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Thread: Large scans on a student budget?

  1. #1

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    Jun 2018
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    Large scans on a student budget?

    Hey everyone,

    Im a second year photography student. Iíve been shooting large format since high school, specifically 5x7 for the last 2 or so years.

    Iíve always been a diy-er. On a part time, high school fast food workersí salary, itís not like I was buying fancy cameras. Always beat-up gear from ebay that I either tolerated being a little broken or fixed up myself, I pride myself on being good at finding deals. For the most part, Iíve made all my work in a barebones bathroom darkroom after buying someoneís darkroom equipment setup on craigslist for a few bucks. A little desk lamp hooked up to a timer has served me like a champ for making contact prints.

    Last year when I went to college, I started using the schoolís Imacon scanner for inkjet printing. Since my school never reopened because of COVID, I worked from home (a few states away) this last semester, mailing film to the school so the lab techs could scan it for me. They did this for free for all the kids who took the large format class.

    Right now, Iím in a bit of a predicament. The semester is over for me and the school lab is closed for the winter. But, I have to submit work for a serious-ish exhibition application in about a month and a half and thus need to scan a bunch of my 5x7s to make some large (~40Ē, ideally) inkjet prints. I bought the cheapest epson v750 I could find on ebay but had to return it because it was non-functional. Quite frankly, I canít afford to drop hundreds or thousands on getting them commercially scanned. Iíve got 500$ to find a way to make these images and I donít really know if itís worth it to keep trying to find a used epson online (this last one being just the most recent of a long line of broken ebay scanners Ive had to return over the years).

    The only other option that comes to mind is trying to use a digital camera. A friend/mentor has given me an old phase one H25 digital back (22mp) that Iíve been playing with on my view camera. I could feasibly digitize my negatives with this, stitching multiple captures together like people do with DSLRís.

    Before I go out and spend my budget on a light table and other things Iíd need to scan with the digital back ó is there any other scanner/method I donít know of within my budget to make these scans? Iím adamant about not having someone else do it because I want something I can continue to use in the future. I donít want to spend my budget /just/ on this set of scans. Obviously I understand the practical limitations, Iím clearly not going to get the best-of-the-best final prints imaginable and that has never been my goal. I just need to make the prints and have them be acceptable. Iíve seen prints at the Broad in LA that Iíd be embarrassed to pin up for critique in my 300-level photo classes as far as their technical quality, so Iím not sweating too hard over that, the images just need to be made.

    Thanks for the help!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Large scans on a student budget?

    You may get more and better responses and help if you define your location as close as is reasonable

    City or zipcode

    Just printing, framing and anti glare glass/plastic is expensive

    I am closest to St Louis and use this vendor https://divlab.com/

    40" prints need much larger mats and frames
    2022

  3. #3
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Large scans on a student budget?

    How many negatives? I would consider the digital camera scan route, perhaps with a rented high-resolution camera/lens to do single-shot scans or less stitching at the least. A <$20 light table and good tripod is all you need otherwise...well and patience.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  4. #4

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    Re: Large scans on a student budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    You may get more and better responses and help if you define your location as close as is reasonable

    City or zipcode

    Just printing, framing and anti glare glass/plastic is expensive

    I am closest to St Louis and use this vendor https://divlab.com/

    40" prints need much larger mats and frames
    Printing and all of that have already been sorted out logistically, I'll be showing the prints without framing/matting etc, simple hung to the wall. I'm located in Iowa. All I need to figure out is how to scan.

  5. #5

    Re: Large scans on a student budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arg6442 View Post
    I bought the cheapest epson v750 I could find on ebay but had to return it because it was non-functional. Quite frankly, I canít afford to drop hundreds or thousands on getting them commercially scanned. Iíve got 500$ to find a way to make these images and I donít really know if itís worth it to keep trying to find a used epson online (this last one being just the most recent of a long line of broken ebay scanners Ive had to return over the years).
    Maybe a good condition v700? I think it is worth it, esp for 5x7. Don't update to catalina, just use the old epson scan. Undoubtedly camera scanning is the future but for 500 my vote would be one more try on ebay for a clean v700.

    or just send em contact prints.

  6. #6

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    Re: Large scans on a student budget?

    Lowest cost option I can think of with your current assets would be to purchase frosted or opal glass to diffuse daylight behind the negative and scan with the the H25. Build a jig to move the neg holder to each scan position.

  7. #7

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    Re: Large scans on a student budget?

    You didn't specify color or black and white.

    I would check out the Raleno PLV-S192-- it's an inexpensive LED panel designed as a fill-light, but it works well (and is pretty commonly used) for DSLR imaging of negatives.

    For B&W it's absolutely no problem, Color isn't too difficult if you mask well and block out extraneous lights (also recommended for B&W, but absolutely required for color negatives).

    For stitching, there's Hugin (free), or my current preference, Affinity Photo (not free, but not terribly expensive).

  8. #8

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    Large scans on a student budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by grat View Post
    You didn't specify color or black and white.

    I would check out the Raleno PLV-S192-- it's an inexpensive LED panel designed as a fill-light, but it works well (and is pretty commonly used) for DSLR imaging of negatives.

    For B&W it's absolutely no problem, Color isn't too difficult if you mask well and block out extraneous lights (also recommended for B&W, but absolutely required for color negatives).

    For stitching, there's Hugin (free), or my current preference, Affinity Photo (not free, but not terribly expensive).
    Im doing black and white, this sounds like a good option. I have the adobe suite through the school so software/stitching is not an issue. Thanks a bunch!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Large scans on a student budget?

    Regarding stitching: I've had great success, especially with multiple high-rez scans, using the free Microsoft ICE program. Try it out.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  10. #10
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Large scans on a student budget?

    An 8x enlargement is pretty serious.... I have a bit of experience with all of this, including being in charge of all of the equipment at a major studio which used a boatload of H25 backs.... My advice is to find someone local with a professional scanner who'll let you use it for cheap, an Imacon, Eversmart, Screen...... Trying to optimize a diy system in a short time would be a real challenge. (I've built an automated dslr scanner, and so I do know a bit about what it would take to get good results.) There might be a college close to you that would let you scan. Email their art departments and ask. Maybe one of your professors has some contacts.....Otherwise, maybe someone here lives close enough....
    May tomorrow be a better day.

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