface, but certainly a learning curve.
    Their pro version includes calibrated targets which helps to improve
    color accuracy quite a bit.
    3) Skill and patience of the user. There are tips and tricks for
    cleaning your originals, keeping them flat, the knowledge of your
    color profile workflow, etc. These things all make a difference.

    I'm still convinced that dedicated film scanners are far superior to
    flatbed scanners that double as transparency scanners. Not sure
    exactly why... but the results, to me, are very clear. Then of course
    the best of all are the drum scanners, but they are very expensive. I
    made the decision to get a medium-format film scanner, and I couldn't
    be happier with it. I figure that if I ever take a photo that is
    worthy of a drum scan, I can just have it done professionally.

    Here's a link to some examples of images scanned with a wide variety
    of machines. I've got two examples on there done with my Microtek
    120tf. There are Nikons, Tangos, Epsons, Microteks, etc. Some very
    good info there.


    Karl Winkler
    Karl Winkler, Jul 24, 2007

  11. If you want to scan 35mm film, use a film scanner, not a flat bed. Use
    Vuescan. If you are scanning negatives, use the generic film settings
    and do all your post processing in an editor like Photoshop or LightZone.

    In LightZonw you can save "templates" to apply to all images scanned
    from a particular film. I imagine you can do the same in Photoshop.
    This is a great first step, and in my opinion, much better than trying
    to adjust the scanner software and then the editor software.

    This whole process is incredibly sloooooow.

    I preview at low resolution for speed and use high resolution for
    keepers. I usually end up keeping only one or two images per 36
    exposure roll, primarily because it takes so long to do the scan.
    Robert Peirce, Jul 26, 2007
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