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Thread: Scanners - I know from nothing

  1. #1
    Do or do not. There is no try.
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Massachusetts, USA

    Scanners - I know from nothing

    I've glanced at scanner posts from time to time, but never with serious intent, and I know the technology moves quickly so answers in the archives may not reflect current products. Sorry if this turns out to be a totally stupid question...

    My wife has a large number of family photos from her childhood before and during the Cultural Revolution in China. Many of them are only copies, basically family heirlooms. She'd like to scan them to be able to provide images to her many relatives. Some are in pretty poor shape, which I guess means Photo$hop is in my future as well. Sizes range from maybe 3" square drugstore-type prints to some fairly nice 5x7 studio work. They're mostly black-and-white, some sepia-toned, and a few faded color shots. I had a few scanned professionally some years ago at $25 each, but with well over a hundred in hand it's time to think "scanner".

    I shoot 35mm (rarely) to wholeplate at this time, and will be building a 7x11 in the not-too-distant future. Most of my work is 120 and 4x5 black-and-white, though I have a couple of hundred sheets of 4x5 Provia and Astia in the deep freeze. I also have a bunch of old Kodachrome 35mm slides that would be nice to scan in my copious free time, but I understand that scanning K-chrome poses challenges. I would be interested to experiment with digital negs some day for printing in my wet darkroom, hence my interest in a scanner to handle my stuff as well as my wife's.

    It would be ideal if there's a single scanner that covers both bases. From what I can recall reading, the Epson V750, or whatever its current incarnation, seems suitable. Are there any others in current production to consider? I'd prefer to purchase something new, preferably under $1k, and would be willing to give up on scanning 7x11 if that's what it took to keep us in this cost area.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Re: Scanners - I know from nothing

    I have owned the V500, V700 and V750. I sold the V750 when I went back to digital then bought a V700 after I came to my senses. I would recommend the V700/750 for your needs and I don't think the V750 is worth the extra cost unless you need the silverfast ai software; Silverfast se v.8 has been more than adequate for my needs which are pretty much the same as yours. That being said, I checked the epson refurbished factory center every day for two weeks and the v700 finally appeared for $415 delivered with silverfast se and all the holders.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    Re: Scanners - I know from nothing

    Actually scanner technology doesn't move quickly. The V700/750 that David mentions was announced 6 years ago and Epson hasn't brought a new scanner to market since. But that scanner would certainly do what you want for about $600 new. If you're on a budget you might look for a used or refurbished Epson 4990. It's the predecessor to the V700/750 and would also work fine for your purposes, especially if 5x7 is the largest anticipated print size. Cost guesstimate is about $250. There probably are other new, even less expensive, Epson scanners that would do the job at that maximum print size but I don't know the model designations.
    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.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: Scanners - I know from nothing

    Hard to beat the value of a fresh, new Epson 700. If you use a Mac, the driver support is now part of the OS with a very simple but effective interface (i.e. leave it on auto) and adjust in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop. Silverfast and/or VueScan software provide more control should you want it.

    You may also want an inexpensive monitor calibrator, like a Datacolor Sypder 3 or 4.

    And for superior quality from 35mm film (slides) you'd want a dedicated film scanner like the Nikon Coolscan 5000, now considerably more than $1000 since they are discontinued. But for doing a lot of scanning and modest sizes, the Epson should be fine - if you find something amazing then you can always send it out to get a really good scan made.

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