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Thread: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

  1. #11
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Two more examples. Both converted neg to positive tonight, no scaling or any attempt at color correction. Neither was sharpened during or after scan. I am still figuring out the profile/method I want to scan my film with as I do the conversion outside of the drum scanner. (It is something I will need to spend a great deal of time learning how to convert using the limited tool set of the drum scanner software.




  2. #12
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    The highlights in the second seem to be really clipped.

  3. #13
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    For the trees, the second one is the Howtek.

  4. #14

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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Resolution is not everything.
    Flatbeds can easily match resolution of drum scanners when scanned at practical DPI.
    The same goes for the overall DR.
    Where flatbeds really fall short is the transitions from light to dark. Due to the nature of optical system in flatbeds, the light "spills" into dark areas reducing/compromising the actual contrast captured on film. The effect can be seen as "flatbed scans" being less crisp than "drum scans". But there are also benefits in that. Some images should look smooth and flatbed flaws help there big time.
    These "light spills" also make profiling of flatbeds harder. In many cases profiles created for flatbeds is what kills details in shadows (not the native DR of flatbeds).

  5. #15
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    I do agree resolution is not everything. What I see is the ability to reproduce subtle gradations and transitions across the spectrum. The V850 uses led light source whereas t he Howtek use a lamp around 2700 Kelvin color temp I believe and photo multiplier tunes. One for each color. The V850 still uses a Bayer type pattern filter.

    The Howtek is a hybrid analog to digital whereas the V850 is pretty much all digital. Another aspect if the Howtek is I make initial scan, make the adjustments I want save that and use that calibration file to make final scan. This results in a linear output film curve which is easily modified in programs like PS. Can't do that with V850. Only way is to scan file, make zero adjustments and save as linear raw tiff. The resulting post processing work is considerably more than with Howtek.

    Also, due to V850, it's led light source and the way it records each color channel produces a harsh rendering if image that looks digital whereas the Howtek has a more natural feel and look to a scanned image.

    I have made thousands of scans with V850. I calibrated focus and spent considerable time determining optimum settings and found that scanning at 6400dpi and then doing a 2x2 binning to end up with a 3200dpi file provided the highest detail for a reasonable file size that allows me to make prints 50 plus inches in size. Doing this method provides a better file than scanning at 3200 dpi or even 4000dpi directly. I am not going to get into the whole bs argument of the V850 is only good for 2400dpi ir whatever someone would say the "true" optical resolution is. I know from practical experience and use what this scanner can do. It is a fine scanner. I will eventually use it to scan glass plates that will be made for astrophotography and possibly portraits.

    The Howtek provides versatility, fine detail, better gradations and shadow detail. It also has a better color rendition, a more natural look and feel to images scanned and can always provide a linear output film curve even after tweaking image during scan. From the images I have scanned with it so far I have found them to be considerably better in every respect over the V850. I don't mean night and day better. I mean subtly better in how they look. Smoother, more natural than V850.

    For me the Howtek is now my default method of scanning. I also have lots of spare parts, lamps, etc to take me well 8bto the future. I have two drums and will be getting couple 3 more down the road.

    The Epson will remain my work horse scanner, especially for glass plates as I am not ready to drop 5k-7k on a top of the line flatbed (used of course). I have made entry of fine images with it and will continue to do so. I even have a spare lid for it and will get so.e more spare parts for it as well. I also have a really cool black cover for it and several betterscanning adjustable frames. I do need to get some more ANR glass though for 4x5 /5x7 and 8x10.

    I wet mount my film for Epson and Howtek.

    Okay it's line 3am and my pain meds fir my ankle reconstruction are keeping me up, yeah . But, gonna try to pass out. More to come with examples of chromes scanned both with Epson and Howtek.
    Last edited by Steven Ruttenberg; 2-Nov-2020 at 21:09.

  6. #16
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Very interested in your glass plates

    all aspects

    any light you may cast is welcome
    wear mask or NOT

    is ???

  7. #17
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Steve, you mentioned 50". Would you be able to tell the difference for let's say a 30" print between the scanners?

  8. #18

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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Negatives is not the best material to use for comparison. Our eyes are not sensitive enough to tell the difference between mostly orange hues coming out of each scanner (if scanned as we see them on a light table). The resulting positive image is a product of mostly unpredictable software that inverts the scan into a positive image. If anything then it is more of a comparison between how the unpredictable software deals with the actual orange scans from each scanner.
    A simple test that should reveal the major difference between two systems (CCD vs PMT) is to scan only the unexposed boarder area of Velvia 50 where the factory imprinted text is located (Fujifilm RVP 50 etc) at 3000-5000 DPI . Then bringing the images in PS and applying an extreme tone curve (same to each image) to open the shadows as much as possible without clipping the highlights (the orange Fujifilm imprint).
    A similar test can be done by scanning an HCT target (preferably on Velvia 50) and then applying an extreme tone curve as above. The area around patch V27 will be quite telling.
    Last edited by SergeyT; 1-Nov-2020 at 11:37.

  9. #19

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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Ruttenberg View Post
    I do agree resolution is nit everything. What I see is the ability to reproduce subtle gradations and transitions across the spectrum. The V850 uses led light source whereas t he Howtek use a lamp around 2700 Kelvin color temp I believe and photo multiplier tunes. One for each color. The V850 still uses a Bayer type pattern filter.

    The Howtek is a hybrid analog to digital whereas the V850 is pretty much all digital. Another aspect if the Howtek is I make initial scan, make the adjustments I want save that and use that calibration file to make final scan. This results in a linear output film curve which is easily modified in programs like PS. Can't do that with V850. Only way is to scan file, make zero adjustments and save as linear raw tiff. The resulting post processing work is considerably more than with Howtek.
    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.

  10. #20
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Another Comparison of the Howtek VS V850

    Grat,

    I agree with most of what you say. But it's my understanding that PMT scanners, assuming a well implemented system operating in spec, has, by it's very nature, less flare than a flat or digital camera system. Whether this is important will depend on the viewer.

    The 'keeping the film flat' requirement isn't all that easy to accomplish with a non-drum scanner. With a cylinder, wet-mounting pulls the film onto the drum. This doesn't happen wet-mounting to a flat surface. I've had some film that would simply not lie flat without a weighted cover sheet.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

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