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Old May 16, 2009, 11:18 AM   #1
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Default Need advice re buying negative scanner

I have a pile of old 35mm negatives that I'd like to scan. They offer this service at a few of the local photo development establishments, but I'm wondering if I can do as good or better of a job myself. (The price ranges from store to store, varying between affordable and ridiculous.)

I'd like the final results to be high-quality electronic versions that I can print and archive on DVD. I'm hoping someone can offer advice on what to look for if I want to purchase one, meaning specs, brand, etc. It'd be a shame to spend the money and time, and then not be satisfied with the results.

Thanks in advance.
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Old May 16, 2009, 3:06 PM   #2
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As well as other earlier threads in this quiet forum, you could take a look at my reply a while back to this question.... where do I go to convert 35mm to cd or dvd.

Ed Hamrick's excellent site will help with knowing what to look for.

Good luck!

Last edited by Alan T; May 16, 2009 at 3:09 PM.
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Old May 17, 2009, 3:42 PM   #3
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... I'm hoping someone can offer advice on what to look for if I want to purchase one, meaning specs, brand, etc. ...
What ever you choose to do, either getting your own scanner or using a lab, there will be compromises.

Scanners fall into two classes, flatbed and "dedicated" film scanners, and are available at a range of guality levels. There are some inexpensive (<$180USD) scanners of both types. These generally produce fair quality at best and are of limited use (4x6 prints, screen display on web or TV).

Scanners that can reproduce high quality images also exist in both classes. Prices for these are generally $500USD and higher. I can personally recommend the EPSON v700 and v750, which are multipurpose flatbed scanners. Nikon also offer a couple of dedicated film scanners that have excellent reputations.

There are few models in between, the EPSON v500 seems rather decent. My brother has one and is very satisfied, though his needs aren't as demanding as mine.

Features to look for:

1. Film sizes handles: dedicated scanners will be 35mm slide and neg only or will be very expensive. The better Flatbed scanners can generally also handle 120 and often 4x5 film.

2. Resolution: a minimum true optical resolution for good 35mm scans is about 3200dpi. This will produce a roughly 3000x4500 pixel image.

3. Dynamic Range (AKA "DMax"): You want 4.0 or higher, though 3.2 is still rather good. Slides are less challenging than negatives and B&W negs are the most demanding of the scanner's dynamic range.

4. Digital ICE: A trademarked technology that can be a great aid in dust removal. Its a software process that relies on the 4 color scanner where the extra color channel, in addition to the red green & blue, is in the infared. Its common in the better scanners. The scanning software uses the IR information to tell what is dust and what is image information. If the hardware doesn't support Digital ICE out of the box, it can't be added. Digital ICE dosn't work with some films (particularily most Kodachromes) or with prints. Some software, like EPSON's own EPSON Scan software, have there own dust removal logic that can be useful. EPSON's own routines are very good for their class, but the Digital ICE, which the better EPSON scanners support, is better.

Last edited by dwig; Sep 26, 2009 at 11:16 AM.
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Old Jun 20, 2009, 9:27 AM   #4
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(The price ranges from store to store, varying between affordable and ridiculous.)
With the number of photo finishing establishments in my area decreasing over the past decade. There are only few left that offer professional scanning of print negatives and transparencies. One local photo establishment, which offers the cheapest rates, charges a price of $1.85 per 35 mm slide or negative. However, they have a $20.00 flat set up fee for any scanning, plus the price for each negative/slide to be scanned. Likewise, I understand that their rates are even higher for larger format films, like 120mm or 5" x 6."

Personally, if you have a large collection of print negatives or slides to be scanned, its much cheaper to just buy your own scanner, rather than paying these ridiculous prices. Moreover, the place I just quoted, those prices are for regular scanning up to 3600 dpi. You have to call for a "special quote" if you want higher resolution, or the work done with their drum scanner.
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Old Sep 25, 2009, 9:14 AM   #5
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I would suggest buying the Microtek ScanMaker i900. It can scan both flats and film with 3200-dpi resolution and a DMax of 4.2. You could also consider the Canon FS-4000 or the Hewlett Packard Scanjet G3010.

slide scanning servicer0
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 1:37 AM   #6
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Think nothing but EPSON. I use three models. The third party supply of ink cartridges is excellent.
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 1:39 AM   #7
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If anyone thinks I am a nutter, I am referrring to the Epson combi`s for scanning and printing.
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 4:01 PM   #8
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If anyone thinks I am a nutter, I am referrring to the Epson combi`s for scanning and printing.
Off hand, while interesting gadgets, compared to a dedicated slide scanner, they are nothing but toys.

Dave

Last edited by Chato; Oct 25, 2009 at 4:02 PM. Reason: typo
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