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Re: filmscanners: Can the HP 7400 series match any of the dedicated film scanners?

Hi Anthony,

I am sure you will get a number of different angles on this issue, and
most will be as valid as any other.

As good as flatbed scanners have become, they still, overall, do not
meet the quality of dedicated film scanners.  The only area where their
is overlap is in medium and larger format images, where the dedicated
scanners are quite expensive, so some of the top of the line flatbed
scanners which offer dedicated transparency drawers are similar in
quality.  But those scanners are both large and expensive.

The problems with flatbeds are firstly they are not really designed for
film which has a wide dynamic range and deep Dmax.  Also, most require
you scan through the glass which adds extra reflective layers, dirt and
possibly newton rings with film.

If you are working with 35mm film, I strongly recommend using two
dedicated scanners.  If you feel your flatbed doesn't give you the
quality of reflected image (from printed sources) that you require, you
might wish to upgrade it AND get a dedicated film scanner.  You can buy
600-1200 dpi scanners for well under $100 US now that do fantastic jobs,
so the cost there is really minimal.

In the area of dedicated film scanners, I can not in good conscience,
recommend the HP S-20 any longer.  In very nearly the same price range
you can buy the Minolta Scan Dimage II (USB) or the Canon FS 2710 (SCSI
II) (which I expect will further drop in price now that the FS4000 is
out there).  Even less expensive is the Acer Scanwit 2710 or for a bit
more the Scanwit 2740 which has digital ICE dust removal and IR scan
channel.  Some of the older Nikons (after the LS1000, which I would stay
away from) probably also would make you pleased.  The LS20 or LS30 are
examples, and they have IR channels and digital ICE dust removal, or
even the LS2000 used, although the owners of this scanner seem to still
be living in the pricing world of a year or more ago, and IMHO are
asking too much for them used, based upon new releases.  The older
Minolta Speedscan can be gotten used reasonably.

Ones I would stay away from at this point are are: HP Photosmart and HP
S-20, Minolta Dimage Scan (original SCSI model), Nikon LS 10, LS1000,
unless you get a very competitive price, and all the other 2400 dpi
scanners sold under several names (Jenotek, Tamarak, etc).  If you want
the best value in a really cheap film scanner, I suggest the 1800 dpi
Primescan, not because of the quality, which is marginal due to the 1800
dpi, but the price is right under $250 US).

To clarify, 'some' of the HP film scanners were good, but they had a
heck of a time with quality control, and I went through 3 of them before
giving up. HP was very nice about this, BTW, but who needs the grief.

The older Minoltas were not bad scanners, either, but if you are going
to buy into that class of scanner get at least one with 2700-2800 dpi.
The older Minoltas (I think other than the Speedscan) were all about
2400 dpi, which is just shy of making good 11 x 14 prints with inkjet

If you are considering the Acer scanners, look at ebay, since there is a
steady supply of new ones there at auction.

In fact, ebay is a good place to look overall, since there are pages of
film scanners for sale daily (used and new), and it will give you some
idea of pricing.

To look for film scanners, just type film scanners right into the main
search box on the opening home web page at www.ebay.com and they will
all show up.  Also, look at the completed auctions to get an idea where
the prices resolve.

Now is a good time to look as many people are upgrading to newer
scanners.  BUT, I will warn you that film scanners are not robust
devices, and they are expensive to repair.  It may well be worth your
while to buy new to get that 1 or more year warranty, dealer support and
manufacturer support.  There are very many things that can go wrong with
film scanners, and they even have a new out of box failure rate that is
higher than for many devices.  Buying used is relying a lot on trust and
the shipper not to mangle it.


Anthony Klouda wrote:

 > Sorry if this is a real amateur question, but I am not sure where to ask.
 > I have a standard flatbed scanner (Nikon 110 300x600) which does ok 
for the
 > types of scan I do and OCR, but am wanting to scan 35mm transparency and
 > film. Normally I would have thought of adding a dedicated film 
scanner (such
 > as the HP S20, or Nikon Coolscan), but was wondering if there would be a
 > possibility of using the HP7400 series which have a 2400 resolution 
and use
 > a transparency adapter. I have no idea about the dynamic range or 
 > etc in the 7400, but would very much appreciate any comments on the 
 > differences between the 7400 and a reasonable (not top of the range) film
 > scanner.
 > Thanks very much
 > Anthony Klouda


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