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Thread: What's the best deal in scanner-land with no compromises in quality?

  1. #1

    What's the best deal in scanner-land with no compromises in quality?

    Hi guys!

    Since I'm relatively new to this LF-world, I have not much knowledge about the myriad scanners out there. Hence, I have a question regarding the best price-quality-ratio around:

    If no significant compromises in quality are to be made - what is the highest quality, highest resolution scanner available at comparatively good price? Also taking into consideration second-hand deals on ebay for example!

    Secondly, what is the highest resolution one can get out of this such a scanner out of a 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 negative, respectively?

    Like 20000 x 14000 pixels for an 8 x 10?

    Thirdly, I read somewhere something about a high-end ICG 370 HS scanner; how much does such one cost and is it good?

    Thank you for your pointers.

    Regards

    Paul

  2. #2
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best deal in scanner-land with no compromises in quality?

    After years of testing , head scratching and serious doubt about which unit to buy. I have decided to buy a Aztec Drum Scanner from Lenny.

    My criteria for this decision as follows

    NAmerican supplier * no offence to other locations, just more conveineint for me.
    On site traning- Lenny
    Current models in production.
    On going advice and support - Lenny
    Scans as good or better than all the devices I have tested over the last few years.
    Current hardware and software.
    Ability to lease through our broker.
    My clients will like the fact I have current technology for drum scanning their work.
    Ability to batch process and walk away to do other lab duties .

    Downside is cost
    Lenny being on the West Coast, as is the manufacturer


    This will take me awhile to put all my pennies in place but I believe for my company it is the best choice.

  3. #3

    Re: What's the best deal in scanner-land with no compromises in quality?

    Bob, thank you for your pointer. I saw the scanner on their page. It seems huge, and, expensive. But the specs seem very impressive.

    Is there any consolidated opinion on the difference between flatbed and drum scanning? I.e. is flatbed behind drum scanning in a huge way? I'm asking, because aztec seems to have both types of scanners.

    Regards

  4. #4
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best deal in scanner-land with no compromises in quality?

    Paul
    Ted Harris, came to my shop and did some amazing scans on a Creo Flatbed, a few years back.
    They were as good as any scans that I have seen .
    I am listening to Lennys advice on which Aztek may be the best for my needs , I am sure any top end scanner that people here are using is a viable option, I just happen to like the ability to work with a group that have a scanner operator using the equipment day to day.
    FWIW the bulk of our work is scanned with an Imocan and I have put large final prints side by side and the differences are subtle.
    I am sure many here would disagree with this but as I said I have been testing various models for years now , thinking that one method must surely be superior than another , but I do not see it.

    Much like the argument , that a Lambda is more superior than Lightjet or Chromira , based on price. I own a lambda but have seen many Lightjet prints and Cromira prints that are dead nut equals.

    In scanning, as in output printers , the skill level of the operator is vital for quality.
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulSchneider View Post
    Bob, thank you for your pointer. I saw the scanner on their page. It seems huge, and, expensive. But the specs seem very impressive.

    Is there any consolidated opinion on the difference between flatbed and drum scanning? I.e. is flatbed behind drum scanning in a huge way? I'm asking, because aztec seems to have both types of scanners.

    Regards

  5. #5

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    Re: What's the best deal in scanner-land with no compromises in quality?

    Paul, scanning is a place with many opinions backed up with some facts.


    The bottom line is:

    What you want to do as far as output sizewise?

    Are you shooting color or B&W??

    What is your input?


    For example, if your shooting 8x10 (as I am) in B&W (as I am) and outputting to a 24" wide printer (as I am)

    Then you have a lot of choices

    1)Consumer scanner of decent quality - the only solution is a Epson 4990/7X0. But the larger the print the less the appeal, poor scanner lens sharpness, lack of internal focus all conspire to be limiting to 2 to 3X enlargements

    2)Pro quality flatbed scanners solve all the above and extend the enlargeability to 8 to 10X

    This is my choice, great lenses, wet mounting sturdy design/

    I use a Screen Cezanne, but Creo also applies as do a few others.

    3) Drum scanner



    My "opinion", the better capability of drum scanners is not exhibited when using B&W with large negatives.

    I would argue there is no difference between pro flat beds and drum scanners unless your scanning small film and dense transparencies.

    Invaluable with 35mm, better with MF if the print gets really big, I don't see much use for drum scanners when shooting large format.

    They are slow, ponderous, and expensive to maintain pieces of equipment that I haven't found true for high end flatbeds.

    My opinion, hope this helps,

    bob

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    Re: What's the best deal in scanner-land with no compromises in quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulSchneider View Post
    Bob, thank you for your pointer. I saw the scanner on their page. It seems huge, and, expensive. But the specs seem very impressive.
    Is there any consolidated opinion on the difference between flatbed and drum scanning? I.e. is flatbed behind drum scanning in a huge way? I'm asking, because aztec seems to have both types of scanners.
    Regards
    Expensive maybe, huge no. Its a matter of perspective.
    I have an Aztek Premier and 2 Howtek 7500's. The Premier is small by comparison.
    Years ago i had 3 hell drum scanners, A 3300, 3010 and one i cant remember. Those were huge, almost a ton each iirc.

    All fun aside, the Premier is excellent. I haven't seen a flatbed scan that can match it from any film.
    Its fast, easy to use and light enough for 2 people to lift without a hernia. Cant say that about my 7500.
    I can get a 14gb 8bit file from an 8x10 and almost 30gb in 16bit. Not that anyone would have a use let alone pay for a file that size.

    Onto the 7500, Ive been scanning my 12x20's on the 7500 and they are amazing. I cant believe that a flatbed can even come close.
    If there ever comes a time that i need to make a huge print from them, i know it will be the best possible.
    You would have to pry my drum scanners from my cold dead hands before id let them go.

    But my love for them aside, they are not for everyone. It is without a doubt a significant investment not only in money and space but in time.
    Sourcing the fluids is not always easy, mylar is becoming scarce, especially the rate i go through it
    If you can afford it, you wont be sorry. Aztek is a great company to work with. They support what they manufacture and even stuff they didn't.
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    Re: What's the best deal in scanner-land with no compromises in quality?

    Aztek is great and all but their scanners are slightly limited in D-range. From my experience the Tango/Primescan and Eversmart Supreme both have a slight edge in shadow performance. D-max of the Aztek is 3.88, and the amount of noise increases when you close to that. Not the best IMO for some chromes but on the other hand, if you are scanning negatives, especially microfilm it is a fantastic scanner. I like how you can change how the scan is performed in a way that increases the bit depth in very light negatives. I recommended the Aztek to a certain university for their micrograph research film for exactly that reason.

    The folks at Aztek truly are a pleasure to work with, and I do wish them only the best.

    I haven't worked with an ICG, but it might be a good scanner for you. Before you commit to anything I would travel around and do some test scans from each machine. Sometimes you find a bad egg so its important to test the actual unit that you are looking at.

    BTW the Cezanne is limited to 8000 pixels unless you do your own stitching in photoshop.

    Good luck,
    Ed

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    Re: What's the best deal in scanner-land with no compromises in quality?

    Faced with the same question a couple years ago, I chose to go with the Creo IQ 2. For me I wanted a simple solution for my own work and decided a pro flatbed was the answer. There isn't a single answer to your question since it will be a personal decision. I don't even want to pretend that I know which is best, I was more concerned with ease of use and repeatable results.

    I get all the detail I need out of a sheet of 8x10 film with my creo. I rarely exceed 1600 dpi 16 bit rgb because the files go over the one gig mark and become a real pain to work with. I make 42x60 inch prints on my epson 9900 that look very good.

    In the right hands a high quality drum scanner delivers beautiful results, but for me the creo delivers simplicity and beauty with ease.
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    Re: What's the best deal in scanner-land with no compromises in quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by IanMazursky View Post

    Onto the 7500, Ive been scanning my 12x20's on the 7500 and they are amazing. I cant believe that a flatbed can even come close.
    If there ever comes a time that i need to make a huge print from them, i know it will be the best possible.
    You would have to pry my drum scanners from my cold dead hands before id let them go.

    One can scan a 12X20" negative at optical resolution of 3175 spi with an Eversmart Pro or Pro II, and 5200 spi with an an Eversmart Supreme or IQSmart3. Not that I could imagine ever needing that kind of resolution from a 12X20" negative, but can any of the drum scanners scan a negative that big at real resolution of over 3000 spi


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    Re: What's the best deal in scanner-land with no compromises in quality?

    They are all great scanners but to come into large format photography intending "to do the highest quality everything and everything" right off the bat will, in 99.99% of people, lead you to do mediocre stuff and give up out of frustration. You'll also waste a ton of money along the way and kick yourself in the seat of your pants a million times.

    Start with a reasonable good quality, almost average camera system and get yourself an Epson 750 and a good computer system. Learn to master that, including Photoshop and inkjet printing. All of the skills you learn with the Epson will apply with more sophisticated scanners, and indeed, you will continue to use the lowly Epson even once you install the super-duper scanner. After you learn how to use the large format camera and are getting decent quality results, start by sending some film out for scans from various vendors who use these scanners and see what the subtle differences are. If you have the resources and see the value, then you can jump in with both eyes open.

    Until you shoot for a while you may not be able to even "see" the differences.

    And even with the "ultimate" scanner, the results will vary between vendors with the same gear. There are so many variables that operator skill, experience, luck and talent all matter more than the hardware.

    In other words, there is no fast and easy turnkey solution. It's more about labor and education and time invested.

    Please send me 10% of the $250,000 I just saved you!

    Seriously, you do have to set a budget. Some people are buying two or three scanners and vintage computers in anticipation of needing parts and legacy operating systems. But you'll get to that point later....

    Thanks

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