Plustek vs Epson V700
Old 06-01-2012   #1
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Plustek vs Epson V700

Scanning a roll of film with the Plustek takes for ever. I have the Canoscan 8800f witch does a nice job with 120 size film but mediocre on 135.
Thinking about replacing both scanners with a Epson v700 or V750 for the convenience of batch scanning off 135 and quality improvement.

Since the Plustek 7600i is a dedicated 35mm scanner I wander what the quality difference is compared to the Epson 700 series.
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Old 06-01-2012   #2
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i do my contact sheet with my canoscan, then the chosen frames with the plustek.
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Old 07-17-2012   #3
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...and nothing happened after that.

So I'd like to post a new question. The OpticFilm 120 isn't out yet but I might have to decide against it and am considering my options.

I might keep my Minolta ScanDual IV after all, even though its DS Dual IV Utility software prohibits me from updating my current Mac OSX 10.6.8 Snow Leopard to a newer version. VueScan makes the scanner lock up. Still, scans are good and I can handle the software.


That leaves a scanner for 6x6 negatives. The current Microtek ScanMaker 8700 can only scan up to 1200dpi and I need more than that. It needs to be replaced.

Q: Exactly why should I get (or not get?) the Epson V700, with regards to scanning 6x6 negatives?
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Old 07-17-2012   #4
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I like the V700 quite a lot for 6x6 once I got the BetterScanning holder and ANR glass. Works great. I hope it's enough to fend off the new Plustek 120.

I very much dislike scanning 35mm with the Epson and am thinking of getting a Plustek 7600 for 35mm. May just load up the roll on the V700 bed for a contact sheet (as Fireboy mentioned) and scan the keepers with the Plustek.

The 7600 is not terribly expensive, so I may just try it and see. But I would like to hear more from someone with both scanners about not just the quality differences, but also overall handling/process.
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Old 07-17-2012   #5
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Hi Jack,

got any scan to show from your V700? I'm particularly interested in sharpness at 100% as I am planning to print big-as-possible from the 6x6 scans... Any comment on that would help me!

BTW, nice avatar
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Old 07-17-2012   #6
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i used v600 previously, but when i switched to the v700, it made a lot of difference to me, in terms of shadow details, resolution etc. i now scan at 16 bit and at 2400 dpi. the v700 is slower to scan than the v600 though. i notice a very slight difference while experimenting with the adjustable height clips on the film holders, and naturally chose the height that gave me the sharpest details.
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Old 07-17-2012   #7
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I uploaded a scan from my last roll, taken with a Hasselblad 500C/M. Not sure it helps much, since it's basically a bunch of dead weeds in my back yard, but FWIW:

http://d.pr/i/GeAQ

Many folks will argue that the V700 (or V750) is a flatbed and cannot possibly create a decent scan. I can't argue definitively, but I'm satisfied with the results I'm getting, and that makes it good enough. I had the Nikon 9000 and sold it since the results I was getting weren't better enough to justify the price.

Of course as I shoot more, and (presumably) get better at it, I may become more critical of the results. By that time I hope to be able to pick up a used OpticFilm 120 (assuming they ever ship)

If my goal was to print "as-big-as-possible" I might hold out for the 120 version of the Plustek, but the V700 is a great start.
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Old 07-17-2012   #8
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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!
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Old 07-17-2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
Hi Jack,

got any scan to show from your V700? I'm particularly interested in sharpness at 100% as I am planning to print big-as-possible from the 6x6 scans... Any comment on that would help me!

BTW, nice avatar
This is a test shot and 100% crop with my new-to-me Mamiya 6 and 150mm. The original scan was 2400 DPI giving about 5000x5000 pixels. The V700 seems very good to me for medium format but sometimes I feel like I'd prefer the Plustek for 35mm. Having said that I'm often pleasantly surprised by the V700.
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Old 07-17-2012   #10
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Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
...
That leaves a scanner for 6x6 negatives. The current Microtek ScanMaker 8700 can only scan up to 1200dpi and I need more than that. It needs to be replaced.

Q: Exactly why should I get (or not get?) the Epson V700, with regards to scanning 6x6 negatives?
I will let you in on a little secret.

The Minolta Scan Multi-1 (f-3000) can scan at double the stated resolution for medium format if you use the serial number from a Scan Multi-2 when you install the drivers.

Neither model has the Digital Ice (that is on the Multi-Pro).

The Scan Multi-1 is not loved on the resale market and you can often get a real nice one for $100.

True, they are older and SCSI only. I have no idea about operability on MAC or Windows post XP.

But there it is. Get Multi-Pro quality scans for $100.

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Old 07-17-2012   #11
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sorry. i don't have the 100% crop, but here's a nice image i scanned on the v700, then added grains and post processing.... 35mm acros 100 film
Scanned at 2400 dpi at 16bit gray.

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Old 07-17-2012   #12
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Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
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!
I print from my 6x6 negs from a v700 scanned at 300dpi up to 1.5 meters square with great success.

2 things to remember, scan the negs to the desired size ie 80x80cm for you @300dpi, this is better than scanning at 4800dpi original size then resizing in PS, and, make sure the film holder stands (small clips on the under side of the neg holders)are facing the plus sign. they come from the factory facing the negative but sharpness is increased when they are facing+ but you need nice flat negatives.
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Old 07-18-2012   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
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...

Not really...

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).

So...

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.
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Old 07-18-2012   #14
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jvr: nice post!

here is a 100% crop. fuji gw690 with fomapan 100, developed in d-76 at the fotohub store.
scanned on the v700

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Old 07-18-2012   #15
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One possibility for "proofing" is to simply put the negs on a light table and take a picture with a digital camera. Even a point-and-shoot is fine. Invert using Photoshop. It's not as nice as paging through 16mp scans, but it's a lot better than people had when looking at an 8x10 proof sheet. Then pick the ones that you want to look at more closely on the Plustek.
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Old 07-18-2012   #16
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What I have done with the v700 is to use the 4x5 film holder for scanning 120 as well, I have made rigid masks to suit the various med formats I use that fit in the 4x5 holder, by doing this any film sagging or focus issues are avoided.
By doing this and raising the holder to the + position, and, just as importantly scanning to the size I'm printing at the resolution I'm printing, not resizing in PS! I'm happier with my v700 scans than with the drum scans I used prior to getting the v700, which in my opinion over emphasized any grain.

If you don't believe me, whatever scanner you use, try making a scan at for example a custom print size of 60cmx60cm @ 300dpi, and then make a scan at 3200 dpi at original (negative)size then resized in PS to 60cmx60cm@300dpi and compare them, the scan made to a custom print size will always look better at 100%
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Old 07-18-2012   #17
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My experience: had a Plustek 7600. I used it to scan a few hundred Kodachrome slides. After that I used it to scan in my negatives. Results were pleasing, but the process was arduous. I sold it and got an Epson V700. 35mm results are acceptable to me and more importantly the process is much less labour intensive . 120 very good. If I have a particularly good negative/slide I want to enlarge I scan it on a Hasselblad X1 that I pay to rent time on. It produces scans in a different league to the other two.
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Old 07-18-2012   #18
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A scanner is like a camera, the results totally depend on the person using it, and that goes for commercial scanning companies also, they are not all created equal, scanning is a skill that takes time to develope.
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Old 07-18-2012   #19
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Plustek 7300 at around 5000dpi

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Old 07-18-2012   #20
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d_ross,
If you are using the 4"X5" neg holder, then you are scanning one 6X6cm frame per 4X5 carrier. In other words, two 6X6cm negs per loading. Is this correct?
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Old 07-18-2012   #21
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d_ross,
If you are using the 4"X5" neg holder, then you are scanning one 6X6cm frame per 4X5 carrier. In other words, two 6X6cm negs per loading. Is this correct?

That's right Gerry, I find the extra time it takes of little importance when I'm making larger scale works, and it does make a big difference to the scan.

Doing that and scanning to a target print size @300dpi I get scans from the v700 that compare very well with many much more expensive scanners, including drum scanners in the wrong hands. I have been scanning my own negatives for many years now, but to this day I find I'm still learning little things that improve them.
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Old 07-18-2012   #22
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Quote:
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That's right Gerry, I find the extra time it takes of little importance when I'm making larger scale works, and it does make a big difference to the scan.

Doing that and scanning to a target print size @300dpi I get scans from the v700 that compare very well with many much more expensive scanners, including drum scanners in the wrong hands. I have been scanning my own negatives for many years now, but to this day I find I'm still learning little things that improve them.
Thanks for the info. I'll give it a try.
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Old 07-19-2012   #23
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Quote:
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Doing that and scanning to a target print size @300dpi I get scans from the v700...
I've heard this before, but never understood why would scanning to a target print size make any difference. And IRL never got a better scan* following that advice.

AFAIK, scanner absolutely doesn't care about it. It gets "sample at X frequency" command from driver and has absolutely no idea if the user specified a target print size @XXXdpi, final pixel size or resolution. Scanning program is responsible for resampling the data it gets back from scanner. I really doubt Vuescan or Epson scan has a resampling algorithm that is significantly better than those available in Photoshop.

I would really love to see a comparison of final scans using 'files size' (with used resampling algorithm specified) vs 'target print size' options, though.


* That is, I never got more detail out of the negative. Perceived sharpness varies with selected resampling algorithm, though. And I'm talking strictly about downsampling. Upsampling is another matter, but then I'm even more certain that scanning programs have absolutely no chance in beating specialized programs/algorithms for making up missing data.
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Old 07-19-2012   #24
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I've heard this before, but never understood why would scanning to a target print size make any difference. And IRL never got a better scan* following that advice.

AFAIK, scanner absolutely doesn't care about it. It gets "sample at X frequency" command from driver and has absolutely no idea if the user specified a target print size @XXXdpi, final pixel size or resolution. Scanning program is responsible for resampling the data it gets back from scanner. I really doubt Vuescan or Epson scan has a resampling algorithm that is significantly better than those available in Photoshop.

I would really love to see a comparison of final scans using 'files size' (with used resampling algorithm specified) vs 'target print size' options, though.


* That is, I never got more detail out of the negative. Perceived sharpness varies with selected resampling algorithm, though. And I'm talking strictly about downsampling. Upsampling is another matter, but then I'm even more certain that scanning programs have absolutely no chance in beating specialized programs/algorithms for making up missing data.
All I can say is try it, especially if you make large prints, I print my work 60cmx60cm and 80cmx80cm, I made several comparison scans when I first purchased the v700 and always got a better file to a target size @300dpi. I will add that when I got my own scanner the man who did my drum scans for me prior told me this was what to do as it meant there would be no resampling of the file size post scanning.
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Old 07-19-2012   #25
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I said that I did try it and unfortunately can't say that I noticed any improvement.

If you do the math you will find that if you specify a target print size and print dpi you will never hit the exact native resolution of the scanner so there will always* be some resampling (in you case in the scanning software which is not better at resampling than Photoshop or similar software). Btw, what algorithm did you use for resampling for the scans that turned out inferior? At what resolution did you scan?

* Unless you are really really lucky with your selected print size, dpi, film format, scanner's resolution...
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