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RE: filmscanners: Nikon film flatness (was Glass slide mounts)


Your post was very sane and reasonable and after reading it I was 
feeling that maybe life isn't so bad after all... until I turned back 
to my shiny new, $1,600 Nikon LS-4000ED and returned to wrestling 
with focus problems.  Your final word is a good one so you don't have 
to respond, but I'd at least like to share my thoughts with the list.

Three years ago I bought a 2,400 dpi Minolta Scan Dual for $500 which 
was the best I could afford at the time.  It scans one of my favorite 
Kodachrome 64 slides with even sharpness across the entire field, 
even into the corners, albeit only at 2,400 dpi.  Now, three years 
later, I spend three times as much for a top of the line scanner with 
two or three generations of improvement.  I find that on this 
favorite slide I can get it sharp in the center and fuzzy in the 
corners or vice versa.  Or, if I set the focus point (numerically) 
halfway in between then I get maximum sharpness in a ring-shaped 
region, while the center and corners are BOTH out of focus.

Now there's nothing wrong with this in principle, and I wouldn't mind 
if it was only a little bit out of focus, it's just that (with the 
focus at the halfway point) the center and corners are no sharper 
than my three year old scanner is across it's entire field.  So it's 
very disappointing to wait three years and spend three times as much 
to get no better sharpness across the field than what I've already 
got (other things are LOTS better, but here I'm concentrating on the 
focus problem).  Now even this wouldn't be so bad if all the other 
scanners had the same problem.  But I've never heard about this as an 
issue with the Polariod SprintScan 4000, or the Canon FS4000, or 
higher end scanners such as the Imacon flextites (although there was 
a recent post by a person who's had this issue with his Artixscan 

So here I am with thousands of cardboard mounted Kodachromes, of 
which perhaps a hundred are worth some serious attention, and I have 
to think:  If I focus near the center and let the edges and corners 
go so fuzzy that (depending on the slide) they're no better than a 
1,000 to 2,400 dpi scanner, is that good enough for images I really 
care about?  Will the fuzziness show on the largest prints I'm likely 
to make?  Am I willing to put up with the incredible hassle of glass 
mounting a hundred (or hundreds?) of slides?  And when I get to my 
negative strips, will I have to slice the good ones out of the 
middles and glass mount them too?  Would I have avoided this problem 
entirely had I bought a Polaroid or Canon?

I wouldn't mind if the sharpness only varied a little bit across the 
field.  But losing half the resolution of the scanner is highly 
unsatisfactory, both intellectually and visually.


At 5:23 PM -0700 20-10-01, PAUL GRAHAM wrote:
>Hi all,
>My opinion on film flatness has been explained before, so this will be my
final word on the topic....

Bill Fernandez  *  User Interface Architect  *  Bill Fernandez Design

(505) 346-3080  *  bill@billfernandez.com  *  http://billfernandez.com


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