Affordable Scanning of 4X5 nagatives : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

What's available for scanning 4X5 negatives that's affordable ($2000.00 or less) for the amateur photographer. I asked my local lab here in Rochester, New York. The quoted price was $75.00 per negative!

-- Lawrence Floyd, Jr. (, April 08, 2002


I've seen the results of smaller formats on the Epson 2450 and they were excellent. I can only imagine the quality of 4x5 neg. The scanner as you may know costs $399.

-- Joe Shatus (, April 08, 2002. 20format%20photography&category=Digital

-- miles feigenbaum (, April 08, 2002.

I have an Epson 2450 and I scan 4x5 (and 21/4x21/4) with it. The results are excellent. You do need lots of RAM on your computer, however. I get by with 256 meg, but will probably expand that, especially as I do more 4x5 color. The scanner is a very good deal for the price. I am not pleased, however, at the job it does with 35 mm film and I would ignore, if I were you, claims that this is the all-around scanner for all sizes of film.

-- Tony Galt (, April 08, 2002.

Have you looked at the Kodak PhotoCD options? The cost for the six level scans (highest res is 72MB in size (8bit color depth)) runs about $20.00 perscan. This will avoid many of the scanner color calibration problems you might run into with seting up your owner scanning system.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, April 08, 2002.

I want to add another question, because it sounds like I have exactly the same question as Lawrence.

For those of you using the Epson 2450, do you have problems with noise in the shadows of the scan? Or is the scanner good enough to do it more or less noise-free in dense areas of the neg or transparency?


-- Nathaniel Paust (, April 08, 2002.

I digress: "Why this fixation on the Epson 2540, albeit a fine product. For about $600-700, maybe a bit more, you can get a quality UMax Powerlook III or Linocolor 1400-professional level scanner with a full 8x10 transparency bed. Now, you can scan a whole sheet of negs, not to mention prepping several medium format, even 4x5 negs at a time. These are value priced right now because of the higher dpi scanners that have come out-but with hardware 1200 you can still do a lot. Even an old Epson Expression scanner that has 8x10 transparency area may be better suited to what you need. Check the Epson Refurbished and Clearance Sale page or someone like GOOD LUCK and COMPARISION SHOP." Yes, I do have the Epson 2450-I bought it to get Photoshop Elements and see what it was about. It is quiet and the USB/Firewire connections work well. One good feature of the 2450 is the "diffused", physically separated transparency exposure unit-one less surface for Newton's Rings but you can still get them if you place film on glass. Still, there are other good values out there, including used Leaf 4x5 scanners. I will also recommend my VueScan tutorials: Because you cannot compare scanners unless you consider the CALIBRATION of the scanner and SCANNING SOFTWARE USED. Too much worry about shadows anyways-the handling of highlights is what carries the magic of any image

-- David Stein (, April 08, 2002. reviewed epson expression 1680, which has 3.6Dmax(3.3 for epson 2450). Shadow detail was rated 'normal', same as minolta multi II. That's pretty good. Resolution is not as good as dedicated film scanner. has some images made with Minolta Multi II.

-- Aaron (, April 08, 2002.

For the money the Epson 2450 is a great scanner. I have the Epson 1680 which does add the ability to do 8X10 film or make contact sheets from smaller formats. If you don't need to do those things then save some bucks and buy the 2450-the extra resolution won't hurt either. A good reason to avoid the Umax and Linocolor scanners is that they don't make as good a scan as the newer Epsons. We are just now entering a time where cheap scanners can make pretty good scans. A couple of year old design won't cut it. Before the 1680 I had an Agfa T2500 which gave pretty good results -sometimes- but not reliably. Some negs just confounded this machine. I fear you'll find yourself there with any older flatbed. I also have a Leafscan 45 and while it is truly excellent for roll film, the maximum resolution for 4X5 is only about 1000 ppi. When making Piezo prints, the Epson 1680 beats it. The Leaf is very much sharper but all that additional resolution overwhelms it. The suggestion to out-source your scanning is a good one. If you will scan only a few pieces of film this might be a better solution. There's gotta be a cheaper scan than $75.00. On the other hand, keeping control of your film and the convenience of doing it all in house might be worthwhile. (I know it is for me)

-- Henry Ambrose (, April 08, 2002.

Affordable large format scanning has finally arrived.I have rented five thousand dollar flatbed scanners in the past and have paid big bucks for drum scans.The epson 2450 far excedes my expectations.It is a real breakthrough.Finally!!!

-- Brian Legere (, April 08, 2002.

It really depends on the quality you want. For $75 to $100 dollars/scan, a TRUE pro lab will do a "drum scan," where the negative or transparency is immersed in an oil and scanned. It is the highest quality currently available for exhibition, museum, reproductions etc. Once it's scanned, you print from the CD or disc as many times as you want.

However, for general use, Epson makes some of the best. I own the 1640SU which handels film up to 4x5 and prints to 8x10. Anything larger you have to split the image, do two scans. Then put the halves together in photoshop. I use it only to scan for my web site but it will produce decent quality for an amateur. If you really want to spend $2000.00, try Calumet Photo. They have a good line of high end flat bed scanners or they can direct you else where.

-- Rob Pietri (, April 09, 2002.

I'll second David's suggestion that you consider the Linoscan 1400. I've been using mine for about two months now. It was a problem getting it up and running but I got excellent tech support by phone from Linoscan and solved that initial problem fairly quickly. Since then I've been very pleased with the scanner. I've read about people having all kinds of problems with their scanners - banding, scans too fuzzy, that kind of thing. I've never had the first problem with the Linoscan. The scans are fee of all artifacts, the image is very sharp, and this with my still learning the software.

-- Brian Ellis (, April 09, 2002.

I have an AGFA Duoscan T1200 - I believe Mikrotek has something similar in the US. This is a flatbed scanner with built-in transparency unit, giving 1200 dpi scans. Not quite good enough for 35mm, but more than adequate for LF... It also has glassless filmholders for 35mm strips,35mm mounted slides, 6x9cm, and 4x5" film, plus a 11x14" glass plate...

-- Ole Tjugen (, April 13, 2002.

If I had your budget, I'd choose the Microtek ArtixScan 1100. It is the same hardware as the Duoscan HiD, I believe. It is, in fact, what I was planning on buying. Then I thought to myself "I'll just try the Epson and see if it's good enough" (I didn't really want to spend the money on the Microtek). It's good enough for me. If I have a really good but difficult to scan slide (with lots of very dark detail) or a slide I want to blow up higher than 20x24 I'll get a drumscan.

I fully believe the Microtek would do a better job on shadow detail with less noise, but scanning the Epson at 2400 and sizing down to 50% gets rid of a lot of noise (as does careful multipass scanning aligned and averaged in PhotoShop). For resolution, I believe it would be hard to distinguish the two.

-- Noshir Patel (, April 15, 2002.

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