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Thread: Epson V700 vs 4990

  1. #1

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    Epson V700 vs 4990

    I currently have an Epson 3200 and I'm contemplating upgrading. I do b/w and color negative photography exclusively so D-Max is not really a limiting factor for me. My tests show that I get 28-30 lp/mm effective resolution, which is what a perfect scanner sampling at 1422 to 1524 spi would deliver. Ted Harris has said that the V700, scanning at 3200, which is probably how I would use it, delivers at best just under 2000 spi. He and others also say that used this way it doesn't do as well as the Epson 4990. So it would appear that the 4990 might be the better buy. But I have some further questions which Ted or someone else might be able to answer.

    First, it was reported by Roger Clark that he couldn't scan a full 4 x 5 frame with the Epson 4990 at 48 bit color depth and 3200 spi. This seemed to be a problem inherent in the scanner hardware/firmware as confirmed by Ed Hamrick, who makes Vuescan. It worked fine at 2400 ppi or 3200 spi at 24 bit color depth. Second, most reports suggest that the 4990 yields an effective resolution of between 30 and 34 lp/mm, which translates to 1524 to 1727 spi. Roger Clark reported signficantly better results, but otherwise I haven't seen anything suggesting the 4990 could approach 2000 spi. Finally, it does appear that there is considerable variation in what is reported about these scanners. Some of this has to do with technique and how it is measured. I think Ted Harris's estimates are probably the most reliable in this respect. But, there may also be signficant variation in how individual units behave.

    Can anyone comment further on any of these points?

  2. #2

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    Re: Epson V700 vs 4990

    The Canon 9950 wil scan a 4x5 at 4800. Like the epson, since the real resolution is less than 2000, this is oversampling. It does, however, reduce the noise and improve the scans. You down sample the file directly in Vuescan or or in Photoshop. While the resolution on the scan I contributed to the scanner collection was not as good as I hoped - in retrospect, I think I had a software problem when I did it - if you look at the noise test, it is quite good, even though it did not get into the shadows nearly as deeply as the best scanners did. With black and white negatives, I think it is has plenty of dmax.

    There are some tantalizing references in the Viewcamera scanner article this month to the 700 having a real resolution improvement at 6400 dpi. I would like to hear more about that. I think you could use Vuescan in two passes to handle the files - first pass writes a downsized raw file, the second does the corrections.

  3. #3
    J Michael Sullivan MJSfoto1956's Avatar
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    Re: Epson V700 vs 4990

    There is absolutely no possible way the Epson 700/750 can scan "real" 6400 dpi -- total marketing hype I'm afraid. My best estimate is 3200 "real" dpi perhaps a bit less. However, the good news is that is more than enough to make a great scan of a 4x5 negative or non-constrasty chrome. So in spite of the incredible marketing exaggeration of its capabilities, it is still a great buy.

    J Michael Sullvan
    Editor/Publsher, MAGNAchrom
    www.magnachrom.com
    Last edited by MJSfoto1956; 29-Jul-2006 at 09:09.

  4. #4

    Re: Epson V700 vs 4990

    Leonard,

    My 4990 works great with the Epson software up to a point. I ran into the 2400 bug that Epson left us in the standard driver (at this res and higher on 4x5 the scans are very magenta - something software is broken and Epson apparently is not fixing it). This really bothers me but it seems to be the norm now-a-days. So, I bought Silverfast for $100.00 to be able to scan at higher resolutions. My 4990 works great with Silverfast. So one solution is to spend the extra money for Silverfast.

    If you use the scanning software to adjust your scans to basic correctness, 16 bit may not matter. If you get -good- 8 bit data tranferred to your computer you're set. If your workflow depends on getting raw data out of the scanner or you intend to do lots of manipulation to the files then 16 bit could be important. How are you used to working now?

    From my understanding of the V700 and 750, the improvements come with smaller format films. A 6400 ppi scan from 4X5 will choke your machine. (>2GB !!) Smaller film scans give files that you can handle. I think this makes market sense on Epson's part as there are many more people who will want to get improved 35mm scans than there are LF shooters.

    Its an interesting situation we're in now with the Epson's - gathering huge files sizes to overcome crappy optics. I guess crappy optics keep the price down. Fortunately computers are pretty fast now so having to over scan and then post process to get sharp files is not that painfull.

  5. #5

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    Re: Epson V700 vs 4990

    Henry,

    I now use Vuescan under Linux. I use the Gimp to edit my scans, and that program is currrently limited to 8 bits per channel. So in principle I could scan at 8 bits per channel without losing anything. Be that as it may, I get the contrast and color very close in the scan. It seems to me that in doing that part at 16 bits per channel I minimize production of gaps in the histogram. Other steps in the photoeditor are less likely to do that. So I would like to do it that way if possible.

    Do I understand from what you say that with SilverFast on the 4990 you can scan the full 4 inch width at 16 bits per channel and at higher than 2400 spi? Roger Clark claimed that the scanner just couldn't do it, and it didn't matter which software he used. Ed Hamrick, in answer to a direct question, said it wasn't something he could fix via sofftware.

    I also have plenty of old medium format negatives to scan, so the 6400 spi of the V700 might be useful. But my primary concern is getting significantly better than what my Epson 3200 delivers for 4 x 5. If the both the 4990 and the V700 deliver close to 2000 effective spi, that would constitute such an improvement.

  6. #6

    Re: Epson V700 vs 4990

    I understand wanting 16 bit into your computer but if you get the 8 bit right in the scanning software there is nothing to be gained since (we hope) the scanning software worked in 16 bit. In a sense one very good reason to use any scanning software is that it does something for you instead of you getting raw output from the scanner and then manipulating it. Another way of saying this is if you are collecting an 8 bit file from your scanner that requires - a lot of work - you may want to reconsider your scanning software or how you use it. I'm not saying either way is better.

    I'll check later this evening about your scanning question. Which is will it do 4x5 at 16 bit and 2400 ppi or higher - right? I'll try that and post the results.

    I found the 4990 to be a noticeable improvement over the 4870 I had previously so I'm pretty sure you'll see a definite improvement over your 3200.

  7. #7

    Re: Epson V700 vs 4990

    Leonard,

    I just made a 2400 ppi scan in 48 bit RGB (as Silverfast calls what we've been calling 16 bit) of a 4x5 color negative, full frame. It worked fine, taking about 7 minutes from start to popping up on screen. The file is 548.9 MB

  8. #8

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    Re: Epson V700 vs 4990

    Henry,

    I'm afraid i didn't make it clear enough. I knew that it would work at 2400 spi. The question was whether it would work at resolutions higher than that, e.e.g 3200 or 4800 ppi, with 16 bits per channel.

  9. #9

    Re: Epson V700 vs 4990

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Ambrose
    I found the 4990 to be a noticeable improvement over the 4870 I had previously so I'm pretty sure you'll see a definite improvement over your 3200.
    Really? I went from the 3200 to the 4990 and saw no improvement in image quality whatsoever. The upgrade was a BIG improvement because of the 4990's 8x10 inch scanning area for negatives and transparencies. But my 4990 pulls no more detail, in or out of the shadows, than my 3200 did. Alas.

    Sanders McNew
    www.mcnew.net/portraits

  10. #10
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Re: Epson V700 vs 4990

    I can't recall that we ever did a test of the 3200 but we have tested the 4870/4990/V700 (V700 scanning at lower than the 6400 setting) and the improvements all seem to be related to things other than resolution and DMax. The resolution is virtually the same and the DMax, which I recall improves marginally from the 4870 to the 4990 doesn't improve at all on the V700. What Epson is doing is stacking one chip on top of another so that they can claim a continuing higher resolution every time they add another chip. It is an honest theotretical claim but has no real world validity as we all now know.

    For those who notice improvements from 3200--->4870--->4990--->V Series I suggest that it could be some combination in a change of work habits, increased skill in scanning and software improvements. Both Epson and Microtek have made some real forward strides with their bundled software in the past two or three years.

    In answer to Leonard's questions that started this thread yes, you will get nearly 2000 spi when setting the 4990 or V Series to 3200. The first test scan I ran on the V700 was a 4x5 transparency and I didn't notice any issue scanning the entire frame but, thruthfully, I wasn't looking for that and the image I was scanning was still life with a lot of black around the edges. I did scan using Silverfast SE (which came bundled) at 2400 and 3200 but I can’t recall if it was 8 bit or 16 bit as one of them is not possible with SE as packaged. BTW, while I agree that VueScan is good software and that,if you just want to hit the ‘auto’ button it will usually give you performance as good or better than the others I really don’t think it gives you as much control over your scan as you will get from Silverfast Ai ... bu tyou need to determine if it is worth the huge price differential.

    Both Michael and I have noticed that the Epson holders seem to engulf a larger than necessary part of the frame thus eliminating some of the actual detail at the edges of the image. Same is true with the holders for the i900/1800f ... the i800 holders seem to be much better in this regard. I sympathize with the manufacturers here as they have a tough tradeoff to make in terms of giving the user enough of a 'lip' that the film won't fall out and still making sure that no image area is lost ... it is a no-win situation for them when they are designing for the 'average user' out there.

    Leonard also raised a valid point about the variability of the units from each to each. My gut would tell me that the QA/QC on all the machines in this price range is somewhat loose but we have used 5 different 1800f's, 3 different i800's and some half dozen different 4870's and 4990's and have not found the performance to be significantly different from one machine to another.

    Finally, given the low price of these scanners I a delighted by the quality of their performance rather than dismayed that they are not delivering more.

    Hope I answered all the questions.

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