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Planning on getting my first medium format camera; need help with scanning!
Old 12-11-2018   #1
Scottboarding
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Planning on getting my first medium format camera; need help with scanning!

I've finally decided that I'm going to buy a medium format camera (Fuji GW690iii most likely) but I'm not sure how to go about scanning the negatives. I currently have a Plustek 8100 for 35mm and I'm pretty happy with it but it obviously won't work for medium format. My first scanner was an Epson V550 which I still own and does 120, but I'm concerned about the image quality. If I'm going to be shooting 6x9 I want to be able to get the most out of it.

Dedicated medium format scanners are quite expensive; more than double the price of the Fuji. So what I'm really curious about is how scanning with my digital camera will compare to something like the Pacific Image 120. I own an Olympus E-M5ii which has pretty great image quality at 16mp. Is there going to be a noticeable difference between the Olympus and the Pacific Image or Plustek 120 scanners?

I do want to print my images at 11x14 or higher, so I'm guessing that the Epson is probably useless for that. The Plustek doesn't seem to come up on ebay very often which would leave the Pacific Image 120 which is $1,100 or so. I really do want the best quality, but that just seems like so much money when the camera costs less than $500.

I am super lost right now and don't know where to go from here. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-11-2018   #2
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Why not see how the V550 goes before committing to something else? 6x9 is a lot of real estate. I scan 6x9 on a V700 and the scans aren't too shabby, though not in the same league as a drum scanner, obviously. I haven't printed them large but, I've printed 35mm from the V700 at A3+ with good results, so maybe you might get by with a flatbed.

The alternative is to get them scanned at a lab. That might work out cheaper, if you don't plan on printing big all that much. For web and smaller prints you could still use your V550 and just have the "special" images scanned by an agency with a drum scanner.

Just my 2c.
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Old 12-11-2018   #3
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That's the beauty of medium format....you don't have to worry about that. As long as your scanner or camera is working as it should you will be fine w/ most anything.

These scans were made on an ancient $40 Epson 2450 flatbed scanner. They have been converted to jpegs and rezzed down for uploading to the web, but the TIFF files are huge.

The first shot was made w/ the Fuji camera you wish to buy, and the second shot is from a Rolleiflex w/ a Xenotar lens. The Fuji glass is good, but the Rolleiflex is quite a bit sharper. That mountain on the horizon was a long way from where I was shooting in New Mexico. I have a 13x19 print of the first shot on the wall that I inkjet printed and it looks nice. The darkroom print on fiber is in a different league. You could probably print the 6x9 shot 3'x4' w/ no loss in quality.

These were handheld using Tri-X shot w/ a yellow filter, which looks really, really good with 120 film. Very tight grain. If you aren't making large prints you won't see a ton of difference in MF compared to 35mm, assuming the 35mm is shot w/ the right film and exposed and developed properly. At least that's my take on it. You can't get tight grain like this w/ Tri-X in 35mm though, you would have to shoot a 100 speed film, expose it at 50, and develop in Mic-X to get really tight grain for good skies.



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Old 12-12-2018   #4
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My V550 does 6x9 well and with original software. Absolutely no issues with quality. Original MF film holding frame is little finicky, but fully usable.
Scan at high resolution with reduction of image size, to maintain reasonable file size.

But I'm not sure if 6x9 really gives most from MF (I have done 645, 6x6 and 6x9).
And I have yet to see image with character from 6x9 Fuji... If you want most from MF, get Rollei 6x6 camera. Even Rolleicord will do.
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Old 12-12-2018   #5
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You can scan with virtually anything. One note is to see how you like images scanned by a lab. They tend to be cheap, and you can scan a lot of rolls before you pay for a MF scanner. I have the Plustek 8100 as well and found it okay, but clunky as it doesn't really automate to move from one frame to the next the way some others do. I next tried DSLR scanning but found the process didn't quite suit me, and set it aside. I know it can be done, but the best I've seen from DSLR scans come from stitching multiple partial images together... which is more work than I typically want to get involved with. For that level of quality, a really really good scanning service can probably do better still if the operator is skilled. So for everyday, I ultimately sprung for a Nikon Coolscan which I had rehabbed and works great with Vuescan software. It will handle 12 35mm frames or 3 MF frames in a loaded holder with a decent machine stepper to automate the process.

At the end of the day, I think a good solid scanner is worth the editorial control it will give you. The scanner is only as good as the operator, and if the lab's operator doesn't know what you want - and most won't, you can get results you want best if you do it yourself. The lab will have better equipment often, but won't typically be as dedicated to tweaking results as you will. Against this control thing is the time sink involved in scanning. Much to think about. Good luck! and welcome to MF.
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Old 12-12-2018   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
That's the beauty of medium format....you don't have to worry about that. As long as your scanner or camera is working as it should you will be fine w/ most anything.

These scans were made on an ancient $40 Epson 2450 flatbed scanner. They have been converted to jpegs and rezzed down for uploading to the web, but the TIFF files are huge.
Agreed. I have scanned 6x9 on an Epson 2400 with transparency adapter unit and on a (now broken) 4490. Both were more than satisfactory for my uses.

If I had to make a recommendation, it would be to invest in good negative holders, with Anti-Newton glass inserts to keep the film the right distance from the scanning glass and as flat as possible. I think those things are key.
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Old 12-12-2018   #7
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
And I have yet to see image with character from 6x9 Fuji.
Completely, utterly, and unequivocally disagree with this statement.

Character comes from light, composition, and subject matter, not gear.
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Old 12-12-2018   #8
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
And I have yet to see image with character from 6x9 Fuji... If you want most from MF, get Rollei 6x6 camera. Even Rolleicord will do.
Forget that nonsense! I have several Rolleiflexes as well as the Fuji GW, but my camera with most character in its images is the Lubitel 166.
So much character!
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Old 12-12-2018   #9
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I scan my 6x9 negatives on a Epson V500. I does a reasonable job. I guess if you are going to be making on a regular basis large prints you might think about a dedicated 120 scanner. If you are going to make a few a year it would be better to use someone like Bluemoon in Portland. This is a 645 negative from a Rolleiflex scanned on a V500:

Ilford HP 5 by John Carter, on Flickr

and this is a V500 scan of a 6x9:

Arista EDU ultra 400 Rodinal 1+100 by John Carter, on Flickr
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Old 12-12-2018   #10
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I scan with an Epson flatbed, but I've made some little plastic supports to slot in between frames to keep the film as flat as possible. It's definitely improved the sharpness of my scans when the film's a bit curly.
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Old 12-12-2018   #11
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V700 is absolutely find for MF, I compared with drum scanner:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/661090...96231/sizes/o/

Sigma DP2q resolves even better than gw690iii, but is too sharp unlike film that has nice smoothness.



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Old 12-12-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottboarding View Post
Dedicated medium format scanners are quite expensive; more than double the price of the Fuji. So what I'm really curious about is how scanning with my digital camera will compare to something like the Pacific Image 120. I own an Olympus E-M5ii which has pretty great image quality at 16mp. Is there going to be a noticeable difference between the Olympus and the Pacific Image or Plustek 120 scanners?
I'm a bit of a quality maximizer but agree with the opinions above. Start up with the V550! And you got an interesting option there... Use the EM5ii (hi res mode) to scan.
I always wanted to try that route, and a legacy macro lens can be a cheap start point. Actually on ebay some guy sold it because he found that mode to not have enough bit depth for CN, but fine for the rest of "scanning".

V550 is fine with 6x9, at 2400 ppi you get a large file although the stock holder may not optimize the best of the best for resolution out of that format.

I think lab scanning surpasses in convenience and resolution if you get the largest file sizes... Proofs are ok and 2000px sided scans don't do the format justice.
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Old 12-12-2018   #13
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For my neg in 120 format I use Epson V600 with better scanning film holders and it seems me very good. I think you 550 should be ok.

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Old 12-12-2018   #14
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Presuming a good copy setup and a good lens, the Olympus E-M5II should do a fine job of capturing your 6x9 negatives. I've made exhibition quality prints even with a 5Mpixel E-1 at 20x24 inch size, so the 16 Mpixel resolution E-M5II should be no problem at all for making very large prints.

If you are determined to get "the most" out of 6x9, well, that presumes a 4000 ppl scanner for the format, something like the Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED or Hasselblad Flextight, or a drum scan. These devices (and even services using them) are quite costly, so start with your existing camera and scanner setup to see what you can get out of them, whether it satisfies you or not, and move forward from there.

My own solution for medium format to digital transfer nowadays is a 24 Mpixel Leica CL with a good macro lens, copy stand, and flat panel light box. It produces sufficient quality that anything I'm going to print is well represented. I tend to print up to 13x19 max at home, and larger than that is usually printed via a service onto canvas. I sold my Nikon Super Coolscan 9000ED a year or so back because I so rarely used it or needed more than the 24 Mpixel I could get out of my camera.

G

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottboarding View Post
I've finally decided that I'm going to buy a medium format camera (Fuji GW690iii most likely) but I'm not sure how to go about scanning the negatives. I currently have a Plustek 8100 for 35mm and I'm pretty happy with it but it obviously won't work for medium format. My first scanner was an Epson V550 which I still own and does 120, but I'm concerned about the image quality. If I'm going to be shooting 6x9 I want to be able to get the most out of it.

Dedicated medium format scanners are quite expensive; more than double the price of the Fuji. So what I'm really curious about is how scanning with my digital camera will compare to something like the Pacific Image 120. I own an Olympus E-M5ii which has pretty great image quality at 16mp. Is there going to be a noticeable difference between the Olympus and the Pacific Image or Plustek 120 scanners?

I do want to print my images at 11x14 or higher, so I'm guessing that the Epson is probably useless for that. The Plustek doesn't seem to come up on ebay very often which would leave the Pacific Image 120 which is $1,100 or so. I really do want the best quality, but that just seems like so much money when the camera costs less than $500.

I am super lost right now and don't know where to go from here. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-12-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottboarding View Post
I've finally decided that I'm going to buy a medium format camera (Fuji GW690iii most likely) but I'm not sure how to go about scanning the negatives. I currently have a Plustek 8100 for 35mm and I'm pretty happy with it but it obviously won't work for medium format. My first scanner was an Epson V550 which I still own and does 120, but I'm concerned about the image quality. If I'm going to be shooting 6x9 I want to be able to get the most out of it.

Dedicated medium format scanners are quite expensive; more than double the price of the Fuji. So what I'm really curious about is how scanning with my digital camera will compare to something like the Pacific Image 120. I own an Olympus E-M5ii which has pretty great image quality at 16mp. Is there going to be a noticeable difference between the Olympus and the Pacific Image or Plustek 120 scanners?

I do want to print my images at 11x14 or higher, so I'm guessing that the Epson is probably useless for that. The Plustek doesn't seem to come up on ebay very often which would leave the Pacific Image 120 which is $1,100 or so. I really do want the best quality, but that just seems like so much money when the camera costs less than $500.

I am super lost right now and don't know where to go from here. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I've wanted one of those Fujis for years. Outstanding quality lens, huge negative, and under $1K.

I agree with the others - don't replace your Epson until you've thoroughly tested it with your Fuji.
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Old 12-12-2018   #16
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Thank you all so much, I didn't expect to get this many replies! For now I'll stick with my Epson and look into getting glass holders and see how that goes. Thanks everyone!
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Old 12-12-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Presuming a good copy setup and a good lens, the Olympus E-M5II should do a fine job of capturing your 6x9 negatives. I've made exhibition quality prints even with a 5Mpixel E-1 at 20x24 inch size..

G
That E1 has max rez of 2560 x 1920 which is good for 9x6 prints @ 300dpi i.e the standard for high quality . Unless u used uprez software 20x24 would be severely pixellated. I guess u could make exhibition prints that size if the subject matter was lego blocks.

From northcoastphoto.com:

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Old 12-12-2018   #18
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Why use high Mpix camera? All in all you have to multi stitch, it’s only about computational microphotography, speed. Lens matters only.
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Old 12-12-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottboarding View Post
Thank you all so much, I didn't expect to get this many replies! For now I'll stick with my Epson and look into getting glass holders and see how that goes. Thanks everyone!
Like someone said above, I've been very pleased with my 120 "Better Scanning" holder. I do 6x9 easily with it.

This is my set up: http://www.betterscanning.com/scanning/insert.html

Get both the holder and the Glass (ANR).
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Old 12-12-2018   #20
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Why use high Mpix camera? All in all you have to multi stitch, it’s only about computational microphotography, speed. Lens matters only.
Because i only need to make one capture and i am done. without spending all the time and effort of repeated captures and stiching. Ever scan a 36 exp roll? With my 47mp digicam and es-2 copier I can do that in 10 minutes at 8000x5000.
I do this all the time.
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Old 12-12-2018   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
Like someone said above, I've been very pleased with my 120 "Better Scanning" holder. I do 6x9 easily with it.

This is my set up: http://www.betterscanning.com/scanning/insert.html

Get both the holder and the Glass (ANR).
Thank you! $80 seems like a great deal, plus it's much cheaper than buying an entire new scanner! I bookmarked it and will buy it the same time I buy the Fuji.
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Old 12-12-2018   #22
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Completely, utterly, and unequivocally disagree with this statement.

Character comes from light, composition, and subject matter, not gear.


yes.
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Old 12-12-2018   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Because i only need to make one capture and i am done. without spending all the time and effort of repeated captures and stiching. Ever scan a 36 exp roll? With my 47mp digicam and es-2 copier I can do that in 10 minutes at 8000x5000.
I do this all the time.
Can you do above 100lpm?
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Old 12-12-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
That E1 has max rez of 2560 x 1920 which is good for 9x6 prints @ 300dpi i.e the standard for high quality . Unless u used uprez software 20x24 would be severely pixellated. I guess u could make exhibition prints that size if the subject matter was lego blocks.
...
Thanks for the snarky stupidity.

You obviously have never seen the prints (now hanging in my hallway), which won first and judges' choice awards in two separate exhibitions.

Jon Isaacs produced commercial exhibition prints that were twice that size for his exhibitions using the same camera. Go figure.

G

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Old 12-12-2018   #25
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I get excellent results scanning my 120 square format transparencies at 20x20 inches on my Epson 4990.
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Old 12-12-2018   #26
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Are the "Better Scanning" holder worth it? What's the advantage? Flat negatives, correct? Are there any issues with having the negatives under glass (e.g., trapped dust)?
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Old 12-12-2018   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Jenkins View Post
I get excellent results scanning my 120 square format transparencies at 20x20 inches on my Epson 4990.
I'm not exactly sure what you've said there.

Did you mean to say that your 120 square format transparencies, scanned with an Epson 4990, have been made into excellent quality 20x20 inch prints?

I can see that. My ancient Epson 2450 (max scanning ppi is 2400) will make an excellent 20x20 inch print. That's a 30 mpixel output file, surely big enough for even much larger prints than that. The 4990 has (by the specs at least) double that scanning resolution so should do an even better job!

G
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Old 12-12-2018   #28
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Can you do above 100lpm?
Depends on the lens you use
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Old 12-12-2018   #29
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Thanks for the snarky stupidity.

You obviously have never seen the prints (now hanging in my hallway), which won first and judges' choice awards in two separate exhibitions.

Jon Isaacs produced commercial exhibition prints that were twice that size for his exhibitions using the same camera. Go figure.

G

According to scientific analysis, it is said that bumblebees cannot fly. According to bumblebees, scientific analysis surely doesn't.
You must have magic super physics defying pixels in your camera.

I did not make up that chart. You can find something similar at any printer. Why dont u write to pro labs like northcoastphoto etc and tell them they are idiots?

Misinformation like this is not helpful. The chart is an excellent guide to those who want to know how large they can print as opposed to anecdotal stories.
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Old 12-12-2018   #30
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Are the "Better Scanning" holder worth it? What's the advantage? Flat negatives, correct? Are there any issues with having the negatives under glass (e.g., trapped dust)?
Dust trapped could be a problem, if you don't clean the glass and the negative. I do both before scanning each set of negatives or 6x9.

The completely flat negative under the glass is worth it, let least I think it is.
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Old 12-12-2018   #31
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Quote:
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Are the "Better Scanning" holder worth it? What's the advantage? Flat negatives, correct? Are there any issues with having the negatives under glass (e.g., trapped dust)?
Epson V550, V600 120 film holders are little bit more difficult to have film into them comparing to 135 film holders. If film is curled.
I think it is anxiety most. If negative left in the book for several days it is totally flat and no problem.



Cheap (used to be 3$ per roll and crappy) Shanghai 100 film, in cheap Nettar 515 (uncoated lens). 70$ 645 folder.
Scanned with cheap Epson flatbed.

Main beauty of MF is in capabilities of cheap cameras and cheap scanners to deliver results better than Leica. In terms of quality on large prints.
I went on exhibition with Diana Arbus Mamiya C series taken, huge prints.
And by next hall GW taken photos with Leica and Canon lenses.
You could still get those Mamiya C cameras with lens for the cost of those Canon lenses Winogrand used.
I know one photog who takes street with Leica, but once he needs portrait work it is Rolleiflex.
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Old 12-12-2018   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
You must have magic super physics defying pixels in your camera.

I did not make up that chart. You can find something similar at any printer. Why dont u write to pro labs like northcoastphoto etc and tell them they are idiots?

Misinformation like this is not helpful. The chart is an excellent guide to those who want to know how large they can print as opposed to anecdotal stories.
LOL! I once had a lab tell me that they could not make a 13x19" prints of a particular photo. I went home and printed it myself, went back and said, "I don't know why this is impossible, just reproduce what I have here.. I need thirty of them." They scratched their heads and tried. I ended up printing them all myself.

They are idiots. Dogmatic adherence to numbers and specs is stupid: it's no substitute for actual skill in getting things done.

G
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