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Thread: Advice sought on Epson V 750 vs Capturing image with my 5D and lightbox

  1. #1

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    Advice sought on Epson V 750 vs Capturing image with my 5D and lightbox

    Hi,

    My old Linotype-Hell Saphir Ultra 2 scanner is malfunctioning (banding) and I'm looking to replace it. I am considering the V 750 Epson as a replacement so that I can do 6x7 & 4x5 scans. Just for the heck of it I tried shooting the negatives (HP5 & Portra 160) on a lightbox with my 5D (original version) and a 50 macro. The results were better than the scanner at least at first blush. The scanner looks like it may pull more detail after an unsharp mask as been applied and the 5D lightbox combo are sharper strait out of the camera.

    I am intrigued by the speed and the quickness of the lightbox and camera set up. My old scanner is glacial. Do you think it's worth persuing? ( I would need to invest in a copy stand & better lightbox) or am I better off just getting the Epson flatbed? One thing I like about the flatbed set up is that it can convert color negs via software, I had a hard time doing that in curves in Photoshop with my lightbox shot.

    I think I'll try a couple of prints today to see how the different approaches result in a finished product.

    Thanks,

    Serge

    PS I've attached the scanner & 5D sample for reference

  2. #2
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Advice sought on Epson V 750 vs Capturing image with my 5D and lightbox

    Serge, We have looooooong threads on this in the DIY section. Many members have been exploring this idea for awhile. There are many issues involved. The threads all start with the title DSLR Scanner:....
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 71:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  3. #3

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    Re: Advice sought on Epson V 750 vs Capturing image with my 5D and lightbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    Serge, We have looooooong threads on this in the DIY section. Many members have been exploring this idea for awhile. There are many issues involved.
    Thanks Kirk. I'll take a look. It sounds like there's no right answer

  4. #4

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    Re: Advice sought on Epson V 750 vs Capturing image with my 5D and lightbox

    While there are long threads on it, I'll comment... When my Epson went into the shop, I did quick proofing scans exactly as you describe - hand held, film on the light table, Nikon D200 as my "scanner". Worked just fine for proofing, was quick, and was mostly good enough for web posting of images.

    I've also weighed in on discussions on this. But here is my bottom line on a DSLR as an image maker: First, the sensor in the DSLR has a bayer filter. So you are inherently losing some color resolution due to that. There will be interpolation. The Epson reads all color channels at each pixel position. No interpolation.

    Also, the DSLR is either going to record 12 or 14 bits. The Epson, 16. 16 bits provides four times the number of discreet values for at each channel than you will get from a 14 bit DSLR (in theory, of course both devices would need to discriminate color differences at their theoretical maximum - that is probably at least a lens issue, if not a lens/electronics issue). Older DSLRs only do 12 bits per channel in raw - the Epson provides 16 times the discrimination in this case, per channel. In theory, this means your Epson will interpret far more subtle tonal differences. In theory. (I have done absolutely no testing to determine whether any of this theory holds in actual practice.)

    So, if you are fine with those limits on your scan (assuming they actually manifest in practice), a DSLR is fine. I think the issues would appear when you try to print large, but I've not tried it. If you are only scanning for the web, a DSLR based scan should be much more than adequate for your needs.

  5. #5
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Advice sought on Epson V 750 vs Capturing image with my 5D and lightbox

    Older drum and pro flat bed scanners also capture in 12 and 14 bit (Like the 14 bit Creo Eversmart Pro II) yet they can faaaar exceed an Epson in resolution, color, noise etc.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 71:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  6. #6
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Advice sought on Epson V 750 vs Capturing image with my 5D and lightbox

    Scanning a 4x5 @ 2400 dpi yields 115.2 Mp.

    Can your 5D do that?

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  7. #7
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Advice sought on Epson V 750 vs Capturing image with my 5D and lightbox

    Yes-Stitching.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 71:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  8. #8
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Advice sought on Epson V 750 vs Capturing image with my 5D and lightbox

    Serge, you might try neutralizing the orange mask of your negative with a filter on your light source, perhaps a Rosco "gel" or similar.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

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    Re: Advice sought on Epson V 750 vs Capturing image with my 5D and lightbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    Yes-Stitching.
    But you'll still have a Bayer interpolated result. Perhaps that won't matter if you zoom in deep to the image, and capture that zoomed in image with a DSLR, and stitch. At that point you've just created another scanner, with perhaps a better sensor.

    But I think the sense of the conversation was for the more simple document copy model of using a DSLR. At that level, without sophisticated camera movement and stitching, I think things like Bayer interpolation and bit depth matter.

    I agree that pro scanners (drum and pro flatbed) will get better color resolution out of their far better sensors, probably even with reduced bit depth. They are getting far better point by point information out of the image. Such is the tradeoff of getting a v750 for home scanning. (In my case, if I feel an image deserves a better scan I get it professionally done. So far my Epson has exceeded my DSLR (D200), but then I just bought a D800, so I might try this again in the future just for grins.)

    To the OP: If your only measure of scan quality is sharpness, you might be perfectly happy with the DSLR "scan". But you can get better resolution, and a richer tonal scale, by using the Epson. You do of course need to be sure the film is in the sharpest plane of focus on the Epson, by the way - it does not autofocus, so you have to shim your holder as necessary to correct for focus issues. Once you do this you should be seeing pretty good scans of 4x5.

    (Edit: I guess I have one more point: If a DSLR photo of your 4x5 slide is "good enough", why did you bother to take the 4x5 into the field in the first place? Might as well take the DSLR, and save your back...)

  10. #10
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Advice sought on Epson V 750 vs Capturing image with my 5D and lightbox

    I've heard a lot of a priori arguments as to why dslr scanning will be worse than other methods. So far, though, the results have been very encouraging. Using something like a three frame stitch of a 4x5 negative should be easy to shoot and combine. As long as that gets you the resolution you need for the size prints that you want to make, it should be a fast and high quality method. When you start to get more frames, resolvable detail does go up, and it's still pretty fast to shoot, but you'll start spending a fair amount of time in stitching software.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

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