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Thread: Should I Drum Scan, X1 Flextight Scan, or use the Epson V850 w/Aztek Wet Mount Kit?

  1. #21

    Re: Should I Drum Scan, X1 Flextight Scan, or use the Epson V850 w/Aztek Wet Mount Ki

    Quote Originally Posted by CreationBear View Post
    I'd definitely like to look at your workflow at some point--and to know why you moved on from the K-1 to the Panasonic. (I still have a lot of nice K-mount lenses, so I tried to avoid PF while your combo was for sale...)

    Of course! The K-1 II is an excellent but ultimately flawed camera. It's AF system is just unforgivable really, though that doesn't effect scanning much. It's great for 35mm where you can get true RGB capture at 36mp, but of course you begin to be penalized when you need to crop in for other formats. People get around this by stitching but that's time consuming, fiddly, and can be frustraiting at times (though effective).

    I run a lab, and I scan for clients, speed matters to me. I also shoot a lot of 6x6. My goal was to have a file that exceeded the resolution needs of my printer at it's full size (Epson P6000 24"). Pixel shift can either simply negate bayer interpolation, or it can increase the resolution, luckily newer cameras are doing both. My choices were the S1R, or the Sony A7R IV. The A7R IV actually makes a bigger file, with 16 captures. The sensor shifts 1/2 pixel which is pretty incredible. However, the Sony pixel shift raws must be opened in their Image Edge software, that makes the camera a non starter IMO. I do my color conversions with Negative Lab Pro, and that's an LR based workflow. LR is not always the best at everything, but it is the industry standard and once you settle into a bunch of standards, getting out is tough. So I stick with Adobe. And anyway Negative Lab Pro is a game changer is scanning color negative, it's that good. So, I went with the S1R. I had other reasons for my interest in this camera as well, such as the great camera design generally. Also mirrorless cameras have across the frame AF, so focus is a breeze, and are now largely vibration free during a capture.

    The S1R does 8 captures, 4 to get full RGB, and 4 to increase the pixel resolution to 186mp. Like other scanners such as Imacons, you lose resolution as you change formats.

    So 186mp for 35mm.
    I forget what the other figures for 6x6 are, but I think it's somewhere in the range of 100-125mp.
    155mp for 4x5 and 8x10 (and 6x7).

    That's well beyond the printing needs of my P6000, which is actually great because it means I can down sample to my file size and still achieve 360dpi. In fact natively 8x10s print to about 30x40 at 360dpi. Drum scanners and IQSmarts will do a little better than this, but frankly if I'm already exceeding the needs of a larger printer that I don't even have yet, who cares? Plus the downsample is really a great way to work. It makes everything better. Obviously 186mp is beyond the needs of even new films like Ektachrome E100 in 35mm, so you can create a big scan, downsample it to your actual needed size, and you get a scan with essentially no noise and all the detail that's in the frame. As sensor resolutions get higher, and pixel shift gets more advanced, this technique will also be available for large format. Further increasing the file quality.

    Suddenly the idea of spending $4-6K on an IQSmart that will take hours to create a file sounds a bit crazy. I feel similarly about Imacon/Hasselblad scanners. There is certainly a brand name and reputational effect that will keep these 'virtual drum' scanners expensive, but I would never even consider buying one again. In my scanning rig, the capture technology only gets better over time. Old scanners only get older.

    My actual set is the S1R on a decent copy stand with a Kaiser Slimlight Plano as the light source. It's in the mid 90s for CRI, no color issues.

    The lens though is another big reason I switched though. Formerly I was using the 100mm 2.8 WR Limited from Pentax, an above average but old design. I've now switched to the Sigma 70/2.8 ART Macro. This focal length has the advantage of being able to achieve full coverage of all formats from 35 to 8x10 on my existing copy stand. The 100mm required to captures of 8x10 which would not fit in the frame. It's also simply one of the best performing macro lenses available today for scanning. There is a guy in the Negative Lab Pro group who has done extensive side by sides (more than I would ever do!) and this is his lens of choice as well. Some folks have gone the route of using exotic glass like enlarger lenses and bellows. I see these as having only disadvantages over the Sigma 70. They don't perform better in tests, and they don't have AF. I would avoid. Even medium format backs are IMO not as good as a pixel shifted file from a modern camera, save perhaps the newer multishot backs. But even then you're making life a lot harder with much more thin DoF.

    Here are some screen captures of a recently shot and processed sheet of 8x10 Portra 160VC (exp 2002).
    Camera: Gibellini Bellatrix
    Lens: Caltar 240/5.6
    Scan: S1R with 70/2.8 ART at 5.6.

    You can see the samples here (wasn't happy with the LFF compression): https://photos.app.goo.gl/wdoJbMWRoRieDwbz6
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Screenshot 2019-10-31 09.46.56.jpg   IMG_0046-positive.jpg   IMG_0046-positive-2.jpg  

  2. #22

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    Re: Should I Drum Scan, X1 Flextight Scan, or use the Epson V850 w/Aztek Wet Mount Ki

    If you really want to print 6x8 feet I think you must use drum scans. I use an older Imacon Flextight that has similar results to an X1 and found it to be a significant step up from a 4990 Epson flatbed when scanning 4x5 film. I have not compared to an 850—is there much difference? I use the Imacon scans for prints up to 16x20 or sometimes 20x24. Anything larger—the biggest prints I've made are 40x50"—i use drum scans. I also think that if the OP wants to do 6x8 foot prints he should be shooting 8x10, that 4x5 is too small and won't hold up to that degree of enlargement, but that's a topic for another discussion. My thinking is based on scanning b&w, Fuji Astia, and Kodak Portra-primarily 160. BTW some Imacons as well as the Hasselblad variants will handily accommodate 5x7 and 4x10 with the correct holders.
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  3. #23
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Should I Drum Scan, X1 Flextight Scan, or use the Epson V850 w/Aztek Wet Mount Ki

    Quote Originally Posted by interneg View Post
    I'll keep things simple: it isn't. Nowhere near in fact. You will get obfuscation and dishonesty from some desperate defenders of the Epson but the reality is that any 2000ppi scan from a high end CCD/ Imacon/ drum scanner blows the results from a consumer flatbed out of the water.

    If truly skilfully operated, some drum scans might be better than you can achieve with the Imacon, however, a bad operator can make things look far worse than a competently operated Hasselblad/ Imacon. The massive advantage of the Imacon/ Hasselblad is that you have control over it & thus can get the best possible scan it can deliver. I can send a summary of squeezing the best possible results out from one - & how to scan 120 at the 6300ppi resolution - it isn't difficult to do. Just bear in mind that Gursky etc often don't care as much about seemingly unpleasant digital artefacts in their images as you might assume.
    Re Gursky, what do you mean? What scanner does he use? What do the critics say?

  4. #24
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Should I Drum Scan, X1 Flextight Scan, or use the Epson V850 w/Aztek Wet Mount Ki

    Quote Originally Posted by Pali K View Post
    Black and white is not equal to color negatives and color positives are a whole different beast when it comes to digitizing using a scanner. I am the one who posted the example Pere referenced BTW.

    You want the best, go with a reputable drum scanner and youll not doubt your decision why you did that ever. I promise.

    Never used and X1 but only heard great things about it but can vouch for Creo/SCITEX high-end flatbeds that are close to drum quality.

    I probably wont post anything else but feel free to PM me if you want any more thoughts on this directly.

    Pali
    Why do different films scan differently?

  5. #25

    Re: Should I Drum Scan, X1 Flextight Scan, or use the Epson V850 w/Aztek Wet Mount Ki

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Re Gursky, what do you mean? What scanner does he use? What do the critics say?
    1. Photography critics worth reading don't stick their nose up to prints and report back what they see.

    2. What is seen in museums, galleries, collections etc would often not meet the standards of internat forum warriors especially when the print is really big.

    We all try to maximise quality in our work and our work for others, but it's easy to get lost in technical jargon. My guess would be successful gallery artists like Gursky don't actually think much about technical stuff, and judge the prints for themselves. At the end of the day it's all subjective evaluation, and none of those mentioned are being graded on print quality specifically. For that you have to go to a guy like John Sexton, and even his prints don't sell for Gursky numbers or anywhere near.

  6. #26

    Re: Should I Drum Scan, X1 Flextight Scan, or use the Epson V850 w/Aztek Wet Mount Ki

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    In my scanning rig, the capture technology only gets better over time. Old scanners only get older.
    Ha, well said! Thanks so much for elaborating--much to digest on this end. One last question, given your "need for speed," I'm assuming you don't wet-mount your negatives?

  7. #27

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    Re: Should I Drum Scan, X1 Flextight Scan, or use the Epson V850 w/Aztek Wet Mount Ki

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Why do different films scan differently?
    Because grain/clouds are different, and some deliver more aliasing, generating more noise in certain scanners.
    Last edited by Pere Casals; 31-Oct-2019 at 11:53.

  8. #28

    Re: Should I Drum Scan, X1 Flextight Scan, or use the Epson V850 w/Aztek Wet Mount Ki

    Quote Originally Posted by CreationBear View Post
    Ha, well said! Thanks so much for elaborating--much to digest on this end. One last question, given your "need for speed," I'm assuming you don't wet-mount your negatives?
    I've tested it and with a DSLR there is very little need. It does reduce dust and scratch prevalence a bit, but you don't get that general increase in quality that you sometimes see with other scanners. Plus flatness has not really been an issue. I could do it on request however.

  9. #29

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    Re: Should I Drum Scan, X1 Flextight Scan, or use the Epson V850 w/Aztek Wet Mount Ki

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    exceeded the resolution needs of my printer at it's full size (Epson P6000 24").
    Yes, you may require around 50 Mpix effective for that, so your method is OK, it falls a bit short but it won't be much noticeable.

    Anyway a 810 sheet may have some +500MPix inside, so if you instead shot MF (6x7 or 6x9) you would end in the same quality in that 24" print.

  10. #30

    Re: Should I Drum Scan, X1 Flextight Scan, or use the Epson V850 w/Aztek Wet Mount Ki

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    Yes, you may require around 50 Mpix effective for that, so your method is OK, it falls a bit short but it won't be much noticeable.

    Anyway a 810 sheet may have some +500MPix inside, so if you instead shot MF (6x7 or 6x9) you would end in the same quality in that 24" print.
    I can't roll my eyes enough at this response. Go away.

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