Scanner Recommendations

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#1
Thinking it maybe time to invest in a scanner.

Wondering what a reasonable option to go for is. Not sure of budget but as I'm starting out scanning, don't want to spend a fortune to begin with.

Will only be for 35mm film, not 120.
 

ChrisR

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#2
First question, do you use a Mac?

(Seriously, just now is slightly dodgy for some film scanners as manufacturers appear to have been lazy in releasing 64-bit versions of their drivers...)
 

StephenM

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#3
And, I suppose, how much is a fortune, and what do you want/expect in terms of resolution/file sizes?
 
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#4
Yes, I am a Mac user but no update for me just yet - been there, had broken apps in the past :ROFLMAO:

Budget wise, well I don't have one in mind in truth - just not sure I want to spend £200-300 on a Plustek until I know I want to scan much!
 
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#5
You're not going to get much by way of quality for less than £200-£300 buying new. Something like an Epson V550 or V600 will do 35mm but not as well as a current model Plustek, but the Plustek won't do 120 if you decide to buy a medium format camera. Also, an Epson 550 or 600 will scan two strips of negs in one loading, whereas I believe the Plustek needs feeding one frame at a time. So you pays your money and takes your choice. I keep toying with the idea of a good second hand Plustek for shots I like the look of once I've 'batch scanned' them with my Epson V600, but keep telling myself I have enough gadgets already!
 
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#6
Thanks. Not looking for 120 options so I guess it's a Plustek I need to look at?! :ROFLMAO:
 

ChrisR

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#7
Well I would normally recommend a Plustek for a 135-only user, but as of this time I'm concerned that they will never update the drivers for the older 7000 series. I assume they will have to do the drivers for the currently selling 8000 series; the pick would be the 8200i which has an additional infra-red scanning capability, which for C41 and E6 film should help reduce the effect of dust and scratches. Buying a Plustek 8000 should get you a copy of at least Silverfast SE Plus, which is very powerful scanning software, if a bit odd. The 7000 series will get you a SF6.x version that won't run on MacOS since 10.6 I think, but you can either upgrade or for about the same price get Vuescan Pro and be able to use it on any scanner you buy in the future (including your all-in-one printer/scanner if you have one).

I think my Epson V500 will only scan one strip of negatives, but it's a while since I've used it for 135 {EDIT: I was wrong!}. It's supposed to be able to scan multiple frames at once, but I had trouble trying to make that work. As of this time, Silverfast claims the Epsons up to the V600 don't have 64-bit drivers.

IIRC the higher range Reflectas have even better resolution. The goto site for technical info is filmscanner.info, eg here is the 8200i review: https://www.filmscanner.info/en/PlustekOpticFilm8200i.html {EDIT: if you read that, you'll note that the achieved resolution is always much less than the advertised resolution!}
 
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#8
Hi,

I've gone through the same process recently and I can share some of my findings. I would like to offer an alternative suggestion and urge you to buy the best relatively affordable scanner you can at this stage: the risk is that if you start scanning your 35mm film using sub-par equipment, you will, like me, be disappointed with the results and might potentially let go of film photography before getting to see what it's all about.

I mentioned 'the best relatively affordable' scanner. By this I mean a dedicated scanner, and not (for 35mm) a flatbed, IMHO. Plustek scanners are a good choice. Reflecta scanners are, I'm told, also good. I do have a very old Minolta Scan Dual III somewhere. They all still work on Windows 7, provided you purchase an (essential) bit of software called 'Vuescan'. This is my common interface to all my scanners. I highly recommend it.

Anyhow, why a dedicated film scanner? Well, I am the happy owner of an Epson flatbed, which works wonderfully well with medium format film. However, it is not satisfactory with 35mm material. I recently bought a Plustek series 7. You don't need to spend 300 pounds on one: I got mine used off ebay for 95 quid - you just need some paticence. By the way, my Plustek works without any problems on Windows 7 64bit via Vuescan.

Here are two side by side examples of the Epson v550 vs the Plustek. Magnify the attachment to 100% to better see the difference:
(EDIT - looks like this forum won't allow zooming in to full image size - sorry about that)

7k_vs_v550.jpg
plustek7k_vs_epsonV550.jpg

Other considerations: I find the Plustek, in operation, quite fast: my workflow involves a quick preview, which takes few seconds per frame, followed by a full scan, which takes 1 minutes or so. However I use the 'preview' function to identify the shots I like, which is never more than 5-10 per 36 frame roll, and I only fully scan those. The Plustek is also physically very small and will only have a small footprint on your desk. Hope it helps - any other questions feel free to ask.
 
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#9
Perhaps the following crops better show the differences between the flatbed and the dedicated on this particular frame. Both scans are crops from straight-out-of-scanner 16bit grayscale tiff files out of Vuescan.

Film: Fomapan 100
Developer: Spur Acurol-N 1+50

plustek7k_vs_epson.jpg
 
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#10
I have a Plustek 8100 that I use for my 35mm stuff and a V550 that I use for medium format. The Plustek is notably sharper for 35mm, but it takes me longer to scan a roll.

If medium format is definitely not a consideration, then I’d certainly recommend a Plustek.

I’d love the 120 format version, but it’s considerably out of my price range. :(
 
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#11
Same here. Plus it would appear the Plustek 120 is OOP. I read somewhere a new and improved 'pro' version was meant to replace it , but I can't find it anywhere.
 
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#12
I have a Plustek 8100 that I use for my 35mm stuff and a V550 that I use for medium format. The Plustek is notably sharper for 35mm, but it takes me longer to scan a roll.

If medium format is definitely not a consideration, then I’d certainly recommend a Plustek.

I’d love the 120 format version, but it’s considerably out of my price range. :(
Your synopsis was what I was referring to in my post above... with perhaps an ideal reasonably priced solution being to scan your 35mm negs 'in bulk' two strips at a time on something like an Epson V550 or V600. Then choose which photos you love the most and scan them on one of the current models of Plustek scanner.

Alternatively, perhaps invest heavily in a professional quality Noritsu scanner that will handle 120 as well as 35mm and pay for the operator training courses, tech support and maintenance costs to get the best out of that. Or pay by instalment and let a pro-quality lab scan all your films... or send them selected negative or transparency frames to scan, providing you can keep the dust, scratches and fingerprints off them in the meantime.

Once again, it seems quality is relative to cost and time... and I doubt that will be a surprise as a life lesson to most of us. :banghead:
 
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#14
Your synopsis was what I was referring to in my post above... with perhaps an ideal reasonably priced solution being to scan your 35mm negs 'in bulk' two strips at a time on something like an Epson V550 or V600. Then choose which photos you love the most and scan them on one of the current models of Plustek scanner.

Alternatively, perhaps invest heavily in a professional quality Noritsu scanner that will handle 120 as well as 35mm and pay for the operator training courses, tech support and maintenance costs to get the best out of that. Or pay by instalment and let a pro-quality lab scan all your films... or send them selected negative or transparency frames to scan, providing you can keep the dust, scratches and fingerprints off them in the meantime.

Once again, it seems quality is relative to cost and time... and I doubt that will be a surprise as a life lesson to most of us. :banghead:
If only I'd won that Euromillions jackpot, eh? :D
 
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#16
I have a Plustek 8100 that I use for my 35mm stuff and a V550 that I use for medium format. The Plustek is notably sharper for 35mm, but it takes me longer to scan a roll.

If medium format is definitely not a consideration, then I’d certainly recommend a Plustek.
Pretty much my exact set up (except I use an older Plustek) - they are the best 35mm only budget scanners.

Thanks for all the info guys. Plumped for an 8100 Plustek. I'm pretty sure it'll do me a great turn.
Enjoy!
 

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#18
I just use a lightable and a loupe to quickly pick out the frames I want to scan with the Plustek. Huge time saver.
You must be way better at reading negatives than I am!

Thinking about it, though, a really close inspection of negatives probably helps a lot in thinking about exposure!
 

ChrisR

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#19
Thanks for all the info guys. Plumped for an 8100 Plustek. I'm pretty sure it'll do me a great turn.
This is a good choice, I think. You'll also need to decide what software to use. A new Plustek should come with Silverfast 8 SE (or SE Plus), which is extremely powerful. I have little experience of the 8.x versions, though I did have problems making good scans with a trial version earlier this year.

If you're mainly shooting black and white, then I don't think it matters much which software you use. However, if you're scanning colour negative, then getting accurate colour out can be a real problem because of the different orange masks from the film substrate. I suspect SF8 will have a larger and potentially more accurate library of film presets than Vuescan Pro, so it might be worth sticking with SF for a while. SF is however tied to exactly one scanner, whereas Vuescan Pro is a lifetime licence and covers you for any of the thousands of scanners they use.

Plustek have also said that the driver for MacOS 10.15 Catalina will only be released via Silverfast! (I'm hoping that I can get another trial version when the time comes, and that it will get installed and usable by Vuescan Pro eventually.)
 
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#20
I keep thinking of an 8100 for 35mm so would be interested to hear your thoughts. The scans I get off my V550 are pants, and the "DSLR Scan" thing is a huge pain to set up. (to do a job that is my least favourite task in the workflow) My main concern is that it'll end up only being marginally better than the Epson (@trypdal - those results are interesting...) Maybe I'll pick up a 2nd hand one off ebay and flog it on again if it's not worth the desk space (which I also don't have!)
/grumble
 
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#21
I keep thinking of an 8100 for 35mm so would be interested to hear your thoughts. The scans I get off my V550 are pants, and the "DSLR Scan" thing is a huge pain to set up. (to do a job that is my least favourite task in the workflow) My main concern is that it'll end up only being marginally better than the Epson (@trypdal - those results are interesting...) Maybe I'll pick up a 2nd hand one off ebay and flog it on again if it's not worth the desk space (which I also don't have!)
/grumble
This is a link to a full-size 3600dpi scan from my Plustek 8100 (click the link at the bottom, not the image):

https://flic.kr/p/2guKHvV View: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fishyfish/48239435427/sizes/o
 
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#22
Well it's coming tomorrow, so I'm bound to be asking lots of stupid questions when I finally get it plugged in as I've never used a scanner for anything in my life before! :ROFLMAO:
 
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#24
Is there an amount of unsharp-mask applied to the Plustek output here or is this straight out of scanner?
There’s some sharpening going on here. I’d need to check the settings. You can turn it off or increase it as per your preferences though.

This is a processed image too, so I will have tweaked contrast etc. in Lightroom as well.
 
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#25
My main concern is that it'll end up only being marginally better than the Epson (@trypdal - those results are interesting...)
/grumble
I find the output of the Plustek to be noticeably better than that of the V550. This is more evident with certain film stocks/developer combinations. On traditional high-speed film stocks, for example TriX or HP5 processed in Rodinal, the difference is really visible: whereas the flatbeds can't resolve the grain, the Plustek can, and gives a crisp result straight out of scanner. The screen grabs I posted above are probably not showing the most dramatic differences you'll be able to get, because I was using a relatively fine grained film processed in a fine-grained developer.

I think you can't go wrong with a Plustek honestly, especially if you get one off gumtree and end up paying less than half price. Most of the units people sell are very lightly used ('senior' folks trying to digitalise huge collections and giving up after 3 rolls ;) ).

Here's a couple more examples from the Plustek. I don't have matching V550 examples at hand but I can tell you that my V550 scans never looked like this (click on an image, then click on the full screen icon top right to magnify)


 
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#26
I keep thinking of an 8100 for 35mm so would be interested to hear your thoughts. The scans I get off my V550 are pants, and the "DSLR Scan" thing is a huge pain to set up. (to do a job that is my least favourite task in the workflow) My main concern is that it'll end up only being marginally better than the Epson (@trypdal - those results are interesting...) Maybe I'll pick up a 2nd hand one off ebay and flog it on again if it's not worth the desk space (which I also don't have!)
/grumble
What DPI are you scanning at with your 550?
 
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#27
just now is slightly dodgy for some film scanners as manufacturers appear to have been lazy in releasing 64-bit versions of their drivers...
My Nikon Scan 4 software (32-bit) has no trouble running on Windows 10 (64-bit), and neither do any other 32-bit apps that i can think of, but the actual driver that I'm using is from a recent iteration of Silverfast, if that's ever any help to anyone ...
 
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#28
You must be way better at reading negatives than I am!

Thinking about it, though, a really close inspection of negatives probably helps a lot in thinking about exposure!
That's one reason I love 4x5 I don't scan every frame I can get a decent idea from the negative.
 
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#29
What DPI are you scanning at with your 550?
Can't remember, but a couple of images I checked give me 40Mb tiffs. I usually try to aim for 300ppi @ around A4 size. I did wonder whether I was pushing the 550 too far with this... It's obviously less intense when I scan 645 or larger which co-incidentally give me much better results.

On traditional high-speed film stocks, for example TriX or HP5 processed in Rodinal, the difference is really visible:
And this is even more of a reason to consider the gamble. I've given up on both those films at 35mm because my images look like $hite. Got to admit that yours (and @FishyFish ) images look very good up-close.

I think having a 4k monitor makes things worse. If I want to fill the screen with my image I need it at 3000x2000.

(Apologies @wibbly for derailing your thread slightly. I'll be following just to see how you get on with it as I may be following in your footsteps)
 
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#30
I keep thinking of an 8100 for 35mm so would be interested to hear your thoughts. The scans I get off my V550 are pants, and the "DSLR Scan" thing is a huge pain to set up. (to do a job that is my least favourite task in the workflow)
I find the output of the Plustek to be noticeably better than that of the V550. This is more evident with certain film stocks/developer combinations. On traditional high-speed film stocks, for example TriX or HP5 processed in Rodinal, the difference is really visible: whereas the flatbeds can't resolve the grain, the Plustek can, and gives a crisp result straight out of scanner. The screen grabs I posted above are probably not showing the most dramatic differences you'll be able to get, because I was using a relatively fine grained film processed in a fine-grained developer.

I think you can't go wrong with a Plustek honestly, especially if you get one off gumtree and end up paying less than half price. Most of the units people sell are very lightly used ('senior' folks trying to digitalise huge collections and giving up after 3 rolls ;) )
For 35mm, it really is noticeably better than a V550, or even the bigger/better Epson flatbeds. The only advantage with the Epson scanners is speed and convenience - but who does this hobby in 2019 for either of those things? There is a healthy secondhand market for Plustek scanners; they come up frequently on eBay, and pop up occasionally on Gumtree. It has a far more svelte shape and takes up far less space on a desk, although I would ensure you think of a way to minimise dust getting into the machine if it sits on your desk permanently.
 

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#31
Well for anybody interested..I've just scanned a doc using my old Epson 4180 scanner in win 10 64bits, but my old Epson printer would work but only using win 10 drivers and not Epson software. So what's important to install Epson anyway? Well I couldn't find a way of cleaning the printer heads using win 10 software.
Anyway I'll boot back into another drive with win10 32bits.
 
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#32
Can't remember, but a couple of images I checked give me 40Mb tiffs. I usually try to aim for 300ppi @ around A4 size. I did wonder whether I was pushing the 550 too far with this... It's obviously less intense when I scan 645 or larger which co-incidentally give me much better results.)
I did an experiment when I first got my V600 and found it actually started to lose detail and sharpness and anything over 3200 dpi resolution (presumably as interpolation kicks in noticeably after that), so perhaps try 3200 dpi and see if that looks any better? I never bother with TIFFs, just JPEG at 48 bit colour. I resize afterwards in photoshop to around 30cm width (in landscape view) at 300 pixels/inch for 35mm images. You won't get detail like they seem to from Plustek scanners, but it might make a bit of a difference.
 
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#33
Plustek 8100 turned up today. Anyone have any good places to learn a bit about it and the software.

Thinks it's going to be quite an education!
 

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#37
I did an experiment when I first got my V600 and found it actually started to lose detail and sharpness and anything over 3200 dpi resolution (presumably as interpolation kicks in noticeably after that), so perhaps try 3200 dpi and see if that looks any better? I never bother with TIFFs, just JPEG at 48 bit colour. I resize afterwards in photoshop to around 30cm width (in landscape view) at 300 pixels/inch for 35mm images. You won't get detail like they seem to from Plustek scanners, but it might make a bit of a difference.
H'mm with the V600 the software probably kicks in at less than 2400dpi...the resolution capabilities of a scanner are fixed and consumer ones can never match a modern digi camera. And there must be a reason why say Epson can't produce a consumer scanner equivalent at least to a drum scanner at a reasonable price after all it is 2019 and surely technology is available somewhere just to be able to scan a film cheaply.
 
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