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What's the scoop on negative film scanners ?
Old 01-29-2007, 06:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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A good friend of mine asked me what to look for in a scanner that will do negatives ? I don't know anything at all about them. He was looking at one that will scan and output at 7200 dpi . Is that good ? What specs are needed to get good images for printing 8 x 10 or a little larger ?

Thanks for your help ..

Mike
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Re: What's the scoop on negative film scanners ?
Old 01-29-2007, 07:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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On a film scanner, look for resolution and density range. There are still some scanners around that sound hi-res, but don't have a range that will handle film. Actually, the whole scanner market for anything between low-end consumer scanners and professional drum scanners has dropped off the map, because of the shift to digital photography. There's still some Microtek and Umax scanners available, but the options are fewer. I think HP, Canon and Epson have scanners as well. I know Agfa's totally gone. I don't know if Nikon still has their scanners anymore, either.
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Re: What's the scoop on negative film scanners ?
Old 01-29-2007, 08:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow, talk about a blast from the past. OK, as far as dpi goes it's a math problem(cringe) Take your output resolution needed and divide it by your input size and you get dpi. IE, and 8x10 print at 300 dpi needs 2400x3000 pixels. If you have a 1 x 1.5 inch original (35mm) then you need a scanner that will do at least 2400dpi in order get your print at 300dpi. In reality you'll want to have about twice that in order to take advantage of sharpening and dust removal. You mentioned a 7200dpi scanner which should give you enough res but make sure that's a true optical res and not an interpolated res.

Dust is a HUGE factor with scanning film. Apparently the Digital ICE system removes dust very well but I have no personal experience with it.

The earlier comments about dynamic range and color depth are good as well. Just like digital camera's - there's more to the story than megapixels(or in this case resoltuion.)

One other issue to consider is focus. Many moons ago when I used to do a lot of film scanning i remember many a night swearing at the scanner because it wouldn't auto focus on my slide and having to manually override the af. Fun.

Good luck and let us know what he decides.

SB
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Re: What's the scoop on negative film scanners ?
Old 01-29-2007, 08:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by That_Look_Photo View Post
A good friend of mine asked me what to look for in a scanner that will do negatives ? I don't know anything at all about them. He was looking at one that will scan and output at 7200 dpi . Is that good ? What specs are needed to get good images for printing 8 x 10 or a little larger ?

Thanks for your help ..

Mike
I have a Nikon Coolscan 4000 that will do negs and slides very well. The problem is that it only goes to 4000 DPI which is plenty for me. I have blown up 35mm slides to 16x20 prints with no loss of clarity. I understand that the Alestron OpticFilm 7200 Film and Negative Scanner does both up to 7200 as does the OpticFilm 7200i. Hope this helps. I do not know anything about the quality of either of these two units.

Why does your friend want 7200? These are gong to be massive files - likely around 100 meg each for color negs.

regards

mark
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Re: What's the scoop on negative film scanners ?
Old 01-30-2007, 01:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You may want to recommend having your friend just make prints from a good lab and scan these in. This is the same method that the big boys at SI (Sports Illustrated) do.

Even with high end scanners the problem is in the conversion.
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