polaroid ultra45 contra epson flatbed scanner.....

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i bought for a lot of money a polaroid scanner for 4x5" with 2500dpi. now a was reading in a foto magazin that there is a new epson scanner with 3,9 depht, 2400dpi, works with dias till 4x9" and the price is around 20% of the polaroid......is a scanner like the epson similar as good as a specialiced scanner as th polaroid? who has experience?......the epson would be a good idea to scan panoramic fotos, too- i am using a seitz roundshot camera with rollfilm....thankss for sharing experience...

-- rainer (viert@navegalia.com), March 17, 2002


I have had the same question exactly. The specifications differ mainly in the D-max: 3.2 for the Epson vs. 3.8 for the Polaroid. Assuming both numbers are accurate (or at least equally inaccurate) that is a very significant difference. I tentively ruled out that Epson scanner for that reason.

What I would like to see or hear about are scans of the Kodak IT8 transparency target of each scanner so that I can see how far into the shadows each can really see (i.e., the gray scale on the bottom of the target.)

You have the Polaroid and there must be some one here with that Epson. If both scan the Kodak IT8 target and report here how many bars of the gray scale you can distinguish by eye, (the bars are numbered), that would be very useful to everyone.

Your message says "3,9 depth". If by that you mean D-max, then I think the magazine is you read is wrong. The last time I checked the specs, it was 3.2.

-- John Hennessy (northbayassociates@earthlink.net), March 17, 2002.

they wrote about a brand new epson with D-max 3.9. they also said that this is the first scanner with an axceptable price with such an high end dmax---so i cant imagine that they are wrong with this data. i have an it target scan in my computer in germany, at the moment i stay in spain till 3. of april, i will send you the scan if i`ll back in germany....give me your email adress

-- rainer (viert@t-online.de), March 17, 2002.

now i was visiting the epson internet page....the scanner the magazin wrote about seems to be the 2450photo ....as you said the spec. for the D-max is 3.3 ....and the polaroid has 3.8...

-- rainer (viert@t-online.de), March 17, 2002.

The Epson Perfection 2450 Photo does seem too good to be true; on the other hand Epson often leads the pack. The Microtek ArtixScan 4500T has a D-max of 3.9, maximum resolution of 2571 and a price of USD6999 from B&H in New York. So the Epson is quite a bargain at $400 from the same source.

OK, Epson Perfection 2450 Photo owners: scan your IT8 target and let us hear from you.

-- John Hennessy (northbayassociates@earthlink.net), March 17, 2002.

Buying a scanner based solely upon its specs is like marrying a woman based solely upon her measurments. You may end up happy but the odds are not in your favor!

I have friends who own both the Polaroid and Epson scanners and while I've never compared them head-to-head, the results I've seen from the images I have scanned with them suggest that you get what you pay for ... the Epson 2450, while a great value, is clearly a class below the Polaroid in terms of resolution (and surprisingly, I found my Minolta Scan-Multi with Vuescan software to be better than both in some ways).

-- Jeffrey Goggin (audidudi@mindspring.com), March 17, 2002.

> is clearly a class below the Polaroid in terms of resolution

it isn't clear at all. understand the Dmax of your media and scan theory. scanning 6x6 using the Epson 2450 and printing less that 16x16" prints, I suspect you would not find any significant differences other than dithering artifacts. here in Portland, Oregon, the pro-dealer could not get a working model from Polaroid. they all failed out of the box, or soon thereafter.

-- daniel taylor (lightsmythe@agalis.net), March 17, 2002.

add to which there are no industry standards for calculating D-Max in scanners, so it's somewhat subjective... Each manufacturer tests it their own way...

And to throw a little more in the mix... I have an Epson 1640. I scanned one of my 4x5 colour negs, worked on it in Photoshop, upscaled with Genuine Fractals and had it printed as a 30x24 lighjet print. I also sent the neg to a printer I have long used who is very good, and got a tradtitional 30x24 print made. Well, the lightjet knocks the socks of the traditional print. (partly, I was able to do much more in Photoshop to get it how I want - bear in mind I am pretty proficient at PShop - my "day-job", when I am not being a photographer and photojournalist is as senior imaging technician at a government archives, dealing with photographs [both digital work and traditional]) - so it looked better from that perspective. It was also close to as sharp - you had to take a loupe to it to notice a difference. That's from a $200+ scanner. Now I'd love one of the higher level Epson's or a Umax etc, but CDN$3-4000 isn't on the cards right now - not with a new son, Deardorff, leica, Toyo and a bad phot book habit to support...

By all accounts, the Epson 2450 is quite an improvement over my scanner - and you can make up for a lot of what it lacks by skilled use of Photoshop - for example, there are other sharpening tools besides those that come in Photoshop, and that can do wonders. So does using Vuescan rather than the Epson software on the scanner. For example you can do multi pass scans in Vuescan, which makes up for a lot of lost D-Max...

My point being, before I got hold of a nice hulking old Omega with some nice german lenses for $150 at a garage sale I got by with my poor little old Beseler Printmaker35 - I worked around some of the problems and still managed to produce images that sold and, on occasion, won prizes... Scanning's the same (although the gear is getting better and cheaper VERY quickly).

Last point - on another scanning list someone just pointed that negative film - B&W and colour - only requires a D-Max of 2.8... It's Transparncy that requires more. Now, I'm waiting to see the rational... but it does make a little sense...

tim a

-- Tim Atherton (tim@kairosphoto.com), March 17, 2002.

Well, Daniel, I did scan 6x6 chromes and printed them at 12.5" square using my Epson 1270. The Polaroid had less noisy shadows than either the Epson 2450 or my Minolta Scan-Multi and was able to render detail (specifically, a telephone number printed on a sticker) slightly more legible than either, both on my monitor and in the prints. Perhaps a different image, with less shadow detail, would make the comparison a bit harder to call but with this particular image, the difference was quite apparent.

Of course, there are enough variables involved here -- the scans were made on three separate days, the prints were done at different times, using different ink and paper batches, etc. -- that I won't claim the comparison is scientifically valid but I know what I saw with my very own eyes and the Polaroid scan was, overall, the best of the three.

Mind you, I'd probably buy the Epson before I bought the Polaroid due to the substantial difference in price between the two. But that's an answer to a different question than the one Rainer asked...

-- Jeffrey Goggin (audidudi@mindspring.com), March 18, 2002.

good to listen that there seem to be some apparent difference.cause i became doughts if it is so. so maybee my decision to buy the polaroid hasnt been wrong cause sometimes i sell scans to my clients too, and ofcourse i ask a professional price and so i have to use prof. equipment or quality too, it is not happening often that i am asked if i can make the scans...but sometimes it happens. could be that i will buy the epson too, cause at the moment i could need a good scanner for my 2x7-9" panorama shoots with the seitz cam.....so i would be able to compare the scanners in my own and maybee to sell the polaroid if the difference seems to be very little. ofcourse the question in the quality will be: how good the scanner can show details in the very dark and the very lightend zones of the scans.......

-- rainer (viert@t-online.de), March 18, 2002.

I have the Epson 2450, and here are my thoughts in case anyone is thinking of buying it...

It will not give you the quality of a dedicated film scanner. You shouldn't expect it. It should really be considered a 1200 dpi scanner. Still, 1200 dpi with a 4x5 is pretty good.

I got a 24x20 lightjet print of a scan of Provia 100 F from this scanner and it turned out great. Sharp and without noticable noise or grain. The issue of dmax is very real, but you can get better results with multipass scans and averaging in photoshop. (You have to do it manually, because there are slight registration errors that must be corrected.) Scanning at 2400 and downsizing works as well. Anyway, it just seems less important than with 35mm because your noise isn't getting enlarged to the same degree. (I upgraded my 35mm filmscanner because a low dmax was unlivable.)

The scanner is so cheap. What I will do is get a drum scan if there's anything I want to blow up really big (or maybe if I have a serious cropping situation), but for up to 24x20 this scanner is good enough.

-- Noshir Patel (noshirpatel@yahoo.com), March 18, 2002.

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