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Thread: Large Format Scanner for B&W Alt. Photography

  1. #1

    Large Format Scanner for B&W Alt. Photography

    Hi to all,

    This is my first time posting to this group and I certainly hope my inquiries are not inapropriate, but I will try to make it short - I would really like some expert advice. I am a LF photographer and a Platinum/Palladium printer. As I enjoy the alternative processes I am very computer literate and at this point trying to find the best information on 4X5 film scanning. I use to use a service bureau but would like to purchase a "film scanner". The Imacon scanners are too pricey and I would like anyone's input on what might be the best scanner for B&W negatives? All of the reasonably priced film scanners are only for 35mm and medium format. Please give recommendations as to flatbed scanner possibilities, dedicated film scanners, and anything new on the horizon. If this post is inapropriate please direct me to the most knowledgable source. I need expert advice as I enlarge my negatives for contact platinum prints. Thank you for you time,

    Cody Thomas

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2000

    Large Format Scanner for B&W Alt. Photography

    The new Epson 4870 flatbed does a very good job with negatives up to 5x7 inches. Quality surpasses that of slide scanners from just a couple years ago and the price is a real bargain at about $450. Optical resolution is 4800 and the dynamic range has no trouble at all encompassing very long-scale negatives intended for Pt/Pd printing. Pyro-stained negatives scan well too. The supplied film carriers include one for a pair of 4x5 negs/chromes and it works very well. The medium format carrier is also nice, but I don't find the 35mm one designed well. 5x7 negatives need to go right on the glass, or perhaps a home-made carrier will do better--I'm still working on that one.---Carl

  3. #3

    Large Format Scanner for B&W Alt. Photography

    I second the Epson 4870 you can find an interesting review:



  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    South Carolina

    Large Format Scanner for B&W Alt. Photography

    I agree with previous comments about the Epson 4870. There is really nothing else like it on the markeet today when you consider performance and price.

    However, if you only want to scan up to 4X5 film the Epson 3200 (precedesor of the 487) is deeply discounted at this time and will give very good resuslts with both medium format and 4X5" size. However, it won't scan 5X7 (except with stitching) and the performance with 35mm is not as good as with the 4870.
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at Yahoo.

  5. #5
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    USA, North Carolina

    Large Format Scanner for B&W Alt. Photography

    Your post isn't inappropriate. It's too general. "What do I scan 4x5 negatives with?" is a very broad question, and gets you answers from the cheap consumer flatbeds to the expensive pre-press drum scanners. All will scan 4x5 film. So, what's your application?

    Do you want to perhaps make large negatives for contact printing on platinum, ala Dan Burkholder? If so:

    He's got a book out to tell you more about scanning for that application.

    Else, tell us what your requirements are, and we can perhaps make recommendations on how you can get there.

    Bruce Watson

  6. #6

    Large Format Scanner for B&W Alt. Photography

    Hi to all,

    Thank you for your replies. I would like to say, in response to Hagarth Hughes' inquiry, I am scanning for contact negatives for Platinum printing. I also was taught the platinum process by Dan Burkholder and have know him well for years. As far as his book is concerned, Dan was gracious enough to allow me to contribute a humble section in the book regarding the use of logrithimic curves for "duotone" platinum negative making (Thomas Curve Family). So I do have a couple copies of the book but am more interested in the CURRENT scanning possibilities for 4X5 negs. About a year ago I had come to the conclusion that the Microtech 2400t was as good as I could hope for (at $2500.00) before jumping the gap to the Imacon scanners. I don't mean to belittle the Epson 4870 but I would like to find a "glassless" scanner if possible. A focusing scanner would be excellent but probably beyond the $2500-$3000 price. If any of you have suggestions regarding anything new, or otherwise, along the lines of "slightly less than Imacon quality" please respond. I have not been looking at scanners for about a year and would appreciate input regarding the above qualities in a hi dpi, good D-Max, long tonal range capable scanner.

    Thank you all again,

    Cody Thomas

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    New Berlin, Wi

    Large Format Scanner for B&W Alt. Photography

    Hi Cody, Don't neglect the Microtek 1800f. It is more money, but is glassless and will do 8x10 on a glass carrier. The price is a value because the scanner comes with a very comprehensive software suite and a 4x5 profiling target for color scanning..Evan

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