View Full Version : How BAD is the Epson 4990 for 35mm?
I just got a 6x6 camera and am seriously considering an epson 4990 scanner for those negatives.
My question is: will this scanner do an EVEN REASONABLE job scanning 35mm b&W negatives (Tri-x mostly)? In the ideal world I would want a dedicated film scanner for the 35mm negs (such as the dimage 5400), but can't justify the expense right now. (I have a HP S20 scanner (2400 dpi) that is OKAY, but I would like to print 11x14" (30x45cm) prints from my scans - the S20 will only do 8x10s, and that at a push...)
Does anyone have any direct hands-on experience with the 4990 and 11x14s from 35mm b&w negs? Will a Konica Minolta Dual V (3200 dpi) do a better job (resolution of fine detail, and shadow detail) than the Epson 4990?
THANKS for your help,
I have a 12"x12" print from a 6x6 frame scanned on my Epson 4990 and it's fine but I think that's about the limit of enlargement using that method. The same enlargement would give you 8"x5" from 35mm. I also have a 10"x14" print from a Canon FS4000US from a 35mm frame that I could probably get a bit more from. I would say that the flatbeds give quite a decent scan but the dedicated scanners are significantly better. What I can't say is if the improvement in quality is worth the money for you.
the dedicated film scanner is definitely a better one...at least from dynamic range point of view... the question is, do you really need that extra, or not. And if MF scanning ability is more important than getting a bit better 35mm scans, or not.
Ideally, you would get a dedicated MF film scanner like the minolta dimage multi pro. Cheaper solution is to get a dedicated 35mm scanner like elite 5400 or dual IV AND a flatbed for MF. The cheapest is to get only the best flatbed you can afford and try to get happy with the results it produces w 35mm. In this case you still can get a dedicated 35mm if you get extra funds or a good second-hand deal pops up.
By the way i have similar 'problems'.
From what I've seen by others, the 4990 is fine for 8.5X11 and often above with 35mm. It's better than some enlarger lenses, that's for sure.
I use a Nikon V for 35...lots sharper than my 3200 Epson, undoubtedly sharper than the 4990 too, but my 3200s reliably quite good for my 6X9 negs to 11X17 or maybe above, and 4990's better than the 3200.
A lot has to do with careful unsharp making in Photoshop or Elements.
Pherdenand's larger thinking makes sense, though I'm strongly averse to Minolta 5400II and the original version is creepy slow by comparison to my Nikon, while offering no more detail resolution with its larger file sizes.
Ooh er Missus!
The controversy goes on. As I'm also thinking about how I get my work from neg/slide to computer I'm dithering over what to do also. Part of me would love to own a nice film scanner, but my experience with my one and only film scnner to date (Mustek Black Widow 1800dpi device) was disappointing to say the least. I'm also doubtful of flatbed scanners too, although part of me likes the idea of the flexibility.
I guess the alternative of taking or sending my images to the local high street store is to be considered, although what you actually get from the promised CD can be a little disappointing. 'High' resolution scans are sometimes available, although these are often still only 4Mp and true high-res scanning is still pretty expensive, and not available everywhere.
A further alternative, or supplement to help get the best out of what we do have might be interpolation software such as Real Fractals so what we deliver to the printer has enough information for it to produce a good-enough image.
I have epson 2580 at home and scans from film are disappointing. I've tried different settings etc. and the results are just not satisfying. I've tried 4990 at work but only with 6x6 and the result was decent. Havent tried 35mm with it yet.
I have an Epson 4490 and a Minolta Scan Dual IV. The 4490 is a very capable scanner and I believe you should have the same kind of result with the 4990. I've printed plenty of 14x11 with it and I'm very, very happy with the results. You need to be comfortable with Photoshop and Unsharp mask technique if you want the best results.
If I want to go higher, I use the Minolta Scan Dual IV.
Most of my pictures on my blog are scanned using the 4490. Let me know if you're interested with 100% crop ...
There are $250 approx deals on Nikon IV (with Ice) and new Minolta IV (no Ice) at KEH ...my own most trusted source for gizmos. KEH warrenty is meaningful. Good people, they are famous for conservative description of used equip condition.
If you can afford a scanner with Ice, get it...VERY nice not to have to spot scans.
I have made prints from 35mm negatives with a 2450, one of the 4990's predecessors; but I rarely went much larger than 8x10 for that, and it would strain a little.
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