View Full Version : i800 vs epson 4990
Has anyone compared sharpness and detail of the "flatbed" portion of the Microtek i800, i900 and the Epson 4990.
Someone mentioned the "optics" of the i900 are superior (to the i800) and therefore even though it is a 3200 dpi vs the 4800 dpi of the others, it may still provide a better scan at that lower dpi. I realize that most of you are using these scanners for their film scanning capacity. I am only concerned with the accuracy of the flatbed portion of the machine. I have used the Microtek 9800xl for 2 years without any difficulty at all and believe that they make a solid product and that customer service is at least willing if not superbly knowlegable. One other quick note. For those of you who need film capacity of no more than 6X9, the Minolta Dimage Multi-pro is superior to all the scanners mentioned above. Bottom line I am days away from purchasing the Microtek i800, a 4800 optic dpi flatbed scanner is a very attractive proposition, the question is, is it any good?
Mark, I believe an i800 scan is becoming available to the scanner comparison page in the next few days. I'll post a message when it's available.
I recently compared them at my local dealer by scanning a 4x5 tranny. I found the i800 to be slightly sharper, but the color seemed better out of the box with the Epson, even using the standard Epson driver.
Also the i800 unlike its larger brother still scans through the glass... The "new" film holder sounds good, but can crunch the neg if not loaded perfectly before locking. However, the deal clincher for me was the scan speed -- the i800 was painfully S L O W compared to the Epson...
So as you might imagine, I chose the Epson Pro version with Silverfast. FWIW, the SF sharpening routines are pretty good and do help a bit over the Epson standard software, but the i800 is still probably a touch sharper overall. The Epson is not the end-all, but produces quite acceptable scans for normal prints, though you'll want to pay for a drum scan if you want to print something really large.
D-Max appeared no different to my eyes from either machine.
Hope this helps,
Has the i800 tests been posted as yet? Again, I have the Minolta Multi-Scan Pro and use it as my film scanner. What I am trying to find out is;
which has the best results strictly as a fladbed scanner? The 4800 dpi is a very attractive number, but if the optics and ccd are shite, then it is only a number. So maybe I should put it this way. For under $2,000, which is the best Flabtbd Scanner?
Having tried to buy a working Microtek 1800f based on suggestions here, I went through two broken ones before giving up and settling for the Epson 4990 which worked fine out of the box for half the price. I think the price difference would pay for several higher end scans when I need them, as I doubt the quality difference between the 4990 and any of the Microtek flatbeds is as great as it is with an Imacon or drum.
A couple of years ago I did a comparison of the new Epson 4870, and Microtek i900, and threw in the Polaroid Sprintscan 4000 to shake things up a bit. This was for an article I wrote for a consumer photo magazine. I found that the biggest differences were in the d-Min. The Epson and the Polaroid results were roughly comparable. I was very disappointed in the test from the Microtek which yielded surprisingly blocked up blacks. Mind you, they were not expecially noisy to my eye, rather the definition in shadow areas was poor, compared to the other scanners. I shipped the demo unit back to Microtek along with a CD containing my test results, and they returned a different unit to me. I ran the tests again, with the same piece of film and the results were the same. Microtek had no explanation — I concluded that they were embarassed — and returned their second demo unit. I purchased a 4870 for my own use and have been satisfied with it, scanning 4x5 chromes, b&w negs, and a variety of 35mm films. I suspect that the performance of the 4990 is comparable to the older 4870, albeit with a larger high-res area under the glass.
Based on that experience, do you think it would be reasonable to be wary of the performance of the new i800? Interestingly, the Polaroid scanner itself was manufactured by Microtek for Polaroid. At this point I am considering replacing the 4870 with a 700 or 750. Since i can't see myself taking the time and effort to oil-mount my film, given the volume of images I have, is there really an appreciable difference between the two current Epson models?
A couple of years ago I did a comparison of the new Epson 4870, and Microtek i900, and threw in the Polaroid Sprintscan 4000 to shake things up a bit. This was for an article I wrote for a consumer photo magazine. I found that the biggest differences were in the d-Min. The Epson and the Polaroid results were roughly comparable. I was very disappointed in the test from the Microtek which yielded surprisingly blocked up blacks. Mind you, they were not expecially noisy to my eye, rather the definition in shadow areas was poor, compared to the other scanners.
Hmm, very surprising, as it is exactly the opposite of test we did which showed that the dMax and density range of the i900 was the equal of or superior to that of the Epson's although the resolution was not as good. We use a Stuoffer step wedge to test density range and dMax. Did you do a test like that or was it a simple visual omparison? If it was a visual coparison then there could have been other factors involved.
As for a more general comparison of the various consumer scanners offered by Microtek and Epson I think you will find, as most others have, that there are small incremental improvements with each new generation. Having said that any of the scanners mentioned by the OP, used properly, will produce a scan that is adequate for an excellent 8x10 print, sometimes an 11x14. Many claim to make satisfactory larger prints from these scanners but after somewhere around 11x14 you can easily see the differences from a scan from a high end scanner. Bottom line, you can purchase a refurbished Epson 4990 for the same price as a new i800 so take your choice. The i800 is easier to work with for 8x10 film and the holders are great. The 4990 seems to give slaightly better overall results.
BTW ... another question for the OP (assuming you have not already made yor purchase as this thread is approaching 2 months old). Why only the glass bed? Any info from the i900's glass bed is going to relate to reflective material, is that what you are scanning?
The i800 is easier to work with for 8x10 film and the holders are great.
Just in case anyone runs across this thread later looking for info on the i800, I'm afraid I'd have to say that the 35mm negative strip holder for the i800 is a disaster. Not that you'd buy an i800 for the purpose of scanning 35mm, but in case someone is thinking it would be usable as a secondary function... The 120 and 4x5 holders have snap-open retainer frames that are reasonably user-friendly, but the 35mm holder requires sliding the negative strip under a very long, tight retaining strip, and even then doesn't hold it very flat. If you can force the negatives into the holder without destroying them the results are adequate for some on-screen uses, but I doubt they'd be of much use for printing.
I have posted my thoughts about the i800 on this forum previousely, but I will summarize my observations which agree with those above.
I sold my Epson 4870 to purchase an i800 about a year ago because of its capability for scanning 8x10 negatives. I was also looking for an improvement in shadow detail and thought that a Dmax of 4.0 would be an improvement over the 4870's 3.8. I didn't realize at the time that these are simply fictional numbers.
Jack observed that it is painfully "S L O W". It is SO s...l...o...w to the point of extreme annoyance. It is difficult to understand why it takes so long to "calibrate" before each scan. This is not a problem with the Epsons. My opinion is that it is caused by inefficient software.
I also did not find that the i800 was any better than the 4870 for shadow detail. While I no longer have the 4870 to run any comparisons, I feel that the 4870 was a shade (no pun) better.
And I have to agree with Oren regarding the film carriers. My 35mm carrier was defective with adhesive in the film tracks, so I was unable to force the film into the carrier. (However, I find that the 4870 carriers are awkward as well and also difficult to keep the film flat.) Microtek Customer Service refused to replace this defective accessory. They wanted to charge me $35. I spent several weeks using acetone, lighter fluid, alcohol, any solvent I could think of, soaked on a rag and rubbed along the track before I was successful in being able to slide in a film strip.
That's my two bits.
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