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Thread: Negative scanning... professional or home scan?

  1. #1

    Default Negative scanning... professional or home scan?

    hi people... just wondering what do most film users think about -ve scanning at home. I'm quite new to this and didn't do my research. But now some scanners for home use can actually scan negatives!.
    Anyone out there owns such a thingy and can tell me smthing about the resolution, price, quality and some of the issues i should know about -ve scanning at home with these commercial products. (i'm talking abt like say: canon , epson or hp scanner that sort of commercial products)

    Advice appreciated.

  2. #2
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Not for 35mm, if you are serious about your images get yourself a film scanner.

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    Almost all those flatbed scanners that scans negative/positive are having these scanning option as a by-product, which I think is not comparable to lab scans or film only scanners (consumer/prosumer). For hassle free pay a bit more to a pro lab that will adjust to your likings or buy a cheap Minolta DS III/IV to scan yourself, taking up your own time.

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    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Some labs actually use consumer flatbed scanners to scan your negs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Climber
    hi people... just wondering what do most film users think about -ve scanning at home. I'm quite new to this and didn't do my research. But now some scanners for home use can actually scan negatives!.
    Anyone out there owns such a thingy and can tell me smthing about the resolution, price, quality and some of the issues i should know about -ve scanning at home with these commercial products. (i'm talking abt like say: canon , epson or hp scanner that sort of commercial products)

    Advice appreciated.
    Right off the bat..."canon , epson or hp scanner that sort of commercial products" are pretty much a joke without sounding like I am bias and just wanting to bash them in.

    Being someone who have shot film for 90% of my interest in photography as a hobbist and working graphic designer, I have more then experimented and got into being the first to try the hi-tech ways to D.I.Y. My first flat scanner (1994) with that capability to do slide scanning has this special fixture you attached to the scanner to place a 35mm slide. The scanner was a Plustek which is one of the better brand around for good scanners. Problem is slide scanning is still not up to par even for web graphic!! It was blurry and this is not surprising as the typical(cheap) flat bed scanner does not offer (manual) focusing feature which if you start to read stuff from websites is sometime neccesary to let you focus slides that has the slide mounting on it. You have to remember your slide is floating mid-way in a slide mount. So it is focusing on the leading edge of the slide and not mid-way. I tried taking out the slide mount to get it to focus better (Which after much fumbling and getting fingerprint marks on the slide.) which only made it abit better but still abit blurry which I suspect is also due to the fact that it was scanned at a low resolution and then the software use pixel-enhancing algorithm to increase the resolution of the picture. And it still was not good enough for web graphic use!!!. (there are a few reason for poor quality too that makes flat bed scanner not practical.) Suffice to say, I stop using the scanner for that purpose and went back to paying companies to use the traditional barrel scanner with the 4k-8k lines scanner as most pro and designers will use to scan their pictures. After that flat bed of course I have purchase other flat scanners that also have that "ability" and they still fail. Now you noticed I mentioned "typical(cheap) flat bed scanner" earlier so you might be saying maybe with the "not cheap" flat bed scanner then that should solve your problem for a home based use. And yes, you are right there are flat bed scanner that can do that "very high almost pro-quality" scanning. Problem is....do you think spending US$9,000 to US$15,000 is a good reason for doing so. Yes they are that expensive! And of course these type of scanner allows you to adjust focusing to get around those slide mount lah. Example is the Fuji Lanovia, Heidelberg, Creo EverSmart Pro and even Micotek.

    By the way a good barrel scanner like those use by professionals are in the US$50,000 or more range. So what is available for you as a home user? Well it really depending on the quality of your shots, your budget and also your ability and frequency of using such equipment. The middle ground in my view would be a 35mm scanner like the Nikon Coolscan. Some would rate the Coolscan as being Professional enough usage and for the most purist it is only good enough for amateur use. Personally I have used it and it is pretty darn good! And maybe more then enough for home use. But the investment cost would still be high. If you are envisioning a budget of a typical "canon" or "epson" flat bed scanner then you are looking at a few hundred maybe? Then that would not be enough as a Coolscan would set you back about S$2,000 +/-. With that kind of scanner you can scan not just slide but colour negatives..etc. The only problem is you have to do a few at a time so you need to spend some time scanning a roll each time or more.

    That basically is my 2 cents on it lah. For me personally since I am shooting digital, I don;t need to worry about scanning. For my pro-use, the photographer who shoot my stuff, I take those chosen 35mm or medium format slides to my colour separator who will use barrel scanner to scan them for me to CDROM. Now if you are only looking to scan all your old pictures since you have already gone digital, then investing a budget to getting a scanning house to scan for you makes better sense. But if you are still shooting film and will do so for years and years to come, then just as you invest in good camera equipment...then invest in a 35mm scanner like Nikon's coolscan or some other brands.

    Scanning with a home budget scanning device and scanning by a pro house is like shooting in JPG at the low setting or shooting pictures in RAW mode respectively.

  6. #6

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    I guess the mentioning of "professional scan" will immediately relate it will drum scan which does give high quality scan and at a relatively high cost. I guess you are refering to film scanning done by photo developing/printing shops. Generally I find the quality reasonable enough for archieving purpose, which means scan and viewing on screen and nothing major like printing to larger than 4R. They are relatively cheap ranging from $2.50 to $6 per roll of 36 exposures.

    Getting a dedicated film scanner such as Coolscan or Scan dual III/IV is never ecomonical in which ever regard you are considering. Scanning yourself is certaining going to take up a lot of time, and electricity which include PC, scanner, lighting up your room and sometimes aircon. I cannot find a break even point in the opportunity cost analysis. I do my own film scanning and sometimes doing for a fee for others. It is the ownership feeling that propels me to do film scanning despite knowing that the cost incur is so much high than getting other people to do it for me.

    If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Don't you agree?

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    Quote Originally Posted by forbytes
    I guess the mentioning of "professional scan" will immediately relate it will drum scan which does give high quality scan and at a relatively high cost. I guess you are refering to film scanning done by photo developing/printing shops. Generally I find the quality reasonable enough for archieving purpose, which means scan and viewing on screen and nothing major like printing to larger than 4R. They are relatively cheap ranging from $2.50 to $6 per roll of 36 exposures.
    Hi, i do send my negative to the photo printing shops and the images are not bad at all...so can i know where exactly can i get them developed and scanned at $6 coz currently wat i paid is $9. but for the $9 i get a cd and an index print. so wat do i get for $6 and is the quality good? hope u dun mind sharing...thanks in advance.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by fadzuli
    Hi, i do send my negative to the photo printing shops and the images are not bad at all...so can i know where exactly can i get them developed and scanned at $6 coz currently wat i paid is $9. but for the $9 i get a cd and an index print. so wat do i get for $6 and is the quality good? hope u dun mind sharing...thanks in advance.
    Search for the CSer Kex. He runs a film scanning business in Bedok. Quite cheap. But I have never use his service.

  9. #9

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    thanks to everyone for your valuable advice.... i guess i'll go back to KT for my scans then. Thanks alot really appreciate it.

  10. #10

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    u juz wanna disturb mich rite ahahahah.....

    +jokes+....

    hehe...

  11. #11

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    ya la ya la... u tink i like u meh? hmm... tmr might be going to distrub her haha....
    *keke*

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