View Full Version : Fuji FineScan 5000 flatbed
I just learned the local pro lab does not do traditional color printing anymore. Should I pay them $30 to scan my 4x5 slides using a flatbed Fuji FineScan 5000 or buy an Epson 4990 and do the scans myself? What resolution should I have them scan at for Provia film?
I have scanned my 35mm slides using a Nikon CoolScan V and been printing them and my 6mp digital at 11x14 or 12x18 at Costco for $3. My laptop is color calibrated and I use Photoshop CS2 so I am comfortable doing my own scans.
The only other alternative would be to shoot B&W. Which I have no experience at. They still do traditional B&W printing and a 16x20 B&W Enlarged Contact sheet is only $14. Custom B&W printing is more expensive and the lab charges $30 for a 12x18 color print.
For starters, $30 for a scan of a 4x5 is very inexpensive. You need to check how they are doing the scan, the resolution and file size. As for the Fuji Finescan 5000,, there is no comparison between the results it is capable of producing and what you will get from the Epson 4990. The Fuji is a high end flatbed scanner that, properly operated, is capable of producing scans that equal those from a drum scanner. It is in the same league as the flatbed scanners from Screen and Creo. That said, a lot depends on your requirements and the ultimate size of your prints. The 4990 will delver very good scans for 8x10 prints and scans that are still acceptablefor 11x14 prints.
You're starting out with a 4x5 inch piece of film. That really is pretty large. The 4990 with give you a scan capable of great prints larger than 11x14. What you should do though is check this site for scannner info.
There is a lot of great and usefull information on this site about scanners. Also, search the site for info about the differences between transparency and negative films relative to scanning. You might find that negative films are probably better suited for your purposes. Be objective though because people have very definite opinions on the matter of color film choice but some of those opinions border on witchcraft and voo-doo.
This is an important issue because it will directly impact your scanning decisions.
Your lab's ability to make color prints might not be the best reason to switch to black and white. That seems more like a conceptual change than a practical one although it is true that necessity is the mother of invention.
Good luck and let us know what your research has shown you.
Also... if you make prints that are never larger than a given size, like 16x20, then do what you have to do to get that done. If you need to make a wall size print five years from now, then you can have that one photo scanned with a drum scanner.
The point is, don't judge what you need today by what you might need years from now. It's important that you not feel restricted in any way when it comes to your photography. Work a lot and make prints and spend time looking at them.
If the expense of having your lab scan for you is going to get in the way of that then that becomes an over riding factor in your decision. It's more inportant to have the scans done on a good home scanner than not done at all. Make the technology work for you and don't let it get in your way.
You might find that scanning at home becomes an important part of your creative workflow.
Once again, good luck.
As others have stated, 4990 scans will suffice for 11x14. If you need larger then it might be worth investing in a high end flat-bed if you can find one below $5000, even at $30 a scan, it will pay off very quickly.
When I began LF I thought I would always print 16x20 or larger. I print on an Epson 2200 so my largest is 12.5 x 15.5. That is sufficient for me. If there is something I want larger I can have it professionally scanned. A friend who has a traditional darkroom began LF always printing 20x24, but has since migrated to 16x20 and 11x14.
I would think that Epson scanner should work very nicely and make decent 20x24's if needed. I haven't personally made images that big yet but experimenting with smaller 8x10's on my Epson printer of 1/4 of the picture area leads me to believe they will be way sharper than 6x4.5 neg. at 16x20 sizes. My biggest problem with my Epson 2450 scanner is the magenta in the shadows especially if the picture is underexposed. Combine with the an Epson 870 that also is too magenta and one has to watch the color casts carefully and compensate with curves adjustment or just add a bunch of green.
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