Trying to improve 35mm slide scans w/1200 dpi scanner

Discussion in 'Scanners' started by Doc, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. Doc

    Doc Guest

    I've been experimenting with scanning slides using an Epson Stylus CX5200
    rated at 1200 dpi. Running Win98SE, PIII 550, 384 megs ram.

    I've been using one of these multi-tube fluorescent bulbs and experimenting
    with various diffuser materials and the light at different distances from
    the diffuser. I tried a homemade 90-degree slide-scanning gadget that uses
    the reflected light of the scanner bar and a couple of battery powered
    fluorescent lights but seem to get the best results with the multi-bulb
    extended horizontally over the slide. Gives well lit scans with minimal need
    for enhancing the contrast/brightness. I have the slides sitting on a sheet
    of black construction paper with a slot cut that's the same size as the
    photo portion of the slide, with the diffuser over that.

    I've been able to get scans that I would describe as okay after scanning
    with the Epson scan software and tweaking with Paintshop Pro ver 7, the
    color is actually pretty decent but they fall way short of the super
    sharpness of the slides.

    Here's an example of scans make with a Plustek OpticPro 9636T which is also
    a 1200 dpi scanner, on someone's website that look far better than mine.

    Is it that the scanner is just better or perhaps there's something I could
    be doing differently? Am I swimming upstream using a 1200 dpi scanner to
    begin with?

    Any input will be appreciated.
    Doc, Jan 14, 2005
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  2. Doc

    Stan Guest

    If you are going to scan slides, you should be using a film scanner, not
    a flatbed scanner, and you should have an optical resolution of at least
    2000 dpi to start (unless you will be satisfied with small scans for use
    on the web). Actually, I would aim for something around 4000 dpi
    optical resolution, if possible.

    If you have 35mm negatives, the same applies. When I have negatives, I
    prefer to scan the negative over scanning a print.

    * * * To reply, remove numbers from address.

    Stan, New Orleans
    Stan, Jan 14, 2005
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  3. Doc

    Elwood Dowd Guest

    scanning slides on a 1200dpi scanner is a guaranteed exercise in
    frustration, made more so by the end result---an incredibly small image.
    A 35mm slide is about 1 x 1.5 inches. Thus, 1200 pixel per inch scan
    is only going to give you a 1200 x 1800 pixel image. Even printing at
    only 240dpi, the bare minimum for a photorealistic print, the final
    result is 5 x 7.5 inches without any cropping.

    Also, the Stylus CX5200 is realy meant for documents to copy or fax,
    rather than photographs. At its highest setting it is going to be very
    electically noisy---all scanners are at their highest setting. This is
    not normally a problem for documents, which can be easily postprocessed
    and are probably scanned by default at 300dpi (for copy) or 200dpi (for
    fax) anyway.

    I think you have answered your own question---you are swimming upstream.

    On the other hand, it is fun to experiment, and if you can get something
    decent out of that setup you will be very well-educated by the time you
    buy something truly useful. I think far too many people buy expensive
    scanners, get crappy results, and blame it on the scanner because they
    did not do the due diligence of figuring out how the things work.

    As for upgrading, if you want to stay with flatbeds I would recommend a
    refurb Epson 3170 from Epson at a great price---$124*. Of if you can
    find a 2450 in good condition it will probably be under $100. Last year
    I bought a film scanner (Acer Scanwit) on eBay for $99 that is
    truckloads better than any flatbed. The point is, upgrading doesn't
    have to be outrageously expensive.

    Good luck, and keep experimenting!

    or go to and click on Clearance Center
    Elwood Dowd, Jan 14, 2005
  4. Doc

    MPA Guest

    forget this type of 1200 dpi-scanner completely for 35mm and buy a used
    2700 dpi-one instead. maybe epson perfection 4990 will do even better
    tha 2700 dpi ones. we will see when it will be available.
    MPA, Jan 15, 2005
  5. Doc

    Frank Guest

    Months ago I scanned over 800 35mm slides taken from the 1950's to early
    70's using an Espon 4870 photo scanner, optical res 4800. I scanned them
    at 1200. Amazingly good results! I then transfered them to a DVD slide
    show with music using Ulead software and distributed them around the
    globe (made them region free) to relatives to view on their TV's. Took
    me about 2 weeks (working at night) to complete.
    What a project!
    Frank, Jan 15, 2005
  6. Doc

    Steve Guest

    I didn't get too bad results with my Epson 1240U flatbed which has a
    separate light hood for slides and negs. Its supposed to have resolution
    1200 x 2400 but in practise a setting of 1200 is the same as setting 2400
    but the latter file is much bigger.

    Got a secondhand Canon FS4000US film scanner with 4000 dpi which got good
    reviews. Problem is most film looks grainy when scanned on this which tends
    to spoil the fine detail blow-ups. Neatimage does a good job and only a very
    little detail is lost. I am currently experimenting with a light source
    diffuser (Scanhancer). Initial results show a very slight reduction in grain
    but nowhere near significant however I have much more to do with testing.
    The worst film is my old 126 Kodak 'Instamatic' cartridges which is very
    Steve, Jan 16, 2005
  7. Doc

    Stan Guest

    Before you blame too much on grain, remember that digital scanners (like
    cameras) generate digital noise. Sometimes, they both look similar. I
    have had that problem. I also use Neat Image, and it improves my scans
    quite a bit.

    Remember, also, that 4000 dpi film scanners that cost $2000 are still
    low end devices compared with professional drum scanners (which give
    better results, and are priced out of reach).

    * * * To reply, remove numbers from address.

    Stan, New Orleans,,

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    Stan, Jan 16, 2005
  8. Doc

    MPA Guest

    you could have saved a lot of time be using a batch-scanner with feeder.
    and getting better results using a 35mm scanner.
    MPA, Jan 20, 2005
  9. Doc

    .. Guest


    You mean that's scanner for negatives? As it will scan the negatives into
    color jpg? If this is possible, where can I find such scanners? Cos it will
    be much cheaper for me than shooting on slide.

    .., Feb 4, 2005
  10. Doc

    me Guest

    Most film scanners and even many flatbed scanners have software that allows
    you to scan negatives. If you have a scanner then check the options in the
    twain driver setup screen (not auto scan).
    Film best,
    me, Feb 4, 2005
  11. Doc

    grol Guest

    Nikon, Canon, Minolta all sell film scanners that scan both 35mm slides and
    grol, Feb 4, 2005
  12. Doc

    chrlz Guest

    `me` said, and I quote directly -

    "Most film scanners.. have software that allows you to scan negatives."

    Note the word MOST. Well, I never. I thought ALL film scanners
    allowed negative scanning, but `me` would certainly know, so I must be
    wrong. `me`, could you please name a film scanner that won't scan
    negatives? And then I will admit my error. Otherwise......

    Just keeping you on the straight and narrow,
    'coz you wouldn't want to post a mistake,
    chrlz, Feb 4, 2005
  13. Doc

    Guest Guest

    Hey dude, I'm bored with your feud,
    So it would be cool to stop actin' the fool,
    Next time I read back, just give me your feedback,
    On the important questions that are asked in all seriousness.

    P.S. I am crap at rap, but I ain't no pap (arazzi)
    Guest, Feb 4, 2005
  14. Doc

    Owamanga Guest


    Did I see you on American Idle last week?
    Owamanga, Feb 4, 2005
  15. Doc

    Marvin Guest

    As several others have said, you won't get great results at 1200 dpi, but you can still make small prints from the scans and
    use the images on a Web site and for slide shows ot view on a computer or CD.

    I experimented by placing a negative on a scanner, with a mirror on top of it. The results weren't entirely bad. I was
    trying to scan some old negatives, and the resolution on the scans was good enough to show the dirt that accumulated on the
    negatives over the years when they were stored in less than optimal conditions. The next step will be to clean the
    nagatives, but I haven't gotten around to it. The cleaning is needed even if I eventually get a film/slide scanner for my
    large collection of slides.
    Marvin, Feb 4, 2005
  16. Doc

    me Guest


    My dear pet chrlz:
    Can a dog spell pedantic? You can't be serious. I give you food, shelter,
    clean newspaper and this is how you repay me? What kind of a life could you
    possibly have without the solace and succor I prove you?
    Your Loving Master
    me, Feb 4, 2005
  17. Doc

    me Guest

    Hi Unspam:
    The question is *who* will stop first? chrlz has sworn to continue and I see
    no reason why I should remain silent especially since I
    didn't start the feud. If chrlz will agree to cease and desist permanently I
    will consider a truce. Remember, it takes at least two for a feud.
    me, Feb 4, 2005
  18. Doc

    Guest Guest

    Hip hip hooray, that sounds ok. I wonder if I can post permanently in rhyme,
    let's give it time, I'll try and be sublime.
    Guest, Feb 4, 2005
  19. Doc

    Mike Kohary Guest

    Chrlz, quit feeding the trolls. PLEASE. :)

    I have this dork killfiltered, but that hardly matters if folks like you
    keep replying to him.
    He's actually right, you know. I mean, all scanners will literally scan a
    negative (they'll scan any damned thing you put on the glass), but many of
    them weren't designed to scan negatives and won't do it very well if you
    force the issue, especially the ones without a backlight to shine through
    the negative.
    Mike Kohary, Feb 5, 2005
  20. Doc

    Guest Guest

    Ha! ha! (in the style of Nelson from the Simpsoms)
    Guest, Feb 5, 2005
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