Reporting: Lab scan vs. Kodak Slide 'n Scan

Started Jan 18, 2021 | Discussions thread
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Smaug01
Smaug01 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,141
Reporting: Lab scan vs. Kodak Slide 'n Scan
7

I currently scan my B&W film myself, then invert and correct it myself.

I shoot color film much more rarely, but I have left it to the lab I sent it to do develop it. $4/roll for developing, $9/roll for high quality scans; so $13 a roll, without any prints. Another $3-4 in return shipping of the negs. If any of those images are really great, I will re-scan them with my camera for proper high quality and try my best at color correcting with FastStone Image Viewer.

I had been looking for an easier way to invert and color correct the good shots, but without letting Adobe into my paycheck. (everyone says: "Lightroom + Negative Lab Pro plugin")

I read reviews on the desktop film scanners on Amazon; nothing above 4 stars. The reviewers who were happy had pretty low standards, and the guys like me rated them much lower. I checked every now & then, figuring someone would figure out there's a market for a decent one of these at a fair price.

Lo and behold, one day a few weeks ago, I noticed the Kodak Slide 'n Scan Digital Film Scanner. It's rated 4 stars, and it seemed like some proper photographers thought pretty highly of it, so I ordered one. It arrived today, and I scanned a roll that had previously been scanned by the lab I use to do C-41 processing.

The bottom line:

  • my own scans are higher resolution and sharper than either the lab or the Slide 'n Scan, however, color correction is a bear.
  • The lab scans are pretty sharp, but much lower resolution, and the color is corrected about perfectly; feels faithful to how film used to look.
  • Slide 'n Scan scans are very good quality. Not as sharp as either of the above, but you wouldn't notice it unless looking at them side by side.
  • Slide 'n Scan is very fast and easy
  • Slide 'n Scan scans are pretty faithful to what I think they should look like, but do require some further correction in post-processing to look their best.
  • Slide 'n Scan has a 14 MP sensor and a 5 element lens; upsamples to 22 MP, if you wish. The scans below are upsampled, though I will probably go to 14 MP next roll; I suspect it will look just as good; maybe a bit sharper, albeit with lower resolution.

From here on, I plan to use the Slide 'n Scan to do the initial scans of all my negatives, then, the real keepers will get scanned by my camera and adjusted individually.

Below are a couple shots with tight crops, lab scans vs. Slide 'n Scan scans. Film is Kodak Ultramax 400 @ 400.

I recommend this scanner. (no affiliation with Kodak or whoever really makes this scanner)

Lab scan

Slide 'n Scan scan

Lab scan crop

Slide 'n Scan crop

With it being so easy to scan color film now, I may shoot it more often. Time to order my own C-41 kit and give 'er a try!

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-Jeremy
*********
"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength."
-Eric Hoffer
Opinions expressed are mine and not necessarily DPR's

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