Continuing the older thread......After a great deal of testing, (because the first Microtek 1800f that I got developed alot of problems very quickly. It must have been dropped. It was out of alignment etc. so I returned it for a new one), I must say that I am very pleased with this new scanner. It is much closer in quality to an 848 Imacon than to an Epson 4990.
Some of my initial observations comparing Imacon 848 scans (done last summer), my trusty two year old Epson 4990 (with Silverfast AI 6 Studio) and my new Microtek 1800f (with Silverfast AI 6 Studio).
Though I did not have an Air Force target to test things at a more scientific level, I agree with all of Paul Butzi’s observations in his article on his website. My tests did not contardict any of his tests. Read his for more detailed information.
A summary of my observations to date with B&W scan are:
The sharpest 4x5 scans are with film holders by scanning emulsion up RGB and saving the green channel, in glass carrier emulsion down RGB green channel, but the holder scans were ever so slightly sharper than those from the glass carrier (film taped down).
There is no advantage to using the glass bed vs. the film holder for 4x5 and one big disadvantage. The calibration slot in the glass holder is also glass and collects dust, a big problem here in Albuquerque. The dust particles create holes in the calibration data and streaks in the scan. This is not an issue with the film holder as the calibration slot is open.
Some gain in sharpness by down sampling (3600 to 1800 which is optical res.) but absolutely no less noise. The sharpening is because bicubic sharper does in fact do some sharpening obviously.
The MT is much much faster than 4990 and closer to speed of Imacon.
MT has much less noise than the 4990 and the Imacon (I find the Imacons very noise)
Shadow separation is dramatically better with the MT than I could do with either 4990 or Imacon.
The MT has much less ghosting than 4990 and does not have this odd stretching on a pixel level (gear slop?) that the 4990 does at the edges of film sometimes.
If you scan your B&W RGB and pull the Green channel for B&W, the MT is significantly sharper than 4990 closer to the Imacon.
The noise level is extremely low to begin with and doesn’t need any help from multisampling.
There is no advantage with the MT in terms of sharpness by doing a dummy scan to heat the negative prior to the real scan as in the 4990.
4x5 film Film holder had a slight bow to it requiring it be taped into the main drawer holder. This taping of the 4x5 holder into the main holder slightly increased sharpness.
For me it is ultimately all in the prints. I can tell the difference in my work at 16x20 when I start with a 4990 scan vs. an Imacon scan. I only have free access to an Imacon in the summers so I am trying to approach that Imacon 16x20 level with the MT.
For me the MT 1800F with Silverfast AI Studio does indeed break the 16x20 sharpness limitatation of the 4990 plus it has allot less noise and dimensional accuracy (higher quality gearing or belts). If you don't need Digital Ice (I need it for volume commercial scans so I will keep the 4990 running for that purpose) and you want to print exhibition quality 16x20 I think this scanner is worth the extra expense over an Epson 4990. These are very personal judgements of course.
A friend of mine just bought the new Imacon 949...................