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Thread: Epson 4990 heads-up

  1. #1

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    Epson 4990 heads-up

    http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/c...s&oid=63063319
    The Epson clearance center has some refurbished 4990's for sale - $279. A great scanner for up to 8x10 format. If you order one be very sure when it arrives that it has the hardware and software specific to that scanner. A significant percentage of these refurbished scanners come with the wrong stuff. If it happens to you keep after Epson and they will eventually correct it - but it takes persistence.

  2. #2
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Re: Epson 4990 heads-up

    That's a tempting deal considering I really need a scanner. How does the 4990 compare to the V700 and V750? It's considerably less than a new V700, but then add the price of two Betterscanning holders (need one for MF too) and I'd have an amount of money that I don't want to invest in something that won't be what I really want - if I'm going to end up buying a V750 anyway I'd just as soon skip the deal until I can muster up the courage to part with the price of the 750.
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    Wayne venchka's Avatar
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    Re: Epson 4990 heads-up

    I used a friend's 4990 when I first got started in 4x5. Then another friend bought a V750. We have compared many many scanned medium format and 4x5 prints. I can't see the difference. Unless you are an OCD obsessed, pixel peeping fiend, you won't know the difference in prints up to 11x14. I only say that because none of us print bigger than 11x14 as a rule. Bottom line: The 4990 and Epson scan software is a winner.

    ps: Don't include the price of Betterscanning holders in the comparison. Sooner later you will want them for ANY scanner you are using. I'll get the medium & large format combo one of these days.

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    Re: Epson 4990 heads-up

    The 4990 I've used had a really decent 4x5 holder, that held the film in excellent focus and which was not improved by shimming. These are great 4x5 and up scanners but the best optical resolution was sub-par for medium format, and won't hold a candle to my Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 for 35mm. My problem is that the only scanner that will handle all 3 formats well is a PMT drum scanner, and I haven't the space.

  5. #5
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: Epson 4990 heads-up

    $279 = refurbished 4990 + free shipping + one year Epson warranty.

    That’s hard to beat for a quality flatbed that can scan film up to 8x10.

    Usually, these 4990 clearance deals go up for 2-3 days – then disappear. They happen once or twice a year, but I’ve noticed they’re getting fewer and farther between. My refurbished 4990 arrived in like-new condition w/ perfect packaging. And the scanner hasn’t let me down for several years. All my 4x5 scans on this forum are by that refurbished baby w/ Epson Scan software.

    People who need one for LF should go for this deal.

    -----
    Here’s “what’s in the box” according to Epson. (You also get Epson Scan, of course.)

    • Epson Perfection 4990 Photo Scanner
    • 8" x 10" Transparency Adapter (Built Into Scanner Lid)
    • Four Film Holders: 35mm Slides, 35mm Film Strips, Medium Format and 4" x 5" Film
    • 8" x 10" Film Area Guide
    • CD-ROM with Epson Scanner Installation Software and Electronic Reference Guide
    • CD-ROM with Adobe® Photoshop® Elements
    • CD-ROM with LaserSoft Imaging™ SilverFast® SE 6
    • USB 2.0 Cable
    • Scanner Setup Poster
    • Scanner Quick Guide

  6. #6

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    Re: Epson 4990 heads-up

    I've owned a 4990 for 7 or 8 years. It does a great job with 4x5 and 8x10 negatives and prints up to about 16x20. It might do well with larger prints but 16x20 or so is the largest I make. However, I agree with Ivan when it comes to 6x7 negatives. I tried a few and wasn't very happy with prints larger than about 8x10 if that. OTOH, I'm not sure any flat bed would do better with medium format. And forget 35mm for anything except maybe the web.
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  7. #7
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Re: Epson 4990 heads-up

    Quote Originally Posted by venchka View Post
    I used a friend's 4990 when I first got started in 4x5. Then another friend bought a V750. We have compared many many scanned medium format and 4x5 prints. I can't see the difference. Unless you are an OCD obsessed, pixel peeping fiend, you won't know the difference in prints up to 11x14. I only say that because none of us print bigger than 11x14 as a rule. Bottom line: The 4990 and Epson scan software is a winner.

    ps: Don't include the price of Betterscanning holders in the comparison. Sooner later you will want them for ANY scanner you are using. I'll get the medium & large format combo one of these days.

    Wayne
    Well of course you buy the Betterscanning holder with both. My point was (mainly) that the 4990 and V700/750 take different BS holders, at least for medium format. I think the LF mounting station is the same. So if I get a 4990 then decide I want a V700/750 after all, I have to buy another holder. A secondary point, a bit more arcane, is that the savings, while the same dollar amount when you include the BS holders for the two, are a smaller percentage when you add in the cost of the holders:

    4990 ($279) + dual MF film holder ($79) + LF mounting station for wet/dry mounting ($119) = $477
    v7500 ($519 at B&H) +$79+$119 = $717

    Savings are exactly the same in dollars but the temptation is to feel like if I'm going to spend nearly $500 for a scanner and holders, I might as well spend $700 if it's much better. It's the same admittedly bogus thought process that leads us to drive across town to save $10 on a shirt but dismiss the chance to save $100 on a new car by going to a dealer across town. Actually I'd spend a bit more because Betterscanning is in GA so I pay 7% sales tax from them.

    While on that subject, the Betterscanning web site has to be one of the worst confused muddles of a commercial site I've seen in a long time. Trying to sort out what's what and and what you need for a given application with a given scanner I find very confusing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan J. Eberle View Post
    The 4990 I've used had a really decent 4x5 holder, that held the film in excellent focus and which was not improved by shimming. These are great 4x5 and up scanners but the best optical resolution was sub-par for medium format, and won't hold a candle to my Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 for 35mm. My problem is that the only scanner that will handle all 3 formats well is a PMT drum scanner, and I haven't the space.
    Well of course it won't be as good as a medium format film scanner. It doesn't cost like one either. I don't know of one available new except the Pacific Image which seems to get mixed but mostly bad reviews, and costs $1500 in any case. A good used medium format film scanner will cost that much or more these days. You'd think the major makers would catch on that there IS still a demand.

    Medium format is kind of a gray area. I might in fact be fairly content with the results but I know they won't be as good as from a film scanner (that I can't afford anyway - or rather, I don't choose to spend that kind of money on, being mainly an optical printing kind of guy. And the flatbed will be fine for proofing and web.)

    I would like a good 35mm film scanner to print my slides, but that's cheaper. I'm sure the Epson will be fine for web use, since my Epson 3200 I paid $28 for on eBay is fine with me for web use, and that without the holder - just lay the slide on the scanner. It's not sharp enough to print at least bigger than a wallet or so, but for web use, seems fine.

    While on the subject, this should probably go in the Lounge, but does anyone here have any knowledge of the Plustek 35mm scanners? They're pretty affordable and seem to get pretty good reviews. I definitely need one, unless Ilfochrome gets miraculously brought back from the dead (or type R paper which is even less likely.) I may learn to make internegs but that involves experimentation, a learning curve, and a slow work process even once you get it down. At the rate I have time, I'll get to that about retirement age, assuming the materials would still be available (unlikely - right now folks are using Portra since interneg film has gone away already.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    I've owned a 4990 for 7 or 8 years. It does a great job with 4x5 and 8x10 negatives and prints up to about 16x20. It might do well with larger prints but 16x20 or so is the largest I make. However, I agree with Ivan when it comes to 6x7 negatives. I tried a few and wasn't very happy with prints larger than about 8x10 if that. OTOH, I'm not sure any flat bed would do better with medium format. And forget 35mm for anything except maybe the web.
    If it does well with 16x20 from 4x5, that's a 4x enlargement. It should do equally well with a 9x9 from 6x6cm, a 6.75x9 from 645 (pretty small, admittedly) or a 9x11 from 6x7cm. I currently shoot all those formats somewhat (Yashicamat, Mamiya 645 and 6x7 roll film back on the Linhof, respectively)

    Those certainly aren't large, but they're useful.

    I've just about talked myself into ordering one of these tonight.
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  8. #8
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: Epson 4990 heads-up

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Cole View Post
    I’ve just about talked myself into ordering one of these tonight.
    An inexpensive but effective alternative to Epson’s holders: You can simply use a piece of store-bought, anti-glare glass, tape the film to its (etched) underside, and use various things to support the glass (and adjust its height) above the scanner’s surface – post-it note pads, pennies, etc.

    If you try this, you might like it, and decide to hold-off on the fancy Betterscanning holders.

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    Re: Epson 4990 heads-up

    At the sizes some of you quote for max res from these scans, I'd stick with 35mm. Seriously, I get crackin' sharp 16x24" prints from 35mm film at better than a native 300dpi printer output res there's room for cropping with the MDSE5400. 24x36" is well within the realm of a decent fractal up-res. I've got 4990 scans from 4x5 that I wouldn't cringe at printing 20x24" or even larger.
    Too, if you scan only 4x5 the Epson holder for the 4990 may be all you'll need. Don't assume you'll need a Betterscan holder.

  10. #10
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Re: Epson 4990 heads-up

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan J. Eberle View Post
    At the sizes some of you quote for max res from these scans, I'd stick with 35mm. Seriously, I get crackin' sharp 16x24" prints from 35mm film at better than a native 300dpi printer output res there's room for cropping with the MDSE5400. 24x36" is well within the realm of a decent fractal up-res. I've got 4990 scans from 4x5 that I wouldn't cringe at printing 20x24" or even larger.
    Too, if you scan only 4x5 the Epson holder for the 4990 may be all you'll need. Don't assume you'll need a Betterscan holder.
    I'm not sure what you mean (before the last sentence.)

    I took the magnification Brian quoted for good prints from 4x5 and translated (4x) to various medium format. The equivalent for 35mm would be 3.7"x5.7". I'm sure you got fine results from 35mm with the MDSE5400 - that's a dedicated film scanner. We're talking (or at least I am talking...) about what to expect from the 4990 flatbed. So you're saying 5x is fine, maybe more. That would be a lot more useful for medium format, 11.25x11.25 from 6x6cm, 11.25x13.75 (close enough to 11x14 as to make no difference) from 6x7 and 8.4375 x 11.25 for 645. Not bad, but not great - definitely a meaningful step up from 4x though.

    Maybe you're saying that rather than using a 4990 with medium format I should get a 35mm scanner and shoot 35mm. That would be fine if my main workflow was hybrid. It isn't - I mainly shoot for optical printing and 35mm projection, maybe medium format if I get a projector. Scanning is an adjunct, with the possible exception of printing from transparencies.
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    Most blest is he who lives free and bold
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    for the fearful man is dismayed by aught,
    and the mean one mourns over giving.
    - Hávamál verse 48

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