Page 1 of 11 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 108

Thread: Is Betterlight Still the Standard?

  1. #1

    Is Betterlight Still the Standard?

    I want to scan artwork in the most professional way possible. After some research it seems that this old Betterlight Scanback and a 4x5 camera is still 'state of the art'.
    Is this true? Are there alternatives? Also what about macro lenses on a Canon 5d? Are the results much worse?

    The main question...
    If you had no equipment and wanted to start scanning artwork what equipment would you purchase?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    11

    Re: Is Betterlight Still the Standard?

    No sure what your budget is, but I know that Phase One make dedicated Repro systems:

    http://www.phaseone.com/en/Camera-Sy...solutions.aspx

    I think that the advantages over Betterlight are that the technology is much newer, as well as the fact that you won't have to use hot lights to light your subject. Flicker from these kinds of lights, plus the fact that they heat up a room quickly, can prove annoying.

    John

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,412

    Re: Is Betterlight Still the Standard?

    How big? is it 2D?
    Better light was never a standard for anything...
    Linhof was teamed with a company that made digital scan backs, that evolved in to the modern age, with USB and firewire connections and modern software called anagramm, but they seem to be gone now.

    In any case depending on the above questions a fixed body SLR might be easier/cheaper and offer better results, especially the newer ones.
    But you can use an adapter to connect a digital SLR to a view camera and use the movements and lenses of your favorite 4X5 camera... Those are very cheap.

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,544

    Re: Is Betterlight Still the Standard?

    Friends of mine who specialize in high-end studio photography switched from Betterlight to Phase One some time back. But when you speak of "highest-quality" repro,
    you'd have to define the intended applications. Art photography can involve very very expensive equip if you are thinking of the forensic end of it. You also need rectilinear lenses. The reproduction of paintings is what drove the price of already scarce Apo El Nikkor lenses thru the roof. What is your budget - fifty grand, a
    hundred grand, half a million? Good ole sheet film and a drum scanning might be a lot more realistic if you don't have that kind of money. .... or, like you suggested
    yourself, stay with smaller more conventional equip, like a good macro lens on a DLSR.

  5. #5

    Re: Is Betterlight Still the Standard?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    fifty grand, a
    hundred grand, half a million? Good ole sheet film and a drum scanning might be a lot more realistic if you don't have that kind of money. .... or, like you suggested
    yourself, stay with smaller more conventional equip, like a good macro lens on a DLSR.
    The question is how much different will a print look, standing 3 feet away, when shot with a DSLR or a Betterlight or Phase One?
    From the photos posted on the web the Betterlight always seems to do the best job by a wide margin.
    No color aberrations and plenty of details in the shadows while a Canon 5d looked awful.

    So no, I don't need it for forensic work but rather for making art prints that people would want to hang on their wall.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    123

    Re: Is Betterlight Still the Standard?

    I'd also consider sheet film and a drum scanner...4x5 should do it, 5x7 or 8x10 would be even better.
    Quite affordable (the hassle with lighting is the same for all), and you can have an exprienced drum scanner operator scan your work. Plus, you got a more or less archival proof solution with the negatives (or slides).

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,412

    Re: Is Betterlight Still the Standard?

    Scanning is alot of work, since it requires re touching and many man hours to do.
    Recently at SPE i saw several MF digital cameras which would blow your mind away. I was saying to the reps that 50K is not relevant for most users, they said at 10K you get top of the line gear, including the camera and normal lens.
    True, some are more expensive then others - but you just cannot compare a small sensor to a large one.
    If you can, go and play with the new pentax 645D (take your own card to shoot on) and look at other phaseone and hassy cameras.
    In a nut shell it would be cheaper then a negative/scanner solution and much higher quality to start out with, but with out the man hours needed, and would not be much more expensive then a DSLR... you will not be able to shoot video, but you will get 200MB files with more detail then you knew existed.

    We just sold our imacon, and will be going this route.

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,544

    Re: Is Betterlight Still the Standard?

    OK. I get it. You just want to make visual reproductions. 50% of the battle will be in the lighting, regardless of your camera gear. Copied painting rarely look like
    the real thing because of the way the light reflects off the pigments. You have to learn to use cross-polarized light in a way that doesn't overdo things, and it can
    be a real challenge when the painting has impasto build-up. Buy the best polarizing filter you can find. The scanning back approach of the Betterlight required some
    expensive HMI lighting, or else hot lights. You'll have easier options with newer technology. But some post-editing of the curves will be inevitable. No big deal. Just
    don't expect things to ever look exactly like the original. If you don't have view camera corrections, you'll need a very solid tall tripod or preferably, a studio stand,
    to get squarely in front of the painting. Or you could make a king-sized copystand like I did, if the originals aren't huge, which makes life a lot easier. Having an MF
    system will give you a lot more usable range and detail than a DLSR, obviously. Just study the tech specs on potential lenses first, for rectilinearity and MTF.
    Longer focal lengths generally have less distortion, etc.

  9. #9

    Re: Is Betterlight Still the Standard?

    When I started this thread I was convinced that the Betterlight was the way to go. Wow was I wrong! Then I was going to go the route of large format film and drum scan. That was until I re-visited the idea of Phase One. I got thrown originally after reading an old article that Betterlight was better than Phase One. I now see that is not true. Phase One delivers really great images.

    I love the 'look' of large format film but I don't know how accurate the color reproduction is.
    I have to rethink my main objective. Is it to make artwork look good or accurately reproduce the image?
    http://bugraergil.blogspot.com/2013/...al-vs-5x4.html


    I see that the Nikon D800 can mimic a MF camera by shooting twice and stitching the image
    http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Ni..._quality.shtml

    But this Hassleblad image in my opinion blew away the D800
    http://www.photigy.com/nikon-d800e-t...medium-format/


    So I think I will end up going in the Phase One direction but I will play around with a Nikon D800s as well (it should be available soon)

    and yes...lighting, polarizing filter, copy stand or hang it on the wall?

    You guys were an enormous help! Thank you!

  10. #10

    Re: Is Betterlight Still the Standard?

    Quote Originally Posted by koh303 View Post
    play with the new pentax 645D
    Why does Pentax call every new version of its camera by the same name?

    If I want to go with a MF camera is this Pentax the one to buy?

Similar Threads

  1. New & Old, Betterlight & old glass
    By Jim collum in forum Image Sharing (LF) & Discussion
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 16-Jul-2011, 20:13
  2. Betterlight Alternatives
    By duckarrowtypes in forum Digital Hardware
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 10-Sep-2008, 00:36
  3. New BetterLight back
    By Marko in forum Digital Hardware
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: 18-Mar-2007, 18:09
  4. Truly A Joke with Betterlight
    By George Kara in forum Digital Hardware
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 16-Mar-2007, 11:40

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •