Film 101: Scanner requirements....& basic B+W development

Discussion in 'Film Camera Forum' started by stillshunter, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Mark
    I'm so glad for this new forum as it will not only bring some great film images to light but also some deft 'old' hands from the woodwork :wink: These guys seem very happy to share their experiences and as newbies, like me, start thinking seriously about and/or take up that older analogue format (remembering digital really is just new analogue...no 1s and 0s) that they'll entertain a few Film 101 questions. If so...

    My first is about film scanners. I've sunk so much money into the new analogue format and so need to be prudent about more spent in the old. I'd like to play with B+W, so develop my own negatives, but once their dry what scanner do I need? No I won't jump on the latest and greatest Epson for my first steps, but would a $50 flatbed suffice....and I assume not. So what requirements and capabilities should I be keeping clear in mind?...or any budget or used models that are a good place to start? For the first steps I want relative quality (to assure that I can see the 'value' in the old format proposition) but during this trial period don't want to over-capitalise.
     
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  2. Crsnydertx

    Crsnydertx SC Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    758
    Jan 21, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Real Name:
    Chuck
    Are you planning to scan negatives, then reverse them in Lightroom or Photoshop? Or scan 35 mm positive slides? My understanding (from way back when) is that a slide/negative scanner is a different type and quality of device from the ubiquitous sheet scanners that dot our offices. Minolta used to be the most recommended brand for slide/negative scanners. Is Konica/Minolta still in business?
     
  3. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    Mark, I've used an Epson flatbed scanner, a Perfection 1240U which is now several years old, and is equipped with a backlight head designed for scanning negatives. It produced disappointing results with 35mm roll film but really came into it's own with 120 rollfilm, I used to shoot 6 x 9 negatives and many of those I scanned gave great results.

    When I first started digital I had a Nikon Coolpix 880 (3 MP) and an attachment that took slides or negatives, just like the sort that used to be available for film cameras, and that produced acceptable to good results with 35mm negatives.

    Barrie

    PS, in all instances I'm talking about black and white negatives, scans reversed in Photoshop
     
  4. Crsnydertx

    Crsnydertx SC Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    758
    Jan 21, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Real Name:
    Chuck
  5. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    I use an "old" Epson 3170 flatbed that can do 12 images at a time without reloading.

    On Monochrome: i've scanned at full resolution then down-res to about half. This gets rid of some bias caused by the scanner being native-color.

    I have one "ANCIENT" Microtek 1850 scanner that is native Monochrome. It uses a filter wheel for color. Great for black and white. I had to Hack Win95 to get it to work, that's how old it is.

    When the site is stable and allows new galleries to be added, i will upload some samples.
     
  6. Brian

    Brian SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    638
    Jul 7, 2010
    nikki1a.jpg

    An example from the 3170, scanned at 16-bit pixels, 3600dpi then scaled to 8-bit JPEG and 1024 along longest size.

    Bessa r2 with Canon 50/1.5, at F2.

    [​IMG]

    This scanner was $200 new, goes for $25~$50 used on Ebay. I could have upgraded to the next higher model by shopping in a thrift store!
     
  7. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Mark
    Sorry Chuck I should have made myself clearer. :blush: Looking to process my own B+W silver halide negatives, scan and process.


    ....and this is precisely why! Great work Brian. Love the tonal range and transitions..
     
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  8. Crsnydertx

    Crsnydertx SC Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    758
    Jan 21, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Real Name:
    Chuck
    Be careful of older model scanners if you're using recent versions of Windows. I had an older Epson model that was rendered unusable by the manufacturer's unwillingness to issue a new driver. Perhaps that situation has been resolved, but in the meantime my old scanner was recycled.
     
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  9. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Mark
    Great advice, duly noted Chuck! :th_salute: Do you know of a site, or easy enough way centrally, to check the available drivers for a scanner/OS combination?...or is Google simply your best friend with this query?
     
  10. trisberg

    trisberg SC Veteran Subscribing Member

    246
    Jul 5, 2011
    New Hampshire
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  11. Michael Penn

    Michael Penn SC Veteran

    291
    Sep 14, 2010
    Philadelphia
    I went with the Epson V700 ($520).
    It comes with a version of SilverFast
    It also comes with holders for 35 negs, 35 slides, medium format, 4x5 and 8" x 10" transparency unit (built into lid)
     
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  12. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Mark
    Great suggestion Thomas. Thanks mate! I'll keep this bookmarked as, undoubtedly my first scanner will be prehistoric....will it work off old Commodore Vic20/64 tapes? :laugh1:
     
  13. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
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    Mark
    Thanks Michael! This is where I hope to end up eventually, but a little rich for my first taste of a scanner.
     
  14. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Real Name:
    Sue
    I found myself in the same situation with no drivers for Lion, and opted to buy a new all-in-one. I don't normally like getting scanner and printer together, but I also decided I wanted to have wireless access to the scanner from all my "things". I have not yet scanned anything but plan to do so soonish, in order to post to the film threads. My Canon LiDE50 lies dormant. Must sell.
     
  15. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Real Name:
    Bill Shinnick
    As already mentioned you need a scanner with a light source in the lid that transmits light THROUGH the film (in a special holder or carrier) to the moving scanner head.

    Another big +1 for Vuescan as it does the negative reversal automaticaly and removes any colour cast in the film base. Oh and it's drivers work in the latest version of Win even with old scanners like my Epson 2400. It is also regularly updated for new scanners and is universal unlike Silverfast which is make/model specific so likely to not work with a different scanner.
     
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  16. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Mark
    Great info so far...thanks all :thumbup:

    So back to basics here - yep I where my Gumby badge proudly :blush: what specifications are you looking at - as a minimum - for B+W negs scanning? 3600dpi?

    So I assume this means your average flat-bed won't do?....as it has the glass plate with light and scanner underneath with nothing up top but the light-proof mat?

    Curiously - and I know laborious considering it's a one-by-one process - but can you use an existing camera with macro lens attached shooting through the film with a light behind...like a soft-light box or light table?
     
  17. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Real Name:
    Sue
    I really ought to have got Vuescan instead of buying a whole new thing. Well, will see how the flatbed in the Epson AIO goes, and if it turns out to be a dud, I'll sell that off, sell off the other flatbed, and get a *good* scanner. Like the V700 which sounds perfect for all occasions.
     
  18. jim_khoo

    jim_khoo SC Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    499
    Jul 11, 2010
    Kuala Lumpur
    like stillshunter, i am also looking into investing on a scanner.
    how do those slider type fair as compare with flat bed?
    and what does "resolution: 5MP/ 9MP" means?
     
  19. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    Mark, my previous reference to the Epson 1240U covers this situation. It's an ordinary flatbed scanner but the lid is removable and replaced by a lid containing a light source that covers a 4" x 5" negative. That model is obviously long out of production and I don't know if there is an equivalent in production now. Think of the process being just like the enlargers of old, the light has to be shone through the negative.

    Can you obtain a slide copier that will fit your camera?

    I have recently seen very small self contained scanners advertised here in the UK for about £100, but I don't know what results you could expect from them.

    Barrie
     
  20. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    578
    Jul 6, 2010
    I used to run a scanning service for stock photographers up until a couple of years ago, and I'm still regularly scanning my own film collection, of mostly colour transparencies.

    The great problem with shooting on film and working with it, and I presume printing it, digitally is that getting results that you might be happy with is neither cheap or easy. If you are not that bothered about printing large sizes, and therefore don't need large files, then you can go with the slide attachments on flatbeds. However, I suspect that you may end up being disappointed with the results.

    Dedicated fims scanners are better, but they are now few and far between these days, and none of the decent ones are cheap.

    The first problem is to get a scan thats clean. No matter how hard you try the negatives and transparencies will still have dust and other "foreign bodies" on them that are invisible to the naked eye, but need removing. There is software that deals with this, most notably Digital Ice. However the problem is that Digital Ice doesn't do black and white and scanning without using software like this means spending a LONG time cloning out dust spots, which is real pain. This is also the problem with using some kind of macro adapter or macro lens on a digital camera. You end up having to remove all the dust yourself.

    From Wikipedia.
    "Digital ICE is used to detect scratches and dust during transparent film scan and is not applicable for opaque document scanning. Where Chromogenic black-and-white films are supported by Digital ICE, other black-and-white films containing metallic silver (which form from silver halides during the development process of the film) are not. This is because the long wave infrared light passes through the slide but not through dust particles. The silver particles reflect the infrared light in a similar manner to dust particles, thus respond equally in visible light and infrared light"

    Is the process important to you? Are you keen to process your own negatives? Because if not, there are labs who will develop and scan the film for you. If you invest in a decent scanner and then only run a few films through it, then its a substantial amount of money for not a lot.

    Is shooting on colour film, scanning that and converting to B/W an option that would appeal? The problem with that is you then loose the special characteristics that B/W film possesses.

    Is making a conventional B/W print and then using a flatbed to scan that an option?

    If you are set on using B/W negative film, developing it yourself and then scanning it, you have picked what I would regard as the hardest route to go. In fact when I and my partner were scanning for others, we refused to do black and white, as we couldn't get a good result unless we scanned and manually "cleaned" every file ourselves. This took hours and nobody would pay us to do that.

    The big question is, what do you want as the end result? Do you want the classic 10 x 8" print, something small for the internet, something in between or all of the above?

    The simplest and cheapest, and many would argue, the best way to shoot and print B/W film is the conventional way. i.e. print your own negatives onto photographic paper using an enlarger. Once you are happy with this, then its relatively easy to get a decent scan from a flatbed.

    I'd love to be able to recommend a cheap, good quality, scanning solution, but I can't think of anything that would suit B/W negative film. If you wanted to do 35mm colour, then the Plustek 7600i is relatively cheap, and gets good reviews.
     
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