View Full Version : Help Needed to Choose a Scanner

26-Dec-2012, 10:05

I would appreciate if you all could help me select a scanner. I have two choices an Epson 4990 (used) and an HP ScanJet G4050 (almost new), both for the same price. I am shooting 4x5 and would like to invest in a good scanner (as there are no professional scanning facilities in my country) that can truly bring out the quality from a 4x5 negative. Having said that, I can only invest in a consumer level machine and not a professional one like Imacon etc. I wanted to go for the Epson V700, as it seems to be the best in consumer grade, but it is not available in my country. I want to know which one is better and why? or if they will produce the same results.


Gem Singer
26-Dec-2012, 10:10
Go for the Epson 4990.

Forerunner to the Epson 700 series scanners.

26-Dec-2012, 11:07
But it is used, how do I check if it is in good working condition?

Doug Fisher
26-Dec-2012, 11:35
Definitely explore the opportunity for the 4990 first. Download the 4990 drivers and software to your laptop and install it. Take your laptop and make some test scans. If it produces good scans, negotiate with them on price to make it a better deal. If the deal doesn't work out or doesn't feel right, don't buy anything. Go home and start saving until you can afford a V700 from an international supplier.


26-Dec-2012, 19:53
Got it, thank you! One more quick question, I have been taking LF pictures for six months now but the results have been very disappointing, and to understand why I joined this forum, thanks people here they pointed out that my film might be fogged as it came in Pakistan. So as suggested by a member I yesterday did a test by developing a non-exposed film, and sure enough it came out foggy. So my question to you is that since I don't have a single good neg to scan...How do I check the scanner??? Sorry for putting across so many problems...

How do you people get your film, I understand you might be getting it from your local store but what if someone does have to mail order it across states or people travel for photography...how does it work? does it mean that I have to give up LF altogether...

Thank you anyway



26-Dec-2012, 21:04
A scanner is either working or dead, has carriage problems (streaks) or not, has clean or dirty glass.
There are no subtleties that need an expert eye. If there is a problem, you'll see it!
If the negs are fogged, your scans will be fogged as well. But it should be pretty easy to see if something isn't working as it should...

I agree with the advices of other forum users: the Epson is better.
BTW, the HP is almost worthless if you use the original software, while it's A LOT better with Vuescan.

I guess that the fogging is due to some malpractice by the Pakistani customs.
If I were you, I'd try a different courier and/or purchasing from a different country.
Not all x-ray scanning systems are of the same type, or operated in the same way.
If you find a way to do so (and if you are NOT in hurry) you could try to get a sea shipment. It can take ages, but i highly doubt that they scan the containers in Karachi!
If you shoot B&W, there are sheet film vendors in China/HongKong or Taiwan. The film is good and cheap, and if you ask for a ground shipment, there are good chances that the parcel will follow a totally different route (from the film coming via air-mail from a western country).
A pack of 4x5" is quite cheap. Worth trying, IMHO.

ciao from Italy


26-Dec-2012, 21:20
@ CJ Thank you for your input, any vendors from China/Taiwan or HK you have had good experience with.


27-Dec-2012, 06:21
You could look for Shanghai film on eBay; they sell B&W film in all formats.

1-Jan-2013, 13:10
hi raffay,

it's nice you can get these scanners in pakistan. i'm having a trouble getting one here in iran. (i'm using ipad for scaning 4x5 sheets) . get the 4990 since it can scan sheet film. that would be better for you.
just check the scanner physically or try it first before buying. ask the seller if they can sample it infront of you. if it's used ask the seller about the condition past or present handling or used. it would be easier to know if the scanner work if you can bring laptop to test it.

about the film.. chinese ebay sellers have 4x5 sheet films try them. not sure how customs works in your country but it would be much better if you know other couriers available in your place like dhl for an instance. i bought my films here and ebay.. i sent it to manila then brought it here. i put it in my check-in luggage.. atleast the first box i used was all good (arista edu). i'm not sure with the other films yet but i think it's not fogged. it might be a problem with how it was stored before you bought it. i saw some films in tehran they don't store it properly.. i might try sending out film here but i will use DHL if i buy online and ship it diretly here. i don't think xrays would really fog your films.

PS: don't give up LF photography! it's very hard to do this in our side of the planet but it's all worth it. so people can see different side of our places.. :)

6-Jan-2013, 10:47

I have decided to go for the used Epson 4990, it seems to be in good condition apart from cosmetic wear and tear. It feels solid, the hood is firm and the glass is clean. Have all three trays, but it is not scanning at the moment, seems to be some driver issue. As it is in the used market, there is no CD or book with it. It is in another city and my friend is there to pick it up, we are planning to get it tomorrow and bring it home and then will try to fix the driver issue. The shopkeeper is kind enough, and has agreed to take it back if the issue does not resolve.

I would appreciate if anyone could send me a link from where I can download its proper drivers, my friend did download the drivers before leaving but those don't seem to work.


6-Jan-2013, 22:34
it should also be noted that vuescan will work with the 4990 without the Epson driver.

7-Jan-2013, 01:57
Thank you all, just got a call from my friend, the scanner is working...got it finally for USD 240 could not have done without your help. Thank you.