Dedicated Scanner vs Macro in 2018?
Old 07-24-2018   #1
thirtyfivefifty
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Dedicated Scanner vs Macro in 2018?

Primarily a DSLR shooter, but I've been shooting film again for the past year or so. Processing and scanning was reasonable in Korea, but in the US, I'd rather do it myself. Not sure what route I should take for 35mm scanning.

Option 1: Came across a recently CLA'd Nikon CoolScan 5000 at a good price, and perhaps buy a copy of VueScan to run on my iMac.

Option 2: Since I shoot with a DSLR and own a good copystand. Perhaps just buy a 100mm macro (1:1), lightbox, and figure out a way to hold the film flat.

What would be best option in 2018? (Assuming cost is the same).
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Old 07-24-2018   #2
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People seem to have already dug their heels in on this subject, on both sides, so you are likely to hear firm, unwavering conviction here for opposing camps. The respondents will be sure of their diametrically opposed choices, so you are likely to get more advice than definitive answers. But you can get a satisfactory image either way.
There are many variables which enter into it (choice of camera, lens, scanner, scanning software, sharpening software and method, ad infinitum) and those who chose one approach likely did not maximize the results from the other, but self confidence abounds anyway.
Good luck. Welcome back to film, that’s the main thing.
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Old 07-25-2018   #3
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I achieve good results scanning with my Fuji X-T1 and a Micro-Nikkor 55 2.8 with ES-1 attached, plus adapters and tubes. This was the cheapest setup for me and is good for now.

Context on my situation: I started film photography a year ago, currently I develop BW film by myself. Color films are lab processed. I am still a learner, I still make mistakes, especially with guessing exposure (underexposure is my nemesis!). Sometimes I manage to ruin half a film. Sometimes the whole thing comes out perfectly exposed. I still try out many films, not sure when (and if) I will settle for my default stocks.

Pros of my scanning process:
- The files are big, resolution is high (when focus is correct)
- Scanning is quick (do not cut films until after!)
- Easy setup for Black and White films with nice results

Cons:
- Post processing takes a long time, especially with color
- I am never certain that I get the colors right. I suspect that I lose some of the distinct features of the different film stocks
- sometimes the inverted color negatives come out with a distinct hue of green or blue that is obviously "off"

My current workflow after scanning is as follows.
BW:
- import raw to lightroom and invert curves
- adjust contrast as I please
- export jpegs

Color: for color I use a workflow that I found online. The results are alright, but not 100% consistent, as some steps are automized.
- open images in Adobe Camera Raw
- crop out anything that is not part of the negative (important, but very annoying, as my negative holder never stays in position throughout the scanning of a roll))
- Clone out dust specs if needed
- run photoshop actions from link below as a batch process (this process exports JPEGs)
- import to lightroom and adjust

Source for the photoshop actions:
https://www.iamthejeff.com/post/35/s...e-film-in-2018

I am not very good with photoshop, at least when it comes to color grading and tone curve adjustments. Hence I am bound to the PS actions I apply to my color negatives. I would love to have distinct actions for different film stocks (and their respective orange masks) some day. As of now, the process helps me to "see" my images. If I particularly like a photo, I spend more time editing it.
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Old 07-25-2018   #4
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My 2c is that scanning 135 a digital camera is a great idea, but once the film starts to get bigger at some point you might need to stitch.
Batch scanning is where a dedicated scanner will beat a DSLR setup.
So ask yourself how much will you be scanning, and what formats? The cost from where you are to scanning either way will be similar, but one way you also get a macro lens.
(I use scanners, don’t own a digital camera)
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Old 07-25-2018   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirtyfivefifty View Post
Primarily a DSLR shooter, but I've been shooting film again for the past year or so. Processing and scanning was reasonable in Korea, but in the US, I'd rather do it myself. Not sure what route I should take for 35mm scanning.

Option 1: Came across a recently CLA'd Nikon CoolScan 5000 at a good price, and perhaps buy a copy of VueScan to run on my iMac.

Option 2: Since I shoot with a DSLR and own a good copystand. Perhaps just buy a 100mm macro (1:1), lightbox, and figure out a way to hold the film flat.

What would be best option in 2018? (Assuming cost is the same).
I've been scanning film into digital form since the middle 1980s. I have used flatbed scanners, optical scanners, film scanners, and camera copy techniques to do this.

I still use flatbed scanners, film scanners, and camera copy techniques, depending upon what I'm trying to do and which technology will return the results I want best.

If you buy a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000, you will need to buy VueScan to drive it since Nikon Capture hasn't been compatible with macOS for almost a decade. I suppose you could use SilverFast but I always thought their price was egregious. The Nikon Coolscan IV, V, and Super Coolscan 4000, 5000 are excellent film scanners, amongst the best. (I use a Coolscan V.)

Using a copy camera technique is a great way of capturing film to digital, but has a more complex workflow than using a dedicated film scanner. The quality of your camera, the copy lens, and your setup is critical to the capture quality; consistency is the hardest thing to achieve. Then there's the subsequent inversion (and color correction if you're capturing color negative originals): That always takes some time to work out to your satisfaction.

Once you get the right equipment in place with good workflow and can repeat the captures and rendering consistently, it is much faster than using a scanner and can produce equivalent results, up to the limits of resolution of the capture camera.

Scanning is rarely a simple thing unless the standards set are relatively low and you're looking for just small size images to share on social media. If you're looking for exhibition or 'for sale' quality large prints, scanning is complex and difficult to get right.

On the other hand, it's fun.

G
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Old 07-25-2018   #6
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I purchased new scanner at beginning of 2018. Owning DSLR for 10+ years, owned two macro lenses...
Main problem with scanners is software. To me Silverfast is best for slides, Vuescan for c-41 and Epson's for BW.
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Old 07-25-2018   #7
Dante_Stella
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For 35mm, get a Pakon F135 plus and be done with it. When you can scan a roll of film in 3 minutes, in one pass, to a resolution which is fine for any web use or printing up to 8x10, with better color correction than you can do yourself, you'll realize that the clunky, multipass/operation, top-end scanning methods (LS, Flextight, D800, even drum, etc.) are best saved for pictures you really care about. Which is not every frame on a roll of 36.

I've used every genre of scanner and duplication that exists, and the continuous feed Pakons are the simplest, least labor intensive method of getting from A to B.

People harbor fantasies of scanning every frame at 4,000 dpi or at 36mp, but it's a huge drain in time, frustration, and disk space.

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Old 07-25-2018   #8
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I am somewhat of a film scanner junkie. I can't resist them. My stable includes:

Epson 1200 with transparency adapter used to preview 4x5 negatives before scanning with my drum scanner. Getting rid of this one.

Epson V800 which I just got for a super bargain so I couldn't pass that up. Excuse besides the price was it would make better 4x5 negative previews than the Epson 1200.

Pakon F135 plus. Bought when they were not so expensive. I shoot lots of 35mm and IMO the best way to scan 35mm when you value your time. If you can't get a good scan out of it then you shot it wrong. If I do any adjustments on the Pakon scan it's usually just to bump up the blacks a tad. If I have a real winner that I need to print the I use another scanner. Honestly I have so many prints framed and unframed that I don'tknow what to do with them.

Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro. My go to medium format scanner. Awesome scanner and works for 99% of the medium format shots I take. Make a portrait, scan with Vuescan with Ice on and forget about it.

Scitex 342. Another couldn't pass up scanner I picked up for free from a print shop. Ever hear the noises they make when scanning? Pretty cool. Also quenches your thirst for working with a power Mac G3 and OS8. Will be scanning my Grandfathers Navy year book from the U.S.S. California from 1922 on it. My other scanners can't handle the size of that yearbook. Next project is to install a Formac proraid scsi card into the G4 that runs my drum scanner and see if I can eliminate one computer.

ICG 365 drum scanner purchased for a steal from a stock photography company that had it in storage because they had another and needed the space. Runs on a Mac G4 and OS 9.2 Yeah it's only 8bit but man is it sharp and does a really nice job on my 4x5's and I've never said to myself "I wish I had 16 bits" But hey, if I had 16 bits I would be like "hey come over and look at my 16 bit scan".

Scanners I no longer have:

Canon 9000f - not much to say about this one.

Plustek something something 35mm scanner. Worked nice but boring.

Scitex 342L that broke so I harvested the lenses for a sweet profit.

Eversmart (non pro) maybe should have kept this one but at the time I needed the space. It went to a good home.

Leafscan 45 - Had 4 of these running at the same time. Good for scanning black and white and stitching together for a nice wet mount high resolution scan but a pain in the ass to keep banding out of the scan.

Maybe missed a few but tired of typing in my phone. Bottom line, scanning is fun and good for you.


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Old 07-31-2018   #9
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Looked into a pakon - wow the prices are insane now... Why can't we remake one of these?
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Old 07-31-2018   #10
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I have a Coolscan 5000, which I modified to allow scanning an entire roll (it;s an easy DIY job). I use Vuescan to scan an entire roll at low res to view all of them. Then I scan selected ones at high res and work on those using Photoshop CC. WHile I don’t shoot as much film as I used to, my workflow has not changed.

In your situation, since you are primarily a DSLR shooter and already have a copy stand, I would recommend getting a macro lens rather than a scanner. If nothing else, the macro lens has added utility to shoot macros.

It really depends on how much film you shoot, which dictates how much you will use the scanner.
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Old 08-01-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarageBoy View Post
Looked into a pakon - wow the prices are insane now...
Now?

You liked the price of new Pakons when they were in production better?
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Old 08-01-2018   #12
Ted Striker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nbagno View Post
I am somewhat of a film scanner junkie. I can't resist them. My stable includes:

Epson 1200 with transparency adapter used to preview 4x5 negatives before scanning with my drum scanner. Getting rid of this one.

Epson V800 which I just got for a super bargain so I couldn't pass that up. Excuse besides the price was it would make better 4x5 negative previews than the Epson 1200.

Pakon F135 plus. Bought when they were not so expensive. I shoot lots of 35mm and IMO the best way to scan 35mm when you value your time. If you can't get a good scan out of it then you shot it wrong. If I do any adjustments on the Pakon scan it's usually just to bump up the blacks a tad. If I have a real winner that I need to print the I use another scanner. Honestly I have so many prints framed and unframed that I don'tknow what to do with them.

Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro. My go to medium format scanner. Awesome scanner and works for 99% of the medium format shots I take. Make a portrait, scan with Vuescan with Ice on and forget about it.

Scitex 342. Another couldn't pass up scanner I picked up for free from a print shop. Ever hear the noises they make when scanning? Pretty cool. Also quenches your thirst for working with a power Mac G3 and OS8. Will be scanning my Grandfathers Navy year book from the U.S.S. California from 1922 on it. My other scanners can't handle the size of that yearbook. Next project is to install a Formac proraid scsi card into the G4 that runs my drum scanner and see if I can eliminate one computer.

ICG 365 drum scanner purchased for a steal from a stock photography company that had it in storage because they had another and needed the space. Runs on a Mac G4 and OS 9.2 Yeah it's only 8bit but man is it sharp and does a really nice job on my 4x5's and I've never said to myself "I wish I had 16 bits" But hey, if I had 16 bits I would be like "hey come over and look at my 16 bit scan".

Scanners I no longer have:

Canon 9000f - not much to say about this one.

Plustek something something 35mm scanner. Worked nice but boring.

Scitex 342L that broke so I harvested the lenses for a sweet profit.

Eversmart (non pro) maybe should have kept this one but at the time I needed the space. It went to a good home.

Leafscan 45 - Had 4 of these running at the same time. Good for scanning black and white and stitching together for a nice wet mount high resolution scan but a pain in the ass to keep banding out of the scan.

Maybe missed a few but tired of typing in my phone. Bottom line, scanning is fun and good for you.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I wish I could be interested in scanning the way you are. It's such a boring process, with software that is inscrutable. I use a Plustek OpticFilm 120 which does an excellent job on both medium format and 35mm. It has a very limited film holder for my Xpan images which slows things down tremendously. I wish I could scan more negatives at a time. Also, for some odd reason, the largest 120 negative it can scan is 6 x 12. If it could scan 6 x 17, I'd be in the market for one of those cameras. Maybe it's good I can't scan those larger negatives. Saves me a lot of money.
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Old 08-01-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarageBoy View Post
Looked into a pakon - wow the prices are insane now... Why can't we remake one of these?

Yeah, those used to be under $300. Quite a lot more today.
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Old 08-01-2018   #14
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For 35mm dedicated scanners you can find some cheaper options sometimes on CL or Offerup. Just recently found a Nikon Coolscan IV ED for $70 and I think its more convenient that DSLR scanning... And I did find out that you can mod the SA21 to scan the entire roll... which is almost like the Pakon imo.

I just find it tricky getting consistent results from DSLR scanning. Especially when you're looking into bigger formats. I didn't have that time when you have to bulk scan 16+ rolls per weekend.
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Old 08-01-2018   #15
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The mod for the Nikon works, but it's so slow to scan an entire roll. Before I acquired a Pakon ($250 at the time) I used the Coolscan, going from 90 minutes/roll to 5 was like upgrading from a big wheel to a Ferrari...
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Old 08-02-2018   #16
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My experience with dedicated scanners is limited, but I can say that I hated the waiting. Scanning with a digital camera is quick and requires you to be involved throughout the whole process. It’s definitely a hands-on process and that gives you the feeling of having a lot of control over the final product. I like that feeling. But mostly, I just really like the results I see on the screen.
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Old 08-02-2018   #17
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Old 08-02-2018   #18
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Having gone both routes - 1st a 35mm Plustek scanner, then 2nd a copystand DSLR approach, and then finally settling on a dedicated Nikon LS8000 scanner approach, I can attest much will depend on what your workflow preferences are, what your output expectations are, etc.

For my part, an automated workflow where the scanner can be set up and let you walk away addressed many of my issues. LS8000 is good enough that the shooter's engagement and control of the scanned image topped a Hassy scanner run by a tech who didn't care. Pays for itself. Word is that you should actually be looking for a used Drum Scanner for about the same money. I didn't. The more common Nikon scanners mean that parts are readily available. Not sure about the others.

Good luck!
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Old 08-02-2018   #19
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I use an Epson V700 with Vuescan for my 120 and 135 films. It does an ok job for prints up to 8x10-ish, but I have made larger prints that looked ok, too. I also used to use a BEOON for 35mm when I had a compatible digi-cam. That was quick and easy to use, and was great for B&W. I never got my workflow set up for color negatives on the BEOON, though, as it just proved too much for my limited software resources. I don't own Photoshop (gasp!). The Epson always does a better job with color anyway.
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Old 08-02-2018   #20
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I would recommend sourcing a used Minolta Scan Dual III or IV. I've had a Scan Dual III for 15 years or so, and it still performs flawlessly. I use it with Vuescan on a modern Windows 10 machine, extremely easy setup and no issues whatsoever.

My workflow involves scanning via Vuescan and inverting my negatives in Photoshop using the Colourperfect plugin. It's a very quick workflow, also due to the fact that I only tend to scan 1-3 shots in an average 36 exp. roll, and only scan those. The rest I exclude after preview. Also, it should be noted these Minolta Scanner don't have an ICE feature: this is essentially useless if you, like me, tend to scan freshly processed negatives which have been handled by the lab only, and therefore tend to be free of dust and spots (if you choose a reliable lab for your processing).

I cannot comment on the option of scanning with a DSLR as I've ditched all my digital equipment and I'm having a lot of fun with my hybrid analogue+digital workflow.

I should also mention that both the Scan Dual III and IV have an autofocus feature, and the scans I get compare really favourably, in terms of sharpness, with the scans I see on the internet which are obtained via complicated/fiddly DSLR-based workflows. YMMV!
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