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filmscanners: Novice scanner

Hello everybody,

I'd like to introduce myself and ask for some help.  I've been lurking for 
about a week and haven't seen anything aimed low enough that I could profit 
from it--at least not now.

I'm a retired teacher (English); I have been an avid amateur photographer 
for even longer than I taught.  For years, I did my own B&W work in a wet 
darkroom.  I mention these things only to give you some indication of my 
helplessness and frustration with newfangled technology.

I have an Acer ScanWit 2720S and Epson 1270 printer, and I'm using 
Photoshop 5.  The scanner sat here for months while all sorts of friends 
and technical support people tried to keep Windows 98 from installing its 
SCSI card right where it created an IRQ conflict.  Windows XP saved the 
day, and I've taken my first tiny steps.  Here are some of the problems 
I've encountered.  I'm sure all of them are elementary to you--in fact, I 
hope they are.

...All of the prints I've made so far, color and B&W, exhibit excessive 
"grain."  I'm told that it isn't really grain, and I agree that it probably 
isn't since it is quite prominent in B&W images shot with Ilford Pan F, a 
film that has no grain problems.
        ...In color prints, this grain has color.  A shot of a white church has 
apparent evidence of it in lighter areas, but in mid-range areas, it is 
distracting.  The white walls of the church look like they have measles: 
there are tightly spaced red dots everywhere.  The same is true of the 
shingled roof, though some of these dots are green and maybe other colors 
as well.  BTW, everything I've done so far has been on Epson Premium Glossy 
...Some of the prints are banded, but not all.  In one case, there even 
appears to be banding in the scan!  But in scans that have no apparent 
banding, I still get banded prints at times.
...I'm very frustrated that I can't dodge and burn in B&W images.  I've 
read an article about simulating these functions by using multiple layers, 
but I haven't learned about layers, yet, and the whole thing was over my head.

I feared that this technology would not satisfy me after so many years in a 
darkroom, but I thought it would at least give me acceptable results in 
color.   So far, it's worse than I expected.  I'm sure that much of the 
problem is due to my lack of knowledge and experience with the software.  I 
also suspect that some of it may be the fault of the scanner.

I've thought about upgrading the scanner.  Recent threads have concentrated 
so much on the Nikon models and their problems with DOF, so I'm leery of 
buying a Nikon.  A friend who has the Coolscan 4000 ED talks like he wishes 
he had his Polaroid SprintScan 4000 back.  But Polaroid's business problems 
are not encouraging.  Not much has been said in the past week about the 
Canonscan 4000.  I've read glowing reviews of it on the web, and its price 
is certainly attractive.  It seems slow but excellent in all other 
respects, and I'm probably never going to be one who must scan large 
numbers of images in a short time.  I know nothing about Minolta scanners 
except what I've read here.

The problems I mentioned about the results I am now getting are the most 
discouraging.  If they are easily solved, the ScanWit may be all I need, 
although I do like large prints.  If you think a change in scanners would 
help, I'd be interested in your recommendations.

John Pendley


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