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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Interesting article in Your iMac magazine (an offshoot of Mac Format UK): they did a digital v. chemical photography comparison at three price points £300, £600 and 'above' (about C$700 and C$1,400 respectively).

The idea is to compare a digital camera with a traditional + scanner with the aim to create to best pictures stored on a computer.

The conclusion is roughly as follows:

- for the cheap combo (e.g. 3megapixel camera, versus good compact camera+ flatbed scanner with film adapter), power has clearly shifted the digital way;

- the middle one looked at a cheap SLR linked to a Microtek 1800 against one of the highend Canon non SLRs (G2, G3?). It was a close call, with the trad. combo winning it; and

- the high end: still a cheap SLR but with a good lens + a Nikon film scanner v. a high end digital SLR. Well, no contest, digital clearly lost!

Of course this didn't take into account the delays/hassle of processing film, or the massive size of 8megapixel files...

Anybody has any experience with using film scanners? Are there any fairly painless solutions (i.e. no retouching or tweaking)?

[ July 12, 2003, 10:25 AM: Message edited by: Moscool ]
 

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Moscool, we get many of the UK publications, and some of the British Mac magazines are quite informative and contain far better free CDs/DVDs. As I have said before, from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador we are closer (in distance) to London, England, than London, Ontario.

Re scanners, I have had my eye on the Epson Perfection 2400 or 3200, since my best Minolta SLR pictures were in a slide format. Still, I am finding it difficult to get assurances that the scanner I eventually do purchase will be usable with the latest Mac OS X 2 or 3 system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey Dr G.

Indeed we are close, I am even in West London


Regarding scanners, I want to buy reasonable quality although I know it is pretty much a 'one off' utilisation. The products that seem high on the list here are Microtek, Minolta and, for those with deep pockets, Nikon. I know that Microtek is big in Germany, I even wonder if they are not a German company. Their products are truly Mac friendly (I saw them at a Mac expo about 6 months ago) and they have a couple of 'pro-sumer' ranges covering 1800-4000 dpi.

The thing that worries me before buying is more the quality of the output and the amount of work involved: we are talking several cases of slides and pics here, most of which I would simply like to scan/sort/forget. I understand that there are some issues around dark zones, especially for 35mm slides, but I am clearly a newby in that space...
 

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Moscool, I am in east St.John's, so we are quite close. When I first came to St.John's back in July of 1977, I lived in a house that overlooked the St.John's harbor and out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Dedicated slide scanners and/or ones that also utilize APS rolls of negatives, are quite expensive, but give the best results. I don't scan much, and maybe it would be wiser to just bring these slides in to a local photographer and let him scan these on to a disc. He has the professional scanner that I cannot afford.
 

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My friend uses a Pacific Image 3600 Pro dedicated slide / film scanner (OSX drivers available on website for use with Photoshop).

It does a very good job, with no problems of light/dark areas.

Remember that pretty much anything that you scan will require some sharpening (unsharp mask).

M.
 

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CubaMark, I see that you have the Canon A40 Powershot. Any comments/suggestions re the A70?
 

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Re: A70 and A40, one is a fair improvement on the other.

Also, what kind of scanner were they using? You made it sound like only the cameras were being compared, or was the scanner being factored into the price of the SLR camera as well?

I mean, a shot from a disposable camera scanned with a nice scanner (like say an Epson 2450 Photo, 2400x4800 DPI) can come out higher quality than a cheap digital image.

Also keep in mind that Digital is only starting to near the quality of 35mm film once it gets up to the 8 Mega Pixel and above range.

--PB
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey Poster Boy

Yes, the scanner was included in the price comparison. I don't remember all the details (article not available online) but the conclusions were pretty clear: don't bother at the low end (go digital) and wait at the high end. Also the # of 'effective' megapixels debate is really driven by the 'how big will you ever print?' question.

For me something that does superb quality up to A4/letter is definitely good enough. Anybody knows what image definition is required for this?

I know that the images I buy for my company at full definition are 75MB each, highly impractical in terms of speed/storage space...
 

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PosterBoy, thanks for the info re the A70. I am VERY tempted to purchase one for $500 to replace my workhorse Kodak 280. I learned digital photography on that camera, and now I want to move upwards. I can't afford the Minolta 7i, which is the camera of my choice, or the Canon G5 or the Nikon 5400 or 5700. Thus, this is a compromise. I am still looking at G5 Jaguar/Panther-compatible scanners, with the Epson Perfection 2400 or 3200 in the lead so far. We shall see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Dr G:

Did I mention that I lived in St John's ... Wood (NW8)? :D

Having had a look at the specs of the Epsons you mention, it seems that only the 3200 is in the race in terms of being able to capture film at a level of quality comparable to that of a film scanner. Let me know if you use your wallet as my purchase is probably still a little while away
 

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Moscool, film scanners are the way to go. Results are much better than what you get for scanning the print. You will still have to tweak a bit to get it how you like (usually), but not much. One under appreciated big difference with the negative is you get soooo much more colour depth than you do with paper. Also, as you may know, there is a loss in resolution and quality involved in the extra step going neg to paper to scanner. If you were to try a comparison of a print scan to a neg scan I bet you would never go back to scanning prints (unless you had no choice!).

Hope that helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sinjin, all other things being equal it seems easy to go stupid with definition and file size. A couple of practical sub-questions:

- Is 1800 LPI sufficient (and d (?) of about 3) or is 2700 required (forget 4000)?
- How deep should colour be (24 bits to 42 bits?)
- What should the target file size for everyday snaps be (100k to 10MB)?
- Can the tweaking be done 'on the fly' or later, or do you have to spend many painstaking hours there and then (as I say above most pics will be scanned for archiving, not printing).

Thanks for the education!
 

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I have an Epson Perfection 2450 scanner. It has been used to digitize my slide collection (still have many hundred to go!) and it's worked well. I needed to download a Twain driver, from the Epson site, to operate it with OS 10.2.6.
 

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I have used the same Epson 2540, with VueScan.
The colour is usually fine, but you must work hard to eliminate all dust from the process to avoid retouching.
You can scan up to twelve frames of negative at a time, or four slides.
Also, depending on what resolution you need, scanning can take a really long time. That is one of the main reasons I am now using the Canon a70 instead of film.
If the main reason you're thinking of getting the scanner is to do all the pictures you've already taken, then you might want to look into what it would cost to have someone do it for you.
One downside I found with the a70 compare with the film SLR - the manual focus is done through buttons, not a focus ring - I find this takes an order of magnitude longer to use. Fortunately the auto-focus-lock method is sufficient for most things. Also the flash is built-in so it kind of flattens some things. Those are the only compromises for me, and well worth it.
 

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Hi again Moscool,

I should point out first that I am not a pro, I just scan on occassion for fun (perhaps I should have said that in the last post!) and that my suggestions are based on 1) combing photo sites for advice and 2) trying out that advice. I say that to preface my answer to your questions: it all depends on your needs and what you think looks good.

So my recipe, as memory serves, was to scan negs at 36bits (24bits already captures more "depth" than paper allows, so you could step down) and at maximum resolution of the scanner (A polaroid Spintscan in my case, 2700dpi). Essentially, get everything you can out of the scanner, first. I would then do some cropping and size reductions (both dimensions and dpi) in PhotoShop depending on the reason for the scan (web or printing) as well as unsharp mask (usually that would be the only image manipulation/filter I would need). For my purposes I was quite happy with an 80% jpg (high quality). The end result, an image file as big as about 1 MB to 500 KB for something I would expect to print at 4X6 inches and ~200 KB for the web. Keep in mind my purposes may be very different than yours! But all in all, I spent less time on my neg scan, with better results, than paper scans.

Sorry if this seems too vague! I tend to sit down and muck about until I get what I like, so I don't have a single "system" laid out.
 

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If you are really serious about digitizing your slides or negatives, then you need to look at either a high end flatbed or an actual slide/neg scanner. I find that on lower end flat beds that also do slides (basically anything less than an Epson 1660 right now, and even the 1660 is pushing it a little) the resulting image seems a little flat.

Also, if you are going to go with an Epson scanner (which I do recommend) then also get yourself a copy of either Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and just use the PS plugin to do all your scanning. I find it works a whole lot more reliably than their dumb little scan to file app.

Thanks Moscool, I will have to see if I can find that issue to flip through.

--PB
 

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Moscool, what exactly brought you to St.John's?

Elmer, I was looking at a Canon A70 the other day. It is a bit small for my hand and vision, but does what I would want a digital camera to do in the end.

Sashmo, the Epson 3200 is the revived Epson 2450, which was a great scanner from what I have read.

I am not a professional, but I have hundreds of quality slides that I would like to digitize and possibly print off on my Canon i950 printer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sinjin:

Thanks for your reply. Right what I was after.

Poster Boy:

The Microteks film scanners ship with photoshop elements, so that might be my solution, as soon as I have sorted this :mad: :mad: :mad: hard drive!
 
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