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Thread: Scanner test results - 9950 v. 1800

  1. #1

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    Scanner test results - 9950 v. 1800

    We scanned the same negative in the Microteck 1800 and the Canon 9950, then the Canon file was downsampled to match the resolution of the 1800 file and the contrast was adjusted so they matched. No sharpening. You can download the actual tiff files here and draw your own conclusions:

    http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/scanner-test.htm

    biotech.law.lsu.edu/scanner-test.htm

  2. #2

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    Scanner test results - 9950 v. 1800

    And whicch file is from which?
    Would be nice to know!

  3. #3

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    Scanner test results - 9950 v. 1800

    I assume a is the 1800f and it is a tad (but only a tad) sharper. Considering that b has been downsampled, which is throwing away detail and softening, then that puts b on a par with a in my book (that is, if you want to scan at 4800 for the resulting file size, which I do for medium format).

    If on the other hand, a is the canon, then, considering the downsampling, it leaves the MT standing in my book.

  4. #4

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    Scanner test results - 9950 v. 1800

    According to the EXIF data, B is the 1800f. Very disappointing assuming the scans were done properly. I'm in the market for a good flatbed and I keep holding out for some up-to-date info on the 1800F. There are just so many conflicting reports on all of them. What a PITA decision!

  5. #5

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    Scanner test results - 9950 v. 1800

    > Very disappointing assuming the scans were done properly.

    You cannot decide if it is disappointing unless you know how far I was from the newspaper.:-) The double page spread of the newpaper is 7/8 inch wide on the negative. You can just read the regular size type with a 20x loupe on the negative, and it is a very sharp negative. It was shot in bright sun at f11 with a Fuji 250 6.3, on Tmax 100, with a high shutter speed, developed in Xtol at 1:3.

    I have added a bigger chunk of the 9950, not downsampled and not adjusted, to the WWW site.

  6. #6

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    Scanner test results - 9950 v. 1800

    My rough calculation is that a double page spread of the WSJ would need to be about 6 inches wide before you could make out type by eye. Not read it, just make it out. That would be a print about 28x35, with a perfect scan or perfect silver print. So we should be able to make at least 20x25 prints that are indistinguishable from perfect scans. But then, how perfect is a perfect scan? Perhaps we need to send the negative on to one of our drum scanning experts and see what the gold standard is. Of course, that might break our hearts and leave us forever dissatisfied with our scanners.:-)

  7. #7

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    Scanner test results - 9950 v. 1800

    Ed-

    Sorry about that line. Didn't mean to imply anything (I find getting excellent scans myself can be very difficult even with experience).

    Anyways, here is a link that shows the 1800f performing really favorably against the Epson 4870:

    http://www.gnyman.com/Microtek%20ArtixScan1800f.htm

    It is really strange that each review (and corresponding examples) of the 1800f varies so dramatically from one to the next. Perhaps there are significant unit to unit variances or maybe there are very specific workflows for this scanner. Nonetheless, thanks for your input. It is always helpful having actual samples to look at!

  8. #8

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    Scanner test results - 9950 v. 1800

    > Anyways, here is a link that shows the 1800f performing really favorably against the Epson 4870:

    But the 4870 is two generations behind the 9950 - a comparison to it does not tell you anything about a comparison with the 9950. He also tried to multi-sample with the 4870, which will further reduce the resolution because it will drift while you are doing it.

    My bottom line, and Paul may want to add his views, is that these scanners give comparable results. The Canon is slightly sharper but the Microtek has slightly lower noise. We are both pretty careful about scanning and have spent some time working on getting good scans. My scanner is on all the time so it stays warm, my room temp is pretty stable, and I have it on a really sturdy table on a thin carpet over concrete. The film also matters. I think Tmax 100 has some real advantages with scanning when you want to resolve fine detail.

    The Microtek has other advantages: easier dust control; a much faster scan; and better, but not perfect multi-sampling. (Do not believe that Silverfast hype about perfect alignment with their system - it is good, but not that good.)

    So far I think I am the only person on the list who has been working with a 9950, and the assumption has been that the Epson is just as good. I do not know if that is true - Canon builds pretty good optics and I bought the Canon because of my previous experience with their equipment.

  9. #9

    Scanner test results - 9950 v. 1800

    Since it was my Microtek scanner, operated by me, let me just chime in with some details.

    The 1800f scan Ed posted was done with Silverfast AI 6, with no multi-sampling, resolution set to 1800 dpi, and the black and white points set to their extremes. Sharpening was turned OFF.
    The scan was made as a 48 bit color scan, the red channel was selected in Photoshop and the blue and green channels discarded. The resulting grayscale image was converted to 16 bit grayscale mode, and the crop was then emailed to Ed.

    The comparison of the Microtek 1800f to the Epson 4870 is interesting but, in my opinion, not as helpful as you might think. We're not told which software was used for the scans, nor are we told what the settings are. The difference between scans with only a software change can be profound.

    In particular, in one of the comparisons, the 4870 not only seems to offer better tonal separation but also displays the 'smearing' of features which often accompany with multi-sampling or else just using grayscale mode on a scanner which does not get good registration between colors. It may be perfectly possible that, if properly operated, the 4870 can do substantially better than what is shown here. It's also possible that the 1800f can do better than is shown here. You just don't know.

    I am exceedingly leery of looking at scanner comparisons on the web. There are rafts of variables to getting the best possible scan, and typically most of those variables are uncontrolled in those tests. Something as simple as leaving sharpening on for one scanner and off for another can easily lead you to incorrect conclusions.

    To my mind, these uncontrolled variables account for the wild differences in scanner reviews and comparisons, and I think this just highlights the fact that an optimized workflow is essential to getting the best possible scan from ANY scanner.

    And, for the record, I'm darn impressed by Ed's 9950 scan. Careful examination of Ed's full scan (he sent it to me on CDR) and my full scans, some of which were done with multiple sampling and other variations, leads me to think that the 9950 edges the 1800f on absolute resolution but loses to the 1800f on noise.

  10. #10
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Scanner test results - 9950 v. 1800

    "leads me to think that the 9950 edges the 1800f on absolute resolution but loses to the 1800f on noise." This would be my conclusion from the tests too.

    Just a couple of things that I don't understand from the texts:

    Is this from a 4x5?

    Paul, Did you do yours on the glass or in the holder? Emulsion up or down? Why the red channel? All my tests show the green channel as sharper in the 1800f.

    I would love to see a sample from these that show how they resolve the grain. None of these samples do. That would tell me more about actual scanner sharpness (and stretching, ghosting etc.) than text.

    Are we sure that Vuescan does no sharpening when you say no? Regardless of claims this is not always true with all scanner software. For instance on Imacons when you say no they are still actually selecting out the L channel and sharpening it even when you set it at 0.

    Ed as you know I sent back 4 9950's because of a very subtle kind of banding in even middle tone areas like skies. This newspaper subject is not good for testing that. If you have a sample that does, I would love to see it.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

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