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Old Aug 1, 2008, 7:55 AM   #1
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What is a 35mm film scanner?
What does it do?
I wanted to get a Nikon branded one and hook it up to my PC via USB.

Do you insert the exposed 35mm film directly from your camera? (roll)


I just wanted to know what it did and if I could avoid having to develop film by buying one of these.

In hopes of the right thoughts,
Roy.
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 9:22 AM   #2
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system32 wrote:
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I just wanted to know what it did and if I could avoid having to develop film by buying one of these.
NO.

A 35mm film scanner scans exposed, developed, 35mm film.
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 9:24 AM   #3
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:sad: Oh... =(.
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 12:13 PM   #4
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I used to used to enjoy developing my own B&W film, though I was limited in that I didn't have an enlarger. I understand that developing color slide film isn't difficult. If all you want is developed film, you might do it yourself. You might check with some of the larger photography retailers to learn what is required to develop the film you're using.
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 1:40 PM   #5
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Yes you have to develop it first.

But you don't have to get prints made.

I usually get the film developed and a photo CD (with fairly low resolution scans) done at the lab.

Then I can choose which of those shots I like enough to do more detailed scanning on.

I am currently using a Nikon Coolscan V scanner, which is the bottom-of-the-range 35mm scanner. There are not a huge number of good scanners on the market anymore however.

A couple of things are worth mentioning with regard to film scanning.

The quality can vary greatly depending on the type of film and scanning technique.

Some film scans better than others. For BW film the silver films can be quite tricky to scan without getting lots of grain, more than you would get from conventional techniques, but the chromogenic BW films scan very nicely (Ilford XP2 and Kodak BW400CN) you can get them developed in a 1-hour lab which is very convenient. However they are ISO400 films, i.e. relatively fast, and even though a 4000ppi scan gives me a 20Mb file I really don't think there is any detail than an 8Mp file from a DSLR.

Color print film scans OK and slow slide film scans very nicely. With low speed film and a good scanner you can get similar quality to a modern 10-12mp DSLR. With access to a very expensive $20,000 drum scanner and very good lenses you might even exceed the quality possible from most of today's DSLR cameras.

But for most people most of the time with high-street printing and consumer grade film you are much better off with a DSLR for image quality.

I currently use film for about 50% of my photography, but that's only because I can't afford the digital cameras I want. And I don't shoot very large volumes.

FYI the Nikon Coolscan V retails for the same price as an entry level DSLR, the Nikon Coolscan 5000 is about the same as a mid-level DSLR and the Coolscan 9000 (which also scans MF film) costs the same as a low-end pro DSLR. So decent scanners are not cheap, and the Coolscans are not the best scanners around, merely pretty good ones.

For MF film a good flatbed scanner will probably provide sufficient resolution to compete with the pro level DSLR cameras.


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Old Aug 1, 2008, 2:35 PM   #6
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Thanks for all your help TCav and peripatetic that answers my question fully!

Thanks.
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 4:46 PM   #7
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peripatetic wrote:
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For MF film a good flatbed scanner will probably provide sufficient resolution to compete with the pro level DSLR cameras.
Actually, a significant portion of the quoted resolution for flatbed scanners is 'interpolated'. The actual hardware resolution is about 1200 dpi (though some go higher.) That amounts to a 1133x1700 resolution, or a 2 megapixel imageof a 35mm exposure.

If you use the software to get the interpolated resolution out of the scan, it's just averaging the data it has to make up new data. In fact the situation has gotten so bad that many companies don't even quote the hardware resolution of their scanners, just the interpolated resolution.

So a flatbed scanner is probably not a good way to scan 35mm film.

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Old Aug 7, 2008, 1:39 PM   #8
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You can get good 35mm film scans at about 2400 dpi, and I have at least seen some flatbed scanners advertised with 2400 or better optical resolution. Most film scanners scan bothcolor negatives of the orange C41 variety, and color slides, delivering the correct (positive) color picture.

But a flatbed has to be designed for film scanning.For film scanning mode the light that follows the scanning carriage under the bed is switched off and the scanner needs a backlight in the scanner cover turned on.

Some film scanners are finicky about less than perfectly exposed negatives and slides. They are unable to slide their dynamic range to span the dynamic range of the source material and the result is a low contras picture.

More and more these days, slide shows are being done with video projectors. An XGA projector delivers just a 1 megapixel (actually a bit less) image and a full 1080 HDTV projector delivers 2 mp. So you don't need that much resolution when scanning film solely for this kind of presentation.

Digital camera hints: http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/digicam.htm


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