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Post your drum scans (aka the first official Drum Scanners thread)
Old 06-26-2013   #1
tsiklonaut
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Post your drum scans (aka the first official Drum Scanners thread)

We have a lot of CCD scanners around, it's the most common scanning technology afterall, the same technology used in todays digital cameras so we obviously have lots of dedicated threads etc.

But I haven't seen any posts dedicated to photomultiplier tube (PMT) scanning equipment here. This often overlooked ultra-sensitive technology is mostly used in science and scientific equipment but sometimes also in high-end gear such as drum scanners.

I know there are some high-end scanning guys visiting this forum as well so why not post your drumscans for others to see as well. So we analog photographers can have a clue what the drum scanners bring on the table.


I'll start up with some of my random drumscans:




Don't hesitate to post 'em up.

Cheers,
Margus
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Old 06-26-2013   #2
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those scans make me wanna bash my V500 with a sledgehammer
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Old 06-26-2013   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k__43 View Post
those scans make me wanna bash my V500 with a sledgehammer
+1 those are absolutely stunning
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Old 06-26-2013   #4
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I'm glad its not just me that thought "WOW!"

Even if posting on-screen is a bit of a leveler, these really do stand out.
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Old 06-26-2013   #5
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Wow.

Just at the moment, I'm hoping to get any scanner. But I do have scan-envy now.
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Old 06-26-2013   #6
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Now if only I could afford to have a drum scanner in my own home. Guess I'll have to stick with my epson.
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Old 06-26-2013   #7
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When viewing 6x9 scans from my Canon 8800f with betterscanning ANR glass holders on screen, I (sometimes!) see similar quality.

But, if I were to see the scans from that Canon 8800f and these scans side by side in print, I'd probably cry!

Great scans.

Looking forward to seeing many more posts!
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Old 06-26-2013   #8
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Cheers guys. Just thought I familiarize people with the PMT technology since many photographers still don't know about it.

Here's a literal comparison of CCD vs PMT


10 000 000 vs 4 pixels : CCD vs PMT by tsiklonaut, on Flickr

The size of typical photomultiplier tubes (PMTs):


The typical size of PMTs by tsiklonaut, on Flickr

Note each PMT represents just one (1) pixel. So the image is scanned 1 pixel at a time through 3 PMTs (each for R-, G- & B-cannel). CCD scanners take a numerically large CCD "row" with each sample and stacks those chunks together via internal signal processors.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jenkin View Post
However, as will all technology, you have to be able to use it to get the best out of it.

Not that I'm saying my V750 is anything like as capable as a FlexTight - but I get pretty decent scans out of it and I've also seen some crappy drum scans that I wouldn't be happy with at all.

What would be really interesting would be to see the same neg / slide scanned with a good flat-bed and also with a good drum scanner.
So true about the operator-factor. Like with all scanning, the operator must have skills to bring proper results. Drum scanners are particulary sensitive to adjustments and need calibrations, it's much more prone to operator neglect. But when the elite drums scanners are ran by skillful operators they are the ultimate way to digitize your analog images, IMHO at least. Hence those who have the equipment and proper skills ask the price accordingly.

Speaking about flatbeds - IMHO the only 'good' flatbeds are the high-end flatbeds: Kodak Creo, Fuji Lanovia etc that mostly cost more than similar spec drum scanners.

Epsons, Canons etc cheap consumer flatbeds are horrible in comparison, in fact they don't even stand a comparison if you ask me.

In the past I've compared my lower-end ScanView ScanMate 3000 drum scanner to Epson V700. Note Epson give WAY bigger specs than ScanView (Epson's 6400ppi / 4 dmax / 16-bit versus ScanMate's 3000 ppi / 3.6 dmax / 12-bit) and ScanMate runs circles (literally!) around the vastly better specced Epson in actual results.

Can you guess which is which?




Crop from the same shot, note the Epson version is scanned at maximum and resized down sharper to 3000ppi to match the drum scanners res (original Epson @ 6400ppi is infamously poor optical sharpness). Note the drum scan version is unsharpened. Forget the specs and see for yourself which is having more dynamic range, better optics in glow-handling and in overall optical sharpness and detail rendering:




I also run ScanMate 11000 (a 11000 ppi / 4 dmax capable drumscanner with true 14-bit A/D converters), but for this comparison I intentionally chose the lower-end model in ScanMate 3000 (a "mere" 3000 ppi / 3.6 dmax / 12-bit drumscanner) to prove a point.


Lot of prosumer scanners spec numbers are intentionally ballooned using their own in-factory "creative" measurement standards or basically faked to cheat their customers out of their money smartly making them believe they "really" have an ultra-high 6400-7200 ppi resolving and ultra-large optical range 4+dmax capable scanner in that cheap plastic box on the table running a cheap CCD sensor, dirt cheap mechanics & cheap optics inside. But no, people still expect wonders from those few-hundred bucks costing brand-new consumer scanners.

Only elite CCD scanners more-or-less fullfill what's promised: high-ends (Creo/Kodak, Fuji, Imacon/Hasselblad etc) and good prosumers also come close to the factory specs: Nikon, Konica-Minolta and few others. Most, if not all the "affordible" scanners cheat on their specs big time.

Ditto with some of the drum scanners that don't deliver what's promised, but most of them are up to the task on what's written on the paper since they used to be $20 000-$100 000 costing hand-built high-end mammoths for high-end market, you simply cannot cheat those kind of well educated customers with "creative" specs like Epson, Canon, HP etc have successfully done for years with their cheap flatbeds in the consumer and prosumer fields.

IMHO of course.

Margus
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Old 06-26-2013   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balto View Post
Now if only I could afford to have a drum scanner in my own home. Guess I'll have to stick with my epson.
Actually drum scanners are fairly affordable these days, but you have to be somewhat tech-minded person to run them to their capability. I know some enthusiasts who bought a drum scanner and were highly dissapointed. Since they mostly only run on old SCSI hardware with specialised software, they are huge noisy mammoths, need hard-to-find expensive part replacements, regular maintenance and calibrations that need some tech-skills. ...and most of all: they are painfully slow to operate, it's full hands-on-process mounting (especially wet-mounting) pos/negs on the drum and it scans very slow in comparison with most of CCD-scanners. So they can be real bummers for those who seek convenience and quick (and compromised) results.

They are like pure-bread hand-built racing cars compared to mass-produced convenience cars. With according performance and user-comfort

But calculate how many drum scans you can get from a high-end service for the money of a i.e. Nikon 9000 ED

IMHO giving your "greatest hits" a go trhough an elite drum scanner run by a skillful proven operator is well worth it - you have the best digital copy of your work for a long time that you can edit this copy as PP softwares and techniques progress in time. There's no point scanning all of your work through drumscanner, even I don't do it with my own work, only the best work goes on drum. For fast web-viewing results I put them through my Epson flatbed. But if I dare to print (even a small print) or need a good web-view I put them through drum scanner - it's a day and night difference in quality, even when viewing or printing it small.
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Old 06-26-2013   #10
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Since you're into it at the moment, how about a high-res, high-end drum scan of one of the above pix so we can see how much is missing at the 3000 or so resolution of the lower end machines?

Thanks.
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Old 06-26-2013   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
Since you're into it at the moment, how about a high-res, high-end drum scan of one of the above pix so we can see how much is missing at the 3000 or so resolution of the lower end machines?
You mean ScanMate 11000? Don't have any of those old positives put through this machine yet. I'm hoping I can put some of those positives through SM11K on the weekend though, I have some drum scanning planned. Would be interesting to know myself as well.


Meanwhile here's more recent ScanMate 11000 color negative scanning work from Kodak Portra 160 (very long exposure shot):




















Note from crops you can sharpen the image up in PP depending how sharp you want them.


Here's a ScanMate 11000 b&w scan with crop on Tri-X 320 on the grain vs detail probing tests I recently ran:
















Man taking down the mountain by tsiklonaut, on Flickr











11 000 ppi & 5500 ppi crops by tsiklonaut, on Flickr

As you can see at 11K ppi (on this 6x7 frame it's 745 MegaPixel or 0.75 GigaPixel equivalent) is pretty much pointless on ASA400-class grainy film unless you want gigantic print that looks dense when inspecting it close. A 5500 ppi (186 MegaPixel equivalent) is where it's a good balance between usable detail and grain, IMHO at least.



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Old 06-26-2013   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jenkin View Post
Those are exceptionally good.

However, as will all technology, you have to be able to use it to get the best out of it.

Not that I'm saying my V750 is anything like as capable as a FlexTight - but I get pretty decent scans out of it and I've also seen some crappy drum scans that I wouldn't be happy with at all.

What would be really interesting would be to see the same neg / slide scanned with a good flat-bed and also with a good drum scanner.
And what would be even better would be to see all these various scans made into equal size prints and see if it matters.
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Old 06-26-2013   #13
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i'll read the text of this thread just as soon as i hoist my jaw up off of the floor and sponge up the drool...
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Old 06-26-2013   #14
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Great! Thanks.
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Old 06-27-2013   #15
tsiklonaut
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Some B&Ws - not colored by me, I just drumscan them as colour images.



Margus
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Old 06-27-2013   #16
thegman
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Some fantastic work Margus. A rare combination of superb photography and also the technical chops to get the best out of it.
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Old 06-27-2013   #17
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Hmm, whenever I see some awesome images on RFF, I wonder "is that Margus?", it usually is..... :-)
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Old 06-27-2013   #18
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Impressive work and very informative, but where do you find parts for your 11000? Is this a matter of purchasing units for parts, or are there dependable suppliers?
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Old 06-27-2013   #19
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very impressive.

I'd love to scan a few of those on my Plustek
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Focus on the grain
Old 06-27-2013   #20
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Focus on the grain

In the darkroom days we used to focus the enlarger on the grain using a grain magnifier.

These days most of us scan with CCD and I noticed that even with Nikon 9000ED (4000dpi claimed) the grain is hard to see.

In film, the image is formed by exposing individual grains in the emulsion, and if you don't have enough scan resolution to resolve these, you are not getting the optimum image.

These examples clearly illustrate the advantage of drum scanning since at 5,500 dpi drum resolution, the grain is clearly resolved as in the old darkroom days. Personally I would prefer the 11,000 dpi scan since there are more pixels there for Neat Image's grain removal algorithms to work.

This post clearly illustrated the advantage of drum scanning.

==Doug





As you can see at 11K ppi (on this 6x7 frame it's 745 MegaPixel or 0.75 GigaPixel equivalent) is pretty much pointless on ASA400-class grainy film unless you want gigantic print that looks dense when inspecting it close. A 5500 ppi (186 MegaPixel equivalent) is where it's a good balance between usable detail and grain, IMHO at least.

[/center]


Margus[/quote]
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Old 06-27-2013   #21
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How much does a drum scan cost per negative, and where can I get it done?
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Old 06-27-2013   #22
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There is a guy on eBay that does 600mb scans with a Heidelberg drurm scanner. I used him a couple of times , very professional.
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Old 06-27-2013   #23
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first, those are really beautiful images, and I am glad to see the drum scans make them look as good as they are!
Thank you for sharing your work and findings with us
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Old 06-27-2013   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by douglasboyd View Post
These days most of us scan with CCD and I noticed that even with Nikon 9000ED (4000dpi claimed) the grain is hard to see.
not to get too far off topic here, but this is a 6x6 scan of FP4 done with the rather new Plustek 120 scanner, along with a 100% crop from the sky. Grain is clearly visible I'd say.

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Old 06-27-2013   #25
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I did a comparison between a v750 and a drum scan here: http://www.simonkennedy.net/blog/arc...-vs-drum-scan/
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Old 06-27-2013   #26
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Fantastic images by the way.
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Old 06-27-2013   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwcolor View Post
Impressive work and very informative, but where do you find parts for your 11000? Is this a matter of purchasing units for parts, or are there dependable suppliers?
Nothing's fully dependable in the drumscanning world unless you have mighty big budget and can afford brand new drumscanners still in production (Aztek, ICG, Heidelberg and few others).

I get my critical parts from Denmark, ex-ScanView technicians and engineers have picked up the remains.

Some of the parts you can source independently by inspecting their model numbers and see if you can find similar or equivalent.

IMHO mechanical parts are doable (even using CNC-engineering guys when you have to) but the biggest worry is the electrical boards, if something goes wrong there, you're in deep waters.

Some of it depends how good maintenance you give to the scanner and also precision and performance is highly depending on it. I.e. PMT-bias adjustments, drum mechanism alginment, lubing rails, replacing o-rings, clean optical elements and re-check their alignment etc.

I'm a physicist by education so I know few things about the tech thus I do my own maintenance. Here's my scanner getting some regular maintenance:





Here you see PMT-board - 3 large PMTs are placed inside the big metal box and marked accordingly (RGB colours):





PMT-modules - note the serial numbers how few of those were made after this scanner has been already years in production. And it's 3 of those modules for each scanner, so it works out around just 30-40 scanners made and sold worldwide:







However there are things beyond by skillset, such as the electronic boards that I don't have any schematics for so for example I sent this particular board for fault removal and modification to Denmark who have the design know-how and specialized benches to test their boards:




So Drum Scanners aren't exacly a "walk in the park" type of convenience machines

But when they are maintained and calibrated to their best of their ability and run under skillful operation - results-wise nothing comes close to them. PMT-rendered signal - it's the most "analog" way of digitizing your film work IMO.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
How much does a drum scan cost per negative, and where can I get it done?
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyb70 View Post
There is a guy on eBay that does 600mb scans with a Heidelberg drurm scanner. I used him a couple of times , very professional.
Yes, just google "Drum Scanning" and you'll get the picture of the offerings. There are numerous high-end services worldwide. As you notice mostly they are very costly (for the reasons stated already stated in this thread - experience, skills, worktime involved and high running costs) but the results are well worth it if you have found a trustworthy and proven drumscanning service. Just think how much of your best photos are worth and make your own calculations and decisions.


I also do offer independent Drum Scanning Service in Europe for very affordible prices (divide those abovementioned prices by roughly 4 and you come into my pricing range - actually I don't charge per MB, I charge per wet-mount startsheet + frames fitted below that works out alot cheaper for the client and easier for me).

Margus
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Old 06-27-2013   #28
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Joonas by tsiklonaut, on Flickr












Motionless motion... by tsiklonaut, on Flickr











Gone Swimming by tsiklonaut, on Flickr










Crops by tsiklonaut, on Flickr












Within Space by tsiklonaut, on Flickr
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Old 06-27-2013   #29
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awesome images, and cudos for your scanner self service. I admire your skill (on more than a few levels).
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Old 06-27-2013   #30
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Old 06-28-2013   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanzlr View Post
not to get too far off topic here, but this is a 6x6 scan of FP4 done with the rather new Plustek 120 scanner, along with a 100% crop from the sky. Grain is clearly visible I'd say.

I look forward to learning more about the new Plustek 120 scanner. But this picture looks very grainy compared to other Ilford HP4 images on this site. HP4 was discontinued in 1989. I wonder what caused all the grain in this picture.

==Doug
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Old 06-28-2013   #32
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I wish I lived in Europe as drum scanning with you would be very affordable. I'm afraid I don't have the knowhow to maintain a drum scanner...
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Old 06-28-2013   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by douglasboyd View Post
I look forward to learning more about the new Plustek 120 scanner. But this picture looks very grainy compared to other Ilford HP4 images on this site. HP4 was discontinued in 1989. I wonder what caused all the grain in this picture.

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Old 06-28-2013   #34
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Ilford FP4+ is a very decent film indeed. Grain is fairly visible for an ASA100-class film, but definitely not excessive. The film has an interesting tonality.




Winter Frame by tsiklonaut, on Flickr











Winter Sea Isles by tsiklonaut, on Flickr











Winter Beach by tsiklonaut, on Flickr
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Old 07-05-2013   #35
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Am I really the only fool in the village apreciating this awesome PMT-technology?

Couple of more drumscans:


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Old 07-05-2013   #36
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Quote:
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Am I really the only fool in the village apreciating this awesome PMT-technology?
Only you using? Quite possibly so. Few people have the expertise to operate and maintain machinery like yours (I know I don't) not to mention the space or spare cash.

Only you appreciating? Far from it. I suspect everyone who sees your photos appreciates not only the technology but also your art and craft. I know that I smile each time this thread (or your Flickr) reappears with a new batch of loveliness. Keep them coming!
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Old 07-05-2013   #37
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Only you using? Quite possibly so. Few people have the expertise to operate and maintain machinery like yours (I know I don't) not to mention the space or spare cash.

Only you appreciating? Far from it. I suspect everyone who sees your photos appreciates not only the technology but also your art and craft. I know that I smile each time this thread (or your Flickr) reappears with a new batch of loveliness. Keep them coming!
+1....I am in awe...lost for words...stunned...and so happy to see these quality images!!!!

Keep 'em coming indeed!

Margus, these put a smile on my face everytime I see your posts!
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Old 07-05-2013   #38
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Quote:
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Am I really the only fool in the village apreciating this awesome PMT-technology?
I suspect you have more than a few readers around here salivating at your results! But not many of us have stepped up to the plate even to mail out some negs to a drum scan service (I might, someday...)
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Old 07-05-2013   #39
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Hello Margus,

I'm stunned. I feel like throwing away the free Epson scanner I got few months ago. Once I'm back to UK, I hope to send some old (from 80's) negs (35 and MF) to you.

Do you have any (youtube) video as to how you scan them or in general a brief overview about PMT scanning techniques? I don't have money, time or intetion to get into such highly technical stuff. I am just very curious about the whole machine and the process after seeing your stunning images and the accompanying notes you've kindly posted.


Bests,

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Old 07-05-2013   #40
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Great photos – both artistically and technically. And that's an important point, I think.

I'm a professional designer and I remember (more than ten years ago, at least) when we used to send batches of transparancies off to be drum scanned on machines worth tens of thousands of pounds – Scitex were a big name, if I recall.

The thing is that a drum scanner is so acurate (the pixel by pixel scanning) that it will pick up every grain on the film sometimes. So well developed film was crucial. Garbage in, garbage out was a mantra often heard.

Also 35mm films often resulted in quite noisy scans – medium and large format was best. Especially for the front covers of brochures and magazines, when the digital resolution had to be very high. So, ironically, sometimes I've found that a decent 'low-end' scanner can produce more 'usable' results, simply because it doesn't pick up as many 'artefacts' as a higher end scanner.

I had an old negative scanned with a really high-end flatbed scanner recently. It was so good, that I could zoom in on the individual 'fibres' on the film. It was quote hard to actually post-process to the state that I wanted. When I scanned the same neg on my Plustek, it actually produced a more pleasing result. Mind you, it was a dreary industrial scene, so that might have helped.
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