Originally Posted by buzzardkid
Well, that certainly is plenty sharp at 100%, Jack!
Thank you for uploading that, it really helps!
Seems that with my lowest accepted dpi of 120 I would get an image approx 80x80cms, which is what I'd be aiming for.
Printing 80x80 cms with approx 200dpi might be nice too though...
I'll give it some thought and see what the Plustek will do pricewise once it's launched!
(got longish, warning!)
I am following the Plustek with some interest too. Don't really know why, because I have enough scanners already. But I feel it's good for the market to address all the people that still want to keep film alive...
I am lucky (stupid?) enough to have both a Epson V700 and a Minolta Multi Pro with Scanhancer.
I used to have a Coolscan 4000 ED but it just died on me some 6 months ago, after more than 13 years of great and loyal services and enduring large dozens of thousands of scans. Still trying to revive it....
My first impulse was to buy a 5000 ED but I thought: the Multi Pro will be as good as the 5000 ED on 35mm (better, in fact, because of the 4800 dpi), it will enable me to scan my Xpan film at full-rez without stitching and will absolutely kill the V700 in MF at 3200 dpi.
A LS-9000 ED could even be better (as in "sturdier" and with better holder options) but it looks like gold is becoming underrated, these days, compared to the LS-9000 ED value climbing, so a Multi Pro would do (bought it at 1/4 the price of a used 9000ED).
I use all the scanners on a iMac 27 and my (usual) software is Vuescan. It worked better than Nikon Scan on my Mac (less problems) and it's probably the only option for the Multi Pro with Lion.
But I have gradually changed to Epson Scan for the V700: Epson has been updating the software and it's easier to get good results with the V700 using the Epson software. (it's of course possible to get great and equivalent results with Vuescan + Photoshop!). Moreover, for fast "contact-sheet" stuff, the thumbnail extraction works great in both 35mm and MF.
I have had the V700 for some years and to get real good MF scans I had to forget the original MF holder and go with BetterScanning adjustable holder and ANR glass.
Both things are important to my V700: adjustable height AND glass.
My particular V700 seems to be a bit off in the focus point, so much in fact, that the full adjustment on the Epson holders is not enough to get it right (I had to shim it with some strips of post-it paper). Either that, or I got a defective MF holder.
Moreover, MF film will sag a bit and a fully focused scan is tough to get, as DOF is really small.
With the BetterScanning holder, I'm very happy with the Epson for 6x6, 6x7 and 6x17, up to around 2400 dpi (which is plenty to print up to my Epson R2400 max size and real resolution).
I had a Epson 3200 before and when I got the V700 I was very disappointed with the results, much worse than the 3200. So, I decided to investigate (35mm scans looked ok, slightly better than the 3200, as expected) and the culprit was indeed focus and flatness.
It looks like the V700 has some variability on focus point between samples (or quality control issues with the holders!!) AND it has a very narrow DOF. That's a recipe for problems, no wonder a lot of folks have different results.
Is the Multi Pro heads-and-shoulders better than the V700 for MF?
Well, even after several "wow!!" and "jeez!!" and "honey, come and see this!" when pixel-peeping at 3200 dpi from Velvia, the practical answer is...
And that is strange and unexpected...
My Epson maxes out at around 2400 dpi real resolution, although it pays to scan at 3200. Going above that, will only take more time and results will be exactly the same, for me (YMMV).
With no sharpening, the Epson scans look much fuzzier than the Multi Pro but they can handle a LOT of sharpening. It looks like the Epson's optical systems is a bit "weak", so micro-contrast is WAY worse than the Multi-Pro, but the detail is there. Epson Scan is probably "aware" of that and the Unsharp Mask option seems to correct that very well (that's one of the reasons to use the Epson Scan software). To get the same result with Photoshop, I have to sharpen at different radiuses and intensities.
The Multi Pro scans are just like the 4000 ED scans: they require almost no sharpening to look "perfect" (that is: sharp as a tack and grainy...) pixel-peeping on screen. And when you compare it that way to the Epson, the Multi Pro wins, even at 2400dpi. And the Multi Pro produces real 3200 dpi with MF (even 4800 dpi if you limit yourself to a narrower strip)...
But the question is, if I sharpen correctly for a A3+ print (and really print it...), I have trouble distinguishing between them.
And if I resize it to screen size (even big sizes), again I have a hard time telling them apart.
Most comparisons you'll see online use exactly the same conditions to compare results (ex: no sharpening and 100% pixels). It seems fair and objective.
But it's not, at least for me and my normal usage. It can be misleading.
I can sharpen the Epson's output to be almost on par with the Multi Pro up to 2400 dpi and that is the way they should be compared. Over-sharpening the Multi Pro files won't be a good move, unless you really like grain.
It's true that 3200 dpi is more than 2400 dpi. But it will take a really big print, on a really good printer, to make you go "uau!" with the difference, when starting from a good 6x9 slide or negative.
Anyway, resolution is not all: colour, DMax and speed are also important, of course.
Colour: when used with the same software, and profiled (I use Wolf Faust targets), colour is much the same (as expected, really...).
DMax: used with multi-sampling, I would declare it a tie between both. Maybe the Multi Pro is a bit better. Maybe... But, again unless you have a very hard image to start with, it's of no consequence for me.
Speed: without ICE, the Multi Pro is faster on 3200 dpi (but not by much using the Scanhancer, it lengthens the scan a bit). With ICE, it's a no-brainer win for the Multi Pro, the Epson will take a LONG time to scan a 6x9 at 3200 dpi with ICE (I will measure and post).
That said, why do I keep the Multi Pro?
Because my Coolscan has died :-( and I can use the Multi Pro at 4800 dpi to scan both 35mm and my Xpan film (that I print on roll paper, really large) and it is better than the Epson for this.
I can even use the 4800 dpi "strip" I get with Vuescan driving the Multi Pro to get really good panoramas from cropped 120 film on my Mamiya 7 and have them printed on roll paper. I was planning to sell my GSW 690 III but from 6x9 it's even more impressive... (My Xpan may be facing decommissioning fast).
And I also like to pixel-peep at full-rez to test my lenses...
And why do I keep the V700?
Because it's a great, fast and accurate flatbed scan and nothing beats the comfort of slapping 2 strips of MF film (or 4 strips of 35mm) on the holders, choose a not-so-high resolution (let's say 1200 dpi for 35mm and 800 dpi for MF) and let the thumbnail extraction do it's stuff, while sipping some coffee. And you won't sip a lot, it will be fast and accurate.
In practical terms, if I use the Epson correctly (with a good and adjusted holder!) and with good sharpening technique (easy: use Epson Scan) and either resize for screen or print to A3+ on a R2400 (notice the implicit disclaimer!), the Multi Pro is not heads-and-shoulders above the Epson for "pure" MF (6x6, 6x7, 6x9) and can't do 6x17.
If you like to pixel-peep on full rez, or you feel that sharpening is cheating, or you print to billboard sizes with a printer that goes to (real) 600 dpi and like to look at it with a loupe, or you test lenses for a living, whatever, that's another story and some people just feel happier when they know they are getting "all" their images can give.
One of these days, I will print some scans on a really high resolution printer and report, I may change my view (but I am very happy with what comes out of my R2400).
So, there you have it. When back home, I'll try to post a few comparisons.
Final comment: from my experience, it's a pity Epson does not make a V700SE with better optics, holders and a even crude auto-focus (make it 5-steps and I would be happy!), for a premium. The V750 should have been that but it's not...
If you target 6x6, 6x7, 6x*, up to 6x17, and you print up to A3+, I think the V700 can be enough, if you use it right.
And it will do large format, of course.