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 Post subject: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:42 am
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Location: Seattle, WA - Land of Coffee
I am currently looking to purchase a slide scanner, and I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations or suggestions regarding specific brands or types of slide scanners, as I have no experience with the slide scanning process. Also, if anyone has recommendations or suggestions regarding negative film scanners, this would also be useful.

In the recent "Too Much Stuff" thread, it was mentioned that digital scanning capabilities have progressed by quite a margin in recent years, allowing for a higher resolution/quality transfer of images. In particular, if anyone has experiences or insights in particular regarding these newer scanners, this would be most helpful. Also, if there are any of these newer, higher resolution models that can scan both slides and negative film, again, any recommendations are welcome.

Thanks in advance!

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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:39 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
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How many slides/negatives/prints do you need to scan?

If it is just a few, any of the current flatbed scanners will do.

My current personal preference for flatbed scanners is Epson.

If you are doing a large number of slides, I would look at:

Pacific Image PowerSlide 5000 CCD Slides Scanner

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/7 ... anner.html

I did about 150 slides today on mine. And have done about 15,000
slides since I bought it.

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:55 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
For all functional purposes, heavy-duty slide scanners such as the Nikon Coolscan are going extinct. Heavy users (think the big names in rail photography) are making regular posts to Facebook about how Canon, Nikon, etc. are refusing to fix their scanners when they go belly-up, or that the models they prefer are being discontinued.


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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:57 pm 
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I use a Wolverine SNaP-14MP I got off Amazon for about $150. It's 14 megapixel, it needs no special drivers and in fact can scan to an SD card completely independent of a computer. The quality has been great, the price was wonderful and it does slides, negatives and prints up to 5x7

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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:24 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 448
Location: Byers, Colorado
As a matterr of fact, Nikon was completely useless when my new $1500 scanner crapped out. They kept it almost a year (so the warranty could expire), while I was told repeatedly that it would be returned soon. Every time I talked to their "authorized dealer" they had a different excuse. As the final insult, after being promised free service, they demanded $35 dollars before they would return it to me.
(If you live near Denver, I'm talking about Wolf Camera, every few years they change their name, now these stores are known as Mike's Camera. )

After I got it back, it took some little bit of time to learn to use it, and then it worked fantastic. Until the cord of my vacuum cleaner touched the corner of the scanner for a few seconds. NEVER AGAIN.

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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:06 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:46 pm
Posts: 61
Epson scanners are good and they have some affordable models. I think we have a v850 and a bunch of v550 scanners at Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive. They do negatives and slides. I like the 850 because I can load up a dozen slides at a time.

Paul Krueger
Seattle, WA


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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:26 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:25 am
Posts: 133
Location: Across the river from Baldwin's on the Naugy
Be aware of the two types of scanners available on the market: CIS & CCD.

Either of them will probably scan slides adequately, but the CCD has a greater depth of field which may prove useful for slides that aren't perfectly flat. Naturally CCD scanners are more expensive.

More discussion at http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/art ... -type.html

For my use I have a Microtek ScanMaker 9800XL with the optional transparancy adapter which can be used for slides or sheet film up to 11x17". It can scan 1600 dpi native.

New it runs about $1700, but there are good used ones out there on eBay for considerably less.

I do have a CIS scanner, the Microtek is a CCD which is faster, but of lesser quality.


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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:32 pm
Posts: 242
I tried an inexpensive one, USB port to a computer type, may be $120 or so. A few years old now and not available anymore. It was easy to set up and use but the results were poor. Even running the transfers through Photoshop could not cure the “auto” exposure, color correction, focus and over cropping I got from the thing. OK if you wanted to transfer fast, and did not expect them to look any better than something from a Walmart processing lab. It mostly needed a way to manually set exposure control.
I cannibalized it and used the slide holder and back light with a lens adapter to attach to my digital camera to copy slides. I already had a macro ring and a good zoom lens that worked.
If you have a good camera with interchangeable lenses you can look for slide adapter kits that fit the front of your camera or existing lens. It will most likely cost more, and be tedious to operate, but the results are much better.
If thats too much trouble I'd at least look for a model with control software via your computer that allows you to tweak color and exposure.


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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:19 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3731
Location: Maine
My Epson 2580 is a great flatbed, but it failed mechanically for taking negative strips, and Epson wants me to send it to a service center, costing me about what a new scanner will cost. Also, be aware that while 35mm slides are the norm, scanning slides or negatives of larger sizes is a bear, and not easily accomplished.
Look for a scanner designed to accept larger negatives and transparencies.

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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:59 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2447
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
For all functional purposes, heavy-duty slide scanners such as the Nikon Coolscan are going extinct. Heavy users (think the big names in rail photography) are making regular posts to Facebook about how Canon, Nikon, etc. are refusing to fix their scanners when they go belly-up, or that the models they prefer are being discontinued.

Yeah, because they're like USB floppy disk drives or those digital-TV adapters for analog TVs. They exist for a solitary purpose, migrate you from a dead format. So you're in a "footrace", once most people have completed their conversions, support for these products will wither and die. That's the "rock".

pwkrueger wrote:
Epson scanners are good and they have some affordable models. I think we have a v850 and a bunch of v550 scanners at Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive. They do negatives and slides.

And that's the "hard place". Flatbed scanners have gotten so good that you don't need slide scanners anymore.

buzz_morris wrote:
I tried an inexpensive one, USB port to a computer type, may be $120 or so. A few years old now and not available anymore. It was easy to set up and use but the results were poor. Even running the transfers through Photoshop could not cure the “auto” exposure, color correction, focus and over cropping I got from the thing.

That's not the scanner. That's the scanner software. The main market for sub-$500 scanners is the Walmart crowd, who want the easiest possible path to get a JPEG for their Facebook wall.

Developers design for those people, but they provide a backdoor for the professional: somewhere deep in the settings where consumers won't hit it by mistake, should be a setting to turn off all that auto-rubbish and scan Raw.

Generally they figure a professional will scan Raw and correct manually in Photoshop. This works fine for me. I prefer $80 Canoscan LiDE scanners, and I find the scanner is not my limitation: the image defects I can't correct in Photoshop were present in the physical paper. The only exception is when print on the back side bleeds through during the scan, I solve that by backing the work with a black sheet of paper.


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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:20 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1438
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
Any comments about if a different technology of scanner is needed for negatives and unmounted slides versus prints?


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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:52 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:25 am
Posts: 133
Location: Across the river from Baldwin's on the Naugy
Except for the transparency vs reflectivity technology, i.e. whether the instrument will scan in negatives/slides (transparancies) and/or scan in prints (reflected light), the difference between CCD and LIDE sensors is mentioned above.

Some scanners will do both transparancy and reflective scans, some will do only either. It depends on your needs and how much you want to invest in a scanner.

One other area of interest may be the interface between the scanner and the desktop PC. I'm not sure a laptop (never having owned one) will have the horsepower to process the images in a robust manner, so use a desktop. Fuh-get a tablet, period! Make sure both the scanner and desktop can accept USB-3 or FIREWIRE (an older Apple technology, you can buy cards to plug in). I can't say if USB-3 is equivalent to Firewire, but there probably are some benchmarks out there. The difference in scan times between USB-2 and Firewire can be as much as 100% or more depending on the resolution and size of the scanned object.

I think that any current PC should have at least 8MB of RAM, I'm currently running 6MB on a 64 bit machine & that does limit what Photoshop Elements can handle before it vomits error messages & locks up. Full blown Photoshop will take even more memory!

If you are doing some major digital manipulation of images, you may also want to consider getting a solid-state hard drive & using that as the cache area for your operating system since Photoshop needs to swap out pages for many of its functions like rotating images & you can sit there awhile when that happens. SS hard drives eliminate the rotational latency & speed up read/write times.

Anyway, probably TMI.


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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:28 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
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Location: S.F. Bay Area
Latest hardware: I must disagree. It reminds me of the classic advice to get a V8 engine when buying a new car. Fact is, your scanning process has "choke points", one of which limits your speed in each phase.

Take a letter-sized scan, 300 dpi, RGB color x 12 bits. That data is 300 megabits. USB2 is 480 megabits/sec. That's fast enough. So let's look at our choke points.

Scanner mechanical: It doesn't matter how fast everything else is, the scanner head must reach the work.

USB port speed. Remember 8 bits = 1 byte. These are theoretical. There is overhead.
USB 2.0 = 480 megabits/sec. or 60 megabytes/sec.
Firewire 400/800 (50 megabytes/sec. or 100 megabytes/sec.)
USB 3.0 = 4000 megabits/sec. (500 megabytes/sec.)

But find out experimentally. Your computer already has benchmarking tools built in. Macs have Applications/Utilities/ Activity Monitor. PCs have a more powerful tool. You don't need to watch USB, activity, just watch disk activity rates during a "raw" scan. Save to the internal drive, so you aren't interfering with USB. You can also get a sense of what your USB/FireWire speed limits are by doing a large bulk copy from an external USB drive to internal. If your scanner isn't operating at near those speeds, then USB is not a choke point for you.

CPU speed is irrelevant if you're doing "Raw" scans, as the system is simply shoveling data from the USB port to the hard drive. Scanning Raw which is a very good idea because when better technology/techniques come along, you can bulk-reprocess the original Raw images rather than having to re-scan everything.

Image processing: ever notice every video card these days has a huge fan, and games these days are photorealistic? That's because video cards have a specialized processor called a GPU that is intended to process display graphics, but can also be used for tasks like audio analysis, mining BitCoins, and obviously image processing. Trouble is, with hundreds of incompatible video cards out there, it's catch-as-catch-can whether your image processing software can use your PC's video card. No problem on tablets: they have standard, tightly integrated GPUs and they intend for the programmer to use them (to save battery).

Memory: This is an issue during image processing. All you want is to avoid "swap" or "virtual memory" becoming a burden. Computers deal reasonably well with swap up to a point, then performance grinds to a halt (literally, you hear grindy disk thrash). Then it's time to do something about it - close insomniac apps (one active feature on a web page can keep the browser constantly "paged in"), work with smaller images, or buy more RAM. RAM is cheap.

Flash hard drive: is a very poor choice for a swap drive because swap is constantly written to, and Flash has a disfeature called "write exhaustion" - a sector can be written to only so many times before it fails. (behind-the-scenes magic conceals this, substituting spare sectors.) But it's a fantastic drive for system boot and applications, because those are almost never written, but very frequently accessed "randomly", and there is absolutely no mechanical seeking time on a Flash drive.


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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:46 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:25 am
Posts: 133
Location: Across the river from Baldwin's on the Naugy
Good point on flash hard drive for swap - I forgot about that.


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 Post subject: Re: Slide Scanner Recommendations
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:00 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, Illinois
I think a better solution is to use a slide copying attachment with your digital camera. I have had good results with a used Nikon Coolpix 995, which is now an "older" digital camera and ought to be available cheap on eBay (or wherever). The attachment ought to be available on the Internet also. It will also copy strips of 35mm film negatives which you can set to be photographed in reverse, or else do the reversal to positive with your imaging software. The only hitch is that you need a good light source to point the camera toward. The best source is sunlight shining on a white screen or the side of your house -- which restricts your copying to sunny days in warmer seasons. I have tried indoor fluorescent lighting also as the source, but not usually with such good results.

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