slide (and film) scanner (supporting batch scanning)

Discussion in 'Scanners' started by Kris, May 17, 2004.

  1. Kris

    Kris Guest


    I've been using the HP S20 slide and film scanner for the past couple of
    Because bulk scanning of slides is now standard even for (cheap) flatbed
    scanners and because the quality is probably better than with my old S20,
    I'm thinking about finally buying a new film&slide scanner.

    What I want to do with it? Scan slides and negatives for playing around in
    Photoshop, putting them on the web and maybe making a A4/legal size print
    out of it.

    I'm not a pro so it the price must be reasonable. I'm thinking 400,- USD
    (or 330 EUR) tops!

    - Should I buy a dedicated slide & film scanner or will a flatbed do just
    fine? (I'd like to have quality at least a little better than the HP S20
    - I really would like bulk or batch scanning! (The S20 could only scan 1
    slide at the time) :)

    Any advice on what model I should buy? Other tips? Experiences?

    Kris, May 17, 2004
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  2. It all depends on the quality you want from your scans. Figure that no
    flatbed scanner that you're likely to ever see for sale, much less afford,
    will provide more than 1500-2000 ppi. This means that if you want to
    produce a print at the standard resolution of 300 dpi, you're not going to
    even make 8x10. Unless you accept less that 300 dpi for the print, that

    The reason for this is that consumer flatbed scanners are intended for
    multipurpose use, and no matter how fine the optics, they just won't top
    2000, no matter how many ppi they claim. Yep, you can see all the pixels
    they claim, but where the detail is, it simply blurs. Check out the tests
    for the Epson Perfection 3200, which is one of the best flatbed scanners
    out there.

    Dedicated film scanners are designed to cover the area of the film only,
    where flatbed scanners have to cover at least 8 times that area. This
    means that the resolution they are able to provide is several times that of
    the flatbed scanner. If we accept that a flatbed scanner will actually
    resolve 1500 ppi, then resolution of a conservative 4 times as much can be
    expected of a dedicated scanner, and indeed some approach that mark; it
    takes the scanning hardware (sensors) necessary, of course, but the design
    of the optics train makes it possible.

    Now, you need to decide what you might want to do with the images you scan.
    Do you have many that might do well being printed at 11x14, 12x18, 16x20?
    If so, you need the dedicated scanner. Else you simply will not have the
    resolution necessary to produce acceptable prints of that size. With more
    resolution, you can simply send the file to a digital printing place, and
    get the print of the size you wish for a few dollars!

    Now, as to batch processing. Many will do that readily, and to some extent
    it depends on the software you use. I have the Minolta DSE5400, one of the
    best now available. I use Ed Hamrick's "Vuescan".

    I can take a six frame neg strip, decide which frames I want, tell the
    software which they are, and click start. The scanner will do whatever I
    want with those frames without intervention. If I know that I really do
    want a frame, I can set the scanner to do raw scans of each, saving them as
    a file to be rescanned (much more quickly, of course, from the hard drive).
    I can decide that I want 8x10s of each frame without cropping, set the
    software for full frame scan at 2400 ppi, hit start and go about whatever
    else I'm doing.

    Other scanning software can do much the same thing, of course, so it's your

    One thing to consider, though. Because you have the film, you can elect to
    try an inexpensive scanner of any kind, and decide what you think of the
    results. If you don't like them, get a better scanner and scan them again!
    Can't do that with digital files from digital cameras..... <grin>

    There is much much more to this than I've touched on here. Try comp.periphs.
    scanners for further information.

    Bill Tallman
    William D. Tallman, May 17, 2004
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  3. Kris

    Kris Guest

    Kris, May 18, 2004
  4. Kris

    Alan Browne Guest

    Alan Browne, May 18, 2004
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