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Scan and print from 5X7

Edward Kimball , Jan 12, 2004; 08:33 a.m.

I am setting up a darkroom for contact printing and am currently shooting 4X5. I also shoot transparency film for digital printing. I have a feeling that after a short while my 4X5 negative are going to seem pretty small. If I were to trade up to a 5X7 outfit will I still be able to have my colour work done without alot of hassle?


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Terry Long , Jan 12, 2004; 08:54 a.m.

If you mean, by color work, will a lab be able to process your work...yeah...check out A&I Labs in Hollywood, CA. They even have a forum where you can ask specific questions. They respond quickly to all questions...and no question is too dumb or unimportant to them.

However, if you mean can you scan your own 5x7's at home...hmmm, you might have a problem there. I haven't heard or seen any scanner where you can scan a 5x7 negative/transparency...just 4x5.

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong please.

Brian Yarvin , Jan 12, 2004; 09:01 a.m.


Scanners that work with 5x7 are not common, but available. The largest transparency scanners that exist go up to 11x17. I believe these are used for graphic arts applications.

Mircrotek and Linotype-Hell both have 8x10 transparency scanners at fairly low prices.

Simon Knight , Jan 12, 2004; 09:17 a.m.

Epson flatbed scanners like the 3200 handle medium format and 4x5. They dont have a film holder for 5x7 but you could improvise something since the scanner will handle 8.5x11.

Edward Kimball , Jan 12, 2004; 09:35 a.m.

There are transparency scanners that will handle 8X10. I don't do my own scanning because I am incompetent at it. My main concern is E6 processing. The lab I currently go to only does up to 4X5. Sending film away looks to be a necessary evil.

L G , Jan 12, 2004; 10:18 a.m.

I think the new Epson 4870 will have a 5 inch wide transparency adapter, but not a holder for 5x7. It is very easy to make your own holders however out of mat board.

Brian Ellis , Jan 12, 2004; 11:30 a.m.

When I was looking for a flat bed scanner to scan 8x10 negatives a couple years ago there were at least three or four models in the $1000 and under price range (all of which would, of course, do anything smaller than 8x10). I ended up with a Linoscan 1400, which does a very nice job when it works (and it works almost perfectly since I switched from the Newcolor 5000 bundled software to Vuescan).

Guy Tal , Jan 12, 2004; 12:03 p.m.

Drum scanners, professional CCD scanners (e.g. high-end Imacons), and high-end desktop flatbeds (e.g. Microtek ArtixScan 1800F, Epson 1680 etc.) will all handle 5x7 and even 8x10 transparencies with ease.
I'd be more concerned with film selection, film and processing costs, bulk and weight of gear and film, and the almost non-existent gain in detail in most enlargement sizes (contacts being a possible exception) compared to 4x5.


Edward Kimball , Jan 12, 2004; 01:05 p.m.

For colour I am very happy with the 11X14s that I have had done from 4X5. I will be getting my first 16X20 back today and that is as large as I will ever go. The problem is with B&W. I haven't liked the results from a lab and have been told by friends to do it myself if I want it done right. 4X5 enlargers are way out of the budget so I am going with contact printing for now. I am starting with graded paper and Decktal but will eventually go to Azo and Amidol. What makes the most sense is get a 4X5 scanner and do both digitally but any time I have attempted to alter a digital file I have always made it worse. That has me very gun shy.

Ralph Barker , Jan 12, 2004; 03:34 p.m.

The transparency adapter on the Epson 3200 is only about 4 5/8" wide, but almost 11" long. Whether it will scan the full 4 5/8" width is another question. The older Epson 800s and 1600s, however, do scan negatives or transparencies up to 8x10, as do some other brands/models, but at a lower resolution and D-Max. Whether that resolution and D-Max would be sufficient for you, Edward, depends on the nature of your work size of digital prints you want to make, etc.

The quality of scans is almost as much a matter of the scanner software being used as it is of the hardware. Further, working with the scans in Photoshop takes some learning, but is relatively easy. Working with large files from LF negs, though, requires a hefty amount of RAM in the computer. For Photoshop 3-4 times the size of the file is a fair rule of thumb - typically meaning one needs 500MB to 1GB of RAM for serious files.

Considering the differences in scanner specs, availability and price, you might be better off staying with 4x5 for now.

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