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

  1. #11

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

    I understand your points. The Terrapin photo comparison has a Howtek 4500 vs. Nikon 9000 (may be an 8000) scan and the Howtek makes the Nikon look soft by comparison. The Nikon also shows up issues of pixellation/banding/etc. when it starts to get grainy. These are only online screenshots and not real life prints, so what the tests above prove is nothing more than showing the Howtek besting the Nikon very handily.

    I am pretty certain Daniel Buck from this forum has a Howtek 4500 and he tested an Imacon, claiming they had come a long way (2006), but...


    "For the money, the best 8X10 scans will come from a Howtek 4500, which are getting pretty inexpensive these days. So far superior to Imacon that it's not even worth discussing. A bit of a learning curve to fluid mount to the drum, but far less dust to take care of and perfect focus everywhere. Hey, everyone's got different standards. I demoed Imacon and bought a Howtek. Never regretted it."


    One thing about working with a drum scanner, favoreably, is that in spite a scan can take a long time, one can prepare the next scan by proofing the next piece of film to be scanned and put that waiting time into preparation/perfecting the next scan.

  2. #12

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Findingmyway4ever View Post
    prove is nothing more than showing the Howtek besting the Nikon very handily.
    I am very familiar with this scanner - I had one. I now have a Premier, the 8000 dpi older brother of the 4500.

    I would say, without question that the 4500, IMO, is the best bang for your buck out there. it is one of the sharpest scanners you can find. I have compared it against many other drums scanners (including a Tango which it beat handily) and it does extremely well. There isn't a flatbed, or other CCD scanner that can match it.

    I prefer the Digital PhotoLab software by a very long shot. It's more expensive, but IMO worth every penny. It's a professional tool. I don't think the other choices can claim that in any regard. The statement may be a little rough on Silverfast, but I just don't think it compares - even if Silverfast could get a good scan out of the machine it doesn't have the ease and clarity to make this easy for you.

    If you are doing b&w I would suggest getting the PRO version. One would hope they have a special on that as well. The customer CMS feature goes one step farther than any other software. You create a custom setup for an image and the software loads that setup into the firmware of the scanner and the scanner scans that way. This is very different from doing a RAW scan and then applying your changes. I do this for every b&w image that I scan.

    I scan all kinds of things for my clients, but only 4x5 and 8x10 for myself. You will be amazed at what the scanner can do with a piece of large format film.

    There are a lot of folks who add that mounting can be hard, etc, even tho' they haven't done it. Ridiculous. Mounting is just mounting. Yes, one has to learn it, and it helps to have an Aztek mounting station which is tensioned properly.... and someone to show you your first time. But it is just a technique you have to get used to, just like knowing where the emulsion is in the dark, and loading a holder, or remembering to close the lens first and then taking the dark slide out - or any number of other tasks we all have to perform regularly.

    One last thing - Did I read that you want to test this with an 8x10 print? You won't see a difference at that size - heck, you could even use a 3 megapixel digital camera and get a decent print at that size. Enlarge it to 40 inches, then crop a 10 inch piece of that and take a look...

    If you want some more help you can contact me directly...

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

  3. #13

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

    Found another post by the same user this year and he now has the 8000 scanner. Not sure who this person is, but they said the Howtek 4500/8000 are flat out in a different league than the 9000 "but", that as with all things, it is user operated where he said he could do a better 9000 scan (since he knows the machine so well) better than he would be able to do a first time or 10 time try with a Howtek 4500/8000 scanner. Another person responded about the 9000 saying the same thing coming from an Epson in how it took time to learn to properly use the 9000, but it's in a different league than the Epsons.

    I don't mind the wet based mounting with drum scanners and would be wet-scanning anything on a 9000 or similar dedicated film scanner or even the IQ2/3. But wet-scanning on the 9000 vs. working with the chemical process of a drum scanner is likely a much different process and a nicer one for the chemically immune!

    One thing mentioned in this thread, I believe, is the scan quality from different scanners and how everything changes once it goes to print. That an Epson can look excellent on screen, but most will say it and even large format film, is not good on print at anymore than a 3X size. Some might even consider the 3X w/Epson vs. a drum scan or off an Imacon to look worst. But from online scan testing with the Epson, it seems to show that it can print very well at 5-6X (with sheet film).

    I have a Howtek 4500 heading my way and wanted to get an idea of what to expect quality wise if I am shooting 35mm-sheet film. Sheet film will be my main format, but with the obvious costs/light/etc. factors involved, I like to have some faster alternatives with 35mm and MF.

    Thanks to all that have been very helpful and it sounds like in the end, there are pros/cons with all of these scanning tools once one starts getting into the more spendy machines.

  4. #14

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

    [QUOTE=Van Camper;400835]"Thanks to all that have been very helpful and it sounds like in the end, there are pros/cons with all of these scanning tools once one starts getting into the more spendy machines."

    I agree 110%. As a side note, I found out something interesting. When doing a comparison, not only is it important to match up exposure, but also get the color exact. Taking the Howtek and Nikon 8000 scan again. I adjusted the Nikon scan a bit in curves (slight pull in middle to lighten it), then I adjusted the red to match closer to the Nikon scan. Not only did curves lighten the shadows, but so does the color adjustment. So all these tests were seeing are really not so simple. Even the Tango came out behind the Nikon, and I highly doubt this to be true. With the curves and color adjustment (and a slight bit of sharpening), I could not see a difference between the howtek or nikon. Then again, I'm looking at something at 100% on a screen, with less then 100ppi compared to a print at 300ppi.


    Hehehehe


    Work on that Howtek scan and make it look the best to your eyes and then compare your 8000 version with your 4500 version. It'd be great to see your version of that 4500 scan so we can compare the two.

  5. #15

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    "Hehehehehe....Work on that Howtek scan and make it look the best to your eyes and then compare your 8000 version with your 4500 version. It'd be great to see your version of that 4500 scan so we can compare the two."


    Well......hehehehe....why don't you try improving the Howtek scan yourself? Kill yourself trying, I know the result...both look equal, although this doesn't really matter because we both have different needs (I don't do 5x8).

    ...not about a pissing competition or anything like that. Do not mean to come off seeming this way as it is beside the point.

    Point is, we have no way to know what an on-screen scan really means. I'm sure you could fiddle with the Howtek scan to make it look similar, equal, and maybe better than the Nikon scan. Likewise, one cannot look at the LF forum's scanner test with any grain of salt as there are flaws in the tests. That Cezanne scan, for example, has a horrid yellow casting over it. There is a mixture of colors between the scanners, the flatbeds either not sharpened or over-sharpened, etc.

    Again, as already discussed, what is on the print is what matters most.

    Perhaps the better question about scanning 35mm-120 film would be at what size is the Howtek scan showing superiority to one done with a Nikon/Minolta machine? Or, is the Howtek not actually superior to these machines? OR, is the print size where the Howtek does show its superiority one that a person only prints a few images to, and would rather have it coming from a sheet of even the smallest LF size=4X5, etc. etc...


    My goal is to have a machine that gives excellence with all formats. I do not have the money for multiple scanners/equipment for each format, and if I can get results equal to, or even superior to the Nikon/Minolta (for 35mm/120) using the Howtek 4500,then it represents the best value in my virtual checkbook.

  6. #16

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Findingmyway4ever View Post
    There is a mixture of colors between the scanners, the flatbeds either not sharpened or over-sharpened, etc.
    I would say a couple of things. The first is that you shouldn't bother to compare scanners by color. The color is a factor of how the operator set up the scanner to do the particular scan. More important would be ho much detail can be pulled out of the shadows - or dense highlights.

    Second, the Tango is an OK scanner. The optical resolution of a Tango is around 4000 ppi. The Premier is twice that, at about 8,000. It's also fixed at 11 microns, which is ok for b&w negs and chromes, but useless for color negs. West Coast Imaging is service where they put it on the drum and scan it, at whatever resolution you ask for. It's a business. This is very different from going to someone who is a photographer themselves that does scans for a living - to exacting standards, who will talk to you and make sure to get you the scan you looking for.

    Finally, drum scanners use PMT (Photo Multiplier Tube) technology to do their work. They will always best the CCD scanners, which use the same type of sensor chip that is in a digital camera to do theirs. PMT's have a much higher dynamic range, are more sensitive within the range and go directly to a sensor to read, whereas all CCD scanners go thru another lens. Some of those lenses are excellent and some are plastic, depending on the cost of the scanner.

    Lots of folks don't need this kind of optical resolution. They make prints no larger than 17 inches, or have an aesthetic that doesn't require it. Some folks shoot with lensbabies or soft focus lenses. However, many of us have super sharp lenses, go to all lengths to carry around large cameras, learn our Scheimpflug rules to get every last bit of sharpness, maximum depth of field and everything else - and my opinion is that those folks ought to be using a drum scanner whenever possible.

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

  7. #17

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    "Perhaps the better question about scanning 35mm-120 film would be at what size is the Howtek scan showing superiority to one done with a Nikon/Minolta machine? Or, is the Howtek not actually superior to these machines?
    The Howtek is superior to a film scanner. I'd say a 16x20 would easily show the difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    Well, both the Howtek and Nikon are rated at 4000ppi, and I doubt either obtains that, though the Howtek I expect to be slightly closer.
    The Howtek is rated 4094 Optical. Films scanners will be around half that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    I agree, we each must look at our needs. For you the key was 5x8, while for me I didn't want mounting. Where drum scanners win are when smaller formats can use 8-11000ppi for very big prints from 35mm. For everyone else, your Howtek or a 9000 isn't working very hard....rarely over 2400spi for most work with larger film.
    Not wanting to mount is well, it shouldn't be a factor. It just isn't that hard. I would agree that film scanners, especially with wet mounting accessories do a pretty good job. Not as good as a drum, but alright. For large format film, a drum scanner does amazing things. If one has bothered to buy good lenses and learn their swings and tilts and had to carry all that stuff around, they deserve a good scan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    Photomultiplier technology is actually old technology I've had on my old Macbeth color analyzer from 35 yrs ago. It is good, but when compared to a IQ3 you gain very little when put into perspective.
    This is simply not true. It's old technology, but so is a car. They still work very well. CCD technology is still in its infancy and doesn't supply the same quality. Have you compared an IQ# to a Premier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    It matches or exceeds the Tango (not the best) which most of us are happy with. I would expect only the ICG or Aztek premier are the only match. This is why prepress, and everyone else are dumping them....too old, when a IQ3 is enough to handle everything. The only benefit is attaining higher resolutions to 8000ppi plus, while the IQ3 is limited to 5300ppi.
    Yes, but not 5300 optical.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    Unless your making humungous prints from very small negatives, I don't see the point when for most of us when even 2400ppi is often too much. I also expect the CCD to soon surpass the drum on all fronts because there is a demand for them, therefore advancements will continue.
    The CCD scanner won't be developed because of the same reason that PMT scanners won't be developed. Film is going bye-bye. We all know it, most of us here don't like the idea, but it's just a matter of when. 5 years or 10? There may be a manufacturer or two who will continue to supply the small market, but certainly not a reason for someone to spend a lot of R&D on scanners.

    You're making a lot of statements about one thing being good enough, or something else being not so much better. I really don't want to be rude, but you aren't speaking from experience. You don't have a drum scanner. How could you know? Having WCI scan for you is not a good measure. Youfr conclusions are conjecture.

    I have done the tests, and while its truly unfortunate that many can't afford a drum scanner, at 2500-10K, they are clearly superior. Everyone has to have that place where something is sufficient for what they need, and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm looking for a Sironar-S 300mm lens in good condition. I can't afford a new one. But I am not going to say that all lenses are just as good when they clearly aren't. They are what I can afford right now and in some cases they suffice.

    As I said before, not wanting to mount is not a reason to use a drum or not. The issue is quality. I don't want to lug around a large format camera, either but that's what I need to do to get quality. If you have enough dexterity to slice an onion, you can mount film on a drum.

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

  8. #18
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    Re: Howtek 4500-Questions-Software, Comparisons, Etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    I see your point, but it is still a new product, parts available, still mfrng them in batches to meet demand. That's far better then buying an old discontinued drum with parts costing a fortune. It runs on Leopard, and Vista/XP, so were still doing alright (modern stuff)....far better then a slow G3/G4. Also, with the qty of Nikon scanners out there, I expect companies like Silverfast to keep up where Nikon left off.
    Nikon supports Vista/XP 32-bit, but so far they are saying that they have no plans to support 64-bit Windows. More's the pity, because a full-resolution scan of a 6x9cm color negative or transparency from the 9000 is huge.

    LaserSoft (the SilverFast folks) won't come to the rescue, because they rely on the Nikon drivers. No Nikon driver, no Silverfast version. I've seen speculation that VueScan will be able to run the 9000 under 64-bit Windows using some sort of generic driver; I don't know if that's true, or what functionality it will support if it is.

    I have no idea whether any of the drum scanner software runs in 64-bit.

  9. #19

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

    Hi, I thought I'd make a few comments on this thread based on my personal experience.

    I use a number of scanners including a Nikon 5000 and a Howtek 4000. I tend to use the Nikon for mounted slides as it saves the hassle of undoing and redoing the slide mount, otherwise I use the Howtek. With properly exposed 35mm film the Nikon gives excellent scans, however they do show more grain than the equivalent scan from the Howtek, presumably as a result of the wet mounting. With anything other than properly exposed film though the Howtek wins easily because the Nikon does suffer from noise in the shadow areas (as most CCD devices do).

    As a relatively recent convert to drum scanning I think the difficulty in mounting is very much overstated - it is easy once you have done it a few times, even easier once you have seen the video on the Aztek website (which I hadn't when I started wet mounting).

    Lastly I don't think it is worth being concerned about whether the software works in 64-bit environments or not unless you are limited to just a single computer. I agree that the files created by these scanners are huge, at least compared to the majority of files from digital cameras, however this is only an issue for image editing not for scanning. I use older (and therefore cheap!) PC's to run my scanners. They work just fine, even when scanning a 4x5 slide at 4000spi, as the actual flow of data from the scanner is relatively slow. I then use much more powerful 64-bit PC's to process the images where the higher throughput is better appreciated.

    David Whistance

  10. #20

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    Hi Lenny, just to make myself clear, I have been arguing two points. One, I never said that a Nikon 9000 will match a top end drum scanner (everyone knows this). I also mentioned I expected the Howtek 4500 to be slightly better then the Nikon 9000, perhaps a bit more resolution (although many here have commented otherwise after getting back drum scans), with the real advantage in shadows that drum scanners are noted for. However, the Cezanne, Eversmart Supreme , and IQ2/IQ3 will blow the 4500 away. So does that mean the 4500 is no good? Try telling all the pros in here using their Eversmart Pro/proII (rated at 3175spi) that you need a drum scan when really what they need is only a 2400ppi scan for some huge prints from 4x5. All these products are going to do the job, and the Nikon 9000 rests in the same circles with good performance…not the best, but very good. Two, I have several times pointed out that for some of us another option exists. If you can compromise on 612/617 for large format work (using stitching), you have solved the scanner dilemma (which one) we all go through. It does superb quality cheaply, fast, XP/Vista, is new, warranty, low repair costs, no need for an old Mac or Scsii, no dust during loading, easy to find 120 film in most stores, no loading 4x5 at motels/truck stops, easy processing at home on stainless reels. When you consider how often you crop your 4x5 landscapes to 612 anyways, you can save at least 50% in film/processing costs. For the times you needs 4x5 or larger try renting time on a Imacon 848 at most pro labs or pay your $79 for a drum scan (eg- WCI,Calypso, etc).
    An IQ will not blow the 4500 away - the 4500 is rated by Aztek at 4094 and the IQ is at 3175. Take a look at Scannerforum.com. also, PMT technology is better than CCD technology. More sensitive, color for color, and better shadow and highlight detail. If you want to use 612, that's your perogative. I don't get enough quality out of it, for me. We are obviously doing different kind of work. Everyone gets to choose the tools that are right for them. Is med format easier? Sure it is. But personally I have no interest in stitching, if I can avoid it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    The lowest number I've seen was based on actual tests done by Sanking (2790ppi) and I remember him saying his friend did a test and reported approximately 3000ppi (from memory). But most have stated values between 3300-3800ppi. Ted himself had always stated it was close to a true 4000ppi. But frankly, even if you want to stick to your guns, a value of 2000ppi still will give a 10000mp file (4x5), and 14000mp for 617 formats (lengthwise). That's still a 33 or 46 inch print (at 300ppi) depending if you use 612 or 617 formats.
    I think the Nikon is higher, I would agree, that figure was for most flatbeds. I have great respect for Ted and Sandy. I sincerely don't mean to insult either of them, but I don't agree with some of their conclusions. It doesn't line up with my own. Your own numbers are incorrect, a 2000 ppi scan of a 4x5 is 8,000x10000, or 80 megapixels, not 10,000. I scan at 4,000 and get a 320 megapixel file from those. A 5 inch piece of film at 2000 is 10,000 pixels. That will get 300 dpi to the printer at 33 inches, if one doesn't crop, or 27.7 at 360.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    so it's not about digital totally eliminating film sales…..but rather the market rebalancing for a new competitor in town. scan backs are useless in the field, and try matching 8x10 or larger formats, and what about those of us who love contact prints and require 8x10 or larger formats.
    I very much hope you're right. In this economic climate, I wouldn't be surprised if Kodak discontinued film tomorrow. Ilford's another story. Will they survive? Efke? I don't know... I also think that the folks that use Betterlight's would disagree with you about scanning backs being useless in the field. I do agree that nothing compares with an 8x10 piece of film... or larger, of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    If the CCD is no longer developed, then it will be something better, but we have markets that will always need pro flatbed scanners. The CCD and PMT are two different animals, the PMT will disappear as pro flatbeds continue to improve that can copy film/paper/artowrk. Perhaps newer flateds will approach 8000spi, at which point drums will have no use at all.
    I don't think there is a demand for this. I suppose it depends on what you think will happen to film. My sources tell me that there is little or no research being done on chip technology, they are spending all their efforts getting as much out of consumers as they can. The Bayer chip has obvious problems and I haven't heard of any serious effort to advance past it (doesn't mean there aren't any).

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    Well, based on those low resolution values you gave the Nikon 9000, you're certainly not talking from experience? My experience stretches from owning Epsons and the Nikon 9000, many hours on Imacon 848 at Pitco Labs (Toronto), drums scans I've had done, but more importantly trusting my critical eye when things look more then "good enough" (not the best….for that I want an ICG). Either way, tell it to those who love their Cezannes, Eversmarts, Imacons, Creo IQ2/3, Nikon 9000……that only drum scans are enough for their professional work. Also telling me other labs (Calypso, WCI, Nash) are not a good measure is not true….many top names use their service.
    I know all these people, I know their approaches. Each one of them has things they are excellent at. None of them has a handle on all of it, takes too long.

    I have compared a lot of different scans that people have brought me from almost every piece of equipment, I've done test against Cramer's Tango. I haven't had the opportunity to look at every single scanner, but I am pretty familiar with most of them. An ICG won't beat a Premier, BTW, altho' it can get close, and at that resolution the differences are pretty small. The film scanners do have better resolution than the 2000 I mentioned, that was for the consumer level flatbeds, and it was kind at that. I have direct experience using the 750 and wouldn't recommend it at all for pro level work, it was slow and blurry. Of course, if focus and detail are not important, then it doesn't matter.

    There is a difference working on one's own and sending things to a lab. Many labs simply have someone put something on a drum and scan it. Often its not a photographer, or its a beginner. That's very different from having someone who understands what you are after and tailors the scan to your purpose. I wouldn't suggest your $75 scan, I don't do things that way, charging by the megabyte. I give people the whole amount that the scanner is capable of. I'm not interested in saving the 10 minutes more of scan time.... I want to give someone the best scan I can deliver. It's a different focus from a volume-based business.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    Do you honestly believe the Cezanne, Creo IQ3, Eversmart (Pro II) can't produce quality from large film formats?Your argument does not support the countless happy people using eversmart pros, creos, Nikon, etc.
    I don't think the quality is the same on large prints. I have seen scans from a Cezanne and they are not as good as they could be. One of my clients has one and does all his testing on it, then sends his portfolio negs for me to scan(4x5's). He sees a huge difference. There are things they can do, certainly. The Nikon is good, but doesn't compare to a PMT scan. It depends on how much quality one is looking for. Some people are more concerned with the content and don't care about fine printing at all. Aesthetically, this is just as valid an approach as the opposite. Everyone gets to choose.

    Happiness is not a factor. Last month people on this forum said wonderful things about prints from Walmart. They were "happy". Doesn't express quality, which is what we are talking about. In the 80's I worked at a b&w lab printing images for "top" photographers. I was flabbergasted to find just how many of them had no idea how to make a negative. The constant "can you get me some detail in the shadows" while looking at a neg as clear as Saran Wrap was unbelievable. There is only so much one can do with hot developer and Q-tips... Artist tend to test things, and know more about what they are doing vs commercial photographers, altho' this is a very general statement. However, you can't assume just because someone is famous that they have skills as a technologist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Camper View Post
    Also, I often use up to 6 scans to create one image and I cannot predetermine all the time what I may need regarding choices for sky, birds, animals, etc. So doing mounting on an as needed basis would get frustrating. Paying for drum scans would be prohibitive in this instance, and doing it myself would drive me nuts.
    I agree, I think drum scans would make sense for you - only if you had your own scanner. If you don't want to mess with it, that's ok. But the results would be better than your 4990. Most folks I work with don't stitch, don't composite, and want to get the whole image in one neg. They are looking for every last bit they can get out of a piece of film. But it isn't the right approach for everyone.

    This is a long post, I responded to it yesterday and it didn't make it up to the forum somehow. I am also really annoyed at something else and if I sound annoyed it's not about anyone here, or anything that was said here. I just wanted to get this response finished before I go do what I gotta do... apologies in advance if I was harsh anywhere.. if I disagree I mean to do so respectfully.

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

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