Film Scanners - About reached their peak ?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Folklore, Sep 30, 2003.

  1. Folklore

    Folklore Guest

    Have consumer level film scanners pretty much come near their peak and
    improvements moving forward will be fairly minor from a quality
    standpoint with speed and ease of use being the primary improvements?

    EG, is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin digitizing
    years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    prints, archiving) or are there improvements coming in the next few
    years, particularly from an image quality standpoint, that recommend
    waiting?

    Thanks,

    Folk...
    Folklore, Sep 30, 2003
    #1
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  2. Folklore

    Eric Gisin Guest

    Impressive specs: http://www.dimage.minolta.com/elite5400/

    I though it is targeted to professional photographers, not consumers.

    "Folklore" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    | Have consumer level film scanners pretty much come near their peak and
    | improvements moving forward will be fairly minor from a quality
    | standpoint with speed and ease of use being the primary improvements?
    |
    | EG, is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin digitizing
    | years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    | prints, archiving) or are there improvements coming in the next few
    | years, particularly from an image quality standpoint, that recommend
    | waiting?
    |
    | Thanks,
    |
    | Folk...
    Eric Gisin, Sep 30, 2003
    #2
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  3. Folklore

    JIM Guest

    "Folklore" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    .....<cut>....> EG, is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin
    digitizing
    > years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    > prints, archiving) or are there improvements coming in the next few
    > years, particularly from an image quality standpoint, that recommend
    > waiting?


    Like you, not sure what, it any, improvements are slated in the future for
    film scanners. Probably not much; after all, how many folk (manufacturers
    consideration of their bottom line) are gunna-wanna-do-the-film-to-digital
    bit? As I see it, the major drawback to "consumer grade" film scanners is
    speed and/or the requirement to further manipulate the image in some image
    editing software.

    Digitizing "years of film...." with about any current scanner is akin to
    "Nightmare on Elm Street." I own that 5400 and contemplating digitizing the
    thousands of frames I have with this scanner, or any like model, isn't
    something I'd like to dedicate a major portion of what remains of my life
    to!

    Minolta advertises one (1) minute scans - but fails to elaborate on what is
    required to meet that time frame. I'm not sure it can be done at any
    resolution even with all additional image improvement helps (ICE, etc.)
    turned off! Also, not factored into the equation is the pre-scan preparation
    before you ever hit the final scan button. And, without ICE enabled you are
    practically guaranteed major work in correcting flaws (at a minimum, dust)
    in photoshop or other programs.

    Consider, if you could accomplish a finished frame(quality, remember) in 10
    minutes (I can't), one 36 count roll amounts to 360 minutes or six (6)
    hours(nearly a day's work)! You can finish the math for *your* thousands of
    images;) One other drawback is your film strip - if processed in most
    places, your strip contains only four frames - so, the Minolta film holder's
    capability to hold a six frame strip is not that great and even bulk
    processing(that strip only), without post scan maniupulation, requires you
    to load and unload film strips constantly, only four frames at a time.

    Said all that, but will also say that the 5400 does an excellent job for
    what *I* consider its primary function: "selective film scanning" of images
    you just can't live without;) I do not see film scanner manufacturers
    getting all teary eyed in their concern for us film types out here with
    30-40 years of negatives to digitize!

    Soo, my long tome might have answered your initial question "....is now a
    good time....to begin digitizing...." - if not, one answer might be 'if you
    are young enough'!!

    Shoot'em up, take pics let someone else scan, Agfa, Fuji, Kodak and all the
    rest will love you for it!!

    Jim
    JIM, Sep 30, 2003
    #3
  4. Folklore

    Alan Browne Guest

    Eric Gisin wrote:

    > Impressive specs: http://www.dimage.minolta.com/elite5400/
    >
    > I though it is targeted to professional photographers, not consumers.


    I would debate that as the price is, if not cheap, well in range of many
    consumers.

    Alan

    >
    > "Folklore" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > | Have consumer level film scanners pretty much come near their peak and
    > | improvements moving forward will be fairly minor from a quality
    > | standpoint with speed and ease of use being the primary improvements?
    > |
    > | EG, is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin digitizing
    > | years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    > | prints, archiving) or are there improvements coming in the next few
    > | years, particularly from an image quality standpoint, that recommend
    > | waiting?
    > |
    > | Thanks,
    > |
    > | Folk...
    >
    >
    Alan Browne, Sep 30, 2003
    #4
  5. Folklore

    Alan Browne Guest

    Folklore wrote:

    > Have consumer level film scanners pretty much come near their peak and
    > improvements moving forward will be fairly minor from a quality
    > standpoint with speed and ease of use being the primary improvements?
    >
    > EG, is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin digitizing
    > years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    > prints, archiving) or are there improvements coming in the next few
    > years, particularly from an image quality standpoint, that recommend
    > waiting?
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    > Folk...


    As usual, whenever something is at the limits of performance we say,
    that's it, don't need no more.

    Drum scanners do a little better than film scanners with models up to
    8000 dpi and at least one at 12,000 dpi, and of course a wet process.
    Somebody recently mentioned a 64,000 dpi scanner ???!!!

    So, yes, scanners might get even *better*.

    See this photo: http://www.pbase.com/image/21774830/original by Simon
    Stanmore (using my and his images) and look at the detail on the metal
    part near the water (on the lower left crop in the image of the boys
    fishing).

    That is the 5400 at work without sharpenning or grain reduction.
    Actually could have been better, it is a way off centre sample from a
    dirty lens with a 2X on it. From that full frame image I could print a
    24 x 16 that would only show grain if you stepped up to it.

    The 5400 might not be the "last scanner" but it is certainly up near the
    limits of what can be extracted from a slide or negative on your desktop
    at home without a wet process and under $1,000.00.

    Cheers,
    Alan.
    Alan Browne, Sep 30, 2003
    #5
  6. Folklore

    John Guest

    Right now, 4000 dpi scanners are relatively cheap. For 35mm film, that is
    already much more resolution than you need. You can't scan more than the
    information that is there, all you get is a large file with redundant data.

    "Folklore" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Have consumer level film scanners pretty much come near their peak and
    > improvements moving forward will be fairly minor from a quality
    > standpoint with speed and ease of use being the primary improvements?
    >
    > EG, is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin digitizing
    > years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    > prints, archiving) or are there improvements coming in the next few
    > years, particularly from an image quality standpoint, that recommend
    > waiting?
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    > Folk...
    John, Sep 30, 2003
    #6
  7. Folklore

    Folklore Guest

    Thanks Jim. My plan is definately selective scan. I'd likely go
    through scanning my favs and then as time allows add to the digitized
    collection. What I'd hate is to start doing this now and then a year
    from now some major improvement comes along. I know some improvements
    will come, but I can sleep OK as long as they're not significant (if
    you get my drift).

    Your good comments on the 5400 are very welcomed.

    Now, in thinking about your math and the task before me I think I'll
    have a Guiness.
    Folklore, Sep 30, 2003
    #7
  8. Folklore

    Folklore Guest

    Thanks Alan. Great site!

    >The 5400 might not be the "last scanner" but it is certainly up near the
    >limits of what can be extracted from a slide or negative on your desktop
    >at home without a wet process and under $1,000.00.


    That's exactly the warm fuzzy info I'm looking for.
    Folklore, Sep 30, 2003
    #8
  9. Folklore

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Folklore writes:

    > Have consumer level film scanners pretty much come near their peak and
    > improvements moving forward will be fairly minor from a quality
    > standpoint with speed and ease of use being the primary improvements?


    No.

    > EG, is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin digitizing
    > years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    > prints, archiving) or are there improvements coming in the next few
    > years, particularly from an image quality standpoint, that recommend
    > waiting?


    There's no time like the present. If better scanners come along in the
    future, you can always rescan. After all, you aren't throwing away the
    film ... right?

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.
    Mxsmanic, Sep 30, 2003
    #9
  10. Folklore

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Alan Browne writes:

    > The 5400 might not be the "last scanner" but it is certainly up near the
    > limits of what can be extracted from a slide or negative on your desktop
    > at home without a wet process and under $1,000.00.


    At least for now.

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.
    Mxsmanic, Sep 30, 2003
    #10
  11. Folklore

    Bowser Guest

    Film scanners have a long way to go. I use a Nikon 8000ED, and while it does
    a good job, anyone can see, simply by examining the film, that it leaves
    much detail behind, and loses a lot of sharpness. I have seen a couple of
    scans from an Imacon 8000dpi model, and the difference is incredible. That
    level of resolution will make it's way down to consumer products,
    eventually. Film, despite the onslaught of digital, is still an excellent
    medium on which to store images. I have some 50 year old transparencies
    taken by my father, and they still look great, and are very usable. I
    suspect that the chromes I shoot today will have a similar life. And, as
    scanning technology improves, so will the printed results from those films.

    "Folklore" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Have consumer level film scanners pretty much come near their peak and
    > improvements moving forward will be fairly minor from a quality
    > standpoint with speed and ease of use being the primary improvements?
    >
    > EG, is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin digitizing
    > years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    > prints, archiving) or are there improvements coming in the next few
    > years, particularly from an image quality standpoint, that recommend
    > waiting?
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    > Folk...
    Bowser, Oct 1, 2003
    #11
  12. Folklore

    Bowser Guest

    John,

    I think if you saw the results of a comparison between a typical 4000dpi
    scanner and the Imacon 8000dpi model, you'd change your mind. For some
    films, 4000 is enough. But for modern fine-grained chromes, 8000 makes a
    huge difference.

    "John" <> wrote in message
    news:uwkeb.10297$...
    > Right now, 4000 dpi scanners are relatively cheap. For 35mm film, that is
    > already much more resolution than you need. You can't scan more than the
    > information that is there, all you get is a large file with redundant

    data.
    >
    > "Folklore" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > Have consumer level film scanners pretty much come near their peak and
    > > improvements moving forward will be fairly minor from a quality
    > > standpoint with speed and ease of use being the primary improvements?
    > >
    > > EG, is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin digitizing
    > > years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    > > prints, archiving) or are there improvements coming in the next few
    > > years, particularly from an image quality standpoint, that recommend
    > > waiting?
    > >
    > > Thanks,
    > >
    > > Folk...

    >
    >
    Bowser, Oct 1, 2003
    #12
  13. Folklore <> wrote in
    news::

    > is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin digitizing
    > years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    > prints, archiving)


    I got pretty good results by simply photographing a slide in an old slide
    viewer:
    http://www.mindspring.com/~skinsman/Scanned Slide vs Photographed.htm
    l

    Cheap and fast. I could also buy a $70 adapter for my camera that would
    make it even simpler.

    --
    To email me, type my 1st name before my last.
    Tony Whitaker, Oct 1, 2003
    #13
  14. Mxsmanic <> writes:

    > Folklore writes:
    >
    > > Have consumer level film scanners pretty much come near their peak and
    > > improvements moving forward will be fairly minor from a quality
    > > standpoint with speed and ease of use being the primary improvements?

    >
    > No.
    >
    > > EG, is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin digitizing
    > > years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    > > prints, archiving) or are there improvements coming in the next few
    > > years, particularly from an image quality standpoint, that recommend
    > > waiting?

    >
    > There's no time like the present. If better scanners come along in the
    > future, you can always rescan. After all, you aren't throwing away the
    > film ... right?


    No, but it continues to get older.

    Also, the hundreds of hours I've already spent scanning a tiny
    percentage of my own photos is not an amount of time I can casually
    spend *again*.
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <>, <www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <noguns-nomoney.com> <www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Photos: <dd-b.lighthunters.net> Snapshots: <www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera mailing lists: <dragaera.info/>
    David Dyer-Bennet, Oct 1, 2003
    #14
  15. "Bowser" <> writes:

    > Film scanners have a long way to go. I use a Nikon 8000ED, and while it does
    > a good job, anyone can see, simply by examining the film, that it leaves
    > much detail behind, and loses a lot of sharpness. I have seen a couple of
    > scans from an Imacon 8000dpi model, and the difference is incredible. That
    > level of resolution will make it's way down to consumer products,
    > eventually. Film, despite the onslaught of digital, is still an excellent
    > medium on which to store images. I have some 50 year old transparencies
    > taken by my father, and they still look great, and are very usable. I
    > suspect that the chromes I shoot today will have a similar life. And, as
    > scanning technology improves, so will the printed results from those films.


    Careful, I've got plenty of 30 to 40 year old transparencies that have
    faded considerably, in "ordinary" storage (decent materials, in a
    lived-in room; but not a climate-controlled archival vault).
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <>, <www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <noguns-nomoney.com> <www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Photos: <dd-b.lighthunters.net> Snapshots: <www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera mailing lists: <dragaera.info/>
    David Dyer-Bennet, Oct 1, 2003
    #15
  16. Folklore

    Rafe B. Guest

    On Tue, 30 Sep 2003 10:22:57 -0500, Folklore <> wrote:

    >Have consumer level film scanners pretty much come near their peak and
    >improvements moving forward will be fairly minor from a quality
    >standpoint with speed and ease of use being the primary improvements?
    >
    >EG, is now a good time (like with the Elite 5400) to begin digitizing
    >years of film (for viewing on PC/HDTV, mid-quality cost effective
    >prints, archiving) or are there improvements coming in the next few
    >years, particularly from an image quality standpoint, that recommend
    >waiting?



    You've got some responses claiming that there's still
    a lot of room left for improvement, that 4000 dpi still leaves
    a lot of detail unresolved.

    I say baloney. Or at the very least: unless you've got
    the very best optics, shooting on very slow, fine grained
    film, with a tripod, etc etc -- you're getting 98% of what's
    there at 4000 dpi, with the current generation of film
    scanners.

    I'm on my fourth film scanner (Nikon LS-8000) and it will
    be my last, unless it dies catastrophically in the near future.

    As I see it, there's not enough of a market in high-end film
    scanners to finance further R&D in this area. I mean, how
    many LS-8000s and Imacon Flextights have been sold
    since their inception?

    There may yet be a small market for those who have been
    holding out to archive large collections of slides and
    negatives. But time is running out for those folks, and
    in any case, speed (ie., high-volume scanning) isn't
    terribly compatible with the need for higher quality.

    The future is in digital image capture. My bet is that film
    scanners (or film) aren't going to get much better than
    they are today -- at least not for the consumer/prosumer
    market.



    rafe b.
    http://www.terrapinphoto.com
    Rafe B., Oct 1, 2003
    #16
  17. "Bowser" <> wrote in message
    news:emoeb.641602$Ho3.131740@sccrnsc03...
    > Film scanners have a long way to go. I use a Nikon 8000ED, and while it

    does
    > a good job, anyone can see, simply by examining the film, that it leaves
    > much detail behind, and loses a lot of sharpness.


    When the film is critically focussed, it does _very_ well, showing pretty
    much exactly what my 60x microscope does. The problem is that it's nearly
    impossible to get the film flat enough to hold critical focus across the
    whole of a 645 frame. At least on my unit, if the focus is off by 15 units,
    fine detail is lost. With the glass carrier and the film held off the lower
    glass to avoid Newton's rings, I can usually get it to within 10 units, but
    I have to measure several points across the frame.

    > I have seen a couple of
    > scans from an Imacon 8000dpi model, and the difference is incredible.


    Are there any examples on the net? The one page I've seen shows the 8000
    holding its own against a 4000 dpi Tango. The drums, since they mount the
    negs with mounting fluid, don't have the focus problems, though.

    > That
    > level of resolution will make it's way down to consumer products,
    > eventually.


    Dunno about that. In addition to the focus problems, the other scanners move
    the film to expose the R G and B channels at each pixel, making registration
    a problem. (The Nikon 8000 uses four monochromatic LEDs (R, G, B, and
    infrared) at each point, so exposes all channels for each pixel at the same
    point.)

    > Film, despite the onslaught of digital, is still an excellent
    > medium on which to store images. I have some 50 year old transparencies
    > taken by my father, and they still look great, and are very usable. I
    > suspect that the chromes I shoot today will have a similar life. And, as
    > scanning technology improves, so will the printed results from those

    films.

    But film can't be duplicated, so there's no way to archive it reliably.
    Fires, floods, and significant others (or parents or children) on cleaning
    rampages destroy much film every year. Make three sets of CD-Rs, put two in
    bank safe deposit vaults in different towns, and your shots will survive a
    nuclear war.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Oct 1, 2003
    #17
  18. Folklore

    FOR7b Guest

    >
    >You've got some responses claiming that there's still
    >a lot of room left for improvement, that 4000 dpi still leaves
    >a lot of detail unresolved.
    >
    >I say baloney. Or at the very least: unless you've got
    >the very best optics, shooting on very slow, fine grained
    >film, with a tripod, etc etc -- you're getting 98% of what's
    >there at 4000 dpi, with the current generation of film
    >scanners.
    >



    >rafe b.




    I'm thinking the same thing.

    No expert on scanners but my Canon FS4000 is already showing grain even with
    fine grained discontinued Ektar/Royal 25 and the usual Fuji Reala. It is smooth
    considering the type of films but you can easily see the difference between
    scans with that type of film compared to a more grainier film. My prints are
    also showing as much detail as optical prints through a Noritsu to Fuji Crystal
    Archive paper. I'm very happy with my results.







    FOR7b, Oct 1, 2003
    #18
  19. Folklore

    Mxsmanic Guest

    David Dyer-Bennet writes:

    > No, but it continues to get older.


    Film deteriorates with extreme slowness if it is properly stored.

    > Also, the hundreds of hours I've already spent scanning a tiny
    > percentage of my own photos is not an amount of time I can casually
    > spend *again*.


    If a better digital camera comes out, you'll have to spend even more
    time trying to actually _photograph_ those pictures again. With film,
    all you have to do is scan again, and you get a better version of the
    original.

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.
    Mxsmanic, Oct 1, 2003
    #19
  20. Folklore

    Mxsmanic Guest

    David Dyer-Bennet writes:

    > Careful, I've got plenty of 30 to 40 year old transparencies that have
    > faded considerably, in "ordinary" storage (decent materials, in a
    > lived-in room; but not a climate-controlled archival vault).


    Consider this: If some of those pictures are of dead relatives, and you
    get a better scanner, you can still get better pictures of those
    relatives by rescanning. But if those pictures were digitally-captured,
    what you have is the best you could ever hope to get, even if digital
    cameras have improved 1000% since the death of the relatives in
    question.

    In other words, the advantage of film is that you capture with the best
    possible quality at the time you click the shutter. Even if scanners
    aren't able to pull everything off the film affordably today, they might
    be able to do so in the future, and there will always be drum scanners
    as well. If you shoot digitally, though, your photos will forever be
    limited by today's digicam quality, no matter how good digicams may
    become in the future.

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.
    Mxsmanic, Oct 1, 2003
    #20
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