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Thread: Next step up from Epson scanners

  1. #1
    Kevin Kolosky
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    Next step up from Epson scanners

    What is the next step up in quality scans from Epsom flatbed scanners.

  2. #2

    Re: Next step up from Epson scanners

    In my experience, quality goes something like this: flatbed then to drum. I have not found a solid middle ground for negatives that are larger than 120mm. Once you pass up flatbeds, you start into drum scanner which are wallet breakers, think Hasselblad Flextight, and a few others. Typically, anything older requires archaic software and equipment to use. Basically, what I am getting at is that, as you start looking for higher quality scanners (aside from Hasselblad Flextight), you will need to buy archaic computer equipment (Power Macs, Adapters, etc.) The maintenance cost of these old PCs, as well as the cost and sourcing of the parts for the scanners can really be a hinderance.

    My best recommendation is to purchase an Epson V800 and buy Silverfast software. It does take quite a bit of experimentation to get correct, but in my experience, it's better than breaking the bank on a drum. Here's what I currently do, for personal work or non-publishables, I scan myself. For work that is important or part of a project, I send it off to the lab for a drum scan if my self-scans will not be suffice.

    The Epson software is a wee bit of a let down, and if you're shooting color, forget it. Silverfast is the way to go since it has what is called Negafix.

  3. #3
    Kevin Kolosky
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    Re: Next step up from Epson scanners

    I guess what I meant to ask is whether there are better flatbed scanners than the Epsom scanners?

  4. #4

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    Re: Next step up from Epson scanners

    There are higher end flatbed scanners like the Kodak Creo IqSmart series that will provide better scans than any Epson, but these units are quite pricey and, as coltvance said, older hardware that needs older platforms to run on. Like coltvance, I do my own scans with Silverfast Ai Studio on an Epson flatbed, and then if I have something extraordinary I'll send out for a drum scan. You may, also, want to check out:

    http://www.richardmanphoto.com/scanningservices/

    I've never used Richard's scanning service, but the prices are certainly reasonable.

  5. #5
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Next step up from Epson scanners

    Dslr scanners can be better than an Epson.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  6. #6

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    Re: Next step up from Epson scanners

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin J. Kolosky View Post
    I guess what I meant to ask is whether there are better flatbed scanners than the Epsom scanners?
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    do my own scans with Silverfast Ai Studio on an Epson flatbed, and then if I have something extraordinary I'll send out for a drum scan.
    +1


    Anyway the weakest point of the V850 is 35mm film, so complementing it with a Plustek 8xxx (or 120) series ends in a powerful combo for a multi-format shooter.

  7. #7

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    Re: Next step up from Epson scanners

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin J. Kolosky View Post
    I guess what I meant to ask is whether there are better flatbed scanners than the Epsom scanners?
    There are, but nothing within the same price range. If your budget is $1000 or less, the Epson scanners are pretty much the only game in town.

    I bought the V750 Pro in 2012, and it took some learning to get the best out of it. But once I had learned to navigate its quirks, I was quite satisfied with the results. Its far from perfect, but "perfect" isn't very affordable.

    PS: Take a look at this review of the current "Pro" model of Epson scanner, the V850 Pro: https://www.filmscanner.info/en/Epso...onV850Pro.html
    Note that the reviewer concluded that this model didn't do an appreciably better job that the V750 Pro, in terms of scan quality. The default film holders that come with the device are quite poor, and most users will suggest that you get the Better Scanning film holders (Which I have yet to do, myself. But that day is coming, I am sure): http://www.betterscanning.com/ I've learned how to deal with the quirks of the Epson film holders for 120 roll film and the output is just fine for my needs. Scanning 4x5 and 8x10 sheet film is pretty easy too, but the 35mm output is pretty poor: its very difficult to achieve sharpness of any kind from 35mm film with the Epson.

  8. #8

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    Re: Next step up from Epson scanners

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    Dslr scanners can be better than an Epson.
    My present experience is that using my Nikon D850 on a very solid and very aligned copy stand, very evenly lit light panel, a 120mm f/6.3 Micro Nikkor (lens used on a Nikon Multiphot) at its optimum aperture for the film size that I am shooting, and masking the borders of the film beats my Epson V750 Pro scanner hands down. Am producing digital files from 35mm up to 11x14 films. For shooting 35mm chromes, the V750 is really noticeably inferior in sharpness and for accurate color reproduction.

  9. #9

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    Re: Next step up from Epson scanners

    I moved up to an IQsmart 2 rather than deal with the drum workflow. It's a far better machine than any Epson. BUT it was pricey (I bought a refurbed unit) and big and heavy. I think the shipping was around $600.00 I had a couple of older Macs lying around - a Mini and a Macbook. The scanner is solid as a rock, the Creo/Kodak software can be iffy, but the old Macs are not a problem.

    For MF and 35mm I think the Plustek might be worth a look. I was using a Coolscan 8000 until it self destructed but with the IQsmart I can load a couple of rolls of 120 on the glass and let it scan everything overnight. It isn'a speed demon.

  10. #10

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    Re: Next step up from Epson scanners

    For 35mm, I use a Minolta Scan Elite 5400 II. It does a pretty good job; way better than any Epson flatbed.

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