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Thread: In 2019 where are we at with drum scanners?

  1. #1

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    In 2019 where are we at with drum scanners?

    Seems like most of what is for sale is older equipment. Have drum scans lost some popularity with manufactures or am I overlooking some models?

    Drum scanners remind me of movie film scanners...almost underground compared to mainstream.

    OK, BH has the Hassy scanner, but that is it from what I can see. Have the manufacturers been putting more oomph into flat bed scanners for more mass market appeal?

    If so, what flatbed scanners can compete with drum scannners?

  2. #2

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    Re: In 2019 where are we at with drum scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iluvmyviewcam View Post
    If so, what flatbed scanners can compete with drum scannners?
    It depends, for some jobs I would not notice if the image comes from a drum scan or from a prosumer flatbed. For some jobs the drum makes a huge difference and no flatbed comes close.

    The Hassy "virtual drum" is more a hi-end flatbed than a drum, because it reads the image with a silicon linear sensor, CCD type, while drums use PMT single point sensors.

    The Hassy is probably the single "flat bed" (derived) than may compare to drums in DMax, but it has a limited resolving power for sheets, as it only can deliver 8k samples in the whole scanning width, compared to what a drum can do if paying (a lot) for a high dpi scan.

    Anyway the weakest link in a scanning process is the operator.

    What LF sheet scanners can you buy new today beyond Epsons and Hassies?

  3. #3
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: In 2019 where are we at with drum scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iluvmyviewcam View Post
    Seems like most of what is for sale is older equipment. Have drum scans lost some popularity with manufactures or am I overlooking some models?
    Drum scanning as an industry died in 1996. Yes, you can be that specific. It died as soon as digital image capture became "good enough". There was a flood of very nice analog photography equipment into the used markets as the advertising and magazine markets swapped over to digital capture. This included a bunch of pre-press houses unloading all kinds of analog equipment including drum scanners.

    AFAIK, the only "active" drum scanner maker left in the market is Aztek. And they haven't come up with a new design in quite a few years. Rumor has it sales volumes are down to the double digits. Per year. World wide.

    It's not that manufacturers don't want to make drum scanners, it's that people like us did not buy new drum scanners. Without buyers....

    Bruce Watson

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    Re: In 2019 where are we at with drum scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    AFAIK, the only "active" drum scanner maker left in the market is Aztek. And they haven't come up with a new design in quite a few years.
    Not much better with flatbeds... The V850 is basicly a 2006 scanner with LED illumination, mostly the same since 12 years ago... If they had competition they would had improved several things, including prehaps the vertical driving to match the H resolving power.

    IMHO the V850 has the synergy of a big manufacturer, that also makes scanners for consumer printers, so they have a profitable niche, fortunately, at least this allows for coding modern drivers.

    In the roll film realm we have the Plustek range, the 120 design is some 5 years old, so an slightly better situation.
    Last edited by Pere Casals; 8-Jan-2019 at 13:22.

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    Re: In 2019 where are we at with drum scanners?

    The plustek (and everyone else making 120 scanners) have yet to equal the Nikon Coolscan 9000.

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    Re: In 2019 where are we at with drum scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
    The plustek (and everyone else making 120 scanners) have yet to equal the Nikon Coolscan 9000.
    Sure that the 9000 is a better scanner, not a huge difference in resolving power, some 3800 effective (Nikon) vs 3500... but the Nikon is better for dense slides, specially with multi-exposure, this is beyond the pro manufacturing quality...

    In the other side many people complained that the 9000 suffered of aliasing with silver grains and velvia, not with negative color film.

    But today we want service, warranty and drivers... so no choice.

  7. #7

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    Re: In 2019 where are we at with drum scanners?

    Hi Pere,

    How does the Plustek scanner compare to Noritsu or Frontier scans the labs do?

    Thanks,

    Serge

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    Sure that the 9000 is a better scanner, not a huge difference in resolving power, some 3800 effective (Nikon) vs 3500... but the Nikon is better for dense slides, specially with multi-exposure, this is beyond the pro manufacturing quality...

    In the other side many people complained that the 9000 suffered of aliasing with silver grains and velvia, not with negative color film.

    But today we want service, warranty and drivers... so no choice.

  8. #8

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    Re: In 2019 where are we at with drum scanners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serge S View Post
    How does the Plustek scanner compare to Noritsu or Frontier scans the labs do?
    In my opinion, regarding resolving power for 35mm film, in both cases we go beyond from what usually is in the film.

    Problem with the Plustek 120 is that it lacks a focusing system, so you have to process the negatives to have very flat strips (leave strips inside a book...), if not we have problems...

    Problem with the Frontier is that the scanning service normally does not use maximum resolution beacuse it's slow.

    For MF the Plustek clearly has a better resolving power, because the Frontier delivers a maximum 4700x4700 scan size, being the effective yield lower.

    _______________________________________


    We have to understand what's a Frontier/Noritsu digital minilab... these are amazing systems, delivering beyond 2000 perfect prints per hour, well scanned, and amazingly well corrected automaticly, beyond that it eats almost one roll per minute if necessary.

    Time ago those systems were important enough to make all film manufacturers re-engineer color negative films to perform optimally in those systems, even today a really proficient Ps operator is required to match what the minilab makes with the image enhancing software. See here the Image Processing section: https://www.fujifilmusa.com/shared/b...0_Brochure.pdf Each system had a personality, both delivered an amazing aesthetics...

    Regarding the scanner, we have to understand that paper rolls had under 12", so the scanner was designed to match the max print size and the specs of the laser printer that exposes the photopaper.

    It is not a common linear sensor scanner, the SP-3000 has a 2048 x 1536 area CCD sensor, but CCD has micro-movements from two piezoelectric actuators. They displace the sensor a number of times depending on the print size, I guess that all this works on the fly... because 2k prints per hour are not a joke...

    Scan sizes for 35mm are:

    2048 x 1536
    2048 x 3072
    4096 x 3072
    8192 x 6144 (eight passes) as always there is a loss from size to effective...


    The great thing of those minilabs is color processing, in fact the color space of monitors does not match the one in photopaper, so it's difficult to optimize a print in the PC, this is a limitation that the automatic software in the minilab doesn't have, because nobody is adjusting the image to look nice in a monitor, and the minilab knows what to do to make prints look nice.
    Last edited by Pere Casals; 9-Jan-2019 at 18:33.

  9. #9

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    Re: In 2019 where are we at with drum scanners?

    Thanks for all feedback.

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    Re: In 2019 where are we at with drum scanners?

    Hi Pere,

    Thank you for the details. I went to look for the medium format version (OpticFilm 120) on the web and see it is now discontinued.

    I have a Nikon Coolscan 5000 for 35mm work but was never totally satisfied with the results, as it does not quite get the focus right.
    I sent it to Nikon at the time & they said it was fine. My older model Coolscan did a better job, although it did not offer the same resolution.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    In my opinion, regarding resolving power for 35mm film, in both cases we go beyond from what usually is in the film.

    Problem with the Plustek 120 is that it lacks a focusing system, so you have to process the negatives to have very flat strips (leave strips inside a book...), if not we have problems...

    Problem with the Frontier is that the scanning service normally does not use maximum resolution beacuse it's slow.

    For MF the Plustek clearly has a better resolving power, because the Frontier delivers a maximum 4700x4700 scan size, being the effective yield lower.

    _______________________________________


    We have to understand what's a Frontier/Noritsu digital minilab... these are amazing systems, delivering beyond 2000 perfect prints per hour, well scanned, and amazingly well corrected automaticly, beyond that it eats almost one roll per minute if necessary.

    Time ago those systems were important enough to make all film manufacturers re-engineer color negative films to perform optimally in those systems, even today a really proficient Ps operator is required to match what the minilab makes with the image enhancing software. See here the Image Processing section: https://www.fujifilmusa.com/shared/b...0_Brochure.pdf Each system had a personality, both delivered an amazing aesthetics...

    Regarding the scanner, we have to understand that paper rolls had under 12", so the scanner was designed to match the max print size and the specs of the laser printer that exposes the photopaper.

    It is not a common linear sensor scanner, the SP-3000 has a 2048 x 1536 area CCD sensor, but CCD has micro-movements from two piezoelectric actuators. They displace the sensor a number of times depending on the print size, I guess that all this works on the fly... because 2k prints per hour are not a joke...

    Scan sizes for 35mm are:

    2048 x 1536
    2048 x 3072
    4096 x 3072
    8192 x 6144 (eight passes) as always there is a loss from size to effective...


    The great thing of those minilabs is color processing, in fact the color space of monitors does not match the one in photopaper, so it's difficult to optimize a print in the PC, this is a limitation that the automatic software in the minilab doesn't have, because nobody is adjusting the image to look nice in a monitor, and the minilab knows what to do to make prints look nice.

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