View Full Version : Epson 1680 Pro
I am seriously considering moving into digital and reducing my darkroom work to only film development and the occasional large print. I have read several glowing reviews of the Epson 1680 Pro (particularly the June Shutterbug), and am curious if anyone has an opinion (what are the chances?) or experience with similar scanners. It is reportedly 1600x3200 dpi, and can scan film and transparencies up to 8x10.
Canon has a new scanner that looks very promising. The D2400UF has an optical resolution of 2400x4800 dpi with a 3.3 dynamic range. It comes with a transparency adapter (up to 4x5) for $500. The Epson 1680Pro costs $1100, has a superior d.range (3.6), and can scan 8x10 transparencies. I haven't use any of these scanners as I am also shopping around. I have shooting 4x5 so the Canon would fit the bill pretty nicely. Check the following webpage: http://consumer.usa.canon.com/scanners/csd2400uf/index.html
I am also in the same process of selecting a scanner. Since I only stick with 4x5, the Canon might suit me best. My only hesitation is 'what is the visible difference between a DMax of 3.3 and 3.6'.
If anyone comes across any online expamples from either scanner, please post!
The big advantage the Epson has is the bundled software. Not only PS-LE, but "in-the-scanner" color controls. There is also the dual focusing capabilities that would seem to eliminate the problems with previous flatbed/film scanners. The film mode focusing is set at .25mm above the glass (i.e. the glass thickness). Scanning 8x10 transparencies opens up a new world as well....
I am not really concered with the software as much, except for the Silverfast stuff.
Here is a basic question: What are the differenes between the 1680 Artist, Professional and Special Edition. The marketing b.s. is tough to sift through.
They all appear to have the same dpi and connection interfaces.
It is my understanding that the "artist" and "special edition" do not come with the transparency/film capability. They are basically a flatbed only, for scanning prints, etc.
I see, said the blind man.
The firewire version for a hundred bucks more seems very tempting. Has anyone actually seen the new Canon yet?
I've been using the 1680 for about 3 weeks now. Nice scanner. See some of my comments in a previous topic ("Circle of Scanner Confusion...").
Scanner spec's are almost worthless, so don't decide based on Dmax or resolution, etc. A great CCD resolution with lousy optics might give you lesser results than something with lesser specs. Ditto for Dmax. As I mentioned in the previous note, the Microtek ArtixScan 1100 has an extremely optimistic spec with regard to Dmax which would make you believe it's much better than the Epson - it's not IMHO. The density range is also important, but isn't always discussed. The SilverFast software is a major improvement over the Epson stuff, but it takes a bit of work to get the most out of SilverFast (still learning). I do wish you could use the internal tools of SilverFast, and then output to Photoshop as a 48 bit file as some other scanners allow. All things being equal, you *will* see a difference between a dmax of 3.3 and 3.6. One other note on the 1680. On my computer (G4) with my workflow, the firewire interface provides no added value over the USB interface. I'm a bit disappointed that Epson is even selling this option. From my benchmarking, the scan times and preview times are the same ( 3 min 45 sec for a 125MB scan; 29 sec for a preview while in SilverFast). The only possible advantage is if you have a highly loaded USB based system, and other USB traffic is going on at the same time as your scanning.
So what is your assessment of the quality of the scans obtained from film and/or transparencies? I guess my questions are:
1. Is the performance adequate to provide high quality scans for large, high quality digital prints?
2. I want to scan 35mm, 4x5 and 8x10 transparencies and output 8x10 and 11X14 prints from my Epson, or larger prints from a lab. Do you think it is good enough for that?
3. Do you (add disclaimer here) think it is worth the $, or is there a more reasonable alternative?
My experience with it isn't vast enough to give solid answers to all of your questions.
1. Is the performance adequate for large prints? I don't know yet. In my case, I've gotten some very good scans from the 1680 which are comparable with Imacon scans on some transparencies and negatives. There is no question that the 1680 falls short on some of my work with a very wide dynamic range. For me, the key is knowing when the 1680 will be an adequate tool, and when I should either rent time on an Imacon or send the work out for scanning. For my work, I will certainly use it for proofs and web graphics; beyond that I'll have to develop a lot more experience with this scanner before I know how far I can take it.
2. How big can you go? At 1600 ppi with a 4x5, you should be able to get a good print up to atleast 16 x 20. I'd guess you could probably go to 11 x 14 with 6 x 7 roll film. For 35mm, I'll use it to make proof sheets. You could probably also get a 4 x 6 print from 35mm as well. The above figures are guesses, and would assume no significant cropping. So far, my only output experience has been small stuff (8 x 10's on Epson inkjets and Fuji Pictography printers) from 4 x 5's. That output looks fine.
3. Is it worth the $? I haven't evaluated everything out there, so relative value is difficult to determine. As mentioned in a previous post, I believe it runs rings around the (more expensive) Microtek ArtixScan 1100. Compared to my *old* Umax S-12, it's great. The software bundle is pretty strong on the higher-end Epson 1680 models (SilverFast & Monaco EzColor), and that should be taken into account because the software either will or won't let you tweek things to get the best possible scan. Personally, I feel as though I've gotten good value with the 1680, but I didn't really consider the sub $500 either.
Hope this helps.
John W. Randall
Hey, gus/gals, We need a TON more data on the best 4x5 scanners on the market. Questions: Scann ing times with maximum resolution. How much ram is going to be neccessary - what is the worst possible case? What is the best monitor for tweaking the scanned image? Etc.
The Epson Expression 1680 which is bundled with SilverFast Ai can now be upgraded to SilverFast Ai 5.5 with NegaFix?.
NegaFix? is a new development assuring maximum quality from any negativ film image. NegaFix is wrking in 16 bit color space in real-time with support for over 120 different film types.
The NegaFix Expert mode allows to create custom film type profiles and correct any difficult negative what-so-ever.
A demo version of SilverFast 5.5 can be downloaded from LaserSoft Imaging's web site at: http://www.SilverFast.com
SilverFast Ai 5.5 for Epson Expression scanners has also got a Dynamic Range Enhancer. With its multi-sampling function the user can effectively decrease visible noise in darker portions of the scan.
I have an epson 1680 on order that I am going to try out at home for a couple of days before making a final decision. I have an epson 7500 large format printer that I plan to print to so will need to scan 8x10 transparencies to get enough resolution for the large prints. Anyone have pointers on scannning 8x10. from what I've seen in these discussion groups it sounds like epson does not have their act completely together on the 8x10 and there may be some fudging around to get the transparency the right height off the glass.
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