A big film scanner thread

ChrisR

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Version 1.1​
We don’t seem to have a resource on film scanners, so I thought I’d give one a go. Comments, suggestion, improvements welcome.

1 Introduction

A “scanner” is a device that will convert your film photographs into digital form. There are two main approaches: the traditional scanner that moves a linear sensor relative to your film frame, and digital cameras that photograph the whole film frame at once.

In this thread, we’ll talk about the different kinds of scanners and techniques, and what they might best be used for, about the software you might use in conjunction with them, about special features of some scanners that might be useful, and about interfaces and incompatibilities. The thread is aimed at newcomers to the usual TPFC cohort of film enthusiasts, rather than professional labs or other advanced needs.

TLDR if you are only going to use 135 film and do need to scan at home, the conventional wisdom is that a dedicated scanner such as those from Plustek or Reflecta is the way to go. If you will use 120 or larger formats, the Epson Perfection series may be appropriate. In either use case, with a bit of DIY, a good quality digital camera and macro lens may allow you to skip the scanner altogether.

It’s worth remembering, that if you send off all your films to be processed and scanned, you may not need a film scanner of your own at all.

2 Contents

The bulk of this post describes the various different kinds of scanners. This is followed by separate posts for other sections, then commentary from various folk, mixed (at some point) with additional sections, which will be linked from here.

Section 1: Introduction
Section 2: Contents
Section 3: Different kinds of scanners
Section 4: Software supporting scanning
Section 5: Resolution
Section 6: Density, Dmax and why it's important
Section 7: Special features
Section 8: Digital camera scanning
Section 9: Comparing different scanning approaches (example)
Section 10: Scanning negatives on an ordinary flatbed scanner (example)
Section 11: Bit depth and file formats

Please help to correct and update this thread by posting corrections or additional information. Thanks.

3 Different kinds of scanners

There are a lot of different kinds of scanners out there, and you could probably divide them up in many different ways. Most film photographers still use traditional film scanners, though making digital photo “scans” is growing in popularity.

3.1 Film scanners

Most film photographers use scanners designed to scan film (d’oh!), that are connected to our computers, and driven by specialist software. There’s more about the software later. Roughly, I could divide these scanners into 3 different groups, of which only the first two are of direct interest to most film users: dedicated film scanners, flatbed film scanners, and professional scanners. There’s a separate section on scan resolution later, but it’s worth mentioning here that quoted figures for resolution are always wildly over-stated, and the true best resolution of any of these scanners is often around half the quoted figure.

Your software may be able to deliver “raw” files, that can be re-edited either in the same software at a later time, or in some cases through your image processing software (eg Photoshop ad competitors directly, or via plugins for Lightroom or Photoshop).

Dedicated film scanners for enthusiasts

These scanners are dedicated to film only, and do not have the ability to scan documents. Most of those currently available are from Plustek or Reflecta; you might find some older models such as the Konica Minolta Dimage models. Most of these scanners only scan 135 film (35mm), but a few scan 120 (both Plustek and Reflecta have rather expensive 120 models). Many of these scanners require you to physically move the film holder for each frame you scan, but some have motorised film transport eg the Reflecta RPS 10M and the Plustek 135.

.These scanners typically have better resolution than flatbed film scanners (see the section on resolution later). They also often have extra facilities such as multi-scans, multi-exposure scans, or an infra-red scan phase to detect and remove dust or scratch defects.

For my most recent 37-shot 135 film scanned on a Plustek 7500i, it seems scans took from 1 minute to 3 minutes per frame, and the whole film took 78 minutes to scan. I did typically two scans per frame, and didn’t use multi-exposure or infra-red.

Scanner pics 1.jpg

Flatbed film scanners

These scanners will scan film or documents (or prints). They are widely used by people who want to scan 120 and/or 4x5 as well as (or instead of) 135. Probably the most widely used brand at the time of writing is the Epson Perfection series. There are also older scanners such as the Canoscan 9000F Mark II that also scan film.

If buying an Epson scanner, you should think carefully about the kind of film photography you do currently, or think you might get into in the future. The cheaper models in the range (V500, V600) will not scan 4x5 negatives, for example. It’s still possible to scan such negatives on these cheaper scanners, but you have to do it in two parts and then use software to stitch them together, quite a clumsy and difficult workflow. You’d need at least a V700 to scan 4x5. [What can scan 10x8?]

Scanner pics 2.jpg

An advantage of some flatbed film scanners is that you put the film holder in place, and the software may allow you to scan all the frames on the strip without physically moving the film holder. Sometimes your software may be able to automatically scan all the frames in the holder.

I find the Epson film holders a bit flimsy and awkward to use, but others disagree and find them fine. The 135 film holders have no cross-bars, which has the disadvantage that they don’t hold the film as flat, but has the advantage that they can be used to scan other formats than the standard 24x36 mm frames (eg XPAN frames). If you can find a way of using 135 film in 120 holders, you can also scan the sprocket areas for that Holga/Lomo look.

On my Epson Perfection V500, I can only get 2 out of the 3 6x6 frames on a typical 120 film strip into the holder at once, which means removing the holder and physically adjusting the film strip after the first two scans. There are (expensive) 3rd party film holders (eg from BetterScanning, see later in Special Features) which avoid this issue (the BetterScanning 120 holder for the V550 supports 3 6x6 but not 3 6x7 negatives). I assume (but don’t know) that this problem doesn’t apply to the higher end scanners.

AFAIK none of these flatbed scanners has an infra-red capability, and there are said to be issues with the registration of multiple scans of the same image (compared to the dedicated scanners). I haven’t tried that capability so I don’t know. An option in this case might be to scan at double the required resolution and have your software reduce the size of the image before saving, which is said to produce a similar noise-reduction effect.

Professional scanners

In this group I would include things like drum scanners, Hasselblad Flextight, or the scanners used by film labs such as the Fuji Frontier or Noritsu. Results can be much better than for scanners aimed at enthusiasts, with better hardware and software, but they are usually physically larger and much more expensive. I don’t really know anything about them, so this section will only get expanded if others can provide some content.

One impact of professional scanners used by labs, is that they make selections from the scan sizes available, and offer us a selection (usually as Small, Medium and Large), differently priced.

Filmdev's scan sizes vary depending on whether they use the Fuji Frontier or the Noritsu. For 135 the Frontier scan sizes available are:

Small 1818px x 1228px
Medium 2988px x 1972px
Large 4547px x 3047px

The small size is suitable for a 6x4" print at 300 dpi.

For 135 the Noritsu scan sizes available are:

Small 1545px x 1024px
Medium 3091px x 2048px
Large 6774px x 4492px

Here the small size requires less than 300 dpi for a 6x4" print. The medium and large sizes however are larger.

They don't quote sizes for 120 because of the variety of frame sizes (from 6x4.5 up to 6x9 and possibly beyond). Other labs will offer similar sizes, although it's worth noting that a few labs don't offer the small size at all, sometimes describing a size like Filmdev's Medium as Small.

3.2 Document scanners

A document scanner is usually a flatbed scanner, connected to your computer, like the recommended film scanners. The typical household all-in-one printer contains a document scanner. The key difference is that document scanners are not designed to scan negative and reversal film well; they do not have the light required to shine through the film.

It’s not necessarily impossible to scan, say, larger black and white negatives on such a scanner, and invert the images in software. The results will not be as good as with a proper film scanner, but may be adequate if you only have a few to scan. I’ll show an example in a later post.

Document-type scanners can make an excellent job of scanning prints, so if you make your prints in a darkroom, this could be a good approach to making them digital and sharing them. This also has the benefit that you can show any border effects you’ve deliberately added to your prints, or share prints like cyanotypes and lumen prints that might be made without the use of film. As you might see in a later post, textured prints can give less satisfactory results.

3.3 Scanning with your digital camera

Nowadays digital cameras have reached the point where they deliver resolution and quality to rival or better most scanners.

There are several threads on TP about “scanning” your film with a digital camera, the most recent being here https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/threads/scanning-120-film-with-a-digital-camera.705521/ . This is usually done with a DSLR or mirrorless ILC, but can be done with a quality compact as well. There's an expanded section on this here, and some examples done with a little Fuji X10 in a later post.

3.4 Stand-alone scanner

If you go searching for film scanners on t’internet, you may come across some relatively inexpensive devices, some from quite reputable names. They essentially comprise a small fixed resolution digital camera (they all used to be 5 Mpixel, but looks like 14 to 22 Mpixels now) set in a box with a light source and film holder mechanism above. A common feature of these devices is that they are not directly connected to your computer, instead they “scan” your film frame by taking an image of it, process it, and save it to a SD (or presumably other kinds of) card. AFAIK they are all for 135 film. They also contain some software for inverting scans of negatives to give a positive image. In essence these devices use the approach described above for scanning with your digital camera, but package it all up in one easy to use box.

On the plus side, they are very simple to use and extremely quick. When I first got one I scanned 3 rolls of film in the first evening.

On the negative side (sorry again), there is no flexibility in the inversion software, which is likely to give variable results with different colour negative film stocks. It would be possible to get round this by scanning all images as positives, and then performing the inversion after importing the images into your computer (see also digital camera scanning above). It appears they sometimes have an image area smaller than a 135 film frame, so all images are cropped.

In the case of the example I bought (from Veho, but several years ago), the inversion software was very poor, but much worse were the light leaks, which ruined a lot of the images. Luckily I was able to get my money back.

Veho leak.jpg

In general, we have not to date recommended these devices. However, modern versions may be better, so if anyone has real life experience of more recent models from respectable names (eg the Reflecta X7), please let us know.

Section 4: Software supporting scanning
Section 5: Resolution
Section 7: Special features
Section 8: Digital camera scanning
Section 9: Comparing different scanning approaches
Section 10: Scanning negatives on an ordinary flatbed scanner
 
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ChrisR

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4 Software supporting scanning
Version 1.1​
Apart from your normal editing software (Lightroom, Capture One Pro, even Aperture, or Photoshop, Affinity Photo etc) most scanners require some additional software, either to drive the scanner, or to invert negatives in a way that gets the best possible colour from the negatives, or both. There are two commonly used software packages that deal with many different kinds of scanner (Vuescan Pro and Silverfast). Some scanner companies provide their own software, so for example Epson provides Epson Scan (and its 64-bit successor Epson Scan 2).

4.1 Vuescan Pro

Vuescan is used by a sizeable proportion of the Talk Photography Film & Conventional group. You’ll need the Vuescan Pro version to scan film. It is a bit more expensive than the base version, but the good news is that you get free updates indefinitely, and you can use the software (on the same computer) to scan with any of the hundreds of supported scanners. I use it with my Plustek and Epson film scanners, and with my all-in-one printer-scanners. They even provide special drivers to deal with some of the incompatible driver issues that emerge over time.

There is a thread dedicated to the Vuescan Pro software here. [link] It’s better to discuss Vuescan Pro issues via that thread.

4.2 Silverfast

If you buy a new film scanner these days, it may well come with a copy of one of the various versions of Silverfast. (all Plustek scanners do, for example) This is extremely powerful software (arguably more powerful than Vuescan Pro), but it is quite complex, considerably more expensive, and the software you get with your scanner will be tied to just that one scanner. Get another scanner, and you’ll have to buy another copy of Silverfast.
  • Silverfast SE 8 is the entry level version
  • Silverfast SE Plus 8 adds additional features like multi-exposure and special support for Kodachrome
  • Silverfast Ai Studio 8 adds raw processing and support for IT.8 device calibration.
[At this point we do not have a thread on Silverfast. It would be good if someone with a bit more knowledge and experience with the software would create a thread, and if so I’ll link it from here.]

4.3 Epson Scan

I have not used Epson Scan, but I know quite a few folk who use the Epson Perfection scanners use it and get excellent results. The older version was 32-bit, and has been superseded by Epson Scan 2, which does not support some older scanners.

[Youtube videos?]

[At this point we do not have a thread on Epson Scan. It would be good if someone with a bit more knowledge and experience with the software would create a thread, and if so I’ll link it from here.]

4.4 ColorPerfect

ColorPerfect is software that is dedicated to getting the best from your scanned film images. It works as a plugin to Photoshop, Elements or Photoline [?], but does not work with Affinity Photo, or the DAM packages like Lightroom. I have an old trial version, but so far have not managed to get any decent results from it.

[Youtube videos?]

[At this point we do not have a thread on ColorPerfect. It would be good if someone with a bit more knowledge and experience with the software would create a thread, and if so I’ll link it from here.]

4.5 Negative Lab Pro

We have heard of a plugin to Lightroom (not Photoshop) called Negative Lab Pro (https://www.negativelabpro.com/guide/). It claims to be “a full-featured and powerful tool for editing your colour and black and white negative scans directly in Lightroom”, but at this point we have no direct experience to report.

@Harlequin565 reports he has had great results converting negatives with Negative Lab Pro but it requires Lightroom. Getting colour "right" can be very difficult, especially if you use colour shifted films because the software wants to white balance things "correctly".

4.6 CNMY

This is a plugin or "action" for Photoshop or Affinity Photo, mentioned positively by @Simon Tickle, who uses it with both his DSLR scans and also his Raw images from a Minolta Dimage via Vuescan. See http://eigakai.ro/ps-action/cn-scan-inversion
 
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ChrisR

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5 Resolution
Version 1.3​
It is tempting to believe the headline resolution figures that scanner manufacturers publish. However, these are theoretical figures. A scanner is a complex combination of mechanical, optical and software components, and the result is that the effective resolution is much lower. The website filmscanner.info provides detailed tests of many models of film scanner, including measurements of actual resolution using the standard USAF-1951 target (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1951_USAF_resolution_test_chart). The process is described by filmscanner.info at https://www.filmscanner.info/en/Aufloesung.html . USAF 1951 target for 135 are for sale from https://film4ever-digital.blogspot.com for US$20.

For my (obsolescent) Plustek 7500i scanner, they note that “The CCD sensor of the Plustek OpticFilm 7500i delivers an optical resolution of 7200 dpi; that's at least on the paper an extremely high resolution.” However when testing with the target image, they estimate that the effective resolution is 3500 dpi; while this might be disappointing to some, they suggest that “3500 dpi is a very good value for a film scanner”.

Likewise, their test of the Epson V600 shows that despite its headline claim of 6400 dpi, but tests with the USAF target show an effective maximum resolution of 1560 dpi. The more expensive Epson V800/850 scanners are measured at 2300 dpi.

Incidentally, I have seen it argued that dots per inch (dpi) is a misleading term in this context, more properly used for printers, and that the correct term should be pixels per inch (ppi). Personally, I prefer samples per inch (spi)!

@Harlequin565 points out another angle on resolution. It's worth thinking about what you're doing with the file. If it's going on Instagram, a low resolution scan will usually suffice. If you're printing to A4 (8"x11") and want up close high quality (300 dpi) you'll need an output file size of about 2400 x 3300. For scanning 135 frames, I generally select a resolution of 2400 ppi. This would give a scan on the 24 x 36 mm frames of around 7.7 mpixel. This should print comfortably at nearly 8x12 inches, or A4. So scanning at the scanner's capacity is often not required. If you're intending to make big prints (A3 or larger) you'll need to spend more time getting the scan right. @Harlequin565 writes that for contact sheets, he scans his 35mm stuff on an Epson V550 which will take 12 images in one go. He does it at a low resolution because he doesn't need a huge image. When he's determined what images he wants "big", he turns to the Plustek for a 2400 x 3300 "proper" scan.

He adds: if you end up with a high resolution image (whether that's a high resolution scan of a small negative or a normal resolution scan of a big negative), then your sharpening needs to be adjusted to compensate - especially if coming from digital. Scans of medium format can end up being very big files (and it gets worse if you go bigger). Sharpening is normally applied at a pixel level, and if the sharpening is set too fine, you can't even see the effect if you have a huge image. Things like the "radius" slider you may have previously ignored, now become useful.

BTW, I checked out the measured resolution for a variety of consumer film scanners from filmscanner.info (FSI)...

The Epson V600 flatbed claims a resolution of 6400 dpi, but FSI measure it at best 1560 dpi (set at 3200), while the V800 is measured at 2300 dpi (set at 4800). The Plustek 7500i that I use claims a resolution of 7200 dpi, but the best FSI could actually measure at that setting was 3500 dpi. The newer 8100 was measured at 3800 dpi (set at 7200), while oddly the 8200i only appears to get 3250 dpi. Meanwhile the Reflecta Proscan 7200 gets 3200 dpi set at 3600, and the RPS 10M gets 4300 dpi set at 5000. AFAICS the latter is about the best effective resolution of any available consumer grade scanner (although the Hasselblad Flextight X5 was measured at 6900 dpi, set at 8000!).

Section 6 follows here...
 
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7 Special features
Version 1.2
7.1 Infrared
Some scanners have the ability to do an extra scan using and infra-red light source. Most colour negative and transparency films are transparent to this IR light, but dust is not. The IR scan thus produces a mask showing where the dust and scratches are, that can be used by the driving software to “remove” the defects from the image, and interpolate over the resulting gaps.

This technology is not useful (and in fact harmful to the image) for most black and white films, or Kodachrome transparencies, both of which are based on silver content, not transparent to IR. Note that a couple of black and white films (Ilford XP2+ and Fujifilm Neopan 400CN) are based on C41 colour film chemistry, and can be used with the IR channel.

7.2 Multi scan
Scans are susceptible to noise, so some scanners offer a “multi-scan” capability. The image is scanned a number of times, and the results averaged. IMHO this does produce an improved image, at the cost of increased scanning times.

This does demand very precise registration of subsequent scans, and most flatbed scanners can’t achieve this. My 8-year-old Plustek 7500i usually works fine, but from time to time the registration will be way out, and I have to scan again in single scan.

Some authorities suggest a similar noise improvement can be achieved by scanning at twice (or even four times) the resolution needed, and then reducing the size in software. So 2 or 4 scanned pixels become one.

7.3 Multi exposure
The dynamic range (or density range) of scanners can be an issue, particularly with some transparency films. These were designed for the slide era, where powerful light is punched through the slide, able to produce detail in the deep, dense shadow areas. Most scanners can’t easily deal with the dense shadows and the lighter areas in one scan. Some will allow you to add an extra scan with higher exposure, to help open up these shadow areas.

This is designed for use with shadow areas in transparency film, but I find it can sometimes be useful with highlight areas in negative films (where the highlights of course produce dense areas on the negative).

7.4 IT.8 calibration
It might seem obvious that scanning transparencies would be easier than negatives, and generally this is so. However, it can be difficult to get accurate colour. Some scanner software (including Vuescan Pro and Silverfast 8 AI Studio) has the ability to calibrate your scanner using a known IT.8 target (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IT8). These are available from Wolf Faust (http://www.targets.coloraid.de) and others. In theory, you should use a separate target for each transparency film type, but I’ve only ever used the Ektachrome one.

7.5 Interfaces
Many scanners seem to be quite robust; mine are 8 and 7 years old. Modern enthusiast scanners come with USB interfaces, but older scanners come with a variety of different interfaces, including SCSI and Firewire. Making these work with current computers can be a challenge.

There is also an emerging problem with drivers. Many scanner drivers only exist as 32-bit software. As modern computers move towards an all-64-bit architecture, these drivers don’t work (this has recently happened with MacOS 10.15, which is exclusively 64-bit). Manufacturers don’t have much incentive to rewrite drivers for devices they sold years ago, and many are dragging their feet. This could potentially mean otherwise healthy devices heading for the scrap heap.

However, the Vuescan Pro software solves this problem for several scanners by providing re-worked drivers.

7.6 Custom film holders
Better Scan film holders
Better Scan film holders are available for a variety of different flatbeds. @Harlequin565 reports that the 120 holder available for his Epson 550 will hold 3 6x6 but not 3 6x7 negatives. He spent about 2 hours messing with the height adjustment and got absolutely nowhere (some holders are variable height, some fixed height).

Lomo DigitaLIZA
The Lomo DigitaLIZA is available for both 135 and 120. See here for the 135 model. @Harlequin565 writes "It won't work with my V550 so it's only good for DSLR scanning. I think the V550 has sensors to see what's put where and the scanner just throws an orange fault light."

7.8 Anti-Newton Ring glass

@Harlequin565 writes that ANR glass (Anti-Newton-Ring) is fabulous. Newton Rings are horrible interference effects like those you can see in post #6, shot 2. He scans all his 120 straight on the glass with the ANR glass on top of it. He also scans his 135under the same piece of glass when he wants the sprocket holes in the shot.

7.7 Fluid Mounting

TBA

Some Better Scan holders support fluid mounting.
 
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8 Digital camera scanning
Version 1.1​
Some issues to think about when planning to “scan” with your digital camera:

a) You’ll need a light source, eg some kind of light table. An iPad or other tablet is a possible choice but it probably helps to raise the negative above the surface a bit to reduce any pixelation effect. There's an iPad app that will give you a blank screen (Screen Light? There may be others). Clearly you'd want a stable colour temperature source (5000 to 5500 degrees K) if you are scanning colour film. A LED light pad/table make a much better light source than an iPad (@Harlequin565 ).

b) You’ll need to keep the negative flat. There’s a risk of Newton's Rings if you used a glass sandwich, although you can presumably use special Anti-Newton-Ring (ANR) glass. Film holders such as the Better Scan holder or the Lomo Digitaliser (or even holders from another film scanner) could be useful. The Pixl-latr is specifically designed to hold 135, 120 and 4x5 film flat for photographing; it is now delayed by Coronavirus but is otherwise almost ready to be delivered following its Kickstarter.

c) You’ll want a good quality macro zoom (or maybe prime) lens with a flat focus plane; you're probably talking about distances of 30 cm or less.

d) Keeping the sensor plane exactly parallel to the negative is a problem (or you get distortion, although this can often be corrected in software). A tripod of an appropriate height or a copy stand should do it. The tripod needs to hold the camera securely, pointing down, without toppling over, obviously. Probably OK with something like an A6000 and a decent ball head, more problematic with a heavy DSLR. A copy stand is much better, says @Harlequin565. Some folk have set up horizontal rigs, but then you have an issue keeping your film in a precise vertical plane.

e) Obviously, you’ll need to get the camera low enough and/or the focal length long enough for the negative to fill the frame.

f) Focusing on the film (rather than any holder) could be an issue; manual focus could help.

g) It might help to reduce extraneous light to increase contrast, maybe just a topless/bottomless cardboard box? [Not really sure about this.)]

h) You need a way to do negative inversions. This is generally OK for black and white, but an issue for colour negative because of the orange mask. There are articles out there about how people do it. Colour correction becomes an issue though. [Links later] This problem would be shared with the SD card scanners if you choose to scan as positives and do the inversion yourself.

@AndrewFlannigan has a later post in this thread titled Camera Scanning that discusses and shows some earlier slide duplicator technology that's very relevant to this topic.

@steveb writes in a later post "I also have a Nikon ES-1 [slide duplicator] and 55mm macro lens with the recommended extension tube for 1:1 and D750, should soon start copying around 200 of my fathers 35mm Kodachrome mounted slides. Depending upon results, once the Coronavirus Pandemic is over and income increases again, will consider the newer ES-2 with 35mm film strip holder. Interested in hearing from anyone else using an ES-2, but with a 90mm Tamron macro AF lens, what sort of extension needed between the lens and ES-2, as is intended for Nikon's 60mm Macro."

@Harlequin565 writes "The downside to DSLR scanning is that it can end up being just as expensive as a proper flatbed if you don't have macro lenses/extension tubes/neg holders/back light things/camera support (tripod or stand). Because of this, I've pretty much given up on DSLR scanning."

@Simon Tickle writes "I've now settled on using an upside down enlarger as a light source & negative holder to 'scan' medium format film with a DSLR then convert the raw images to positive using the CNMY plugin for affinity/photoshop. I get far better results through it than i did with an epson flatbed."

[It would be quite good if we can get some more reports of successes with this approach. My early effort reported in section 9.]
 
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9 Comparing different scanning approaches

Version 1.1​
It so happens I have a 6x6 image (of friends Chris and Lynn, taken in 1973) that I have scanned in several different ways. First, from a wet print on textured paper; you can see that the texture really affects the image. This was scanned as a positive on a MG5250 printer/scanner with Vuescan.

CL Print scan Canon.jpg

At this point I did not have access to the Epson scanner, so I made various attempts to photograph the negative using an iPad as a backlight. This is NOT a good test, as I was using my Fujifilm X10 in 6 mpixel mode, handheld, saving as JPEG; nevertheless, it might be useful. This was the first attempt, with the negative sitting on the screen (using an app to make the screen all white... but I can't remember what app, and it seems to have vanished from the iPad):

CL Neg scan on iPad.jpg

At first glance I thought this horrible effect was from Newton's Rings (optical interference effects between two surfaces in very close proximity), but after further thought I reckon it's a moire effect with the pixel grid in the iPad interacting with the sensor grid in the X10. Moving the negative a little above the screen gets rid of it, but a layer of diffuser would probably do the job as well.

This attempt shows the negative resting on some spacers above the screen; I no longer remember what these were:

CL Neg scan above iPad.jpg

The image above cropped and straightened:

CL Neg scan X10 cropped.jpg

Passed from Aperture to Affinity Photo and inverted with a simple cmd-i… saved back to Aperture, then a few adjustments (Levels, contrast, definition):

CL X10 inverted Affinity 2.jpg

This was the result loading the image of the negative on spacers into Photoshop Elements 9, cropping the image, then passing the result to a trial version of ColorPerfect 2.12 (quite an old version). This shows the panel from CP using the default inversion, and I’m sure could be improved but I’ve never learned the controls. Note the warning “8 bit mode – severe quality loss”:

Chris Lynn Colorperfect 2020-04-02 at 11.28.09 small.jpg

And finally, I managed to get my act together and scan it with the Epson V500:

CL scan V500.jpg

I know which one I prefer!
 
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10 Scanning negatives with an ordinary flatbed scanner

I don’t recommend this for best quality, but it is possible to scan negatives on a flat bed scanner and get results useful enough, eg as a contact sheet. I’m not sure this would work well for 135, but I have tried it for 6x9 cm 120 black and white, and it’s probably worth a try for 4x5 inch black and white negatives, eg to see which ones are worth scanning with the rather laborious stitching process on the V500.

I tried this because I discovered an envelope of 6x9 negatives taken with a 120 folder camera years ago in Australia (can’t remember the name or even brand of the camera). I only ever exposed the one film with it, and eventually gave the camera away to a charity shop. When I found the negatives I was curious about them. I didn’t have the V500 at this time, so I decided to chuck them on the all-in-one flatbed scanner (NOT a film scanner) and see what happened.

MF 6x9 negs Canon scan.jpg

As you can see there is a negative image. After asking around, I worked out I could invert them with gimp:

MF 6x9 negs Canon scan inverted.jpg

If I crop out the archery image, I get this:

MF 6x9 Canon archers.jpg

You may have seen this before; I think I submitted a version scanned by the local photography shop (since closed) in the New Old Film challenge once:

MF 6x9 archery scan.jpg

There’s no doubt that the properly scanned image is better than the flatbed-scanned one, but I thought the latter process worked surprisingly well!
 
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OK, that's all I've got so far. Any comments?
 
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Wow thats some write up , looks very thorough
will read it later as I may be starting for the first time with a scanner (y)
 
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You have no idea the restraint it took not to reply "first" after your first post went up :)


Not read all of it but it looks useful. Thanks Chris.
 

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Looks very comprehensive and extremely useful.

That must have taken some time to put together.

Thanks Chris.
 
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This could be an interesting thread. I have an old Epson 4990 I used to use for scanning 4x5 negs, and a Minolta Dimage 5400 dedicated 35mm scanner. I used to hate scanning, it was so time consuming. My current needs are to scan mainly 35mm B&W film. Some personal/family, others to submit as archive images to Alamy. Also a fair amount of 35mm colour negatives family related. I also have a Nikon ES-1 and 55mm macro lens with the recommended extension tube for 1:1 and D750, should soon start copying around 200 of my fathers 35mm Kodachrome mounted slides. Depending upon results, once the Coronavirus Pandemic is over and income increases again, will consider the newer ES-2 with 35mm film strip holder. Interested in hearing from anyone else using an ES-2, but with a 90mm Tamron macro AF lens, what sort of extension needed between the lens and ES-2, as is intended for Nikon's 60mm Macro.
 
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Looks very good to me. A useful resource.

Some things you may want to add (or not as you see fit :)) I just typed this straight out of my head so where I say "you" I don't mean *you* Chris, I mean "the reader"...

Re: DSLR Scanning:
- An LED lightpad makes a much better backlight than an iThing. A Copy Stand for your camera also makes things much easier. The downside to DSLR scanning is that it can end up being just as expensive as a proper flatbed if you don't have macro lenses/extension tubes/neg holders/back light things/camera support (tripod or stand). Because of this, I've pretty much given up on DSLR scanning.
- I've had great results converting negatives with Negative Lab Pro but it requires Lightroom. Getting colour "right" is very difficult, especially if you use colour shifted films because the software wants to WB things "correctly".

Re: Resolution (More output resolution rather than scanning resolution... Is that useful?):
- If you end up with a high resolution image (whether that's a high res scan of a small negative or a normal res scan of a big negative), then your sharpening needs to be adjusted to compensate - especially if coming from digital. Scans of medium format (and it gets worse if you go bigger) can end up being very big files. Sharpening is normally applied at a pixel level, and if the sharpening is set too fine, you can't even see the effect if you have a huge image. Things like the "radius" slider you may have previously ignored, now become useful.
- Think about what you're doing with the file. If it's going on Instagram, a low res scan will usually suffice. If you're printing to A4 (8"x11") and want up close high quality (300ppi) you'll need an output file size of 2400 x 3300. So scanning at the scanner's capacity is often not required. If you're intending to make big prints (A3 or larger) you'll need to spend more time getting the scan right. For contact sheets, I scan my 35mm stuff on an Epson V550 which will take 12 images in one go. I do it at a low rez because I don't need a huge image. When I've determined what images I want "big", I turn to the Plustek for a 2400 x 3300 "proper" scan.

Re: Section 3.1 - "Professional Scanners"
- Is it worth adding a bit about lab scans? Especially where labs use words like "small", "medium" and "large" to describe a scan, but that *usually* means that they stick to a set (output) resolution. For instance a "small" scan of 600x400 might be just about right on a 35mm neg, but an MF neg will look absolutely no different because it'll be the same (scanned) size. Places like Filmdev seem to get really good results (in my experience) and this can often be good enough for most people. Do you need a "why should I even bother scanning myself" section to illustrate why someone might want to get involved in all this?
 
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Thanks folks. Yes, this has been cooking since just before lockdown. I realised I've just been tinkering at the edges, and wanted to get it out there, but the last images I needed were those in the first post, of my two different scanners.

I've had a brief discussion with Mark @TheBigYin about making this a resource, in which case it would get linked from the Resources sticky post.
 
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This could be an interesting thread. I have an old Epson 4990 I used to use for scanning 4x5 negs, and a Minolta Dimage 4000 dedicated 35mm scanner. I used to hate scanning, it was so time consuming. My current needs are to scan mainly 35mm B&W film. Some personal/family, others to submit as archive images to Alamy. Also a fair amount of 35mm colour negatives family related. I also have a Nikon ES-1 and 55mm macro lens with the recommended extension tube for 1:1 and D750, should soon start copying around 200 of my fathers 35mm Kodachrome mounted slides. Depending upon results, once the Coronavirus Pandemic is over and income increases again, will consider the newer ES-2 with 35mm film strip holder. Interested in hearing from anyone else using an ES-2, but with a 90mm Tamron macro AF lens, what sort of extension needed between the lens and ES-2, as is intended for Nikon's 60mm Macro.
Steve this is very interesting, thanks. On my exercise walk today, I was thinking that we need a post (or posts) on Older Scanners We have Used. It would probably need a bit more information than you have here, but this is a start. I think there's a few folk who have the Epson 4990 (@Andysnap ?), but you might be the only person I know who has a Dimage, unless @srichards has...

If you could writ a bit about your DSLR setup, that too would be interesting... particularly with photos!
 
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Looks very good to me. A useful resource.

Some things you may want to add (or not as you see fit :)) I just typed this straight out of my head so where I say "you" I don't mean *you* Chris, I mean "the reader"...

Re: DSLR Scanning:
- An LED lightpad makes a much better backlight than an iThing. A Copy Stand for your camera also makes things much easier. The downside to DSLR scanning is that it can end up being just as expensive as a proper flatbed if you don't have macro lenses/extension tubes/neg holders/back light things/camera support (tripod or stand). Because of this, I've pretty much given up on DSLR scanning.
- I've had great results converting negatives with Negative Lab Pro but it requires Lightroom. Getting colour "right" is very difficult, especially if you use colour shifted films because the software wants to WB things "correctly".

Re: Resolution (More output resolution rather than scanning resolution... Is that useful?):
- If you end up with a high resolution image (whether that's a high res scan of a small negative or a normal res scan of a big negative), then your sharpening needs to be adjusted to compensate - especially if coming from digital. Scans of medium format (and it gets worse if you go bigger) can end up being very big files. Sharpening is normally applied at a pixel level, and if the sharpening is set too fine, you can't even see the effect if you have a huge image. Things like the "radius" slider you may have previously ignored, now become useful.
- Think about what you're doing with the file. If it's going on Instagram, a low res scan will usually suffice. If you're printing to A4 (8"x11") and want up close high quality (300ppi) you'll need an output file size of 2400 x 3300. So scanning at the scanner's capacity is often not required. If you're intending to make big prints (A3 or larger) you'll need to spend more time getting the scan right. For contact sheets, I scan my 35mm stuff on an Epson V550 which will take 12 images in one go. I do it at a low rez because I don't need a huge image. When I've determined what images I want "big", I turn to the Plustek for a 2400 x 3300 "proper" scan.

Re: Section 3.1 - "Professional Scanners"
- Is it worth adding a bit about lab scans? Especially where labs use words like "small", "medium" and "large" to describe a scan, but that *usually* means that they stick to a set (output) resolution. For instance a "small" scan of 600x400 might be just about right on a 35mm neg, but an MF neg will look absolutely no different because it'll be the same (scanned) size. Places like Filmdev seem to get really good results (in my experience) and this can often be good enough for most people. Do you need a "why should I even bother scanning myself" section to illustrate why someone might want to get involved in all this?
Ian, thank you for this. Can I cut, paste and edit some of this into the appropriate places?
 
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Other topics I thought of include file format (JPEG, TIFF, Raw) and bit depth. Also I thought I might do a post on the currently available new film scanners (eg from Wix).

Maybe @stevelmx5 could write something about using the pixl-latr, as I think he has a prototype. Has anyone got a Lomo digitaliser (or whatever it's called)?

Likewise the Better Scan holders (and any other after market holders)?
 
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I've got a Dimage Elite 5400ii. It is genuinely high resolution. Not the full 5400dpi but I think it's around 4000 dpi odd. Not used mine in ages. I use it with Vuescan so it's just like using any other scanner really. Bought 2005 I think.

Pop the film in the holder. Shove the holder in the scanner. Do the pre scan and then scan each frame. Vuescan does the rest. All my 35mm pre film dev output is scanned with it.
 
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Has anyone got a Lomo digitaliser (or whatever it's called)?

Likewise the Better Scan holders (and any other after market holders)?
I have a Digitali...whatever... It won't work with my V550 so it's only good for DSLR scanning. I think the V550 has sensors to see what's put where and the scanner just throws an orange fault light. I'll probably sell mine on here or eBay when I get a round tuit.

I have a Betterscan holder for 120. It's too short to accept 3 x 6x7 images. I think it must be designed for 3 x 6x6 images so if you have a 6x7 camera don't get the one I got! (which was I think the only one available for the V550. They do different ones for different scanners. I spent about 2 hours messing with the height adjustment and got absolutely nowhere.

In My Opinion, the holders that come with the scanner are fine. If the film is curly, then the ANR glass is a better solution. I started to get much better results when I started to understand sharpening. I tend to apply quite a severe sharpening amount in Lightroom, then use LRs ability to mask much of the image so it's only applied to the edges.

The ANR glass though (Anti-newton-ring which you can see in post #6, shot 2) is fab. I scan all my 120 straight on the glass with the ANR glass on top of it. I also scan my 35mm when I want the sprocket holes in the shot under the same piece of glass.

Nick Carver did some great videos which you could link appropriately:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfGKd_AEZtY
(comparing different mounting options on an Epson flatbed)

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9d8BukUgzI&t=632s
(comparing drum, dslr and flatbed)
 
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I've got a Dimage Elite 5400ii. It is genuinely high resolution. Not the full 5400dpi but I think it's around 4000 dpi odd. Not used mine in ages. I use it with Vuescan so it's just like using any other scanner really. Bought 2005 I think.

Pop the film in the holder. Shove the holder in the scanner. Do the pre scan and then scan each frame. Vuescan does the rest. All my 35mm pre film dev output is scanned with it.
:plus1: for both scanner (5400, not ii) and Vuescan. I also have a V700 for MF and LF, formerly using Vuescan but more recently quite impressed with Epsonscan software. I recently got a 120 holder with ANR glass which is a big benefit for curly films.
 
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Cameras as scanners

The technology for this long predates the digital age so the common term for the various devices is "slide duplicator". They are generally designed for use with SLRs (or dSLRs) and assume interchangeability of lenses. Because they are camera based, once you have set them up for your needs it's possible to digitise a 35mm film in around 10 minutes without any particular effort.

1. Filter mount adapters.

Generally these are just a short tube with a diffuser at the far end and a slot in the side to take a slide or negative holder. The tube screws into the front of a lens and the lens is often connected to the camera via a bellows or extension tubes. In their favour is their simplicity.

2. Tubular slide duplicators.

Ohnar slide copier E-PL1 10183.JPG

These replace the camera's lens and contain their own optical system. Almost all are intended to make a 1:1 copy from the slide or negative to the camera. This particular model can be used with an APS format camera (most cannot) and allows the central area to be selected up to a 2x expansion. In my experience quality varies a great deal but they are often available very cheaply second hand.

3. Professional slide duplicators.

Bowens Lumitran with Canon 5 mounted 9521.jpg

In the UK the most common of these are the Bowens Illumitran range. The one shown is pretty much the most comprehensive model. From the top down there are 3 major assemblies: bellows carrier; contrast controller; light source. There are many possible combinations so it's a good idea to aquaint yourself with the possibilities in order to understand what you're buying. The model shown can handle from 6x6 down to any version of 35mm. Generally speaking you'll have to add your own lens. I've fitted this particular unit with the 39mm Leica thread mount and use various enlarger lenses with it.
 
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I've got a Dimage Elite 5400ii. It is genuinely high resolution. Not the full 5400dpi but I think it's around 4000 dpi odd. Not used mine in ages. I use it with Vuescan so it's just like using any other scanner really. Bought 2005 I think.

Pop the film in the holder. Shove the holder in the scanner. Do the pre scan and then scan each frame. Vuescan does the rest. All my 35mm pre film dev output is scanned with it.
I have the original Dimage Elite 5400. It does produce excellent, very high resolution scans. It was fantastic* with the original Dimage Scan software, but that is now only useable on a much older Mac OS (10.4 Tiger I think). I have an old HDD with that OS on it, just for using the scanner. I just have to boot up into that HDD. I'm currently on OS-X 10.7.5; this is an ancient Mac Pro from 2006! It still works, but periodically will do something stupid with a preference file, and require a restart. Annoying.

*The results were great; I have two prints, one direct from the slide, and another from a scan. There is no appreciable difference between the two; the direct print maybe just a teeny tiny bit 'better' but you'd have to look through a magnifying glass to tell. And anyway that was on a home printer, not some top end professional job.

I have thousands of negs and slides that I'd like to scan. I did start a proper 'archive' a couple of years ago, but the tedium made me almost lose the will to live. I have now ordered a Nikon ES-1 slide copying attachment, and will experiment with my Micro Nikkor 60mm lens; the main objective is to create a proper archive of every photo I have a neg or slide for, and have the 'best' ones scanned in as good as poss. The Dimage scanner is probably as good as it gets, outside of using pro drum scanners, and for my purposes, fine. But I'd really like to know if using the VueScan software on a more recent Mac, gives good results. What about the dust off feature etc? The Dimage software did some multi pass scan thing, that took ****ing ages, but produced the best results. I'd really like to know if there's a good solution for a) my current Mac Pro, and b) for any future Mac I will inevitably end up getting (I'm using a 14 year old computer! I really need a new one!).

"Not the full 5400dpi but I think it's around 4000 dpi odd"

No it can do full 5400 dpi. I've got several 7500x5000 odd scans from it. It produces 40-50+ MB TIFF files. It blew anything else available at the time, out of the water. They're still very highly sought after. Have you seen the prices of them on Ebay? :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::runaway::runaway::runaway::runaway:
 
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Steve this is very interesting, thanks. On my exercise walk today, I was thinking that we need a post (or posts) on Older Scanners We have Used. It would probably need a bit more information than you have here, but this is a start. I think there's a few folk who have the Epson 4990 (@Andysnap ?), but you might be the only person I know who has a Dimage, unless @srichards has...

If you could writ a bit about your DSLR setup, that too would be interesting... particularly with photos!
Will do as time permits, I'm still working 5 days per week, but can't be sure for how much longer. I edited my earlier post correcting an error. The Dimage scanner is a 5400, not a 4000, and not the 5400ii. Shows I haven't used it for a while. I lost the film holder for it, and the external power supply. Found the film holder and spare, but had to order a compatible power supply via eBay.
 
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Great post with lots of information. For what its worth, i've tried a few things over the years and after recommendation from a friend i've now settled on using an upside down enlarger as a light source & negative holder to 'scan' medium format film with a DSLR then convert the raw images to positive using the CNMY plugin for affinity/photoshop. I get far better results through it than i did with an epson flatbed. For 35mm I use an older Minolta Dimage IV through vuescan to capture the raw .tif files, and then run them through the same CNMY plugin.
 
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Great thread. Well done @ChrisR for kicking this off. It will be a great resource for many of us.
 
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6 Density, Dmax and why it’s important

So why should you need to understand anything about Dmax and density range? It’s a complicated issue. But put simply, if your scanner cannot deal adequately with the density range of your film, then you won’t be able to scan your material properly. TLDR: most scanners should be quite adequate for colour negative film and probably for black and white too, but cheaper scanners may struggle with slide film, particularly Velvia 50 and Kodachrome.

OK, this is how I understand Dmax and density range! If anyone has a better explanation, please let me know… I’ve read lots of posts on t’interwebs, and many of them seem to contradict one another.

The density of film is expressed as the logarithm (to base 10) of the opacity. A completely (impossibly) clear film substrate, that has no resistance to transmission and which does not reflect anything, transmits 100% of the light and would have a density of 0.0, a density of 1.0 transmits only 10% of the light, a density of 2.0 transmits 1%, and so on. In fact, if you’ve ever looked through the catalogues of neutral density (clue!) filters, you will have seen this notation in use. So a 1-stop filter is described as 0.3, a 2-stop as 0.6, etc. The ten-stop filter is density 3.0.

The highest density that can be recorded on a film is described as the Dmax of the film. All film substrates have an opacity slightly greater than zero; this is described as the Dmin. The difference between the two values, Dmax-Dmin, is the density range. In theory, Dmax is an open positive value; in practice, a Dmax greater than 4.0 is rare for any material and a Dmax of 5.0 is the practical limit. Density is measured with… drumroll please… a densitometer. (Supposedly you can measure density using your scanner and an application like Silverfast or Vuescan, but this is limited by the performance of your scanner, and also appears to be inaccurate in the regions of interest: highlights and shadow areas.)

In a positive photographic image (eg on slide film), the brightest possible area (close to the clear substrate) of the image corresponds to Dmin, and the darkest area Dmax. With negative film, it’s the other way round; the maximum highlights correspond to the darkest area on the film, ie Dmax. Because of the orange mask of colour negative film, the DMin is higher than for slide film, or most black and white negative film.

Why are Dmax and density range important? Because the Dmax and density range of films vary. You can work out the Dmax, Dmin and density range of a film by looking at the characteristics curves in the film data sheet. See for example the density plot for Kodachrome 25:

K25 density.jpg

Colour negative film tends to have a rather low density range (around 2.0). Colour slide film (transparency/reversal) has a much higher density range of perhaps 3.5 or more.

Meanwhile, for the scanner, Dmax corresponds to the highest density where detail can be recovered. If the scanner Dmax is less than the film Dmax, then some detail recorded on the film will not be recovered from the scan.

At this point, it should be obvious that you should find a scanner with a Dmax of, say, 4.0 or better, and you’ll be able to scan all those lovely Velvia transparencies you have. Unfortunately, this is not so easy. Several sources suggest that published Dmax figures for scanners are mostly completely misleading because, well, manufacturers like to, ahem, lie to you about them (ie, they measure the values in all sorts of different ways, favourable to their products). So I guess Dmax information should be treated with a grain or three of salt, unless testing is undertaken by an independent body using a similar approach for all tests… and guess what, it isn’t! We’re pretty much left with manufacturers’ advertising claims, many of which are probably nonsense. The density range, arguably more important in recovering both highlights and shadow areas, is never quoted.

Among scanners, drum scanners (which use lasers and expensive photomultiplier tubes) have the highest Dmax. Cheaper flatbed consumer scanners (which these days use LEDs and CCD sensors) have a lower Dmax, while higher spec flatbeds and most dedicated scanners will have a higher Dmax of 3.0 or more. No consumer scanner should have much difficulty with colour negative film, but you need a better (ie more expensive) scanner to really get the best from slide film.

I looked up the manufacturer claims for various scanners popular in our community. The Epson V500 and V600 flatbeds claim a Dmax of 3.4, while the V700/V800 range claim 4.0. The Plustek 7500i that I use claims a Dmax of 3.5, while the newer 8100 and 8200i claim 3.6. Meanwhile the Reflecta Proscan 7200 claims 3.8 and the RPS 10M claims 4.2. It’s notable that the Refecta Crystalscan 7200 only claims 3.2, prompting a comment from filmscanner.info: “That's [an] honest value, which is sufficient for many applications, but leads to losses for many images, too”. I have doubts about the Dmax claims for any of the flatbeds, but it would be interesting to get comments from anyone who has compared scanning slide film with different scanners.

Section 7 follows here...
 
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I meant to add to the last post, that there's often confusion between density range and dynamic range. Generally speaking, the former is reserved for the medium, ie film in this case, and the ability of a scanner to "read" the medium, while I believe the latter applies to the scene, or the capture of the scene on film. But plenty of people use dynamic range where they mean density range. It's particularly annoying that Plustek makes this error in its specifications for the 8100 and 8200i: "Dynamic Range 3.6" from https://plustek.com/us/products/film-photo-scanners/opticfilm-8100/spec.php .

One of the things that puzzles me is that slide/reversal/transparency film has a density range of around 3.5 (over 11 stops), while capturing a scene dynamic range of only perhaps 5-6 stops, while colour negative film has a density range around 2.0 (maybe 6-7 stops) while capturing a scene dynamic range of 10 stops or more. But I guess that's the genius of chemical engineers!
 
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When I was researching the Dmax claims for the Section 6 Density post, I also checked out the resolution measurements made by filmscanner.info (FSI) using the USAF-1951 target. I thought I should summarise them (and I'll add them to the Section 5 Resolution post too).

The Epson V600 flatbed claims a resolution of 6400 dpi, but FSI measure it at best 1560 dpi (set at 3200), while the V800 is measured at 2300 dpi (set at 4800). The Plustek 7500i that I use claims a resolution of 7200 dpi, but the best FSI could actually measure at that setting was 3500 dpi. The newer 8100 was measured at 3800 dpi (set at 7200), while oddly the 8200i only appears to get 3250 dpi. Meanwhile the Reflecta Proscan 7200 gets 3200 dpi set at 3600, and the RPS 10M gets 4300 dpi set at 5000. AFAICS the latter is about the best effective resolution of any available consumer grade scanner (although the Hasselblad Flextight X5 was measured at 6900 dpi, set at 8000!).
 
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I meant to add to the last post, that there's often confusion between density range and dynamic range. Generally speaking, the former is reserved for the medium, ie film in this case, and the ability of a scanner to "read" the medium, while I believe the latter applies to the scene, or the capture of the scene on film. But plenty of people use dynamic range where they mean density range. It's particularly annoying that Plustek makes this error in its specifications for the 8100 and 8200i: "Dynamic Range 3.6" from https://plustek.com/us/products/film-photo-scanners/opticfilm-8100/spec.php .

One of the things that puzzles me is that slide/reversal/transparency film has a density range of around 3.5 (over 11 stops), while capturing a scene dynamic range of only perhaps 5-6 stops, while colour negative film has a density range around 2.0 (maybe 6-7 stops) while capturing a scene dynamic range of 10 stops or more. But I guess that's the genius of chemical engineers!
I'm not a chemist by any stretch of the imagination, but my quick thought regarding your last point is to do with the job each type of film is designed for. Ie, as far as i understand negative film is designed to 'store' as much 'information' about the photographed scene as possible so the photographer can later decide which parts become visible in the print - I suspect its very hard to include all 11 stops of dynamic range into a print & imagine that very little of the blacks in a well exposed negative will achieve dmin, and hardly any of the highlights in a well exposed negative will achieve dmax. In contrast, slide film is desgined to look once processed as a print from negative film would, ie with more contrast & punch. That means its given up some of the detail in the highlights & shadows & thus although the blacks are blacker (denser), there's less detail (dynamic range) within them, a bit like compressing the levels curve within photoshop after inverting a raw linear scan. Like I say, could be way of the mark but it got my cogs turning :p
 

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Great set of posts from @ChrisR - there is a huge amount of effort & work gone into this; well done & thank you.
 
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...Ie, as far as i understand negative film is designed to 'store' as much 'information' about the photographed scene as possible so the photographer can later decide which parts become visible in the print - I suspect its very hard to include all 11 stops of dynamic range into a print ...
I just checked a couple of Ilford's paper data sheets (the new Mk4 resin-coated and the fibre-based), and it looks like the density range is 2.0-2.2. I don't know if that translates to 6-7 stops (what with the reflective vs transmissive issue, which raises issues that confuse me!), but it certainly looks like you're right.
 
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Great set of posts from @ChrisR - there is a huge amount of effort & work gone into this; well done & thank you.
Thanks Robert. I'm actually enjoying the process, delving into nooks and crannies where I wouldn't normally look! :)
 
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:plus1: for both scanner (5400, not ii) and Vuescan. I also have a V700 for MF and LF, formerly using Vuescan but more recently quite impressed with Epson Scan software. I recently got a 120 holder with ANR glass which is a big benefit for curly films.
I have Vuescan and use it from time to time but Epson Scan seems to do the job well enough. However Epson Scan's user interface has it's quirks.

For example, why does it usually default to sharpening scans, but sometimes doesn't? Why is the default sharpening medium strength when that setting actually quite aggressive? I have to make a conscious effort to switch off sharpening every time I start the scan off.

I've even hacked the registry settings to switch off the application's sharpening or, alternatively, reduce the amount of sharpening. Yet the registry settings seem to be restored to defaults whenever the application is run.
 
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Via an email from Cinestill, came info about a company called Negative Supply, who make (among other things) bits that are supposed to help with camera scanning. They have some light sources for different sized film, and devices for holding roll film flat for scanning. No idea how practical or helpful it is!
 
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Via an email from Cinestill, came info about a company called Negative Supply, who make (among other things) bits that are supposed to help with camera scanning. They have some light sources for different sized film, and devices for holding roll film flat for scanning. No idea how practical or helpful it is!
Negative Supply seem to make very well thought out and made equipment for digital camera scanning, but it is not cheap. The 35mm holder set is about £450 from Firstcall. Kaiser make a similar system but at about half the price with an LED light box. I bought this one from Speedgraphic and it works very well. I've ended up selling my scanners in preference to using the Kaiser kit plus a digital camera with macro lens, which I had anyway.
 
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ChrisR

ChrisR

I'm a well known grump...
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Chris
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Negative Supply seem to make very well thought out and made equipment for digital camera scanning, but it is not cheap. The 35mm holder set is about £450 from Firstcall. Kaiser make a similar system but at about half the price with an LED light box. I bought this one from Speedgraphic and it works very well. I've ended up selling my scanners in preference to using the Kaiser kit plus a digital camera with macro lens, which I had anyway.
Did you intend to add a link for "this one", Mark? But yes, the Negative Supply stuff is really expensive, specially when you put all the bits together!
 
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Peter
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Chris - thank you (from a fellow grump!)..

I have boxes of 35mm slides and negatives from the 1960s-80s I discovered at my parents' house (after producing a book celebrating their golden wedding anniversary) which I want to scan (I have Nikon Coolscan and an old Vaio on Win7 with Vuefast) to scan them. Lockdown does mean I am not taking many photos, which in turn, means I can focus on these old photos..

Now to put a personal 'subscribe' flag to this thread.....thanks again
 
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