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Thread: Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

  1. #1

    Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

    Hi all.

    I have some questions about the Howtek 4500 scanner that I hope can be answered here.



    1) I have read opinions on the software people are using with the scanner. Some say Silverfast is good, but it does not allow for the better level of adjustments that Trident offers. I have also read comments that Silverfast has trouble scanning negative emulsions and that Trident does a better job. Are these false issues and sanner operator related, or is Trident a better software to use for certain situations and Silverfast better for other situations? Any and all info on the software options available and what to expect from them is greatly appreciated.



    2) If using an old Mac-station with the Trident software, how can one scan at 4000dpi with sheet film, or even 120 film if the Mac station does not have the amount of ram that these large files use? Perhaps a different question would be if there is a way to get large files using a system that does not have much ram. An example would be achieving a 4-7gb file from the scan. I know little about the way computers work and handle ram, but logic tells me one needs 4-7gb's of ram to handle this file size. I prefer to work with my regular PC that is loaded with a 64bit OS, quad core cpu, 8GB of ram, and 1TB of HD space, but I am obviously willing to setup an older Mac Station or have a dual boot OS on my PC to run both Trident and Silverfast (see question #1 that relates a good deal to this question #2).



    3) With regards to comparisons-At what size print will one be able to see the difference in a proper scan from the Howtek 4500 with 35mm and 120 film compared to the Nikon 9000 or the Imacons?


    With sheet film, at what print size will one be able to see a difference between the Howtek 4500 and a flatbed scanner from Epson/Microtek/etc.?



    Thank You to all that can help with these questions.

  2. #2

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    Re: Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Findingmyway4ever View Post
    Hi all.

    I have some questions about the Howtek 4500 scanner that I hope can be answered here.



    1) I have read opinions on the software people are using with the scanner. Some say Silverfast is good, but it does not allow for the better level of adjustments that Trident offers. I have also read comments that Silverfast has trouble scanning negative emulsions and that Trident does a better job. Are these false issues and sanner operator related, or is Trident a better software to use for certain situations and Silverfast better for other situations? Any and all info on the software options available and what to expect from them is greatly appreciated.



    2) If using an old Mac-station with the Trident software, how can one scan at 4000dpi with sheet film, or even 120 film if the Mac station does not have the amount of ram that these large files use? Perhaps a different question would be if there is a way to get large files using a system that does not have much ram. An example would be achieving a 4-7gb file from the scan. I know little about the way computers work and handle ram, but logic tells me one needs 4-7gb's of ram to handle this file size. I prefer to work with my regular PC that is loaded with a 64bit OS, quad core cpu, 8GB of ram, and 1TB of HD space, but I am obviously willing to setup an older Mac Station or have a dual boot OS on my PC to run both Trident and Silverfast (see question #1 that relates a good deal to this question #2).



    3) With regards to comparisons-At what size print will one be able to see the difference in a proper scan from the Howtek 4500 with 35mm and 120 film compared to the Nikon 9000 or the Imacons?


    With sheet film, at what print size will one be able to see a difference between the Howtek 4500 and a flatbed scanner from Epson/Microtek/etc.?



    Thank You to all that can help with these questions.
    I own a Howtek 4500 and have only ever run the machine with Silverfast, so I cannot comment on Trident at all. However, while there are things I don't particularly like about Silverfast, it seems perfectly capable of producing excellent scans of negative and positive materials. At present, there is another option available for an excellent price - Aztek have a special running on the standard version of DPL for any Howtek for only $500.

    In terms of what size will you be able to see the difference: this depends on many variables. With smaller formats compared to dedicated film scanners, the differences may not be as immediately obvious as they are with sheets film comparisons with a consumer flatbed, but they will be there. I pretty sure that you will see differences in an 11x14 printed from a 4x5 drum scan vs a scan from a consumer flatbed.

  3. #3

    Re: Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

    Thank You.

    I appreciate the response and the sale right now on the software. My goal is to see if I can discern differences between a Nikon/Imacon and the Howtek 4500 at the 8X10 print size from 35mm/120 film or if, as you are saying, the differences will become apparent at 11X14 size.

    I did a search on your test with 4X5 film vs. 8X10 film and you said the Howtek scan of the 4X5 film looked better than the 8X10 film scanned on the Epson. I forgot the size you mentioned that one showed superiority at, but I think it might have even been 8X10.

    I also found your 35mm scan of the black and white photo. It is very impressive. I am curious how that same photo looks when you scan it from a Nikon or similar dedicated consumer/prosumer scanner and compare the prints at different sizes, even from 5X7 on up.

    Thank You for your input.

  4. #4

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    Re: Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

    That scan was actually made with a desktop film scanner - a Konica Dimage Scan Elite 5400II... That film scanner has a bit more resolution than my Howtek (5400 vs 4000) - I intend having that shot scanned with an Aztek at 8000DPI because even at 5400DPI, there's still information left on the negative. Note, though, that is not a conventioanl B&W emulsion - it's extremely high resolution film.

    On smaller formats, dedicated film scanners do a pretty good job. Drum scans can improve on that a bit because 1. noise is always lower and 2. you can reduce the effect of grain by setting on optimum aperture on the drum scanner. I still use film scanners depsite having a drum scanner too - fast, decent results. If I have a shot with issues, I'll pop it on the drum scanner.

  5. #5

    Re: Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

    Did you ever try to scan that shot on your Howtek? I would be curious how it looks by comparison. I know the DPI figures are inconsistent, but I have also seen comparisons on websites showing a major improvement on the Howtek vs. a Nikon 9000which many consider to be as good or better than the Minolta 5400.

    One quick question: Have you tried the Aztek Standard software available for $500 and if not or if so, can you see any viable reasons for one to go with the pro version instead (just looking at features of both rather than comparing price).

    Thank You.

  6. #6

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    Re: Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Findingmyway4ever View Post
    Did you ever try to scan that shot on your Howtek? I would be curious how it looks by comparison. I know the DPI figures are inconsistent, but I have also seen comparisons on websites showing a major improvement on the Howtek vs. a Nikon 9000which many consider to be as good or better than the Minolta 5400.
    I haven't bothered to scan it on the Howtek because it's obvious that even though the 5400II is extracting almost exactly that real optical resolution, it's still leaving a lot on the negative. The Howtek does a real 4000SPI, so that would leave even more on the negative. Basically, the extra resolution of the Konica scan would be much more apparent than any other major difference. The optical system used to shoot that shot is capable of around 150lp/mm which would require a scan of 8000SPI to extract it all. The film for that shot scans particularly well on film scanners too - very thin emulsion layer, clear base etc, so it's pretty much a best case scenario for a film scanner and because of that, the differences between a scan on a film scanner and a drum scanner are reduced a bit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Findingmyway4ever View Post
    Have you tried the Aztek Standard software available for $500 and if not or if so, can you see any viable reasons for one to go with the pro version instead (just looking at features of both rather than comparing price).
    I have not tried DPL at all - I have only used Silverfast. Those who use DPL, swear by it - I suppose if you've spent $2000-3000 on a piece of software, you'd better be happy with it. I do not have any knowledge of the relative feature sets of the standard or pro versions - I'm sure Aztek could assist you with any queries in that regard - they seem to provide excellent customer service in my experience. Also, join the Scan Hi-end group on Yahoo - it's an excellent source of information on drum and professional flatbed scanners.

  7. #7

    Re: Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

    Thanks a lot again. I truly appreciate it. That 35mm shot is extroardinary and the points you made make perfect sense with relation to information captured, emulsion used, etc. I hope you will post your results from a scan by Lenny and also a print of it by him. I'm sure he would be equally impressed at what can be done under the right circumstances with even a small piece of 35mm film.

    Thanks again and I'll be in contact with Aztek, though it sounds like the software does extremely well. As you pretty much put it, one that pays that kind of money should be getting the best software available for the scanner.

  8. #8

    Re: Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

    Thanks a lot for the advice on the scan times and also what to look out for with regards to the smell, etc. stuff with a drum scanner.

    Here's why I like the idea of the drum scanner=I know a person with a Nikon 9000, though I have only talked to him via email correspondence. He has been shooting 6X7 for years and to this day, still finds no reason to go to digital since his work with the 6X7 is really outstanding. One thing, though, is he is not able to pull out the denser information from his slide film with the Nikon 9000 and has to drum scan for these types of emulsions. Likewise, I have heard many users of high end flatbeds, short of maybe the IQSmart 2/3 explain that they are not able to get the information from slides or chromes out like they can with a drum scan. On anything negative based, the pro-level flatbed users tend to feel the differences are very little or even similar...but also better than the Nikon 9000.

    I plan to shoot a lot of 4X5-5X8 film, with 5X8 being the largest size and primary format. I also want to have 35mm and/or even an MF rangefinder system for more on the fly based shots. So my work will likely consist of 35mm-5X8 sheet film.

    Thanks

  9. #9
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    Re: Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

    Just a note. I spoke with Evan at Aztek the other day.
    He said that the DPL Standard edition is on sale for $500 until the end of October.
    Hopefully if there is enough interest, they may extend it.

    I just bought DPL for my 7500 and im trying to dig out a pc. Being a mac man this is hard thing to do!

    For those interested in Trident. I have used it for many years and it great. I can probably answer any questions you may have.
    PM me or send me an email.

    Trident is simple to use and very flexible. The limit is OS9 which i dont mind but i figured if im doing this for a living, I have to try DPL. I only have a few OS9 machines that still work.
    The 2gb file limit on Trident has to do with the way the product was complied.
    Trident was complied under os 8 which had a 2gb file limit. The limit was removed in os 9 but Trident was never re compiled to take advantage of the new limit.
    For Trident users who have trouble with that odd dialog box that pops up for sub 2gb files.
    Its something like "not enough ram", here is a solution. (Only for sub 2gb scans) Dont rotate the file.
    If you rotate the file, not only does it take almost twice as long to scan but it creates a swop file in ram and on the HD thats double the intended file size. This drove me nuts for a few weeks until i figured it out.

    DPL doesnt have the 2gb limit. Its 4gb for an 8 bit and much larger for 16 and 24 bit (IIRC).
    DPL also addresses the Howtek's PMT's directly and downloads curves to them to gibe a full histogram.
    As apposed to the way Trident and Silverfast does it. Im cant remember if its called LOG AMP or something else.
    And for $500 you cant go wrong. Its less than half the price!

    -ian
    -Ian Mazursky
    www.ianmazursky.com Travel, Landscape, Portraits and my 12x20 diary
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  10. #10

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    Re: Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

    <<With the Nikon 9000 I get a new prdct, is supported by the mfr>>

    On their web site Nikon says that they will not be updating the Nikon Scan software to run under Leopard (it does but not because of anything they've done). That suggests to me that in fact, they will not be supporting the scanner any longer.

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