Scanning 4x5 Film : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello, Don Grogan here in Las Vegas. Am moving up to 6x9, 6x12 and 4x5. What are options relative to scanning film of this size? I want to print through a G4 to an Epson 2000P. Thanks for any advice available.

-- Don Grogan (, May 19, 2002


Hi Don,

My recommendation would be to use Imagers out of Atlanta. Their Pro Scan pack is an incredible value and gives you a density range that is hard to match in more affordable scanners. Feel free to email me if you can't find their web site.

PS-I'm also in Las Vegas

-- Kevin Kemner (, May 19, 2002.

There's excellent reviews on the Epson 2450 flatbed scanner. It is supposed to be very good at scanning films up to 4x5. I finally decided to get one and am anxious to try it. At $320 shipped the prices looks good as well.

-- Georges Pelpel (, May 19, 2002.


Hello, David Hall here from South Pasadena California.

I scan through a G4 to a 2000p and I use a Umax Powerlook III. It's a flatbed that can handle up to 8x10 inch negatives or transparancies. Except for a very occasional newton ring annoyance, it's a great scanner.

I've used this combination for a couple of years. If you decide to do something similar email me individually and I can share my workflow with you to save you time getting set up.


-- David G Hall (, May 19, 2002.

The Epson 2450 Perfection does a fine job on 4x5 negatives and color transparencies. Some reviewers have noted that it seems to have a "sweet spot" for that size. It also does a nice job on medium format films. I would not recommend it for 35 mm if you are looking for an all-around scanner. Otherwise it is a matter of sending them out, or purchasing a scanner that costs many times the Epson's fairly reasonable price. In fact, buying a 1250 reopened medium format for me (I got my old Rolleiflex CLA'd) and opened LF for me (I bought a Shen Hao).

-- Tony Galt (, May 19, 2002.

I use the Epson 2450 to scan all my 4x5 pictures and post them on A few things I noticed about the scanner:

When I first used it, it was cropping my images in weird ways.(Really bad crops.) This was solved by downloading the latest drivers from their website. I do get some funny cropping now and again, but not as bad as the original drivers.

The other thing is that one edge of the glass (clear plastic?) on my scanner has seperated from the body. Seems like Epson used somekind of glue and part of it just came off in my scanner. The scanner is still very useable but its annoying to see this in a brand new product.

The scanner also doesnt come with Digital Ice or Fare. So you WILL be spending quite a bit of time in Photoshop cleaning up the dust spots and blemishes.

Ah, also no SCSI interface. Just USB and Firewire. I use USB. Its slow but I'm in no hurry to do my scans.

I've posted some scanned pics from the Epson at the link below:

However, these are reduced size pictures. The actual 4x5 pics could be lot bigger in size. I dont have any 4x5 color pics scanned by the Epson but I do have some from 35 mm negatives. 35mm are ok for but you just have to check out the details from the 4x5 scans. Click the RAF Roundel picture as I have attached a blow-up of some tiny screws for binding the flight control wires.

This is my first (and only) scanner so I dont have anything to compare to. Overall I'd say buying this scanner was the next best thing after the Bender 4x5 kit. I was thinking of buying a dedicated 35mm film scanner but with this, I get to scan 35mm, medium format and plain jane documents as well. (Its much much cheaper too!!) The 35mm scans may not be as sharp but hell, this baby does much more for less.

-- (, May 20, 2002.


You don't indicate a price point. For a 2000P, max width 13", the Epson options mentioned are sensible. But if you want to get the best form your slides - particularly in maximising shadow detail and sharpness - you'll have to spend more money.

Second hand drum scanners, like the Howtek 4000D, give outstanding results, and can be had, complete with software for your G4, for around $5,000 upwards. That's a shedload more than an Epson, but prices are still falling as repro houses sell or upgrade, some to go purely digital.

Another option, for less money, is a used (or even new) Polaroid 45 Ultra. Finally, Nikon are rumoured to be working on a new 4x5 scanner similar to the 8000D medium format model.

You pays your money and you takes your choice :-)

-- QDB (, May 20, 2002.

Hi Don,

a Proscan at Imagers cost $15 (including cd) and comes with 5 scans, 3 tifs and 2 jpegs. The scans range in size from 60 megs +/- down to I think 10 megs. The density range of the scanner is not equalled by a flat bed scanner and overall the scan quality is pretty remarkable. They turn things around in 24 hours. Short of spending 5 grand on a used drum scanner this is by far the most economical way to get professional level scans. As for the 2000P we have one here at the office but I'm not sure its worth the additional price for the archival ink capability. The inks are certainly pricey and its pretty prone to metamerism. I'd maybe do some comparisons with the epson 1280.

Thats my 2 cents.

-- Kevin Kemner (, May 20, 2002.

I have the Epson 2450 and I would recommend it to anyone on a tight budget. On a larger budget, I would probably recommend the Microtec Artixscan 1100 (because of higher dmax and glassless light path) but I have no personal experience with it.

With the 2450, newton rings can be a problem with curved film because the film carriers don't keep your film flat enough to stay off the glass, but it is possible to get around this by mucking with the holders. (I turn the film upside down, weight the edges that pop up with notecards and quarters and then invert in PhotoShop. I will probably make my own film carrier out of matboard or something if I continue to get curved film back from the lab.)

From 4x5, enlargements to 20x24 look good (from a lightjet), and 6x9 on your 2000P will be in the same ballpark as far as enlargement ratio goes. Larger than that, and I think the scans might have inadequate sharpness, but I haven't tried it.

-- Noshir Patel (, May 20, 2002.

Don Grogan says "Thanks" for all suggestions and comments. I am checking out the Epson as suggested.

-- Don Grogan (, May 22, 2002.

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