4x5 transparency scans

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

O.K., I have read the digital threads. Still confused. Here is my question. My client, (the godsend) now wants all the 4x5 chromes we have shot scanned and then put onto a CD. He wants to be able to do design and layout. We are already working on the black and white for the archives, and working on the cibachromes for his clients. Now he wants this done.(great for us)!!! He wants to concentrate on the writing. He is not inclined to trust people he has not worked with. That is just fine by me. So my partner and I are thinking, we are pretty smart folks,I have some (albeit minor) experience with scanning prints and doing re-touch in photo shop. My computer has all the memory and speed for most scanners. So that is not the question. We start looking at scanners and the like and holy moly its an entirely different world. So help!! Is it really necessary to purchase a film scanner to do these 4x5 tranies or can we use the new UMAX powerlook 111 for this. If we get the less expensive scanner will our client still be happy with the output? We really want to keep our client happy. Not only is this a fun project, but he is a really nice guy. Remember these scans will only be used by him for layout and design. I'll scan them, do any manipulations in photo shop, burn the image to a CD and ship the CD to him to open and add his text to, and he can do his thing to the CD. When he is ready to publish the 4x5's will be drum scanned by the publisher. Any words of wisdom will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance

-- jacque staskon (jacque@cybertrails.com), October 03, 2000


If you're doing it for a client, who will pay you for the scans and therefore cover some of the cost of the scanner, buy an Artix 1100 (about $1500 from buy.com or price.com, I can't remember which site I saw it on). It has a separate transparency tray for film, a 3.7 DMAX, and should give you excellent scans at 1000 dpi (plenty for 4 x 5). I have the predecessor model, the Scamkaer 5 and it gives great quality scans. I've explored the market for scanners extensively and have compared output from many different ones; this is, IMHO, the one to get. If you're going to be doing much scanning, you really should get a hardware calibrator for your monitor (go to the Color Partnership website; their product, Optical, is the industry standard and works excellent with the calibrators they sell) -- the Artix 1100 comes with a separate utility for building a custom color calibration profile for the scanner and a Kodak 4" x 5" IT8 slide (the value of these two add ons is approximately $200). If you have a calibrated monitor and scanner, your scanners should be about a 95% match of the originals before you do any corrections in Photos

-- Howard Slavitt (info@naturelandscape.com), October 04, 2000.

Is this a one-off, or are you expecting to do this a lot? Scanner technology is moving pretty fast, still, so you might want to pay somebody to handle this round and wait to buy. The above suggestion was a perfectly good approach, if you do decide to jump in.

One caution: given that you are just using this for proofing, extremely high resolution probably isn't that crucial but color accuracy may well be essential (depending on the application). If so, and if you aren't prepared to do a pretty careful calibration job, this might be another reason to hold off on building your own scanning solution right now.


-- Oliver Sharp (osharp@greenspice.com), October 04, 2000.

It sounds to me that your client is wanting some lores scans to use as FPOs in his layout. If that is the case, then most any scanner will work. One thing to consider and present to the client is that the service bureau that scans the hires can also give a lores image to the client that will link up thru OPI software to the hires stored on their server. When this method is used, the bureau will not have to place the high res images by hand into your client's document. If your client wants to retouch or manipliate the image the he needs to use the hires scan, otherwise it all has to be done again.

-- Ron McElroy (rnrmcelroy@aol.com), October 04, 2000.

This is what you can get from a $160 Epson 636U & its transparency adapter(4x5 slide):

www.geocities.com/h_xd/demo2.jpg www.geocities.com/h_xd/demo5.jpg

Is your client happy with them?

-- Aaron Rocky (ar7786@hotmail.com), October 04, 2000.

I've used UMAX scanners in the past for scanning 4X5 and 8X10" chromes. The results were always....ok at best. After moving up to a Heidelberg scanner, with LinoColor software, there is no going back The key is the calibration and the software. Alot of scanners these days are put out on an assembly line somewhere in the far east, and then different brand names are pastes on at the end. The software is what is going to get the best out of the hardware you buy, and the UMAX MagicScan is IMO, strictly for layout purposes. Your client might be thinking that the scans you produce will be the ones used in the printing phase of the job as well, after all, once they're scanned, no reason to scan again, right? (He might conclude). The CMYK scans from LinoColor using a "standard icc profile will get you through the door at just about any printing plant, in europe anyways.

-- William Levitt (light-zone@operamail.com), October 04, 2000.

My opinion is that you will serve your client and yourself better by finding a lab that has great operators and uses a Howtek / Imacon scanner. (I recommend AZ labs in Houston 713.862.8640) to record the images and burn them to CD-ROM. Mark the price up so you make a little money too and spare yourself the headaches.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@heartstone.com), October 04, 2000.

My recommendation is to pay someone for the high resolution drum scan, archive this image, and use this archived image to work from. This way you have all of the information ever needed for any purpose. I have two of the Linocolor Saphir Ultra 2 scanners and they do a pretty fair job on 4x5 and 8x10 neg/trans, but the drum scan is preferable. I'm not much of a fan of using any flatbed scanner, whether it be the Heidleberg or the Scitex, for scanning film. I do it and it works for me in what I need it for, but for print output I don't see any advantage for high resolution (133lpi) magazine output for anything other than small image sizes.

-- fred (fdeaton@knology.net), October 04, 2000.

Jacque, here is my little experience. I second what has been expressed by many. An entry line flatbed scanner with good calibration feature is capable of producing amazing scans from large slides and it's fine for starting any project. But the final scan needs to be accurate and this is where you need it to be made by a skilled operator on an expensive scanner. Most of the good flatbeds in the 3-5K range produce adequate color. But the problem lies in the optics. I just have had a comparison scan made from a 4x5 transparency on Scitex Eversmart, Quato flatbed and ScanMate drum scanner. Well, the first impression at screen viewing size of 5x7 is that they all look alike. But as you zoom in, you rapidly see what it is all about. The Eversmart produces an outstanding quality, thanks to it's "anti-blooming" CCD, automatic focus, evoluated USM and 4.0 D-Max. The drum result is quite similar, but by using Photoshop USM, produces less details. When it comes to the Quato X-Finity 48bits, a scanner costing 3,5K, colors are just as good but you rapidly loose details when you zoom in. Loosing details, especially in the shadows means the USM won't be able to compensate with interpolated sharpness and starts producing noise.

But starting from a large format transparency and not enlarging it too much, it is quite possible to produce professional quality separations on a small flatbed. The difficulty however is calibration and ICM workflow. That means the final print should look as close as possible to what you had on your screen, and this is sometimes where the nightmare begins! And this will be more and more required as part of a photographer skills.

For more tips, visit: http://www.egroups.com/group/ScanHi-End

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), October 05, 2000.

Oh yes, I am willing to send crops of the samples from the different scanner types on request. Instructive!

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), October 05, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ