Scanner for 35mm negs?

Started May 17, 2012 | Discussions
La Buonavita New Member • Posts: 10
Scanner for 35mm negs?

What is the best scanner to get to scan 35mm negs or should I say what is good scanner to get that won't break the bank to scan 35mm negs - what dpi to use - any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

Laurentiu Todie
Laurentiu Todie Senior Member • Posts: 2,567
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

This may not be the best advice.
I haven't used this kind of device since the film times.

http://www.scantips.com/es-1.html

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Leswick Veteran Member • Posts: 3,102
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

Quality scans don't come cheap....whether someone does it for you or if you do it. I'd bet, from results that I've seen, that Nikon 5000 or 9000 would qualify as excellent results. Sometimes extra software help and make a difference. If you squeeze the most, the files can be rather large (over 50MB's) and that too can cause extra issues. There are more expensive scanners like Imacon (over 10K).

I'm awaiting for the Plustek (35/120) to arrive on our shores...and hopefully it rivals the Nikon scanners. It will take some testing. The Nikon models are no longer covered by warranty and getting parts for them might be an issue....something that you may wish to look at. Good luck.

Leswick

MaxTux Regular Member • Posts: 449
Plustek 7400: good hardware, miserable software

I used Plustek 7400. Hardware might not be "the best", but I am convinced I got out of my negatives all they were capable of delivering. However, software that comes with it as part of the package is worthless, look for alternatives. I did some experimentation, but, unfortunately, not enough to give any recommendation.

MaxTux

Jim King
Jim King Veteran Member • Posts: 8,395
Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 II

Available used on eBay from time to time for about $500. Does a very good job (I use VueScan Pro instead of the outdated Minolta SW) and doesn't break the bank.

Probably not as good as a high end Plustek or Nikon scanner but doesn't cost as much either...

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RobertLaw Senior Member • Posts: 2,019
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

I have used our Epson Perfection V500 Photo scanner to scan all of my father's, father in law's and my slides and negatives from the last 60 years. It took quite awhile, but it was worth it.

I recommend scanning at a dpi that results in about a 12meg file. I suggest that whatever you get you try a few slides to see what is acceptable to you.
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hotdog321
hotdog321 Forum Pro • Posts: 19,490
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

I use an older-model Epson flatbed scanner. It came with some digital ICE software that helps reduce all those lousy scratches and and surface abrasions. One interesting tip someone turned me onto was to scan a (B&W) negative in transparency mode, then reverse the image in Photoshop or another program. Seemed to pull out more shadow detail.

Be sure to get an anti-static cloth and maybe an anti-static brush. You will be shocked at all the crud and dust and scratches you are going to have to work though.

Long live dit!

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Skipper494 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,255
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

Wrong forum, of course, however I use an Epson V700, but have a Dimage also, though drivers can be a problem and I use it on my old XP system.

graybalanced Veteran Member • Posts: 6,290
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

La Buonavita wrote:

what dpi to use

I'm a fan of doing a draft scan of lots of frames at a relatively low resolution just to see which ones you want to use up disk space on, then go back and scan the picks at a higher resolution. Since scanning at max resolution may be overkill (unneeded resolution just bogs down your CPU and takes up more RAM and disk space than you'll want), start by determining the largest size you will print it at, work out the target dpi of that (e.g. for my Epson it is 240dpi), then make that your goal. But remember you have to correct for scaling up the original, and the original is small. For instance you want to print 10 inches at 300 dpi, the negative is 1.42 inches long, so after scaling up the negative to 10 inches long and still achieve 300 dpi in the end, you will have to scan the neg at 2113 dpi. Good scanning software will help calculate this for you.

MisterBG Veteran Member • Posts: 6,362
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

In their day Canon, Nikon and Minolta all made high resolution 35mm scanners, but now only Nikon have film scanners, and the few that remain are astronomically expensive.

There is a market for high end Nikon scanners on eBay, but even second-hand they command high prices. This means you could buy one, scan your slides & negatives, and then sell it on with little or no loss of money, but the initial purchase price will be substantial. Minolta scanners are also advertised from time to time. Some of the earlier 35mm scanners had SCSI interfaces, which means an adapter card in your host computer, but more recent models have USB interfaces. Drivers are usually available for recent operating systems.

As for resolution, always scan at the highest resolution available for the scanner. From experience I would suggest a scan resolution of at least 2800dpi. This will result in a scan size approximately equivalent to that from a 12MP camera.

There's no need to do a "thumbnail" scan because all scanner software does a quick "preview" scan to allow you to set fine details like cropping, skew adjustment etc before the final scan.

I prefer a dedicated 35mm scanner over an adapted flatbed scanner since I feel that a flatbed scanner is a bit of a compromise for scanning such a tiny area as that from a 35mm frame.

Because my Minolta scanner software will not run under Windows7 64-bit I am now using VueScan software, which works great and is better than the original Minolta software that came with my scanner.

I have no experience of current 35mm scanners but if you are interested in some newer scanners here is a site which includes reviews of a number of scanners, both older and currently available models:
http://www.scandig.com/index.html

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Barry Fitzgerald Forum Pro • Posts: 29,888
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

I recommend Plustek they update their drivers too so even older ones work with newer OS's

Nikon and Minolta made some fine scanners however it's probably easier to stick to newer ones.

Azbeen New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?........Hardware(EPSON V500)

I use an Epson V500, & can't fault it !!!....slow to use maybe, but the quality
of the scans is amazing !!
Be prepared to do a lot of repair work (cloning) to remove dust, scratches,hairs

etc......& it also shows up the grain in the film, & it can get quite 'chunky' if the
negs are a high speed film, say ISO 400 or more.
The scan quality (DPI) can be adjusted from coarse to ultra-fine, but the file
sizes can get rather large with high DPI settings !!

Finally, I've also used it to scan solid objects, such as sea-shells, & leaves, & the

quality is astounding, & make terrific 'scanographs'....indistinguishable from using
a camera & macro lens.......

So there's something to ponder on !!....would I buy one again ??..you becha !!!

Regards...Keith

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graybalanced Veteran Member • Posts: 6,290
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

With all due respect I think the info given is a little outdated, which is why I recommended what I did...

MisterBG wrote:

As for resolution, always scan at the highest resolution available for the scanner. From experience I would suggest a scan resolution of at least 2800dpi. This will result in a scan size approximately equivalent to that from a 12MP camera.

The reason I did not recommend "always" scanning at the highest resolution is because the last generation of scanners have ridiculously high resolutions. If an inexperienced operator simply chooses the highest resolution, on for example a Canon at 4000 dpi or Epson at 6400 dpi, the file sizes would be astronomical, especially if 48-bit scanning is turned on. Furthermore, such high resolutions may outstrip the sharpness of the film image itself (think ASA 400 drugstore film handheld and shot with old mediocre optics), resulting in a waste of computer resources and an unwanted, unnecessary slowdown in the entire workflow. And if someone isn't noticing that the top resolution is actually interpolated and not hardware, and they use it, the wasted time and disk space is even worse.

MisterBG wrote:

There's no need to do a "thumbnail" scan because all scanner software does a quick "preview" scan to allow you to set fine details like cropping, skew adjustment etc before the final scan.

My reason for thumbnails was so you don't scan every frame at the highest resolution. The reason in this case is time. A 36-exposure roll of film can take over an hour on my Nikon film scanner at high quality settings, when you factor in loading/unloading film strips (they sometimes don't go in right the first time), preview/crop each frame/other prep time per film strip, and time-consuming special features like multi-pass sampling (for less noise) and defect removal. Which, by the way, take more time at higher resolutions. If thousands are to be scanned, maybe you don't want to bog them all down by leaving it set to max all the time.

MisterBG wrote:

I prefer a dedicated 35mm scanner over an adapted flatbed scanner since I feel that a flatbed scanner is a bit of a compromise for scanning such a tiny area as that from a 35mm frame.

This used to be generally true, but again, the last generation of flatbeds were becoming competitive against mid-range film scanners:
http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/interactive/Epson%20V700/page_8.htm

As you know the mid- and high-end film scanners are gone from the market, so when you find a film scanner to compete against a flatbed, you might only find a cheap film scanner, and a cheap film scanner will not be superior to a good flatbed. See example at the bottom of this link:
http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/interactive/Epson%20V700/page_6.htm

MisterBG wrote:

I have no experience of current 35mm scanners

I hope the example above helps clarify the true state of flatbed vs film today. While the review linked above was from several years ago, the points are still true, since there hasn't really been another wave of new scanner models since then.

Bill Force
Bill Force Veteran Member • Posts: 6,607
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

wife bought me a new Epson 500 for my birthday, I already had a Nikon Coolscan 4000 ED that ive used for a time.

I am completely blown away by the quality of my 35mm scans at 4800 dpi on the Epson, way better than the dedicated 35mm scanner but of course several years in between technologies.

These are two out of the first roll of Fuji Superia 400 with virtually no PS processing except to sharpen slightly as I have sharpening disabled in the scanner.
Canon AE-1 Program, Soligor 75-260mm Canon FD lens.

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AOKH
AOKH Senior Member • Posts: 2,675
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

You mean, a $145 flatbed scanner ( http://www.amazon.com/Epson-B11B189011-Epson-Perfection-V500-Photo-Scanner/dp/B000VG4AY0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337392127&sr=8-1 ) does way better than a dedicated $2,000 film scanner for 35mm negatives? If that is true, I really need to look into this. A few years ago, I bought a Microtek i900 scanner ( http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=723854&CatId=294&SRCCODE=WEBGOOKWL&cm_mmc_o=mH4CjC7BBTkwCjCs81CjCE&gclid=CL3yz76fi7ACFYje4AodLmfSnw ), but was very disappointed with the film scan resolution. As a regular flatbed scanner for prints it was OK. The cost of the dedicated film scanners have put me off, so your statement regarding the Epson 500 is interesting to say the least. Thanks.

Bill Force wrote:

My wife bought me a new Epson 500 for my birthday, I already had a Nikon Coolscan 4000 ED that ive used for a time.

I am completely blown away by the quality of my 35mm scans at 4800 dpi on the Epson, way better than the dedicated 35mm scanner but of course several years in between technologies.

These are two out of the first roll of Fuji Superia 400 with virtually no PS processing except to sharpen slightly as I have sharpening disabled in the scanner.
Canon AE-1 Program, Soligor 75-260mm Canon FD lens.

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Regards. Anders

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Bill Force
Bill Force Veteran Member • Posts: 6,607
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

I paid about $1800. for the Nikon but that was several years ago, the technology has certainly increased since then. My primary intent was to get a scanner for 120 film, not to replace the Nikon but now I'm not so sure.
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AOKH
AOKH Senior Member • Posts: 2,675
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

Thanks, just to confirm, the one you recommend is this $145 Epson V500 scanner: http://www.amazon.com/Epson-B11B189011-Epson-Perfection-V500-Photo-Scanner/dp/B000VG4AY0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337392127&sr=8-1
Negative scans good enough for 8x12 re-prints or greater? Thanks again.

Bill Force wrote:

I paid about $1800. for the Nikon but that was several years ago, the technology has certainly increased since then. My primary intent was to get a scanner for 120 film, not to replace the Nikon but now I'm not so sure.
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Regards. Anders

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Gesture Veteran Member • Posts: 5,997
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

Epson will sell many of these items on its Store Clearance page at good prices with free shipping.

MisterBG Veteran Member • Posts: 6,362
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

graybalanced wrote:

With all due respect I think the info given is a little outdated, which is why I recommended what I did...

MisterBG wrote:

As for resolution, always scan at the highest resolution available for the scanner. From experience I would suggest a scan resolution of at least 2800dpi. This will result in a scan size approximately equivalent to that from a 12MP camera.

The reason I did not recommend "always" scanning at the highest resolution is because the last generation of scanners have ridiculously high resolutions. If an inexperienced operator simply chooses the highest resolution, on for example a Canon at 4000 dpi or Epson at 6400 dpi, the file sizes would be astronomical, especially if 48-bit scanning is turned on.

Yes agreed. I should have said scan at the highest optical resolution, not the fanciful 'interpolated' figures that scanner manufacturers quote in their specifications. It may take some digging in the spec to find out what the actual, as opposed to claimed, hardware resolution is.

I find that scanning at a greater resolution than about 2800 does not noticeably improve the image quality. I've had the same negative scanned at 4000 dpi and the scan is no better than the one I've done with my Minolta Scan Speed at 2820 dpi.

Once I've scanned a frame, I'll do some basic cleaning up, dust spotting and hair removal etc. Only then will I decide at what quality I want to save or archive the image at. There's no law that says you have to keep the image in either the size or the resolution that it was scanned at, but I see no point in making the initial scan at anything other than the highest available resolution and quality. What's a few MB of file size when storage is so cheap these days?

MisterBG wrote:

There's no need to do a "thumbnail" scan because all scanner software does a quick "preview" scan to allow you to set fine details like cropping, skew adjustment etc before the final scan.

My reason for thumbnails was so you don't scan every frame at the highest resolution.

When I'm scanning slides or negatives, I've already got a pretty good idea of what I'm scanning beforehand. I've never found it necessary to scan a whole 36 exposure film in order to decide what I might want. The main reason for the preview scan is to check any cropping or straightening that may be needed, a procedure that takes about 20 seconds. You could crop & straighten in your editing program, but that takes extra time too.

MisterBG wrote:

I prefer a dedicated 35mm scanner over an adapted flatbed scanner since I feel that a flatbed scanner is a bit of a compromise for scanning such a tiny area as that from a 35mm frame.

This used to be generally true, but again, the last generation of flatbeds were becoming competitive against mid-range film scanners:
http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/interactive/Epson%20V700/page_8.htm

As you know the mid- and high-end film scanners are gone from the market, so when you find a film scanner to compete against a flatbed, you might only find a cheap film scanner, and a cheap film scanner will not be superior to a good flatbed. See example at the bottom of this link:
http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/interactive/Epson%20V700/page_6.htm

Yes, that's all true, but at the end of the reviews you quoted he also says "The V700 scanner with 35mm film stock has outperformed every flatbed scanner that I have ever reviewed and it comes very close to the Nikon 4000 film scanner ." So it still says a dedicated 35mm scanner is better.

In the site I linked to, ( http://www.scandig.com/index.html ) in their review of the Epson V700 they say the following: "The claimed maximum resolution of 6400 dpi is higher than in most film scanners. But how much does the Epson Perfection V700 Photo really reach? In a test scan of an USAF test chart the horizontal lines of the element 5.3 and the vertical lines of the element 5.5 can yet still be differentiated. The result is therefore an actual resolution of only about 2300 dpi." That's the same test chart that is used by Imaging Resource ( http://www.imaging-resource.com/ ) for their resolution tests, so you can make comparisons there.

I'm tempted to give a modern dedicated 35mm film scanner a try but I'm quite happy with the results I'm getting now, although it's always interesting to make some comparisons. I think I'm likely to keep my Minolta until it dies, and then investigate the alternatives.

From my point of view, another major advantage of a dedicated 35mm scanner is that it takes up much less space on my already crowded worktop.

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graybalanced Veteran Member • Posts: 6,290
Re: Scanner for 35mm negs?

MisterBG wrote:

Yes, that's all true, but at the end of the reviews you quoted he also says "The V700 scanner with 35mm film stock has outperformed every flatbed scanner that I have ever reviewed and it comes very close to the Nikon 4000 film scanner ." So it still says a dedicated 35mm scanner is better.

My point wasn't so much "let's prove that flatbeds beat film scanners," but more like this: OK, so the flatbed "comes very close" to the film scanner. But that's not the only factor. Another factor is price. Very few photographers can afford a Nikon 4000. When equalized against price, how do the results of the V700 look? To most people, the "very close" quality gap is essentially neutralized by the price savings.

And to revisit another thing I mentioned. Where are you going to find a Nikon film scanner today? And of the film scanners you can actually buy new today, how many will match a Nikon 4000? When accounting for both product availability and price, many will decide that the "very close" gap is insignificant and the v700 essentially becomes equal.

I don't dispute that you're getting better results with your film scanner. But generalized out to the wider audience, the V700 is going to be the very best realistic option for most of them.

In any case, good discussion here, probably helped the original poster understand how we see things.

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