View Full Version : Film scanner vs flatbed
well, i've had my first rolls of film developed out of my Canonet, and i'm very happy!
the low light reach is really something, since i'm used to modern P&S cameras.
so now i want to invest in a scanner. it'd be nice to have a film scanner, but that much money for something that only does film seems a bit costly. (poor student)
my question is: how much better is the quality from a film scanner than a flatbed scanner w/ adapter?
apart from the quality, what other advantages do film scanners have over flatbeds?
First decide what you're going to do with the images. Flatbeds are fine for web only. They can be annoying also because one sometimes has to tape down negatives if they are loose. There is also a lot of dust on both sides of the glass.
Cheaper film scanners can be had. I would find those.
look here for discussions:
You might also do a search on the Popular Photography and Imaging forum site at http://www.popphoto.com/idealbb/default.asp?sessionID=3030B83BF3934AFB8824DC595251 D7FF as there have been many such questions. Especially look for responses by Mr. Jalapeno. He knows a lot and is always willing to help.
A good flatbed (I can speak for the Epson 3200) will do a GREAT job with 35mm up to and sometimes well beyond 8X10. I've found that if I scan at max resolution, nominally 3200ppi, SOME images work beautifully up to my printer's maximum, 13X19.
I've no doubt that a very good film-only scanner (Minolta 5400 or Nikon V) will do better, but I doubt anything less will beat even the Epson 3200, not to mention Epson's newer flatbeds.
A lot of folks who comment on flatbeds Vs film-only clearly have weak experience with flatbeds or with the limitations/realities of traditional amateur wet darkrooms. M y own wet darkroom prints (eg Durst 609 enlarger) were MUCH sharper than those of people using lesser enlargers (Omega B22 etc) with Nikkors, Componons, Fujis....and my current experience is that my old negatives from darkroom times are literally as sharp when flatbed scanned at 3200ppi as they were printed by enlarger.
In other words, if you decide to get a flatbed you'll be happy for a long time.
I'm about to buy a Minolta 5400 if I can find a vendor who will really back it up. My 3200 will continue to do yeoman service with large films and prints.
My cheap KM Scan Dual III does much better on 35mm than my Epson 4870, no contest at all.... The filmscanner is way sharper, no sharpening can save the 4870 scans.
But for small prints and web use it`s ok, but it`s for MF and LF negs/slides it really shines.
Well, a print from a 6x6 neg on a good new flatbed will approach the quality of a 35mm neg on an older low end film scanner. I know from first hand experience. A 35mm neg on a flatbed will suffice for web work. It will also work for prints viewed in a very dark room when you're not wearing your glasses.
So count me as one of those having very weak experiences trying to scan 35mm and MF on a good flatbed. I will also add that there seems to be very little gained from the older lowest film scanner and the newest most expensive ones. I know that from first hand experience also. I believe you can buy a used older model 35mm film scanner that will surpass any of the new flatbeds and still pay a lot less money.
However flatbeds are good for scanning books. Oh, they do very well with 4x5 negs also. Just not for scanning 35mm or MF.
Huh? 6x6 scans on my Epson 4870 is truly great, really leaves 35mm scans in the dust. What flatbeds have you tried?
My comparisons were Bronica SQA 6x6 negs on a Epson 3200 vs. ContaxG 35mm negs on a Minolta Scan Dual II. The 35mm looked better. Same film, maybe it was the taking lens quality as well as the scanner. Or, maybe flatbeds have improved greatly from 3200 to 4870. But 4x5 cic look great on the 3200
Now I'm scanning everything on a Minolta MultiPro. 35mm doesn't look any different from the old SD II, in spite of the 8X price differential. But there is a world of difference in the MF scans between the flatbed and the film scanner. Now I love shoot MF. Of course, the Bronica SQA is loaned to a friend since I almost shoot MF exclusivelly with a Mamiya 7.
I have no experience with a dedicated film scanner but the attached picture was scanned on a $100 Canoscan 4200F flatbed at 3200 dpi. The 35mm negative is over 32 years old, rated at ASA 400 and developed in straight D-76. To achieve it's present size, I reduced the dpi to 75 IIRC. You may also have a look at other pictures from the same roll of film, taken with a Leica IIIf, in the Winter of 1971 - '72 by visiting the gallery.
A straight scan on any machine is unlikely to give you what you want as a final image. I work with mine in Corel Photo-Paint 12 and consider what I do as comparable to cropping, dodging and holding back a paper print under an enlarger.
I'm at work or I'd post a 6x6 negative shot of my dog taken this weekend with a Pentacon Six TL on Arista 125 film and scanned at 1200 dpi using a new Epson 4180 scanner. It's a flatbed with holders that keep the negative off of the glass.
Walker, no offense but you cannot tell anything about scan quality from viewing a JPG. It's the print where the difference shows.
I certainly agree about post processing being essential for scanned b&w images.
Walker, no offense but you cannot tell anything about scan quality from viewing a JPG. It's the print where the difference shows. I certainly agree about post processing being essential for scanned b&w images.
No offense taken, Bob. I don't print my images so your experience is greater in that regard than mine. The ability to scan my negatives was a big reason for me to jump back into film photography as I don't have a darkroom and when I saw how enlarging paper prices have gone up over the years, I doubt that I ever will set up a darkroom again.
One day I may decide to buy a printer to put my images on paper but for now I only view them on my monitor which isn't calibrated. I'm sure there are issues with the various printers, inks, papers etc. Nothing seems easy, does it? :)
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