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Re: filmscanners: Beginner's question on which scanner to chose

Armando A. Cottim wrote:

> Hi guys.
> Sorry for this question.
> I notice that your posts are all so high leveled that I almost feel 
> ashamed for such a beginner's question but ... here it goes.
Hi Armando, and welcome to the filmscanners list.  I empathize with the 
lack of info available to you in Portugal.  When I lived in Spain it was 
like that too, but you do now have the web and there is a lot to be 
found on both manufacturer's and private sites, if you have access to 
the web.  The web site run by the owner of this list, Tony Sleep, can 
likely give you a great deal of information you require.

Most of the lower priced flatbed scanners do a mediocre job with 
transparencies, especially at higher resolutions.  The reason for this 
is that they probably do not truly express the "optical resolution" they 
claim to have (more the case than filmscanners, which are specifically 
designed for small pieces of transparent materials).  Secondly, the main 
area that flatbeds fail is low or compressed dynamic range.  Reflective 
materials, like printed things, have a compressed dynamic range, in 
terms of both shadow and high information and color range.  Film 
scanners are specifically designed for wider dynamic range, and so a 
better, although hardly perfect, job, and for that we pay more.

Since you are going to be using these scans in a magazine, I assume in 
paper format, you might think it doesn't much matter, but actually you 
are facing an issue of double damage.  If you start with a compressed 
dynamic range in your scan by using a flatbed scanner, and then send 
this to a printer, the printing process itself in converting this scan 
back into a reflective image, will further collapse the dynamic range, 
and make for mud.  I can almost always detect a printed image which was 
flatbed scanned, due to this. You need to start with as wide a range to 
begin with so that when the printing process dues reduce it, the image 
still stands up.

Now other will argue that "not all flatbeds" do this.  And I will agree. 
  There are a very few flatbeds that can provide as wide a dynamic range 
as film scanners.  They do this by offering what is actually two 
scanners in one.  A flatbed scanner mechanism, and then also separate 
lens and such to provide film scans at better quality.  The thing about 
these is that they are often more costly than buying both a filmscanner 
and a reasonable flatbed together.  An example is the Agfa 2500 flatbed.

The only place where a flatbed of this nature begins to make some 
economic sense, is when you need to scan larger format films, like 120, 
6cm x 6cm or even 4 x5" or larger.  SInce these scanners for film are 
often $4000-6000 US, the Agfa 2500 at about $3500 US makes sense.

However, if you are only scanning 35mm, you can consider a few in the 
$500 US-$800 range (New York City Pricing).  If you are dealing with a 
lot of images, and dust repair and scratching is a problem, consider 
either the LS-2000 (over the budget I've mentioned), as you mentioned, 
or the LS30 its baby brother, which has very similar features, 
especially when used with third party Vuescan which gives it 10 bit 
output and multi-scanning.  Vuescan only costs $40 US.  The LS-30 is 
selling in a refurbished model for $500 US right now, as Nikon is about 
to release a new series of scanners.  The only problem reported in any 
regularity with the Nikon scanners is stepper motor failures and jagged 
edges when using Nikons software.  The advantage is the ICE system which 
does a good job of cleaning up dust, dirt and scratches, which can take 
a lot of time to fix by hand in Photoshop.

The other two scanners with ICE features are the Minolta Elite (also out 
of the budget) and the new Acer 2740, which is within that budget, but 
still getting some bugs worked out.  All these are SCSI interfaced scanners.

Also in this price range are the Canon FS 2710 (NOT the FS 2700), also 
SCSI, but lacking the digital ICE dust and scratch cleaner, and the 
Minolta Dimage Scan Dual II, which also doesn't have digital ICE, and 
used the USB interface, but has otherwise been reported to be excellent 
and has had a price drop placing it at about $400 US.  I consider it a 
"best value" in today's current market due to its resolution (over 2800 
dpi) and reasonable dynamic range, motorized feed, and ability to work 
with multi-scan in Vuescan.



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