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  #1  
12-27-2009, 06:35 PM
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continued from private message ...
Quote:
Think I'm going to take the plunge on getting really good scanner(s), looking for two things.

One for still images and another for 8mm film with automatic loading/advancement. Any recommendations?

I'm willing to spend some decent cash but if it starts getting out of the $1000 range...

I've seen the telecine machines for film but they seem to be a bit clunky especially considering what you can get from scanner.
The budget should work for you. Up to $1,000 can get a lot of good gear.

I'll also assume you want to scan for (1) prints up to 8x10, maybe 34-x larger max for a few special ones, and (2) for video slideshows.

But first... A PREFACE:

I've been working with flatbed scanners since 1992, and scanning film since the mid 90s. When I started, everything was SCSI, and 300dpi was cutting edge tech. I've run the gamut of brands from high-end Kodak RFS pro scanners, down to the cheapo piece-o-crap devices sold in Walmart. I've had crummy 150dpi up to a ridiculous 9600dpi. From below 8-bit color to a needless 16-bit. I'm not an "expert" (I refuse to use that word for myself), but I've spend thousands of hours sitting in front of scanners in the past 18 years. I've worked for newspapers scanning at 200dpi, to magazines that wanted 1200dpi.

I can see through myth, BS, dogma and marketing crapola very easily. I know the difference between theory and practice. A lot of what you'll read -- online, especially -- falls into one of those categories (crap, BS, dogma, etc). You don't need high "bits" or DPI for top quality images. A lot of features are gimmicks, too. It sounds great on paper, but doesn't mean much when you're actually doing work and not memorizing specs off the sides of boxes.

I will admittedly get very aggravated when giving advice, and somebody swoops in and says something stupid like "you really need 14 bits for best quality, 12 bits just isn't enough" --- especially when that person has no idea what "bits" even means. (Or worse, parrots wikipedia back at you.) It's bad enough the person asking for advice is already confused, I hate to see them confused even more by wrong/useless information! Grr!

/PREFACE

Back to the advice...

There are three kinds of scanners:
  1. Cheap. These have mediocre to low quality, no features (like ICE), and are solely there for low costs for the consumer masses. A pro wouldn't even use these as a backup in desperation. These can range from fast to slow -- neither of which matters, because the image generally looks like crap, often worse than the negative, slide or prints you started with. These are all sub-$100 scanners, maybe sub-$200 for film/slide scanning.
  2. Quality. These are what pros of all levels use, or serious hobbyists. You get image quality above all else. Most of them have features like ICE, or at very least auto-exposure/restoration settings that actually work well (unlike similar features sometimes found on cheap consumer models). You're looking at a starting price of at least $100 on a really, really good sale, up to $500.
  3. Fast Quality. These are at least $500, often well into 4-digit pricing or more. You're not really paying for better quality, but rather the ability to scan in batches very fast. Unless you're a business, you'll never get your money's worth from these. Scanners like this are generally only found at speciality stores like B&H.
  4. Okay, technically there is a 4th kind too, the drum scanner. But unless you want to take out a second mortgage, let's not even bother discussing this one.

For "still images", I have three suggestions.
  • Epson V300 (or higher) flatbed scanner. The Epson V500 and Epson V600 have ICE, which is nice. ICE, as you may know, removes dust, scratches and other imperfections automatically in the scanner hardware. Cleaning up images manually is a huge pain in the butt, so this is excellent tech. These Epson scanners are excellent for scanning prints, magazines, newspapers, etc -- very accurate filters in the TWAIN acquire software -- and they scan slides decently, too!
  • Nikon Coolscan V for scanning negatives (not slides!). This Nikon scanner is very popular amongst photographers because of it's scanning quality of negatives. (Many also like it for it's slide quality, but they have low expectations, let me assure you!) Brand new, mine was about $650 after tax, maybe 4 years ago. I don't see any for sale new, at sane prices, right now. Just 6 months ago, I still saw them all over the place. Because film scanning is now an outdated art, I'm afraid good film scanners are going the way of good VCRs -- used only. Even B&H doesn't seem to carry much, most of it being crap. Amazon has one for $1,900 -- truly retarded. There's on on eBay right now.
  • Minolta Dimage for scanning slides. These scan a bit better and a bit faster than the Epson Vxxx flatbeds suggested above. Although these do not have "ICE", they have a proprietary Minolta clean-up algorithm that works pretty decent. I us a Minolta IV, but I do happen to have a Minolta Dual Scan II USB that I'd sell for $200.
However, if you have a lot of slides, and you're not wanting to spend lots of time cleaning them all up, pay a reliable service. Ken Rockwell has a good article on this here: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/3000slides.htm

Or mix it up. Get a good slide scanner for those important slides, and pay a service to do the rest of them, just to get everything "turned digital" for you. You can always resell the slide scanner later -- these things are now like VCRs, no longer made, and more or less guaranteed a resell value for a number of years.

When it comes to 8mm film and scanning -- don't do it. You can't do it. Scanning 8mm film is a mega-sized ordeal that even I refuse to hassle with.
Look at what GotMemories has to say about this. See their videos at http://www.gotmemories.com/FAQs/how-...lm-to-dvd.html
Although their information on VHS tape and DVD longevity is crap (and their VHS>DVD pricing is too low to be restored any at all), their info on 8mm film conversion is very accurate (taken from one of their eBay auctions):
Quote:
If you are looking for a projector to run your films, I would seriously consider these facts:
* 8mm Projectors can be 30-75 years old.
* 16mm Projectors can be 30-85 years old.
* No warranties
* Bulbs cost a fortune
* Very hard to find parts and service
* Projectors with low hours can go for $200-500 $50 shipping (heavy item)
* Most importantly, projectors chew up and break film all day long.

If you are considering trying a ' Do it yourself ' transfer, consider these facts:
* The difference in shutter speeds of projectors & standard camcorders produce a flicker
* Standard camcorders can produce a very poor reproduction of color and sharpness.
* Lenses on projectors tend to be very low end on the later models, blurring images.
* Mirrored transfer machines are still dependant on the quality of camorder and could be poor.
* Frame by frame scanners are the only way to go, they range from $3,500-$50,000
* Even with the right equipment, it will still take you months to figure it out.
* Our average film transfer customer spends $250 to transfer everything professionally.

If you have a lot of film, & don't want to waste money on transferring 'junk' consider this:
* The money you would spend on a warranted projector will usually out weigh that cost.
* The time you would spend on reviewing film would be immense, no fast forward options, only real time.
* If you watch a reel and half is great, half is 'junk' you have to transfer the whole reel and edit later.
* We do not recommend editing film the old fashioned way, we usually have to redo splices which cost you extra $.
* Edit the footage digitally via computer editing software, easy, affordable and fast, import straight from the DVD!
* Not sure what is on the reels? Honestly, you've sat on these things long enough 90% chance they'll reveal great memories!
That's really all I've got.

For follow-up questions, login and post them here. I try to not answer tech questions in emails or PMs anymore. It helps more people this way.

Consider upgrading to Premium Member status to support this site, and to support what I do. Answering questions like this takes a lot of time, and the cost of a membership is less than a couple of magazines or a book -- but far more valuable and personal, to help you directly (not generic advice).

Thanks!

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  #2  
12-27-2009, 06:45 PM
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Here's a post I made on videohelp, about a similar topic, some many months ago, earlier this year:

Quote:
Here's one random image, the photo was taken in about 1995, on Kodak Royal Gold 400-2 film. I pulled the print (a good print too, a calibrated print, not a drug-store quality print), as well as the negative. Both were wiped, blown and scanners cleaned.

Both of these are processed in Photoshop, to be the best that each can possibly be. The unprocessed versions were far more drastic in how they differed.

Negative scan (100% 8x10 size)
cat-filmscan-100pc.jpg

Print scan (100% 8x10 size)
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Negative scan (web sized)
cat-printscan-100pc.jpg

Print scan (web sized)
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Negative scan and print scan downloads attached at bottom of this post.

---- The biggest thing to notice is how the colors from the print are very muted and aged from the scan.
---- Even after both devices were cleaned, print/negs cleaned, the flatbed does not work anywhere close to the quality of the film ICE (infrared cleaning).
---- You've also lost colors, like the green in the eyes. The dominant color on the page has "owned" the print, a reddish brown in this case.
---- The negative is a whole generation up from the print, and is natively sharper. The print version here has been sharpened about 4x more than the negative (which has almost no sharpening).
---- The negative is wider too, since it is the uncropped source version, not a cropped print version. There is more data in the image.

I worked extra long on these images. Had I done less work, the film would appear sharper and more colorful, with the print softer, noisier, and lacking in color and depth(shadows).
from http://forum.videohelp.com/topic365765.html#1950534


Attached Files
File Type: rar cat-filmscan.rar (1.13 MB, 6 downloads)
File Type: rar cat-printscan.rar (2.36 MB, 3 downloads)

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  #3  
12-27-2009, 06:47 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Also...

Quote:
Alright, here's my second scan comparisons. This time, I didn't bend over backwards to make them as best as possible. This is more or less what comes right out of the scanners, with minimal corrections.

What you're looking at here is a beautiful photograph of a chipmunk (or whatever the heck that thing is, I forget) staring into a Canadian sunset. The lighting was just breath-taking. This was shot on Kodak Portra 160VC film in 2001, using a very nice high-end camera and lens. (FYI, 160VC = Vivid Color film, very expensive)

Paper-Print Scan
chipmunk-printscan-uncorrected-475px.jpg

Film-Negative Scan
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The print scan absolutely sucks. The print wasn't perfect to start with, but it's just fuzzy and the color is totally dead. Yes, I could correct it quite a bit, spend a LOT of time on it, but it still wouldn't come close to the negative scan.

Think of what this does to skin tones, especially on drug-store quality prints, from consumer-grade films! Yikes! At least with a film scanner, even on consumer films, you have a chance at extracting the best image possible.

In my negative scan, you'll notice that the reflection of the blue sky with puffy white clouds is visible in the little guy's eyes! His eye is a hazy black bead in the print scan.

Anybody can see the stark differences here, it's not a case of picky perfectionists, not at all.
from http://forum.videohelp.com/topic365765.html#1950544



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  #4  
12-29-2009, 11:48 AM
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That piece-o-crap 5MP slide/negative scanner is currently available at Geeks for $19.99 plus about $9 shipping.

Get it @ http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-3235990...xt-1_8-18-2006

It's under Scanners > Slide Film Scanners if it isn't found on the homepage anymore.

I don't suggest it for serious use, but anybody curious can pick it up for a song right now -- even $30 is a bit much for it, in my opinion. I'd grab one for $20 if it had free shipping.

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