leafscan 45

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at what optical DPI (Horizontal and vertical) does the leafscan 45 create scans for 35mm, 6cm x 7cm, and 4" x 5". Its max optical DPI is 5000x5000, which I believe applies to 35mm only. Has anybody used this scanner? How nice are the scans? Does it capture good shadow detail and highlight detail?

-- Jon Miller (jmill@cybertime.net), August 10, 2000


This is from my manual for the scanner:

Format/max. ppi/widthpixels/heightpixels/approx. file size ----------------------------------------------------------

35mm portrait/5080/5080/7400/113mb (After cropping)

35mm landscape/2540/4000/2790/32mb






4x5portrait/1200/4740/4740/67mb (slight crop to top and bottom)


The Leafscan is very nice scanner and gives excellent highlights and shadow details (not matching TOL drum scannners of course). But you shouldn't be making 35mm scans with it - its performance is ridiculously slow for that format. For some reason, its a far faster (for the same final file size in a 35mm scan) and far better medium and large format scanner. Note that it has to take 3 passes to make one RGB scan (and the same for one prescan!).

You really need a separate dedicated 35mm scanner for 35mm scans.

Some very real annoyances:

1. Leaf, whilst still supporting the scanner, is not making updates to the very very dated and somewhat clunky driver anymore (and hasn't been for quite a few years already).

2. This very dated driver (a PS plugin) might not work with the current version of Mac OS9x (I can't confirm this since I am still running v8.6) or later and later versions of Photoshop.

3. It uses Beseler negative carriers - some image cropping happens with some formats BY DEFAULT of the smaller negative carrier opening (to full negative frame). And its sometimes hard to center the neg. This may or may not annoy you. It sure as hell annoys me!

A note about file sizes: whilst an 82mb file for a 4x5 scan may not sound like much, if you're making outputs to a CSI Lightjet for big prints, you'd have little to complain about the sufficiency of details. The Lightjet has a very nice interpolation algorithm. Any other large scale interpolation can be done with Genuine Fractals with very very good results as well (though you'd certainly need a screaming fast machine to happily process an 82mb file!)

If you can get one for real cheap ($3000 or less), its a fairly worthwhile LF scanner. Else, if you have about $10,000 plus to spare, I'd suggest an Imacon Flextight. Or just use a service bureau.

Steve Johnson has an old article at his website talking a little about the scanner - mine you, it was written in 1994!

-- K H Tan (kahheng@pacific.net.sg), August 10, 2000.

Oh yeah, I understand that there *might* have been a few versions of the scanner with slightly different hardware specs. I think mine is the last model but the specifications I have noted could refer to an older model (the manual and machine may not match). Someone once told me the later models had slightly higher hardware resolutions.

You might want to write to Leaf Scitex and ask them.

-- K H Tan (kahheng@pacific.net.sg), August 10, 2000.

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