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So I am looking into buying a negative scanner and I need some help deciding which one to buy.

I shoot with 35mm film and am looking for a good negative scanner. I do not care about the speed of the scanner or how many negatives can be scanned at a time, I am just looking for something that will give me quality digital images of my negatives.

I am also not looking to spend thousands of dollars on scanner right now, so any suggestions under a thousand would be great! Thank you so much!!!
 

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The defacto recommendations I've always made were the Nikon Coolscan 5000 or the Minolta Elite 5400, both are discontinued though.

The Plustek 7600i seems to be the one to get without dropping a couple thousand dollars - there's a good review here:
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/Plustek-OpticFilm-7600i-SE-12954

I've also recommended getting Vuescan when using a scanner, but the 7600 comes with Silverfast which is comparable.
 

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Epson Photo Series

Yes,

The Nikons are good and readily available on eBay. However the optical resolution and the quality of the stepper motors has improved in flatbed scanners to the point where they are good enough for professional use.

I bought an Epson Perfection 4990 Photo Scanner which is since discontinued. The newer models such as the V600 are 6400dpi optical and have a transparency adapter and film & slide holders. The 600 is limited to 12 negatives or 4 slides at a time whereas the 4990 did 12 slides or 24 negatives as well as medium format (120 & 4x5"). To get better functionality you need to move up to the v700 at more than double the price can do the same quantities as the 4990 .

Both models come with Digital Ice and SilverFast light versions, Photoshop Elements and ABBY OCR software.

I highly recommend them after doing over 1500 slides and 1000 negatives in various formats.
 

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gordonb, on the v700 when it says

8" x 10" Transparency Adapter built-in lid with four film holders: 35mm slides (12 frames), 35mm film strips (24 frames), medium format strips 2-1/4", 120/220, 6x20cm (2-6 frames) and 4" x 5" film (2 frames); 8" x 10" film area guide
Does that mean I can scan 12 slides at a time?


My wife has about 1,000 slides that she would like to convert. I'm wondering about getting the scanner and having my kids do the work. (I also have negatives and photos too)
 

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Does that mean I can scan 12 slides at a time?
Yes, The Epson Scan software loads them all as thumbnails then scans them all into whichever output format you choose.

If you launch the scan using another piece of software (Photoshop Elements etc.) it imports them in.
Using Digital Ice takes significantly longer to scan due to the IR detection and dust cleaning so I just used a blower to dust the slides off.

The ultimate home-based slide solution is probably the Nikon Coolscan but the slide feeder (holds 50, I believe) is harder to find used and adds significantly to the cost.
 

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I'll cast another vote for the V700. I've been recommending it for a while now, and people seem quite happy the results.

As I scan professionally, I've several of the Nikons (5000 & 9000) and can attest to their superior neg and slide scanning performance. Accurate focus and speed, are key areas where the flatbeds are lacking, but their ability to handle a wider variety of formats makes them a better DIY choice.

If you've any questions about scanning, feel free to pm me. I'm always willing to help if I can.
 

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Scanning and Computers

Yes, I imagine that many scanners are available from eBay and such websites.

I started way back when I had to insert a SCSI card into my MOBO in order to obtain reasonable speed. I didn't like the quality of my first scanner.

I moved to a Minolta Elite first generation film scanner and liked it. However, its resolution was low by today's standards.

Then I tried an Epson Perfection flatbed scanner which was supposed to handle all sizes of transparencies. It worked, but not as well as the Minolta.

So I decided that a dedicated slide scanner was superior and purchased a Nikon 9000 (as I have many medium format transparencies).

I don't think this Nikon works as well as the Minolta either, but it is better than the Epson flatbed. (Alas the Minolta pro scanner was discontinued by the time I purchased the Nikon.)

The primary reason I bought the Nikon was for posterity. I realized that most photographers were moving to digital and there was no future in scanning transparencies. Once you've scanned your transparencies, then the scanner becomes a paperweight. So I anticipated that the manufacturers would discontinue them.

So get in early and get out early is my advice. The link with PCs will sever with the dedicated models (maybe not the Plustek). For example, try to find a driver for the Minolta Elite for Windows 7. After Vista was released, I noticed that Nikon did not release a driver for the 9000 model. (I think that there is one now.)

In other words, changing computer O/S will make discontinued film scanners unusable. Also the software accompanying the scanner may not function with new O/S like Windows 7.

Other observations. Most scanners differentiate between Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides. That is, they use different scanning settings for Kodachrome. Secondly, none of the flatbeds I have used can scan more than one slide at a time. The tray may hold a dozen or so slides, but the user must select which slides to scan one at a time. Additionally, I have found that I have different preferences for different slides and accordingly change the scan settings as desired. You can scan everything at the same settings, but if a shot is underexposed or overexposed slightly, then your scans will likewise be uneven. That is, it is not sensible to scan every slide with the same settings and hence, it is not reasonable to expect a scanner to have a feeder system for unattended scanning and expect good results.

I do agree that the reviews of the Epson V700 and V750 indicate that these are superior scanners and as they are current machines, there should be drivers for all O/S's.
 

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Yes, the Epson scanners do scan the slides sequentially rather than gang-scanning the whole batch. This has benefits though.

You open the software (or it is opened through a WIA or TWAIN call from an application), a preview scan is run generating thumbnails then you can deselect any of the slides you don't want scanned.

I believe you can also set the exposure, noise reduction etc. individually for each slide but I'd have to test that as it has been a while since I did any slides.

In terms of IQ I think the limitation of most flatbed scanners is the quality of the trays that hold the negatives or slides and slight focus shifts that can be compensated for using shims, wet mounting or third-party adjustable trays. Many people report much better quality for Medium Format when using third-party trays from companies such as Better Scanning or Anti Newton Glass.

The distinction between Ektachrome vs. Kodachrome may have to do with the fact that the IR sensor used by Digital Ice does not properly detect dirt on Kodachrome due to the nature of the film.

The Silverfast software goes so far as having drop-down menus for lots of different films (Ilford, Kodak, Agfa ...) and presumably applying an appropriate bias.
 

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...I believe you can also set the exposure, noise reduction etc. individually for each slide but I'd have to test that as it has been a while since I did any slides.
Correction - My 4990 only does 8 slides at a time but the v700 does 12 as described. The clearance center at the Epson Canada store often has good deals on factory refurbished scanners and printers
 

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The 4990 has been an excellent scanner for me and has become my dedicated fluid-mount unit. I've had the good fortune to get one that focusses sharpest, directly on the glass. Prior to this, it did a great job on reflective materials.

As with any flatbed, it's a bit slow going when using ICE, and my experience has been that you should keep an eye on the heat build up. On the 4990, it's fine for 8 well mounted slides, but I wouldn't fill up the 35mm neg holder, as your strips can sag and distort. YMMV.

That said, if one of these was available as a refurb, it would certainly be a fine choice.

Springle, I've used VueScan http://www.hamrick.com/ on with my Nikons for years with good results. I'm depending on it to support aging hardware through evolving OSs, and I'm willing to bet it'll run the Minolta in the latest Win flavour.
 

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The key difference between dedicated film scanners and flatbeds is the dynmaic range; 4.8 is standard even amongst basic film scanners whereas flatbeds are almost all 4.0 or less.
 

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^^ Agreed, Dmax is important – more important than astronomical resolution. However 4.8 is not quite a "basic" performance level. It's outstanding, actually - check the Imacons and you'll see they're not doing much above that.

I find the 4.8 Dmax of the Nikons to be a bit inflated whereas the 4 Dmax of a 4990 and 3.8 of a 10000XL is bang on. As you say, today's better flatbeds are putting out around 4 DMax and I'd suggest that when factoring in the added cost of a dedicated unit, the DIY user will not appreciate much benefit above 4 Dmax.

Reflective is another story, with Dmax typically less than 2.
 

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Plustek 7600i & Silverfast Review

Mark D. Segal over at the Luminous Landscape just posted a review of the Plustek 7600i and the bundled Lasersoft Imaging's Silverfast Ai Software.

The review is of interest as it compares the new Plustek scanner with the Epson v750 and the discontinued Nikon Coolscan 5000. Mr. Segal's conclusion was the Epson was the most flexible, the Nikon has the best quality for 35mm slide & film images and the Plustek had quality near the Nikon at a very attractive price.
 

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Looks like there is a new generation of negative scanners in the $150-250 range. At this price point I am ready to pull the trigger on one to scan the several hundred of my fathers slides. Any comments on the following models:
CanoScan 9000F
Epson V330
Epson V600

I need something that can scan a lot, quickly with some image repair.

There is a decent sale on at Vistek this week.
 

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^ By image repair, I guess you're referring to Digital ICE. You'll want this for your colour slides, which as far as I can see, eliminates the low end Epson.

FARE on the Canon gives you results identical to ICE. BUT...on any flatbed, infrared dusting could never be described as a "quick" process.

They've usually got a couple of models up and running at Vistek. Maybe they could demo one for you.
 

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Dogbolter,

Yes, try the units out. I bought a Canon initially but a lot of my parent's slides were "super" slides (square positives in a standard sized slide mount). The Canon software could not handle this format (this was a couple of years ago). I went with a Epson 4990 because it could.

Buying a refurbished unit from Epson can also allow you to upsize to a better unit at a much nicer price.

The V330 will only scan 4 slides or one strip of 6 negatives at a times as the light source in the lid (TPU) is just a narrow strip.

The V500 or V600's TPU is wider allowing you to scan 2 strips of film but still only 4 slides but it does come with Digital ice & Elements (There is a rebate on the V500 currently)

The V700's TPU is even larger allowing 12 slides or 4 strips of 6 negatives. It also comes with Digital Ice but also includes PhotoShop Elements (usually an older version), ABBY fine reader (OCR Software) and SilverFast SE (Light Version of Pro Film Scanning Software) so even with the increased cost if you need/want some of the software it can be a better deal (especially if you get a refurbished unit)
 

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A scanner for my archiving project

I have been using an Epson RX700 All in One for the best part of 6 years now and have been very happy with it for the most part. (both Printing - even on CD.DVD and Scanning) I have even scanned some negatives and slides with it and the results were actually surprising given the all-round capability of the All in One. However, I have found a few cases where I was hoping for just that little bit more. DMax for the RX700 is quoted 3.4 and the scanning resolution is 3200 dpi, although I doubt that it is much better than 1200 dpi in real optical resolving capability. What I am also missing is Digital ICE and the ability to do more than 4 slides at a time or more than one strip of 35 mm for my archiving project. It cannot do 120 film either – which is also part of my archive of negatives received from relatives.

Since I have always used pretty much entry level SLR’s and lenses, starting with a pre-owned Minolta SrT101, a Canon FTb, Canon AE1 etc, combined with mostly 200 ASA film/slides I don’t think my negatives and slides warrant much better than a scanner that could do up to 2000 dpi and a Dmax value of 4.0 maximum. To my mind a $2000 dedicated scanner would be a waste on my archive.

I intend to approach the archiving project by loading the material, let the scanner do its thing (with D-ICE enabled) and returne 30 minutes later (or what ever it takes) and reload. I.e. I don’t want to be forced to baby sit the scanner. If it take 30 minutes or 40 minutes to scan the batch is not an issue, as long as it has scanned the batch.

The normal 4 suspects are on my list are Epson 4490, Epson V600, Epson V700 and the Canon 9000f

I am currently leaning towards either the 4490 or the 9000f mainly because of the price point and the amount of slides/ that they could handle. Both these models could load at least 8 slides or 4 strips of negatives – which would increase the time to do something else while the scanner is doing its thing.

I could not find any figure quoted for Dmax for the 9000f, the optical resolution has been measured at something like 1560dpi.

I have seen two figures quoted for Dmax for the 4490; 3.4 and 4.0. I could not find a test for the resolution although a poster on a forum quoted 2000dpi (which is not too far fetched when compared to the V700’s tested 2300 dpi)

If the 4490 is really a 2000dpi scanner with a Dmax of 4.0 it would be no-brainer. If it’s resolution is closer to that of the 9000f the 9000f may be a better choice because LED scanning. (although the Digital ICE on the 4490 could handle reflective too.)

Any feedback or comment on my line of thought would be appreciated.
 
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