4x5 scanners?

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I am doing all of my printing direct from digital. I am spending an enormous amount on scanning my 4x5 transparencies to approximately 100MB file sizes. Is there a 4x5 film scanner that might be recommended? I will not be doing high volume commercial scanning, but I need excellent quality.

Thanks for your time- Jon

-- Jon Paul (jonpaul@aci.net), June 21, 2001


Must you use a film scanner? Epson makes a low budget flatbed, the 1640 SU that comes with a transparency scanner. Epson introduced versions of the 1680 scanner, similarly a flatbed with transparency adapter, that would work for you. Articles recently reviewing the 1680 in Shutterbug suggest it has the capability to do the work you need done. And the 1640 SU might also work. George DeWolfe also suggested a method that can be used with a flatbed to achieve quite good LF scans in a recent article.

-- Bob Moulton (bobmargaretm@home.com), June 21, 2001.

I am NOT a digital guru, but don't believe in the one scan, do anything with it philosophy. For then, you are constantly resampling off your huge master file to get where you need for a specific project. What about when you only want to print an 8x10 black and white image, maybe taking a 10MB file size. On a flatbed, I'd rather scan at, say, 600, 1200, and 1800 for a scanner with 1200 x 2400 rating. What do others think?

-- David Stein (DFStein@aol.com), June 21, 2001.

I'll second the Epson 1640 SU and its big brothers and sisters as an excellent quality/price ratio picks. While it won't be confused with a drum scan I find it does great work on 4x5 negs and trannies.

-- Donald Brewster (dpbrewster@prodigy.net), June 21, 2001.

Look at the new Canon D2400UF, for $499 it seems difficult to beat. Follow the thread below there's a link to scanned images with this scanner and a comment from a user who gets 300MB scans from 4x5 slides.

-- Georges Pelpel (gpelpel@home.com), June 21, 2001.

Go for the Heidelberg Linoscan or Linotype Saphir HiRes. www.heidelberg.com They mostly provide the graghics world with products but they have an excellent line of prosumer products. The dpi might be lower than the consumer models {epson,acer,hp} but these people and their products are the real deal. In fact they are the company who created color management for macs and pcs. Just for a comparison these scaners haxe a dmax of about 3.6 just try to find the dmax on the consumer models. Even beter yet some of the "tec reps" will tell you that they don't even know. You can settle and get good results with one of the consumer models {I own the acer 1200 and it does a good job} but if you are serious about large format scanning the Heidelberg scanners are the way to go.

-- john (dogspleen@jun.com), June 22, 2001.

Dear Jon,

I can recommend the Acer 1240UT. It is cheap, but it does very well what it can. It is basically a 1200dpi (optical) flatbed scanner with built-in transparency device for up to 5x7". So you could scan a 4x5" transparency/negative with optical 4800x6000 pixels. Its U.S. price is about 100-120 dollars only.

Best regards,

-- David Haardt (david@haardt.net), June 22, 2001.

Excellent quality has a cost, although more affordable than some years back. In the entry level of high end scanners, I would recommend you have a look at the Scitex Jazz, and for a higher cost, at the Imacon FlexTight Precision. A second hand Scitex Eversmart would be a good choice too, or a used drum scanner but they are more expensive to fix and complicated to operate.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@smile.ch), June 22, 2001.

.."Just for a comparison these scaners haxe a dmax of about 3.6 just try to find the dmax on the consumer models."

Epson 1680 Pro is DMAX 3.6, 48 bit and can scan film/trannies up to 8x10.

-- Matt O. (mojo@moscow.com), June 23, 2001.

I have been scanning 35mm and medium format 645's on an Epson 610 flatbed which gives 1200 x 2400 ppi. Most images are fine however a few just will not work out (usually predominantly deep blues and greens) - these same images also prove tricky for pro scans too.

I do not have a transparency hood for the scanner, but simply place my lightbox over the slide using a piece of mailing card as a template to hold it flat. Given the cost of tranny hoods and the fact that we all have lightboxes I urge you to consider his method before buying a more expensive model.

-- Clive Kenyon (clivekenyon@hotmail.com), June 27, 2001.

I have an Epson Expression 1600 firewire model. It does a good job on 4 X 5, but with some issues:

1. Film flatness is a problem--not a big one, but significant. However, I think in theory that it would be possible to wet mount the 4 X 5 to the glass with KAMI and then manually focus the scanner. I haven't tried this. 2. Optical resolution is low relative to specs; I couldn't see any improvement after 1200 DPI, even on chromes with superior detail. 3. color accuracy is quite good 4. don't count on getting good results on chromes with large areas of deep shadows. You will get noise--reasonable for the price of the scanner, but a big annoyance if the area is of any size.

-- lloyd chambers (photo@llc4.com), June 27, 2001.

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