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Thread: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

  1. #41
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Quote Originally Posted by grat View Post
    Sorry, Steve, but I have to disagree with the highlighted statement.

    Both use an analog light source to capture quantities of light in sensors which then perform analog-to-digital conversions, resulting in a matrix of digital numbers. They are both hybrid-- if the Epson was pure digital, it couldn't capture light.

    The bit about adjustments is just software, and has nothing to do with the hardware, really.

    The primary advantages of the Howtek are:

    • Wet mount
    • Adjustable focus
    • Adjustable aperture
    • separate sensors for R, G, and B
    • higher native scanning resolution (4000 vs 3200).

    As long as the light source is understood by the processor, color temperature is largely irrelevant-- the CRI is important, but again, if the processor knows the weak/strong areas of the light source, math is your friend. Interestingly, the Howtek 4000 has a lower claimed optical density than the Epson-- although I'd want to see independent testing of both to confirm that.

    If someone were to build a flatbed scanner with adjustable focus and/or aperture, coupled to a modern CCD or CMOS 20MP or so monochrome sensor, a quality lens, and filters for R, G and B, it would make the Howtek look like a toy.

    It would also cost a couple of grand to manufacture, and no sane company is going to make a gamble like that, especially in this economy.

    It could also probably be built from parts by a tech savvy individual for under a grand using a pile of parts, though. At least, I hope it can.
    I say hybrid, because the light source is digital in the Epson (led), the Howtek uses old fashioned light bulbs (halogen, I believe). Also, the final image from the Howtek is not software manipulated as it is with the Epson this means data is not corrupted when brought into a program like PS. The calibration files tell the pmts how to record the light whereas the epson image is a software manipulated image if you adjust it in the scanner software. Big draw back. Also a draw back is the Bayer filter system that modern flatbeds like epson use. Another drawback.

    And yes, if someone wanted to you could create a scanner to rival a drum scanner, but doubtful you will get the look and feel of the image which to me more closely resembles film. The modern scanners are just too harsh and unforgiving. Much like modern digital lenses like the Sigma Art lenses. They are technically perfect, but they are so perfect they suck. The image is harsh, esoteric, and too perfect. No personality.

    There is the Flextight scanner for 25K, but I have not seen comparisons of those images to drums or V850.

    Someday we will get an affordable scanner to truly rival a drum scanner.

    Don't get me wrong, I love my Epson V850.

  2. #42
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Quote Originally Posted by grat View Post
    Indeed. They appear to be fairly "deep" in their design, limiting the amount of side-scatter. I confess to not knowing much about PMT sensors-- but I would suspect a modern, monochrome only CCD/CMOS sensor would have greater density. But that's a guess.



    Also true-- I specifically mentioned wet mounting, but didn't go into too much detail. Wet mount is also possible with the Epson, in a couple of different ways, and does appear to enhance contrast and color. Once you've gone to the trouble of mounting to a smooth, continuous surface with a fluid + mylar sandwich, and removed all the air, however, you're going to have to work to prove that centripetal acceleration improves the contact by any significant amount. Curled film will always be a challenge.
    All the samples I post are wet mounted on the Epson and the Howtek. I can certainly tell the difference. I have been able to have all my 4x5 film lay flat when wet mounting for the epson. I roller it out as part of my mounting.

  3. #43
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Quote Originally Posted by grat View Post
    True, in all regards. However, the v800/850 holders are still "stepped"-- 5 steps instead of 2 (and an irritating tendency to shift when I'm loading film), but the screw-type adjuster on the (for instance) betterscanning holder, is superior. Unfortunately, he's still apparently either catching up, or incommunicado.

    In the case of the Howtek, it's got multiple sensors for each color, and (I assume) uses the rotating drum to pass the negative across each sensor, meaning each 1/4000th of an inch of negative passes over three sensors, instead of the Epson which uses 1 sensor to decode all 3 colors at once (which can be done, but it's effectiveness is entirely based on the algorithms that are trying to recreate that color based on three (four-- RGGB) adjacent grayscale readings).

    The native resolution of the v800/850 appears to be 3200 PPI (in the central high resolution band), with it appearing to be able to do a "pixel shift" type maneuver to reach 6400 PPI. 12,800 PPI is just making up (interpolating) pixels to go in between the 6400 PPI results. If it did three pixel shifts (one for R, G and B) it might produce a more detailed scan, but otherwise, the effect of the bayer demosaic process will reduce the resolution slightly. By scanning at a higher resolution and "binning" the results down to a lower resolution, Steve is effectively raising the signal-to-noise ratio of his scans, and throwing out some of the less reliably interpolated results.

    In theory.

    My biggest gripe with the state of film scanning in 2020 is that the difference in RAW processing between my 2007 Canon EOS 30D and my 2019 EOS 90D is truly breathtaking-- the difference in sensor processing between the Epson v700 from 2006 and my Epson v800 from 2015 (purchased this year) is... Not much.
    To my knowledge there is no pixel shift. The V850 has a true 6400 optical resolution. Once you go above that, it becomes an interpolated result I think. Again, I think having to perfect a scan degrades the reason we use film in the first place.

  4. #44
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Quote Originally Posted by grat View Post
    True, in all regards. However, the v800/850 holders are still "stepped"-- 5 steps instead of 2 (and an irritating tendency to shift when I'm loading film), but the screw-type adjuster on the (for instance) betterscanning holder, is superior. Unfortunately, he's still apparently either catching up, or incommunicado.

    In the case of the Howtek, it's got multiple sensors for each color, and (I assume) uses the rotating drum to pass the negative across each sensor, meaning each 1/4000th of an inch of negative passes over three sensors, instead of the Epson which uses 1 sensor to decode all 3 colors at once (which can be done, but it's effectiveness is entirely based on the algorithms that are trying to recreate that color based on three (four-- RGGB) adjacent grayscale readings).

    The native resolution of the v800/850 appears to be 3200 PPI (in the central high resolution band), with it appearing to be able to do a "pixel shift" type maneuver to reach 6400 PPI. 12,800 PPI is just making up (interpolating) pixels to go in between the 6400 PPI results. If it did three pixel shifts (one for R, G and B) it might produce a more detailed scan, but otherwise, the effect of the bayer demosaic process will reduce the resolution slightly. By scanning at a higher resolution and "binning" the results down to a lower resolution, Steve is effectively raising the signal-to-noise ratio of his scans, and throwing out some of the less reliably interpolated results.

    In theory.

    My biggest gripe with the state of film scanning in 2020 is that the difference in RAW processing between my 2007 Canon EOS 30D and my 2019 EOS 90D is truly breathtaking-- the difference in sensor processing between the Epson v700 from 2006 and my Epson v800 from 2015 (purchased this year) is... Not much.
    I use the better scanning film holder, anr glass, and optical mylar with scan fluid and a brayer roller to squeeze out all air and flatten the negative between the mylar and glass. Works great.

  5. #45
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    Yep, that's a good option.

    Daniel's design was compact and very sturdy, as the system clamped the lens in place.

    I used a Velmex 4000 unislide to position the camera + lens system. That was more complex and expensive, but it allowed me to change out lenses. I tried about 20 different lenses, and I ended up preferring a Rodagon D 75mm 1x lens at 1x magnification. I expect there are better options now...but even with the ancient 55 Nikkor, the system outperformed an Epson flatbed, and that was tested using resolution targets and stepwedges for density measurements. My system outperformed the Epson by about 1 stop more dynamic range. Today's cameras can likely do significantly better, and that's not even considering multiple exposures and different exposure levels. I tested that back then too, and it gave great results, but it did require a lot of extra exposures and processing.
    Thought about doing something like that, but never got to it. I bet with 3D printing, one could make an excellent film scanner. Especially with something like the Canon mirrorless that was just released. Or using one of the astronomical cameras like the ASI6200 monochrome. You could use a filter wheel, and scan the image with the monochrome camera using a red, green, blue filter. Specifically the ones used for original tricolor work way back when. This actually would work really well. But when you are done, you just bought and paid for a a refurbished drum scanner. But it would be cool.

  6. #46
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Ruttenberg View Post
    The way to reduce the ppi is to do a 2x2 binning. This is different than resizing in photoshop or other programs. 2x2 binning turns 4 pixels into a super pixel. Reducing the file using photoshop or epson scan will yield inferior results. To my knowledge only Vuescan offers this option unless you use a different program.
    I don't have Vuescan and don't want to buy it just for binning. Is there a way to do a 2x2 binning reduction of 4800 to 2400 in Lightroom. If not do you know another program that will do it? Tks.

  7. #47

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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    I had to find the quote that backed up what the random synapses were trying to tell me:

    Bilinear interpolation considers the closest 2 2 neighborhood of known pixel values surrounding the unknown pixel's computed location. It then takes a weighted average of these 4 pixels to arrive at its final, interpolated value.

    --wikipedia article on bilinear interpolation
    Vuescan is probably doing this with the RAW data from the scanner, but a resample using bilinear interpolation should put you pretty close to the same result.

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