Scanner Recommendations

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    Topic: Scanner Recommendations Read 2636 Times
  • Chuck Augenbraun
    Chuck Augenbraun
    Participant
    Posts: 18
    Film and Photo Digitizing
    on: July 2, 2023 at 11:52 am

    Good morning

    I would appreciate any thoughts or recommendations on scanners.

    I plan to start digitizing my older analog photos.  My primary interest is in 35 mm black and white negatives although I also have color negatives and some slides (probably pretty far gone by now).

    I have some larger format black and white negatives up to 4×5 but these are less important now

    I work with apple computer – currently a loaded Mac Mini.

    the budget is up to $1000 although if there was great solution I would go a little higher

    Thanks

    chuck

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 951
    Re: Scanner Recommendations
    Reply #1 on: July 2, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    I’m not recommending scanners any longer. The reason is that the really high quality units – new – have disappeared, used equipment is available at horribly inflated prices with iffy support options, and we have more efficient technologies at hand now – specifically using a digital camera with a good flat-field macro lens (a.k.a. “copy lens”). Decent rigs can be set up for not too much money depending on what you already have, but $1000 for all the necessary components is likely too little. There is a lot of material on the internet describing these set-ups, including my own on this website, so after doing some research if you are interested in pursuing this option we can discuss further with specifics.

    Regarding the scanners, the best of the lot (excluding Imacon/Hasselblad Flexscan which costs a fortune) in terms of effective resolution, regardless that it’s kind of slow, was the Minolta ScanElite 5400 Model 1. It also happens to be a scanner model that is less chased in the market-place, hence can be found at less outrageous prices than say a Nikon Super Coolscan ED 5000, also an excellent model, works faster than the Minolta. but the resale market is kind of cornered and highly inflated.The reason why I focus (no pun intended) on resolution is because that is the one quality aspect which is baked into the hardware and once bought you can’t do much about it, whereas how well it scans for colour and luminance, B&W neutrality and all that good stuff is largely controllable with software.

    There are a number of the Minolta units on eBay which you’ll find here (ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1311&_nkw=minolta+dimage+scan+elite+5400&_sacat=0). Put https://www. before this address. Most of those prices are reasonable for what you get, BUT very much depending on condition and how much usage. Careful discussion with sellers is essential. The Minolta software would be useless with today’s computer systems, but both SilverFast and VueScan support it. You should verify this compatibility before buying – I would recommend that for any old scanner model.

    I would also recommend looking at an Epson V-850, which is current and well supported. Being a flat-bed scanner it is less specialized for film, but fully equipped for scanning film, multiple strips at a time; depending on how much resolution you need it can be quite satisfactory.

    Kevin Raber
    Kevin Raber
    Silver Member
    Posts: 1305
    Re: Scanner Recommendations
    Reply #2 on: July 2, 2023 at 12:19 pm

    Mark is correct.  Stay tuned though there is some news coming later this week.

     

    Kevin Raber
    Owner and Publisher of photoPXL

    Chuck Augenbraun
    Chuck Augenbraun
    Participant
    Posts: 18
    Re: Scanner Recommendations
    Reply #3 on: July 3, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    Mark,

    Thanks, once again,  for your help – it is very much appreciated.

    I did read your article about utilizing a macro set up for scanning.  I found the equipment requirements a little intimidating for what I have in mind.

    I use the Olympus system – omd EM1 Mk 3 which has a 20 MP micro 4/3 sensor.  This camera does have a hi resolution mode to creat 80 MP files.  In addition, I have the Olympus 60 mm macro lens which is extremely sharp,  and a fairly high quality Copy stand. I was thinking I could use any one of the Durst or Beseler negative holders (currently gathering dust in the darkroom).  I don’t have a light source but was thinking I might be able to use an iPad – at least to test the concept.

    My goal is to be able to preserve and re interpret some of my old b+w work – mainly 35 mm with some larger format.  In terms of resolution – I would be happy with the ability to go to 13×17  print .

    I am thinking I may try to emulate your system – but “on a budget” – by patching together what is already on my shelf.  If results are good – I will look for a dedicated light source.

    Any thoughts?

    have a Happy 4 th

    Chuck

    Chuck Augenbraun
    Chuck Augenbraun
    Participant
    Posts: 18
    Re: Scanner Recommendations
    Reply #4 on: July 3, 2023 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks, Kevin

    You have my attention.

    Will be watching closely for the “news”!

    Chuck

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 951
    Re: Scanner Recommendations
    Reply #5 on: July 3, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    Mark,

    Thanks, once again,  for your help – it is very much appreciated.

    I did read your article about utilizing a macro set up for scanning.  I found the equipment requirements a little intimidating for what I have in mind.

    I use the Olympus system – omd EM1 Mk 3 which has a 20 MP micro 4/3 sensor.  This camera does have a hi resolution mode to creat 80 MP files.  In addition, I have the Olympus 60 mm macro lens which is extremely sharp,  and a fairly high quality Copy stand. I was thinking I could use any one of the Durst or Beseler negative holders (currently gathering dust in the darkroom).  I don’t have a light source but was thinking I might be able to use an iPad – at least to test the concept.

    My goal is to be able to preserve and re interpret some of my old b+w work – mainly 35 mm with some larger format.  In terms of resolution – I would be happy with the ability to go to 13×17  print .

    I am thinking I may try to emulate your system – but “on a budget” – by patching together what is already on my shelf.  If results are good – I will look for a dedicated light source.

    Any thoughts?

    have a Happy 4 th

    Chuck

    Hi Chuck, you should be able to make good 13×17 inch prints with the capture equipment and resolution you have, provided not too much cropping. Do not use an iPad as a light source. For about $160 or so you can get a Kaiser Slimlite Plano 5000K, which is  made especially for this kind of purpose, with even light dispersion and known colour temperature.

    Jeff Schewe
    Jeff Schewe
    Gold Member
    Posts: 136
    Re: Scanner Recommendations
    Reply #6 on: July 4, 2023 at 2:00 am

    Chuck,

    I agree with Mark but I would suggest looking at This light (Which I have) VILTROX L116T 3300K-5600K LED Photography Light Kit

    You’ll want to have a light output that will allow you to shoot at about 2 stops down from wide open (or whatever you lens’ sweet spot)

    Depending on what you need for output, you may wish to test the pixel/shift resolution increase capability of your camera. Since you are shooting 4/3 you’ll loose some rez copying a 35mm ratio. You’ll also want to keep your rig as vibration free as possible.

    For my set up using a Nikon Z7, I have enough rez to do a single shot but I prefer to bracket. I can set the camera to shoot using the time release and auto bracket and set the timer to delay 5 seconds between the shots.

    Not sure what your your setup will require but the shorter the shutter speed the better.

    Also, depending on what software you use, I would suggest getting Neg Lab Pro

    When I decided to do camera scanning, I decided to bite the bullet and buy Peter Krogh’s Rail System…works very well.

    While it would be nice to have Lightroom (and ACR) capable of doing the invert & for color, orange mask color out. But Neg Lab Pro is serviceable…and can produce better results than simple curve invert.

    Good luck! It’s time consuming bit once you have everything set up, it moves pretty fast!

    Jeff Schewe
    Jeff Schewe
    Gold Member
    Posts: 136
    Re: Scanner Recommendations
    Reply #7 on: July 4, 2023 at 2:14 am

    Also, I second the Epson flatbed scanner with the caveat that scanning single 35mm frames doesn’t get you great sharpness unless you wet mount the film…unless you can find some Anti Newton ring glass. I’ve not used these but they would seem to fit the bill. 35mm ANR Insert  They also have other scanning aids as well.

     

     

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 951
    Re: Scanner Recommendations
    Reply #8 on: July 4, 2023 at 10:25 am

    Quote Jeff: “While it would be nice to have Lightroom (and ACR) capable of doing the invert & for color, orange mask color out. But Neg Lab Pro is serviceable…and can produce better results than simple curve invert.”

    Yes, agreed. I would go further and say that Neg Lab Pro is “pretty darn good”, and Nate is working hard on making it even better, as it has gotten from one version to the next. Some time down the road I shall be writing a follow-up article (to my previous one here:https://photopxl.com/from-colour-negs-to-bw-positives-with-negative-lab-pro-nlp/) on using a future version of this application in conjunction with LR. Absent Neg Lab Pro, the simple curve invert is really not very good, and if one goes that route infallibly needs a lot of tinkering after the fact to get a decent photo. The general rule for success with the combo of LR+NLP is to implement as much global adjustment as necessary and possible within NLP, then where masks are needed for local adjustments, do those in LR (NLP cannot work within LR masks), remembering that within LR itself, all the Luminance and some of the colour controls work in reverse because the raw file is negative. It takes a bit of getting used to, but becomes second nature.

    Chuck Augenbraun
    Chuck Augenbraun
    Participant
    Posts: 18
    Re: Scanner Recommendations
    Reply #9 on: July 6, 2023 at 11:10 am

    I am working on my system to scan negatives utilizing copystand and camera

    I was wondering whether you photograph the negatives with emulsion “up – facing camera” or “down”.  It seems like it might make a difference for critical focusing although I don’t see much difference on my partially assembled system.

     

    Thanks for all you advice

    Still waiting for eagerly for Kevin’s news later this week

     

    Chuck

     

     

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 951
    Re: Scanner Recommendations
    Reply #10 on: July 6, 2023 at 11:16 am

    Maybe it depends on one’s set-up, but I don’t know. I’ve tried both with my arrangement and it makes no difference. Once the media is focused, it’s focused. Perhaps for those scanning with the light source being a light table, having the emulsion side down would minimize the risk of reflectivity off the film backing, but I haven’t seen evidence of that either, as the light source is diffuse. I think the best way of knowing is to simply try both and observe.

    Chuck Augenbraun
    Chuck Augenbraun
    Participant
    Posts: 18
    Re: Scanner Recommendations
    Reply #11 on: July 7, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    Jeff,

    I purchased the light you suggested and have run some test shots.

    I am getting good sharp copies with my set up however I can see the pattern of the LCD elements faintly in my copies – they create a subtle set of lines with blurry dots  across the photo image.

    I have the light set up about 3 inches below the negatives.  Using F8 on the macro lens.  I am about to experiment with larger aperture – this lens remains sharp at F3.5-4,  and increasing the distance between light and negative.  I was also thinking about adding some type of diffuser over the light surface.

    I figured I would check in to see whether you have run into the same problem and how you dealt with it.

    Thanks

    Chuck

     

    PS Still waiting for Kevins “new” on this subject

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