Recommendations on digital 35mm/slide scanners?

Discussion in 'Scanners' started by ScottyBaby, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. ScottyBaby

    ScottyBaby Guest


    We're looking at buying a scanner for 35mm negatives and possibly slides as
    well. A friend recommended the Epson 3200 Perfection Photo Flatbed Scanner;
    around $250 - $300, which is in the ballpark of my price range.

    I was wondering if anyone out there has experience with this or other
    negative scanners that produce high-resolution images of good quality? I
    know that there are $10K scanners out there, but that's out of my price
    range. I'm thinking about stuff that's suitable for professionals.

    Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

    Scott Smith
    Blue Lilly Photography
    ScottyBaby, Feb 9, 2004
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  2. You will get scans from negatives and slides from the Epson flatbed, but
    nothing in the same league as a dedicated film scanner. However these
    can be 3-4x the prince of the Epson.

    Consider the following half dozen from the current range film scanners:

    Canon FS2720U

    Canon FS4000US

    Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual IV

    Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400

    Nikon Coolscan V ED

    Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED

    Watch for the line wraps on some of those references.

    You might still find the Nikon CS-IV and CS-4000 around in some places,
    but be sure you don't pay more than the price of a CS-V for a CS-4000.

    Things to look out for are a means of automatically removing dust and
    dirt spots from the image, unless you plan to spend most of your spare
    time manually cloning spots. The best versions are called ICE or FARE
    and use a fourth colour channel, operating in the infrared, to detect
    the blemish and correct it without degrading the rest of the image.
    Kennedy McEwen, Feb 9, 2004
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  3. ScottyBaby

    Alan Kerr Guest

    there is a little Polaroid program, PolaDSR, which can be used as a
    plugin (PS) or stand alone that does the dust removal which negates the
    need for ICE3. I use it with my Minolta Dimage Multi II.

    Alan Kerr, Feb 9, 2004
  4. The Polaroid plug-in is useful for traditional silver black and white
    film, which ICE does not work with. However it is very much inferior to
    ICE, resulting in significant loss of image quality by comparison. Like
    all post processing clean-up filters it falls a long way short of
    "negates the need for ICE". Perhaps, if you had a scanner which
    provided ICE, you would appreciate just what a very long way short of
    ICE that is!
    Kennedy McEwen, Feb 9, 2004
  5. ScottyBaby

    Bob Guest

    If you were to look up the details you will find that 'ICE' is far more than
    just a program. If your looking for a good scanner a Nikon the LS4 isn't too
    expensive and they give away a S/H LS3 for about a third of the cost. There
    are plenty of film scannners available S/H as people move up to DSLR's.
    If you need good info look at the many tests available on the net.
    Bob, Feb 10, 2004
  6. ScottyBaby

    Mike Tuthill Guest

    How effective is the Polaroid software Alan? I've just ordered a Scan
    Dual IV and plan on trying the Polaroid app once I get it.
    Mike Tuthill, Feb 10, 2004
  7. Keep up at the back there - I made that issue perfectly clear earlier in
    the thread when explaining what ICE was and did. ;-)
    Kennedy McEwen, Feb 10, 2004
  8. ScottyBaby

    Pete Guest

    I have a Nikon Supercoolscan 4000 and it is excellent. I have a large
    Epson (1600 Expression w/transparency lid)and the scans of 35mm are
    truly lousy. Flat beds are good for 4x5 and fair for 2 1/4 and
    terrible for 35mm.

    I simply can't imagine that an Epson costing 1/4 of my Epson flat bed
    is going to produce anything remotely usable.

    Nikon, Minolta and others make film scanners for 35mm. I had a
    Minolta Dimage which gave me very good scans (I thought) but they
    weren't going to update the drivers for my model to use XP. I sold it
    and bought the SuperCoolscan 4000 for $1700. Now I think they are
    around $1500. Given what I was getting with the cheaper Minolta the
    Nikon raised my quality to a much, much higher level.

    Hope that helps.

    Pete, Feb 10, 2004
  9. ScottyBaby

    Alan Kerr Guest

    I stand corrected Kennedy, I have only just installed this software and
    admittedly have only used it on a couple of images so my comments were
    premature and from others who recommended it to me and I possibly should
    have said nothing until I'd tested it properly. After your comments I
    don't think I'll bother and I withdraw my comment. I will stick to
    manually doing the dust removal until I upgrade my scanner to the Multi
    Pro. BTW I scan my trannies as soon as I get them home from the lab and
    don't have many spots to remove then store all my images in archival
    pages to keep dust to a minimum. If the lab is using clean chemicals
    there shouldn't be many spots to clean up and I'd change labs if there
    was lots.

    Alan Kerr, Feb 10, 2004
  10. ScottyBaby

    Alan Kerr Guest

    Alan Kerr, Feb 10, 2004
  11. ScottyBaby

    mono Guest

    It's always a bit risky to come out and make a blanket statement about
    some piece of equipment that might be someone's favourite. That said I
    think in this instance it is safe to say the Epson 3200 will not give
    you satisfactory results for your needs with 35mm given your last
    sentence re professional use.

    There's a new model out, the 4870, which most likely will do a better
    job with 35mm than the 3200. costs more than your budget and
    is probably still not as good as using a dedicated film scanner, as
    opposed to a flatbed, for 35mm. Actually I'll be able to confirm that
    (or not) soon as there's one sitting on my desk next to the Nikon
    Coolscan IV. I'm not expecting to be getting rid of the Nikon for 35mm
    and my reason for getting the 4870 is purely for scanning medium
    format (645 and 6x7) but of course I'll be tempted to make the
    comparison. In fact for now I might be restricted to the 35mm option
    because my poor little computer is absolutely shagged out trying to
    cope with the file sizes that the Epson produces with m/format (not an
    Epson problem just an unavoidable with larger format and higher

    For your requirements I'd be looking at the cheaper Minolta film
    scanner or if you don't mind s/h look for a previous generation
    scanner with ICE if you feel you need it (such as the Coolscan IV I've

    If you want some more info to help make up your mind over flatbed vs.
    film scanner there's a review of the 4870 currently being done at 4870/page_1.htm
    Already he's established that the Epson gives him better 35mm scans
    than his (old) Nikon LS1000. Not the most conclusive conclusion as the
    LS1000 is the day before yesterday's scanner. Anything he says about
    the 4870 you can probably knock 10% off to get an idea whether the
    3200 would do what you want.

    (Subliminal message....Get a film scanner).

    (the other one)
    mono, Feb 10, 2004

  12. The Polaroid plugin is useless, IMO.

    rafe b.
    Raphael Bustin, Feb 10, 2004

  13. The Polaroid scratch/dust removal program
    is a joke, IMO. Real ICE -- the kind that uses
    an IR channel within the scanner -- is anything

    rafe b.
    Raphael Bustin, Feb 10, 2004
  14. ScottyBaby

    Roger Guest

    Having recently tried the Polaroid plug-in I would absolutely agree with the
    above. Often it seems to remove small amounts of highlight detail but misses
    the larger, more 'obvious' dust pieces.

    As an aside, I find that using a good quality wetting / anti-static agent on
    films when processing makes for much cleaner negs and dramatically reduces
    the amount of unwanted residue on my scans.

    Roger, Feb 10, 2004
  15. I disagree Rafe. I have had some very good results with it on
    monochrome. I find the "Adaptive" option a bit tedious, taking far more
    time to fix the image and then missing a lot of flaws, but apart from
    that it does work - just not as good as ICE. ;-)
    Kennedy McEwen, Feb 10, 2004
  16. Alan,

    that is reading a little too much into what I said. The Polaroid
    program is good and, if you don't have ICE, it certainly among the best
    around. It will certainly save you hours of retouching by hand, but it
    does degrade the image quite visibly, especially if adjusted to catch
    all defects, especially small ones. It would surprise you how much of
    these small dust specks appear, even on a perfectly new slide, when
    scanned at 4000ppi!

    The Polaroid filter also misses most of the larger dust defects, but ICE
    does seem to have a size limit too, leaving irregularly shaped peak
    black and white artefacts when it encounters them - easily seen even in
    preview, so easy to fix (usually such particles are easily visible to
    the naked eye and blow off with a blast of compressed air). However the
    Polaroid option is certainly not a substitute for ICE when scanning
    colour emulsions. Since ICE doesn't work at all on traditional black &
    white emulsions, it is amongst the best options available other than
    manually retouching them yourself.

    Anyway, I certainly wasn't intending to persuade you not to use this
    software, just explaining that it doesn't make ICE redundant - in fact,
    once you get an ICE scanner (a nice scanner?) you will wonder how you
    ever got bye without it. ;-)
    Kennedy McEwen, Feb 10, 2004

  17. I might give it another try one of these days,
    but it missed a lot of what it was supposed
    to catch, and in the process softened the image
    considerably and created odd artifacts... sort of
    like sharpening halos, and "reflections" of
    contrasty lines and shapes.

    As I'm scanning 4x5 on a non-ICE scanner
    (Artixscan 2500) I really miss ICE, and am not
    pleased to be back in the realm of hand-

    I was hoping NeatImage would help, but it

    rafe b.
    Raphael Bustin, Feb 11, 2004
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