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Thread: Microtek 1800f

  1. #1
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Microtek 1800f

    While I have been very happy with my Epson 4990 and Silverfast (AI 6 Studio). They are amazing technology for the price. I am finding that a 16x20 print from a 4990 is acceptable but pushing the limits of what I consider acceptable resolution. This summer when I was teaching in Chicago I rescanned many negatives on an Imacon and got spoiled. I don't print large, rarely over 16x20, but the Imacon scans are clearly sharper at 16x20 and looked great even at 20x24. So, based on Ted Harris and Michael Mutmanski's recommendation (who's opinions are very informed and I value greatly), I have purchased a Microtek 1800f with SF AI6 Studio which I will start testing this weekend.

    Any tricks to using this scanner with 4x5 b&w negs that I should know about?
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

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  2. #2

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    Microtek 1800f

    Kirk,

    I could be wrong, but I thought Paul Butzi has this same scanner. Maybe see what he can share as he has used it extensively as well as studied it strengths and weaknesses.

    Regards,

  3. #3
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Microtek 1800f

    Dave,

    Thanks. I am aware of Paul's contributions. His writtings have been informative. I was just wondering what other tidbits might be out there. For instance on the 4990 and multipassing I have found I get better registration if I do a dummy scan first before the real scan to warm up the negative. Stuff like that.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
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    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  4. #4

    Microtek 1800f

    Kirk, I think you've already seen the articles on what I do to get the best B&W scans out of the Microtek 1800f that I have.

    There's the article on which is better, the Microtek software or Silverfast, at www.butzi.net/articles/scannersoft.htm

    And there's the article on scanning greyscale negatives in color, the selecting just one color channel, at www.butzi.net/articles/colorscan.htm

    I'd be very interested to know if these things vary unit to unit, model to model, manufacturer to manufacturer, so I hope you'll run similar tests and post the results.

  5. #5
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Microtek 1800f

    Paul,
    How large do you print? At what point do you find that you will spring for a drum scan?
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

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  6. #6
    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    Microtek 1800f

    i am a relative newb to scanning, but after receiving my 1800F and being pretty disappointed by the initial scans i was getting from b&w negs, i spent about 18 uninterrupted hours trying to improve things. i found that i got the best scans when the neg was placed emulsion side up and scanned as a black and white negative. there is a little more grain when REALLY zoomed in, but there is also far more detail. i look forward to hearing what tricks others came up with.

  7. #7

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    Microtek 1800f

    Kirk,

    On the 499o - are you scanning at 4800 and downsampling to 2400, using bicubic sharpening in Photoshop? Have you tried the current version of Vuescan, which lets you scan from one color directly, without having to scan in RGB and then use photoshop to sort out the channel? (This has some value in limiting the file size you have to work with, but that might not matter if you have a Mac with a lot of RAM. On a PC, a 4800 bit RGB scan of 4x5 blows through the 2 gig memory limit for PS.)

  8. #8
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Microtek 1800f

    Ed,

    I have tried the first two suggestions, but I probably have not tried the very latest Vuescan if it is younger than 6 or 8 months. I am looking at pre-sharpening sharpness. When it comes to sharpening I am a minimalist, because I don't like that "sharpened look". So I am always looking for a scan that gives me the best raw sharpness.

    The 4990 is not being discarded by the way. Many of the 16x20's in my current retrospective (color and b&w) were done on the 4990. I had nothing but rave reviews. But I was not completely satisfied. I am just looking for that next level of 16x20 sharpness on my b&w scans without having to buy an Imacon for 16 grand. The 4990 is a great scanner that we use in our commercial business for high volume scans for architecture clients. These are small files from color negatives, 40MB, done with Digital Ice. Superb.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
    WEBSITE

    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  9. #9
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Microtek 1800f

    On the 1800f, since you are not scanning thru the glass, is there any reason to wet scan? I have tried that on the 4990 with some good results but it is a pain in the b...
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
    WEBSITE

    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  10. #10

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    Microtek 1800f

    Scott said: "i found that i got the best scans when the neg was placed emulsion side up and scanned as a black and white negative. "

    The first finding is the opposite of the usual advice. Most things that I've read suggest scanning with the emulsion side down and then flipping in the scanner or in Photoshop. I've seen a lot of conflicting information about Scott's second finding. Many knowledgeable people suggest scanning b&w negatives in color but some (e.g. John Paul Caponigro) find no difference and so suggest scanning in black and white to keep the file size down. I mention these two points, not to criticize or argue with Scott but because it illustrates one of the major problems to me with scanning, i.e. there is so much conflicting advice floating around, often from people who are quite knowledgeable.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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