4x5 neg scanner

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i need to purchase a 4x5 negative scanner for my office. we have a very nice HP flatbed - is there an attachment i can use for that machine, or should i go with a stand-alone neg scanner? what are some of the better units to consider? what is the prince range for this kind of equipment, and what advantages do the more expensive units offer? thanks for your advice.

-- jnorman (jnorman@teleport.com), April 03, 2000


Nikon and Polaroid market 4x5 film scanners. Expect to pay between 7500 and 9000 for each. Depending upon your needs, you may be able to use a transparency adaptor with a flatbed, maybe the flatbed you already own. If not Umax Powerlook III is worth investigation. Ditto for the Agfa and Microtek dual units: you get a flatbed and a separate "drawer" into which you can insert transparencies/negatives up to 4x5 or 8x10, depending upon the unit. The cost of this dual units is much less--650-1500 depending upon unit. The Nikon/Polaroid are first class scanners, but again depending upon your use and needs you may find it suitable to pass over 2700+dpi and the cost it entails. Bob Moulton

-- Bob Moulton (bmoulton@icc.cc.il.us), April 03, 2000.

If you haven't already, read www.scantips.com/



-- Wayne Crider (waynec@apt.net), April 03, 2000.

If you do look to spend around $9000 for the Nikon to do 4x5, go a bit extra and buy an Imagon Flextight(sp?) scanner instead. Way better quality and a lot more versatile.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), April 04, 2000.

Check out the Epson expression 1600. It is a 1600x3200 dpi scanner. You can make an 8000x6400 pixel image from a 4x5. The umax powerlook III is also a good choice. I'm currently using a powerlook III to scan 4x5 slides. The scans are very sharp, but its hard to get a good scan from an underexposed slide. Also, this scanner doesn't do a very good job when it comes to negatives (this is probobly a software problem).

-- Jon Miller (jmill@cybertime.net), April 04, 2000.

Check out the Epson scanners before you spend big bucks. There's a model called the Perfection 1200 Photo with a built in tranny adapter that does a good job of negatives. I got talking to a guy that bought one, and he was quite pleased with the results from medium format negs.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), April 04, 2000.

Drum scanners are the next logical step up, they can be had used for $3 - 12K and outperform flat beds for film... however, at a tremendous expense...DRUM MOUNTING! Mounting film to a drum with fluid is a major pain in the ass! Trust me... in my opinion, this is why the Imacon has gained such market share, allmost full benefits of a drum scanner but with dry mounting... and they have have an electostatic field which creates a perfectly flat piece of film. Watch the Dynamic range also, be sure it meets your needs...another reason some wind up with drum scanenrs, once again, the Imacon is almost comparable to a drum.. Good luck...

-- Bill Glickman (bglick@pclv.com), April 04, 2000.

Imacon is great, but they drew the line at 4x5. the cheaper, and somewhat affordable scanner does not scan 4x5. drat! also, I understand there is a new version out that will scan 5x7 which would be all too perfect. sell the BMW, cancel the vacation ... heck, spend the kids college fund too!

-- daniel taylor (aviator@agalis.net), April 04, 2000.

Mounting with oil, advised but not always necessary. Mount the emulsion side to the drum and you won't get the Newton rings. I use a Scan Mate Plus from ScanView and only mounted with oil ones, ...to see that there was lots of hassles and not so much difference in picture quality. Perhaps for scratched small formats at high resolution? I also find operating this 1 PMT scanner (3 passes) time consuming. But the results with this bottom of the line 7 years old 12 bits scanner surpasses what I get from my new Quato XFinity Pro 16 bits flatbed in both sharpness and color clarity! At least it did ! For, now it has to go to revision, since stripes have appeared in the low lights! ...I am just afraid to send it for what it might cost to fix!

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), April 04, 2000.

In addition to Paul's response, I also used a ScanView ScanMate 5000 without oil and mounted the emulsion surface to the drum...no newton rings. The only problem I had was that this particular scanner automatically focuses the lens on the surface of whatever is taped to the drum, and since 4x5 film is somewhat thick, I'd have to tweak the focusing parameter to get the lens to focus on the emulsion layer, not the top layer! It did make a difference, even for rollfilm.

-- James Chow (dr_jchow@yahoo.com), April 04, 2000.

thanks to everyone for your comments. a little more info on my requirements - from now on, when i do a HAER recordation project, in addition to the normal archival prints, i need to scan the 4x5 transparencies and b/w negs for transmittal to the library of congress as part of their effort to get the HABS/HAER collections online. the guys at calumet suggested the agfa t2500 duoscan - a combo flatbed with a lower drawer for transparencies and negs up to 8x12" with no glass plates (no newton rings?). it is about $4500. management will have a hard time even giving me that kind of budget for this, so - is it your collective opinion that this one would do the job, or is there another in that price range that might be better? or, should i accept that i cannot afford the required quality, and continue to pay a local graphics house $35 each for my negative scans?

to get an example of what kind of quality LOC is looking for (one they scanned themselves), the highest resolution scan of one of the 5x7 b/w negs is a *.tiff file at about 17.5MB - http://memory.loc.gov/cgi- bin/displayPhoto.pl?path=/pnp/habshaer/or/or0200/or0291/photos&topImag es=130784pr.jpg&topLinks=130784pv.jpg,130784pu.tif&title=1.++General+v iew+from+northwest+%3cbr%3eHAER,ORE,26-PORT,14-1&displayProfile=0

-- jnorman (jnorman@teleport.com), April 05, 2000.

I believe most of the above answers were based on the assumption that you would need the scanner for high quality printed output - not online display. The 17.5 Mb scan of the 5x7 b/w would be a scan of approximately 700dpi if my math is correct. You will have no problem obtaining this type of scan with many of the lower priced flatbed scanners with tray adapters. A couple were mentioned above but unless you are going to be using the scanner for high quality prints, you can find something for under $1000. Actually, I recently read a gushing review in Shutterbug (Jan 2000) on the CanoScan FB1200S. According to the review, this scanner was made specifically for 120 and 4x5 scans. Specs: 1200dpi (optical); 36 bit color; 3.3 dynamic range (Dynamic range is a key number in the comparison of scanners. The above mentioned Nikon and Polaroid 4x5 scanners have d.r.'s of 3.6, I believe. 3.3 is about average for most desktop scanners under $2000.)

The best part: $499 Two caveats: It's relatively slow and it will not suffice if you're looking to get greater than 5x7 prints from a 35mm negative.

Two sites were provided at the end of the article: www.ccsi.canon.com and www.canoscan.com

Good luck.

-- Kevin V. Blasi (kblasi@uconect.net), April 05, 2000.

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