What film scanners do you like now?
Old 10-07-2019   #1
nightfly
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What film scanners do you like now?

I've been shooting more film lately and was thinking of picking up a new scanner to replace my old Epson 4990. It's pretty tedious to use and was thinking of picking up more of a dedicated film scanner.

I shoot mostly 35 and occasionally 120. Was thinking of something like the Plustek OpticFilm 8100 and either keeping the 4990 for 120 or just paying to have 120 scanned on the rare occasions when I shoot it and ditching the 4990.

I'm on Mac running Sierra and tend to shy away from latest updates unless some critical software no longer works.

Any thoughts? Is something like the Plustek easier/better than the old Epson to justify? I also like the idea of something taking up less space. Shooting mostly color, if that matters.
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Old 10-07-2019   #2
brothernature
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If you were to go the route of paying for 120 scans, I'd go with something like the Nikon 4000. The quality is great and it's far more efficient than any flatbed
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Old 10-07-2019   #3
Michael Markey
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Happy with my Epson 850 .
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Old 10-07-2019   #4
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I'm using my Nikon 9000 ED exclusively and it's just great. I realize it's getting older, but so far so good, so fingers crossed for a few more years left in it.
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Epson V600
Old 10-07-2019   #5
DennisM
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Epson V600

For my money, the Epson V600 does a great job on 35mm and 120; great job on slides too.
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Old 10-07-2019   #6
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I only shoot 35mm, so a Coolscan 5000 works very well for me. If you're just an occasional 120 shooter, just send that out and get the Coolscan 5000 for all your 35mm scans. If you shoot enough 120 to warrant the purchase, then I would go with the Coolscan 9000.
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scanners
Old 10-07-2019   #7
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scanners

It very much depends on what you want to do with the scanned images. If you are just posting them to social media, it doesn't make much difference what you do, as the image requirements are less than what even you flatbed Epson will produce. If you are planning inkjet prints up 11x14 inches, an alternative might be one of the old used dedicated 35mm scanners for the 1990s with a real working resolution of around 2750. You can probably find something like that on ebay for less that $50. The issue with running those scanners today is that they were designed to run on Windows XP and whatever Apple was pushing back then. Solutions might be an old XP dedicated computer, or better, Vuescan on a current system. The old high-end Nikons and Minoltas, if they work, are great and software workarounds are out there. The simple fact is that there are no good quality consumer scanners being made for sale today in the US. In Europe there are items like the Reflecta, which is middle of the road and new.
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Old 10-07-2019   #8
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Epson V800, because I can scan my 4x5 negatives/transparencies.

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Old 10-07-2019   #9
Dan Daniel
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If you want to do only 35mm, the old Minolta Dimage IV is pretty amazing. Be sure to get one with the film and slide holders as they seem impossible to find on their own. True resolution and simple to use.
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Old 10-07-2019   #10
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i agree, it matters on what you plan to do with the scanned images. if its just social media, any flatbed will work for any film size. on the other extreme, if you want to do high quality, large size prints, than you will need an expensive scanner. keep an eye on Craigslist as there are sometimes some great bargains. I was looking for a used flatbed as i just got into 4x5. lo and behold, there was a imicon flextight from the wife of a now deceased photographer. I got it for cheaper than a used epson v700. dug out my old computer with a scsi card and off i went. also, there is now a nikon 5000 scanner for sale at less than $500, so deals can be found
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Old 10-07-2019   #11
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I make prints up to about 16 x 20 and I'm primarily concerned with 35mm although 120 would be nice. However this usually adds about $1000 to the price and that's a lot of drum scans.

I don't really want anything with an outdated connector like SCSI or something where I have to worry every time a new OS X update comes out. I stay a little behind the bleeding edge as far as OS's go but I use my computer for work as a web developer so I need to keep it relatively up to date and don't have the time, space or patience for keeping an older machine around just for scanning.
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Old 10-07-2019   #12
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The Minolta Dimage Elite 5400 is a good scanner if you can get it in good condition second hand for a good price. The quality of the scans is close to the drum scans I get from professional places. It does take quite long to scan an image at high res and you have to manually focus each frame.
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Old 10-07-2019   #13
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I have a Nikon CS 9000 which I use for 35mm every now and then but for medium format and 4x5 I mostly use an Epson V850. The Nikon is better but I don't like Vuescan so I have to use an old MacBook to run NikonScan and it has it's own problems due to age (the Macbook). I guess sooner or later I'll have to spring for Silverfast but it costs about half of what I paid for the scanner back in the day (I got it cheap).

Recently I've been eyeing a Noritsu scanner which would be nice for 35mm but then again, I think I'd rather just print my negs in the darkroom and scan the prints. With scans I can never get the colors right anyway and they also come out more grainy than a darkroom print.
However, this brings me to the next problem: I need to print rather small so the print can be scanned on an A4 scanner. A3 scanners exist but they cost a small fortune.
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Old 10-07-2019   #14
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I scan 35mm, 6 x 4.5, 6 x 7, and 6 x 9 negatives using my Plustek OpticFilm 120. If you can handle the god awful SilverFast software, it's an excellent scanner.
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Old 10-07-2019   #15
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I ahve 2xEpson 750's. You won't find a better over all scanner for most work.
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Old 10-07-2019   #16
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If I had to buy a scanner today...I would do DSLR scanning instead.
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Old 10-07-2019   #17
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Old 10-07-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post
I scan 35mm, 6 x 4.5, 6 x 7, and 6 x 9 negatives using my Plustek OpticFilm 120. If you can handle the god awful SilverFast software, it's an excellent scanner.

This. For larger than 35 mm, the OpticFilm 120 is still the best current offer. For 35 mm only, I think the smaller OpticFilm scanners are hard to beat in terms of price and performance.


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Old 10-07-2019   #19
Bob Michaels
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I have been very happy with my Minolta MultiPro to scan 35mm and 120 film for the last 13-14 years always using VueScan.
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Old 10-07-2019   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
I have been very happy with my Minolta MultiPro to scan 35mm and 120 film for the last 13-14 years always using VueScan.
Good to hear, Bob... I too have a Minolta MultiPro but it's never been used. I've thought "maybe one day" but it's not looking likely.
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Old 10-07-2019   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndnik View Post
This. For larger than 35 mm, the OpticFilm 120 is still the best current offer. For 35 mm only, I think the smaller OpticFilm scanners are hard to beat in terms of price and performance.


- N.
Pretty sure you can now use VueScan with the 120.
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Old 10-08-2019   #22
Ted Striker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndnik View Post
This. For larger than 35 mm, the OpticFilm 120 is still the best current offer. For 35 mm only, I think the smaller OpticFilm scanners are hard to beat in terms of price and performance.


- N.

Unfortunately, the OpticFilm 120 is now out of production. The replacement model is just vaporware.
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Old 10-08-2019   #23
Ko.Fe.
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Any 120 film subformat is so big, any new flatbed Epson supporting it will be sufficient.
And to be honest same is enough for 135. Epson comes with easy to use software.
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Old 10-08-2019   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Any 120 film subformat is so big, any new flatbed Epson supporting it will be sufficient.
And to be honest same is enough for 135. Epson comes with easy to use software.

I dont want sufficient, I want excellence when it comes to my scans. My MF cameras cost $2,000 and $3800 each. A dedicated 120 film scanner absolutely destroys the results of an Epson. It's not even close.
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Old 10-08-2019   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post
I dont want sufficient, I want excellence when it comes to my scans. My MF cameras cost $2,000 and $3800 each. A dedicated 120 film scanner absolutely destroys the results of an Epson. It's not even close.
Any evidence what your excellency has practical outcome?
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Old 10-08-2019   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post
I dont want sufficient, I want excellence when it comes to my scans. My MF cameras cost $2,000 and $3800 each. A dedicated 120 film scanner absolutely destroys the results of an Epson. It's not even close.
I've considered myself a "maximizer". Epson flatbeds are more than sufficient for sharing (despire the irony of ppl sharing it in smaller than the neg formats, Instagram) or hybrid prints at not too large a size, but easily feel they leave a lot out of the scan.
For B&W we have a 4990 in the Camera club and it's rather OKish but having the community darkroom under the same roof basically means I print.


We have a copy stand with a schneider lens and bought an adapter to try using my EM5 on. I've seen really gorgeous results of many people "camera scanning". NLP group in facebook has many examples. Drum scanners would be the ultimate in quality and it shows, specially with color slide film, but I have seen great "camera scans".



Quote:
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Any evidence what your excellency has practical outcome?
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Old 10-08-2019   #27
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I have an Epson 4870 that does all I need. I've had it for several years now. It does 4x5 down to 35mm. If I wanted 30x40 from 35mm I expect I would want something better, but the Epson with its native software is OK for me as I use it. 8x10 prints are quite acceptable. I can't print any larger as that is the best my of HP printer can manage.
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Old 10-08-2019   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Any evidence what your excellency has practical outcome?

All kinds of evidence. Just start with the spec sheet and work from there. The multiple exposure mode on the OpticFilm 120 allows for some nicely expanded dynamic range, mostly in the dark spots of the negative.


Then look at the OpticFilm's negative holders. A better negative holder that keeps the film 100% flat is hard to imagine. World's better than Epson.
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Old 10-08-2019   #29
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I've considered myself a "maximizer". Epson flatbeds are more than sufficient for sharing

"Sufficient" isn't maximized. It is merely sufficient; a much much lower threshold.
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Old 10-08-2019   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post
I dont want sufficient, I want excellence when it comes to my scans. My MF cameras cost $2,000 and $3800 each. A dedicated 120 film scanner absolutely destroys the results of an Epson. It's not even close.
As stated, I have a Nikon CS 9000 which surpasses the quality of the OpticFilm 120 (not by much but somewhat noticeably at 100% magnification) and I will still go for the Epson V850 sometimes even for magazine work. The thing is, once the image is resized to the magazine's specs (usually at most 300dpi at around A4 for a single page or cover) there's barely any difference.
The tiny bit of difference that might still be noticeable on the screen side by side in favor of the Nikon would probably not be apparent in print anyway.

Is a dedicated film scanner better? Sure. But the newest Epsons with the variable height glass holders actually come reasonably close to something like the Nikon or Plustek for 120 film. For 35mm the Epsons are still quite inadequate, though.

A Flextight is a whole other matter, though. There I feel like you can see the difference at every document size.
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Old 10-08-2019   #31
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The mistake here in this thread by some people is thinking that your way is good enough for you, so it is good enough for everyone. Some people have higher standards though.

To the OP- If you find scanning 35mm tedious, then get a Nikon 4000 or 5000. They both do bulk scanning, and with VueScan it is pretty simple to scan an entire roll if the film is uncut. Even if you cut it, you can set up VueScan easily to start scanning when the film is inserted and spit the film out when it is done. Easy peasy.

For 120 with the Epson, if you are using VueScan enable "scan from preview" in the settings then do a preview of the entire roll with the preview resolution set to the resolution you desire. Then it is as simple as cropping each frame and hitting save. You can adjust each frame too before you save it. The preview will take longer, but you will only have to do one pass instead of a bunch.

Hope that helps you.
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Old 10-08-2019   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post
All kinds of evidence. Just start with the spec sheet and work from there. The multiple exposure mode on the OpticFilm 120 allows for some nicely expanded dynamic range, mostly in the dark spots of the negative.


Then look at the OpticFilm's negative holders. A better negative holder that keeps the film 100% flat is hard to imagine. World's better than Epson.
I have different approach.

I look at results and work from there.
I have scans from my Epson flatbed printed by me and by professional on lager size paper. It looks awesome.

I have no problem to put negatives into thick book and wait for them to become flat before scanning.

As for specs, my Epson does take it from 0 to 255 and does 48-bit if I want to.
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Old 10-08-2019   #33
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The things that bother me most about my current Epson 4990 are the crappy negative holders (I actually use some older ones from a prior Epson scanner that suck somewhat less) and it's pretty slow process.

The quality of 35mm is just so/so. I find the 120 acceptable if not great.

I don't need to bulk scan, I only scan the frames I like.

It sounds like a Nikon 4000 or one of the Optic Film scanners is the best solution for me or a Minolta although I'd lean toward the Optic Film as I don't really love the idea of buying 10 year old (plus?) tech gear.
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Old 10-08-2019   #34
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For something totally different: I've had rather nice results doing 6x9 wet prints in the darkroom and taking pictures of the prints with my Ricoh GR.
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Old 10-08-2019   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfly View Post

It sounds like a Nikon 4000 or one of the Optic Film scanners is the best solution for me or a Minolta although I'd lean toward the Optic Film as I don't really love the idea of buying 10 year old (plus?) tech gear.

Before I dropped the cash on the OpticFilm 120, I had my 35mm negatives scanned by an Epson V750. Only super fine films like Neopan Acros look any good. ISO400 and up look awful. Once I had the OpticFilm 120, I was totally satisfied with how my 35mm film looked. That alone was worth the purchase. The jump in quality is enormous.
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Old 10-08-2019   #36
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Still running a Nikon 8000ED. As long as it does, it does. Will be my last scanner, I think.
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Old 10-08-2019   #37
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For 35mm I use a Minolta 5400 Mk.1 and for medium format an Epson V750 with the Betterscanning film holder. Very happy with both of them

Just to pick up on a point made earlier in this thread, the V750 is not satisfactory for 35mm because it cannot fully resolve the film grain (I mean 'not satisfactory for me' not necessarily for everyone else), whereas the 5400 is extremely sharp without being harsh. However, I do use the V750 for 35mm 'digital contact sheets' from which I then select the frames to run through the 5400.
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Old 10-08-2019   #38
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I'm still using my v700 that I bought years ago.. It's decent. If someone released a new scanner that's like the old nikon scanners, i'd be all over it, but I guess that's probably not gonna happen.





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Old 10-08-2019   #39
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Nikon Coolscan V for 35mm and Epson V500 for 120. I'm happy so far. I use Vuescan as my software.
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Old 10-08-2019   #40
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Nikon ES 2, D800E, current 60 2.8 lens, and Luma Pro light.

Works as nice a my D5400 Minolta whose software no longer works. Available software is trash, tried it all.
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