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Are the Epson V700 / V750 scanners the "ultimate" machines now?

Vick Ko , Apr 15, 2010; 06:01 p.m.

Are the Epson V700 / V750 scanners the "ultimate" machines now?
I'd be doing 35mm up to 4x5 inch LF film, BW and colour on it.

....Vick

Responses


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Andy L , Apr 15, 2010; 06:28 p.m.

"Ultimate" machines are very expensive drum scanners, but for home use - for 35mm and medium format the best are the Nikon scanners (the 9000 is in theory available but out of stock everywhere...) but for 4x5 the Epsons are what you want.

The resolution numbers they give for flatbeds are... well, lies. Sure, it will spit out a 6400 PPI file, but the optics and sensor limit the real resolution to (according to filmscanner.info test) about 2300 PPI. This means that from 35mm you can get a good 8x12 print, and it goes up from there. The Nikons are a bit more ultimate than that because with 4000 PPI and good slow film you can get unreasonable amounts of detail.

Troy Ammons , Apr 15, 2010; 07:01 p.m.

I dont even think its really a 2300 dpi equivilent, but I guess it depends on if you get a good one or not. I recently read its a 1 in 4 chance and I believe it.
I compared a V750 (bought one) to my Howtek 4500.
A drum scan at 2000 dpi resolves right at 40 lp/mm. The V750 even at 4800 dpi then resized to 2000 dpi still could not match it so I find the claims of resolving 46-48 lp/mm suspect. Reading lp/mm is a judgement call anyway.
My V750 showed zero difference between 4800 and 6400 dpi.
My take on the current scanner situation is this.
If you need to scan 4x5 you are basically stuck with either older film scanners like a sprintscan 45 ultra if you can find one, a drum scanner, or just suffer with a softer V750.
That said if you shoot LF and MF and don't resolve over about 35 lp/mm anyway then maybe you dont need anything better than a V750.
If you have a Rollei 6008 then a V750 scan will return about 1/2 of the detail you could get out of a drum scan.
IMO the V750/700 is just not good enough for 35mm.
The best for 35mm is a Nikon 5000 if you can find one for a reasonable price or some of the older 35mm scanners. If you shoot MF too then a Nikon 8000 or 9000.
The latest primefilm 7250 pro3 is a pretty decent 35mm scanner and good for an honest 3600 dpi. Not bad at $420 with rebate, but its no nikon.
If you want to shoot serious large format too you might as well just save up some $ and buy a 4000 dpi drum scanner. I bought mine about 6 years ago for 1G and its still running. Need to have the drum resurfaced though.
If you want to look around at some scan comparisons of mine, go here....
http://www.pbase.com/tammons/scan_comparisons
Here are some 35mm test scans of the PI 7250 pro3
http://www.pbase.com/tammons/pi_7250_pro_3_test_scans

Troy Ammons , Apr 15, 2010; 07:32 p.m.

I dont even think its really a 2300 dpi equivilent, but I guess it depends on if you get a good one or not. I recently read its a 1 in 4 chance and I believe it.
I compared a V750 (bought one) to my Howtek 4500.
A drum scan at 2000 dpi resolves right at 40 lp/mm. The V750 even at 4800 dpi then resized to 2000 dpi still could not match it so I find the claims of resolving 46-48 lp/mm suspect. Reading lp/mm is a judgement call anyway.
My V750 showed zero difference between 4800 and 6400 dpi.
My take on the current scanner situation is this.
If you need to scan 4x5 you are basically stuck with either older film scanners like a sprintscan 45 ultra if you can find one, a drum scanner, or just suffer with a softer V750.
That said if you shoot LF and MF and don't resolve over about 35 lp/mm anyway then maybe you dont need anything better than a V750.
If you have a Rollei 6008 then a V750 scan will return about 1/2 of the detail you could get out of a drum scan.
IMO the V750/700 is just not good enough for 35mm.
The best for 35mm is a Nikon 5000 if you can find one for a reasonable price or some of the older 35mm scanners. If you shoot MF too then a Nikon 8000 or 9000.
The latest primefilm 7250 pro3 is a pretty decent scanner and good for an honest 3600 dpi. Not bad at $420 with rebate, but its no nikon.
If you want to shoot serious large format too you might as well just save up some $ and buy a 4000 dpi drum scanner. I bought mine about 6 years ago for 1G and its still running. Need to have the drum resurfaced though.

peter carter , Apr 15, 2010; 08:17 p.m.

For me, scanning is as important as a step as shooting. For me, what ever I use must be reliable, just like my cameras.

Technically the best pro-sumer scanners out there are Nikons. However it is quite difficult to buy new ones. No vendor seems to have a supply. When they do, they go fast. Nikon is keeping the enviable end of production quiet. To me, this is going to be sooner than later.

The epson scanners are not bad. Not great, but not bad. The quality from my 4490 is about 1800dpi (real) and I think a V700/750 is supposed to be in the order of 2200 dpi ish. My 4490 was about $150. I didn't see a V700 ($600-700) enough of a value gain. Yes the V700 comes with better holders, but they are not great holders. Everyone replaces those. My 4490 will do 35/120, but to do 4x5 and larger you will need the V700/750 because of a larger light hood. There is the tax.

Here is the kink. Everything breaks! Simple fact of life. If I had to buy a used scanner (supply chain issue), I would get nervous about getting service/parts. Look at the Jobo's and see where that one is going. Those guys are starting to have a heck of a time replacing broken widgets.

If you are like me, shoot film->scan->digital work flow...., missing the scanner step pretty much halts the entire process. I don't consider the used market (or about to be discontinued market) a safe way to go despite the technically superior gear.

In short, the epsons are a reasonable choice for 120 and up. You can make decent scans with 35, but you have to work at it. There are other NEW scanners still made that do 3200+ dpi for 35mm. I get impressive results from my Plustek 7200i, despite the rumors from people whom have never used one. The cost was about half that of the street price of a Nikon 5000 (4000dpi, I think).

Troy Ammons , Apr 15, 2010; 08:59 p.m.

I agree. A plustek 7200i or PI 7250 pro3 in combination with a Epson V700/750 is about as good as it will get for new equipment, without spending mega bucks. I just wish they would put a better lens on the V750.
Back when I was testing the V750 all I could get out of my scanner was 41lp/mm at 4800 and 6400 dpi, but maybe I did not get a good scanner.
Still that combo is going to cost over 1G and if you shop it like I did and get lucky you might be able to find a drum scanner for less than a used Nikon 9000.
Drum scanning is an entirely different world though. A lot of setup time, a lot of materials, maintenence and slow scanning and its a big machine.
If they break down its costly. If you detroy a drum, bend over.
Also you will probably have to buy some current software for one unless you get lucky and thats expensive too.
For me one type of Ideal all around setup would be a PI 7250 pro 3 (mostly because it will scan an entire roll and has a drive) and that will handle most normal 35mm film, A good V700 for preview, and something like a 5400 - 8000 dpi drum scanner.
8000dpi only because I like to shoot a lot of microfilm.
Then again a Minolta 5400II 35mm scan is as sharp as any drum scan I have done.

David Littleboy (Tokyo, Japan) , Apr 15, 2010; 09:24 p.m.

FWIW, my V700 is _extremely_ fussy about film height. Even slightly off, and the results are uninspired. But I have acquired test scan snippets that were very close to the Nikon 9000. The V700 has some color fringing, though. For B&W, with work (and the betterscanning glass holder), it should be very close. I don't know if it would be possible to hold 35mm film and slides flat enough, though. But I haven't put in the work to get a whole MF frame in optimal focus, so this is still theoretical.

Troy Ammons , Apr 15, 2010; 10:03 p.m.

I think if you wet mount some 35mm microfilm like bluefire on glass on the V750 with tweaked focus height vs the same mounted in the Nikon glass holder you would see a huge difference between the two.
I have looked at all sorts of tests and I have seen those type of comparisons, and my opinion is that they were just bad scans or very soft film.
If you really want to know how sharp a scanner is you need to scan some microfilm.
This is not a Nikon 9000 but it will give you an idea of what I am talking about.
For the best comparisons I have seen a Nikon scanner with good focus, very sharp and flat film is close to equal to a Howtek 4500 drum scanner.

James Harris , Apr 15, 2010; 11:11 p.m.

See my recent post on how to make the stock V700 film holders work to hold film perfectly flat (I made little magnetic widgets that trap the film flat, I suspect this will work with other holders as well). You also need to adjust the height of the holders to an optimal position (mine is the tallest spacer plus 4 sticky note thicknesses).
Once you do all that, you scan at 6400 ppi, do a little noise cleaning, and sharpen/downsize to 3200 ppi. Voila, you get about 3000 lines/inch usable worth of output. It is noticeably better than 2400 ppi scanning.
It is a little work, but I only do that process for pictures I really care about. For medium format, this is really decent. I can make good looking 10x15s from 35mm, with 12x18s a stretch.

Troy Ammons , Apr 15, 2010; 11:29 p.m.

I adjusted the heights about a million times and did weeks of testing.
I spent a lot of time testing that scanner and tried all sorts of tuning.
The crops above are 35mm microfilm that was booked and was very flat film.
All three os the scanners were manually focused on the center of the frame. Both the 5400II and the Howtek can be focused manually. The V750 with shims.
I tired several different adjustment heights, glass carrier with kami fluid and adjust height etc etc etc. you name it.
No way you are getting a true optical 3000 dpi. That is 60lp/mm. Maybe 2400-2500 if you have an exceptionally sharp scanner.I shot a USAF test target and got 41.
If you really want to know what it will do without guessing shoot a USAF target with microfilm with a super sharp lens at F5.6 and scan that.
That said the odds of getting a good one are supposedly 1 in 4 so maybe that is the difference.
Maybe you just have an exceptional good scanner and I got a bad one, but the best mine would do no matter what was 41 lp/mm. There was zero difference between 6400 and 4800 with my scanner. If you are seeing a difference between 4800 and 6400 then obviously your lens is better than mine was or tighter tolerances etc.
Post one of your good 3000 dpi crops unsharpened, IE native scan at 6400 dpi. I would like to see it. If I could find one that would do an honest 50-60 lp/mm I would like to have one for preview scans.


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