A big film scanner thread

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The DSLR/macro lens route clearly has some real benefits, but it also brings other problems into the workflow. [...]

I feel quite doubtful that a workflow that involved setting up the camera/lens, focusing, moving each negative into precisely the right position (*), loading the resulting shots into LR (or wherever), doing whatever preliminary processing is required as negative images, moving each shot into PS (which I don't have), converting each shot individually, then finally sending it back to LR (or whatever)... is going to work for me!
It seems worth mentioning here the pixl-latr which should help with holding negatives of most sizes flat and in place, and the CameraDactyl Mongoose Kickstarter, which you can still back if you're quick (19 hours to go as I write) and have a spare £500+ lying around! The latter will do a whole roll of uncut 135 automatically... that is, it will move the film, locate the frame and fire the shutter of the digital camera to take the shot, rinse and repeat.

Ignoring the latter for the mo, has anyone on here tried the pixl-latr?
 
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Ignoring the latter for the mo, has anyone on here tried the pixl-latr?
Yeah. Not for me.

I think it was aimed at LF users though - specifically 4x5. As a 120 & 35mm user it's pretty over engineered and has too many bits to lose for something that is really supposed to just hold the negative flat. It's really annoying to get negs in and out vs something like the Digitaliza which is very easy and you can do lots in one go.

It's something that I'm sure a niche (within the film community) group would definitely find useful. I'm not in that niche though. Mines is still in its box and I'll probably eBay it once I've checked it has all the bits.
 
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Yeah. Not for me.

I think it was aimed at LF users though - specifically 4x5. As a 120 & 35mm user it's pretty over engineered and has too many bits to lose for something that is really supposed to just hold the negative flat. It's really annoying to get negs in and out vs something like the Digitaliza which is very easy and you can do lots in one go.

It's something that I'm sure a niche (within the film community) group would definitely find useful. I'm not in that niche though. Mines is still in its box and I'll probably eBay it once I've checked it has all the bits.
Not having seen it, I thought it might well be a bit fiddly advancing to the next frame for 135... and of course, if it moved in the process you'd maybe have to go through the process of aligning and focusing all over again?

With my Plustek 7500i playing up, I'm definitely thinking through the various options, though.
 
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Oh BTW I checked out the prices of Kaiser copy stands... scary! Eg this RS1 for £485! I think there's a RS2 something on that ama$$$n non-taxpaying site that I hope no-one uses other than to check the reviews, for about half that! ;)
 
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Hi all, I just skimmed the posts of this thread. I could use some guidance if no one minds on trying to get some old film scanned. I have various sizes of multiple generations that have trickled down to me. The largest format I think I have is 116/616 or 4.25 x 2.5 inch. I would consider just sending them to a company, but I have so many of so many different sizes that it would be cheaper to buy a scanner I believe. (I have enough old film to fill a small shoe box.) I do want quality scans, but it's more for archival of family history than of anything else. So it doesn't need to be great but would love to get nice results (without using my camera to set up, I'm really too lazy for that).

I read that Epson Perfection is best option due to size, is there a version of the scanner that isn't so expensive but good results? I don't have a budget in mind yet, I'm still in developing steps of trying to this this organized.

I have to sort through the 1000s of film. I'm mostly on the hunt of any images of my mom, but she somehow got everyone to send her old film from across the country (USA) and family from Canada. (I'm moving to UK in Nov to join husband, so it's a project that will take time.) Sorry for the rambling. Thanks for any tips or hints as to where to do more research and just learn more about this.
 
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I would recommend an Epson V550. Just been on Amazon though and it looks like it's been discontinued? I paid £170 for mine which was a balance of cost vs quality. The latest version seems to be the V600 which is £270 at the moment. Quite a markup! The Silverfast software is also extra (or Vuescan - whichever way you go). If you've got a bunch of different sized negs, the carrier won't work and you'll have to san on the glass. If you do that, I found it best to flatten the neg (and hold it down) with proper ANR (anti-newton ring) glass. Chris talks about Newton rings in earlier posts and you can google "anr glass" to find a local supplier.

One last thought is that the V600 - if it's like the V550 - is designed for 120 and 135 format films. The "lid light" seems to be in a channel that's 80mm wide which *should* be ok for your 70mm 616 film but that might require further research (or expertise from here)
 
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A flatbed is definitely the right option among the scanners, and as Ian says, you'd be scanning on the glass for the less common sizes. That doesn't necessarily mean you'll get Newton's Rings; I scan my 4x5 that way, and I haven't had a problem so far (though I don't hold the negatives down, so it depends a lot on how flat the negatives are.

A new Epson scanner should come with Epson Scan software; a lot of folk on here find that just fine. If it doesn't work for you, then I'd suggest Vuescan Pro rather than Silverfast.

I'd have thought there was a fair chance of finding a second hand V550 on the evil bay?

There's a gotcha with some of the older of the Epsons (definitely the V500 that I have, dunno about the V550); the drivers are 32-bit software, and won't work with the latest Mac OSX versions, although I believe Windows 10 is OK (?). Fear not though, Vuescan Pro supports home made drivers for most older scanners, so there is a fix.
 
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I got distracted, and meant to add that with those varied negative sizes, you might also want to experiment with "scanning" them with a digital camera. This seems increasingly popular, although I've only done it for the one negative that's in the thread. There's another thread on here, I think, where @FishyFish showed results of doing negative to positive inversions using some of the new software that's becoming available, although he did his from positive scans rather than digital camera images.

At the moment there's no simple, drop-in solution as there is with flatbeds, but if you're up for a bit of experimenting, a bodge here and there etc, you can get quite good results, and throughput could be high.
 
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Well, something prompted me to look at First Call Photographic, who do have the bits for a nearly complete solution:


So something of a bargain, then. Why, you could barely buy 2 Epson V850s for that...

BTW that light source was the "cheap" one. The Pro model in 5x7 size would set you back a mere £479!

The good news (!) is that the film carriers take a whole roll of film (uncut), and you position the film using a little winder knob. A bit more work than a Cameradactyl Mongoose, but probably less hassle than re-positioning individual frames of a cut strip, even if in a film holder.

I guess what we're seeing here is the cost of development spread over a relatively small predicted market?
 

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Well I've posted this before and is what you would expect from a 6X7 neg with a cheap old Epson scanner compared to a V750 and both scanned at 4800 dpi.... I enlarged the image to about 5.5ft across on my computer screen then took a crop...... I didn't use a tripod just hand held with a 65mm lens on my RB67.

Cheap old Epson scanner.


V750


So what's the conclusion? well if you are only going to do A4 prints you might not see much of a difference
 
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It may seem odd to be posting an academic article about archaeology in a film scanning thread, but this article from Internet Archaeology has some good discussion about approaches to digitising 787 Kodachrome 64 slides from a dig in the 1980s, including their selected approach (digitising with a Canon 80D) and suggested improvements. I didn't agree with everything (quite a lot in their actual scanning attempts), but section 4 onwards is still worth a read:


BTW if it's of any interest, I was involved in funding the creation of Internet Archaeology back in the late 1990s, and I've always been impressed by it. This article is Open Access due to some specific funding they got.
 
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There's a really interesting post by @Kevin Allan on his blog at:

https://filmphotography.blog/2020/11/05/converting-scans-from-colour-negative-film/

on converting scans from colour negatives to positive images, comparing ColorPerfect with Grain2Pixel via some interesting slider comparisons.

(I tried to leave a comment on the blog, Kevin, asking about posting here, but somehow Wordpress ate my comment while it was making me login, and I thought it must have gone to moderation!)
 
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There's a really interesting post by @Kevin Allan on his blog at:

https://filmphotography.blog/2020/11/05/converting-scans-from-colour-negative-film/

on converting scans from colour negatives to positive images, comparing ColorPerfect with Grain2Pixel via some interesting slider comparisons.

(I tried to leave a comment on the blog, Kevin, asking about posting here, but somehow Wordpress ate my comment while it was making me login, and I thought it must have gone to moderation!)
Thanks for the shout-out Chris. I hope to have some more similar articles ready to post soon (a) extending the ColorPerfect vs Grain2Pixel comparisons to cover Kodak Ektar and (b) including a small number of ColorPerfect vs NegativeLab Pro comparisons, using a trial version of Negative Lab Pro which allows 12 scans to be processed.

I'm not sure what happened to your comment.
 
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Thanks for the shout-out Chris. I hope to have some more similar articles ready to post soon (a) extending the ColorPerfect vs Grain2Pixel comparisons to cover Kodak Ektar and (b) including a small number of ColorPerfect vs NegativeLab Pro comparisons, using a trial version of Negative Lab Pro which allows 12 scans to be processed.

I'm not sure what happened to your comment.
Sounds good, Kevin. Don't worry about the comment disappearing, I've had it happen a few times when I write a comment and then I'm forced to login; somehow when I submit the comment vanishes. I do try to remember to copy the comment text into the paste buffer before submitting, but if I forget... it's gone!

I have anold, trial copy of ColorPerfect (screenshot in one of the earlier posts of this thread), and I must admit I found the user interface extremely challenging. RTFM perhaps, but I've yet to find an actual manual!
 
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I have anold, trial copy of ColorPerfect (screenshot in one of the earlier posts of this thread), and I must admit I found the user interface extremely challenging. RTFM perhaps, but I've yet to find an actual manual!
I agree that the user interface is terrible. Most of the time I just select the film type and don't touch anything else.
 
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Version 1.1​
You’d need at least a V700 to scan 4x5. [What can scan 10x8?]
Chris, I've only recently discovered this thread, so apologies if this has already been answered - and thanks for all the work you have put in to the thread.

I have an Epson V700 and can confirm that it does scan 10x8. I haven't tried this myself as the largest format I use is 4x5.
It's worth noting that there isn't a film holder supplied for 10x8 (or even 8x10!) you are meant to lay the negative directly on the scanner glass, using a placement guide. Matt Marash has a video on scanning methods for large format here:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqMVMlaA6G0


- he shows scanning 10x8 on an Epson v700, with a piece of Anti Newton glass on top. I imagine that an 8x10 sheet of ANR glass would be very expensive; I paid about £50 for a 4x5 piece of ANR glass from Durst to fit in my enlarger.
 
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Fascinating thread and thanks for all the hard work Chris. :ty:

I recently returned to film and decided that I would scan the negatives myself and if something spectacular popped up then I would send that off to the lab for a full on wash, wax and interior cleaning :giggle: None yet!!

I picked up a very good condition Epson Perfection 3200 locally for a few pounds and it seems to do a nice job on the 35mm stuff. I have just bought my first 6x6 (Agfa Isolette II) and I don't have a holder for 6x6 negatives so my options are:

Betterscanning variable holder with 120 option for about £100

Get lab scans done at low res - let's say a tenner a pop

Put the negatives on the glass and use a piece of ANR glass to hold them down - £30 maybe?

The latter is my current preferred option because it's cheapest but I'm concerned about the point of focus being above the negative if it sits on the scanner glass? Any thoughts from those of you who know a lot more about this than I do? Should I get two pieces of glass and sit the negatives between them?

I use Vuescan if that matters.

Ta!
 
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... I picked up a very good condition Epson Perfection 3200 locally for a few pounds and it seems to do a nice job on the 35mm stuff. I have just bought my first 6x6 (Agfa Isolette II) and I don't have a holder for 6x6 negatives so my options are:

Betterscanning variable holder with 120 option for about £100

Get lab scans done at low res - let's say a tenner a pop

Put the negatives on the glass and use a piece of ANR glass to hold them down - £30 maybe?

The latter is my current preferred option because it's cheapest but I'm concerned about the point of focus being above the negative if it sits on the scanner glass? Any thoughts from those of you who know a lot more about this than I do? Should I get two pieces of glass and sit the negatives between them?

I use Vuescan if that matters.
Some people worry a lot about the point of focus, but I've given up worrying. My suggestion is, try it straight on the glass and see how well it scans!

I've taken a few LF 5x4 frames, and there's definitely no holder for 5x4 on my Epson V500; in fact the scanning area is <4" so I have to scan in 2 parts and stitch them together.. I saw a video somewhere showing how one guy made a film holder of cardboard about 0.5 mm thick, and adjusted the dimensions so he could more easily and accurately re-position the negative for the second scan. He used decorator's tape to hold the negative in place. Told the folks on here about this, quite excited, and they all said, nah, we just whack it on the glass!

BTW there is a negative holder for 120 for the V500... and it's REALLY annoying as it only holds 2 6x6 frames, which come back from the lab cut into 3s!
 
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Some people worry a lot about the point of focus, but I've given up worrying. My suggestion is, try it straight on the glass and see how well it scans!

I've taken a few LF 5x4 frames, and there's definitely no holder for 5x4 on my Epson V500; in fact the scanning area is <4" so I have to scan in 2 parts and stitch them together.. I saw a video somewhere showing how one guy made a film holder of cardboard about 0.5 mm thick, and adjusted the dimensions so he could more easily and accurately re-position the negative for the second scan. He used decorator's tape to hold the negative in place. Told the folks on here about this, quite excited, and they all said, nah, we just whack it on the glass!

BTW there is a negative holder for 120 for the V500... and it's REALLY annoying as it only holds 2 6x6 frames, which come back from the lab cut into 3s!
I guess I'll just whack it on the glass and see what I get :LOL: I'm guessing that if the film won't sit flat I'll need something to keep it in place so maybe a piece of ANR glass would suffice for that. I'll experiment.

This will be my first roll of film through the Agfa so I can't be certain it is sharp and accurate on the focusing yet (haven't done any infinity testing with scotch tape over the back, etc I just stuck an expired Lomography Colour 400 in that I had knocking around).

I did think that I could have the lab do a small scan on this first roll and then I could compare them to mine in terms of them being equally focused. I'll shoot some infinity focus shots at F/11 so I should have a crisp centre unless the lens is completely off.

Cheers Chris.
 
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I have just come into this debate quite late but better now than later. I have 2 scanners a flatbed for documents although it will scan films and slides if I want to, but the quality of the scan is, shall I say not the best. They are not very sharp, but that will almost certainly be down to the film having a curl because some are better than others, and having no feature to focus the scanner lens. The colour reproduction is good, but the edges of contrasting colours can show high levels of colour fringing

The main scanner for film/slides is a Nikon Coolscan 5 which I have had from new and is about the oldest piece of modern kit I posses. It was designed in the days of Windows XP and with the advent of Windows 7 and later it was almost consigned to the recycle centre. I got around this by using an old XP laptop linked to the scanner and it works just fine. The resulting scans are saved on a memory stick and transferred onto either this laptop of my desktop to be worked on with Photoshop CC. The scans are clean and with the Nikon ED lens clear of any colour fringing. Also the lens auto scans and refocuses the lens if the film is out of kilter. The main problem is the scanners resolution capabilities are such that it can make grain very visible, especially with B&W. This can be reduced by adjusting the sliders, but not completely eliminated.

I can get 3rd party software (Viewscan or Silverfast) to operate the scanner directly into my desktop, but at a price, so I will keep the present arrangement until something packs up. I doubt if it will be the scanner! I have had it serviced twice to clean the lens and mirror and was reassured the last time there is no internal signs of wear and the independent engineer advised me that the electronics are hardly know to fail. To me, it is worth it's weight in gold.
 
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I guess I'll just whack it on the glass and see what I get :LOL: I'm guessing that if the film won't sit flat I'll need something to keep it in place so maybe a piece of ANR glass would suffice for that. I'll experiment.
I scanned some 6x9 slides from the 1930s/40s taken by my Dad that were a bit curly and the results were surprisingly good... the ones @PMN did for me were better but the difference wasn't great...

See https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/threads/scanning-dufaycolor.505898/

I see that the original images were all hosted on Photobucketofrubbish so they're not much use. If I get time at some point I'll try to replace them.
 
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I guess I'll just whack it on the glass and see what I get :LOL: I'm guessing that if the film won't sit flat I'll need something to keep it in place so maybe a piece of ANR glass would suffice for that. I'll experiment.

This will be my first roll of film through the Agfa so I can't be certain it is sharp and accurate on the focusing yet (haven't done any infinity testing with scotch tape over the back, etc I just stuck an expired Lomography Colour 400 in that I had knocking around).

I did think that I could have the lab do a small scan on this first roll and then I could compare them to mine in terms of them being equally focused. I'll shoot some infinity focus shots at F/11 so I should have a crisp centre unless the lens is completely off.

Cheers Chris.
Some time ago I saw a post on the PHOTRIO forum about custom made strips of 1mm thick anti newton ring glass that does keep the film flat for scanning. I think the post originated in America somewhere and the cost of getting the glass cut to the correct size was.......errrr not cheap!
 
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Some time ago I saw a post on the PHOTRIO forum about custom made strips of 1mm thick anti newton ring glass that does keep the film flat for scanning. I think the post originated in America somewhere and the cost of getting the glass cut to the correct size was.......errrr not cheap!
Yeah, that's not surprising. I read in this thread (I think) that analogue photography has become like analogue HiFi - very expensive accessories abound (not that there aren't cheaper alternatives).
 
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Can I ask please, as you guys are more in the know than me, what are the options if you shoot 120 film for scanning?
I have a flatbed scanner here, the Epson Perfection 3590 which has a film loader built into the hood but its for 35mm! I remember asking about it in a different thread and know I can place the negs in the flatbed and scan from there BUT going forward, if I wanted a dedicated scanner was there an affordable option?

Asking as most scanner I've seen on here seem to be for 35mm?

Thanks
 
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There are models of the Nikon Scanner, a bit like mine that has taken steroids and will scan 120 film. Even though they are at least 8-10 yrs old they still fetch silly prices, over £2,000 is not unheard of. But they are Very Very Good. The down side is unless you can use a computer with the Windows XP operating system or can fork out for Silverfast or Viewscan software then you will not be able to use them.

Minolta also did a series of film scanners but apart from the 35mm one I have not heard of their medium format one for about 15 years or more

I have heard there is another scanner around made by Plustek which uses the Silverfast software as standard but they are also silly money.

I can scan 120 film on my venerable Epson V500 and that produces scans that are very good and an A3 print from a 645 negative is pretty damn good. so the latest flatbeds from Epson the 800's onwards should be far better.
 
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I use an Epson V550. It gives good results on 120 film, although not as good as the 135 scans I get from my Plustek. The larger negative size helps a lot though. The V850 is the top of the range from Epson, and I believe gives better results than the lower priced offerings (as well as allowing large format scans). It's considerably more expensive though.

The new Plustc 120 scanner comes in at around two grand, so that's very pricey, although there is an older Plustek 120 scanner that I've seen 2nd hand on eBay for around £500.
 
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Here's another dedicated 120 film scanner which is in production and can be purchased new:


Haven't used it so I can't vouch for it. I've seen mixed reviews: a few people report 'banding' on particularly dense colour negatives.
 
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Hiya all, again!
So I got my negs from the lab and the camera is working as it should. I had them scanned whilst there but as it was so busy they were scanned as JPEGs and not TIFF files. Not too worried as my mate runs the lab and it was more a trial to make sure the camera was working and I could meter the scenes right!

I have this Epson Perfection scanner here and opened up the Epson Scan software and scanned in a neg. Then I went to Photoshop and clicked invert and it was a washed out super bright scene that didn't resemble the negatives density?

Am I doing something from or do I need further plug in's etc to get it working as it should?

Thanks!
 
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Hiya all, again!
So I got my negs from the lab and the camera is working as it should. I had them scanned whilst there but as it was so busy they were scanned as JPEGs and not TIFF files. Not too worried as my mate runs the lab and it was more a trial to make sure the camera was working and I could meter the scenes right!

I have this Epson Perfection scanner here and opened up the Epson Scan software and scanned in a neg. Then I went to Photoshop and clicked invert and it was a washed out super bright scene that didn't resemble the negatives density?

Am I doing something from or do I need further plug in's etc to get it working as it should?

Thanks!
Epson Scan should produce a positive, so there should be no need to invert in PS. Have you set it to scan negatives rather than positives?
 
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Does the scanner have a detachable 'pad/mat' on the inside of the lid? If so, have you removed it to scan your film?
 
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Try going to Adjustments and click on the Levels tab (second left) to see if there is anything there. @FishyFish is the Epson Scan guru, so hopefully he'll pop by and help out.
 
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