A few scanning tips

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B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio




A few film scanners

This chart marks the passing of several popular film scanners ... all of these in chart are discontinued now.

See B&H for the currently available scanners:   Film scanners   -   Flatbed scanners

Brand Model $ US Film Size I/F S/W DPI Auto
Focus
Batch
Scan
Multi
Scan
Bits Notes
Benq
(Acer)
ScanWit 2720S 450
250
35 mm SCSI PC
Mac
2700 Yes 6/4   36  
Benq
(Acer)
ScanWit 2740S 649
370
35 mm SCSI PC
Mac
2700 Yes 6/4   36 Infrared
ICE
Canon FS2710
550
330
35 mm
APS
SCSI PC
Mac
2720 Yes No   36 APS is
included
Canon FS2720 599
350
35 mm
APS
USB 1.1 PC
Mac
2720 Yes No   36 APS is
included
Canon FS4000US 1100
600
35 mm
APS
SCSI &
USB 1.1
PC
Mac
4000 Yes 6/4   42 Infrared
FARE
HP PhotoSmart S20
500
170
35 mm
5x7 prints
USB 1.1 PC 2400
300
Fixed 5/1   36  
Kodak RFS 3600
1000
800
35 mm SCSI &
USB 1.1
PC
Mac
3600 Yes 36/1   36  
Microtek ArtixScan 4000t
1000
430
35 mm
APS
SCSI PC
Mac
4000 Yes 6/4   36  
Microtek ArtixScan 4000tf 1200
700
35 mm
APS
IEEE 1394
& USB 1.1
PC
Mac
4000 Yes 6/4   42  
Microtek 120tf 2000
1500
35 mm
6x9 cm
IEEE 1394
& SCSI
PC
Mac
4000
4000
Yes 6/4
2 to 4
  42  
Minolta Scan Dual II
595
250
35 mm
APS
USB 1.1 PC
Mac
2820 Yes 6/4   36  
Minolta Scan Dual III 450
275
35 mm
APS
USB 2.0 PC
Mac
2820 Yes 6/4 Yes 48  
Minolta Scan Dual IV 450
220
35 mm
APS
USB 2.0 PC
Mac
3200 Yes 6/4 Yes 48  
Minolta Scan Elite
950
650
35 mm
APS
SCSI PC
Mac
2820 Fixed   Yes 36 Infrared
ICE
Minolta Scan Elite II 995
620
35 mm
APS
IEEE 1394
& USB 1.1
PC
Mac
2820 Yes 6/4 Yes 48 Infrared
ICE
Minolta Scan Elite 5400 1100
650
35 mm IEEE 1394
& USB 2.0
PC
Mac
5400 Yes 6/4 Yes 48 Infrared
ICE
Minolta Scan Elite 5400 II 600
570
35 mm USB 2.0 PC
Mac
5400 Yes 6/4 Yes 48 Infrared
ICE
Minolta Scan Multi II
2240
1300
35 mm
APS
6x9 cm
SCSI PC
Mac
2820

1128
Yes 6/4

1
Yes 36  
Minolta Scan Multi Pro 3500
1900
35 mm
APS
6x9 cm
IEEE 1394
& SCSI
PC
Mac
4800

3200
Yes 6/4

1
Yes 48 Infrared
ICE
Minolta Scan Speed
900
819
35 mm
APS
SCSI PC
Mac
2820 Fixed     36  
Nikon Coolscan III
LS-30
800
700
35 mm
APS
SCSI PC
Mac
2700 Yes 6/1   30 Infrared
ICE
Nikon Coolscan IV
LS-40
895
610
35 mm
APS
USB 1.1 PC
Mac
2900 Yes 6/1   36 Infrared
ICE
Nikon Coolscan V 600
550
35 mm
APS
USB 2.0 PC
Mac
4000 Yes 6/1   42 Infrared
ICE
Nikon Coolscan
LS-2000
1600
1420
35 mm
APS
SCSI PC
Mac
2700 Yes 6/1 Yes 36 Infrared
ICE
Nikon Coolscan 4000
LS-4000
1695
1150
35 mm
APS
IEEE 1394 PC
Mac
4000 Yes 6/1 Yes 42 Infrared
ICE
Nikon Coolscan 5000 1100
980
35 mm
APS
USB 2.0 PC
Mac
4000 Yes 6/1 Yes 48 Infrared
ICE
Nikon Coolscan 8000 2995
2350
35 mm
6x9 cm
IEEE 1394 PC
Mac
4000
4000
Yes 12/5
2 to 4
Yes 42 Infrared
ICE
Nikon Coolscan 9000 2000
1850
35 mm
6x9 cm
IEEE 1394 PC
Mac
4000
4000
Yes 12/5
2 to 4
Yes 48 Infrared
ICE
Polaroid SprintScan 4000
1200
500
35 mm
APS
SCSI PC
Mac
4000 Yes 6/4   36  
Polaroid SprintScan
4000 Plus
1300
1100
35 mm
APS
IEEE 1394
& USB 1.1
PC
Mac
4000 Yes 6/4   42  
Polaroid SprintScan
120
2695
1800
35 mm
6x9 cm
IEEE 1394
& SCSI
PC
Mac
4000
4000
Yes 6/4
2 to 4
  42  

Film Scanner Notes:

Each of the film scanners in the table has fans. Prices are list price and discount from www.buy.com and www.bhvideo.com (and prices may change, and may not include controller board and cable). And NewEgg.com has a very good price on the Minolta Dual Scan IV. A higher price does buy more scanner, better optics, infrared dust reduction, better software, and also better dynamic range, giving deeper noise-free detail from dark shadow tones in slides. Dynamic range is quite important for slides, but less important if scanning negatives.

But the dynamic range spec is not shown here, because the advertised number is unfortunately only marketing hype. There are no standards for advertising this value. It is a totally meaningless number as advertised. Don't assume 3.6 is better than 3.4, or that either is achievable. It is not a performance spec, the scanner was not measured.   3.6 for 12 bits or 4.2 for 14 bits is the theoretical maximum, simply the greatest possible value those bits could possibly hold, if all else were theoretically perfect (see page 157). It assumes DMin is zero, DMax is maximum, and noise is zero, all ridiculous. A false 3.6 cannot be compared to a false 3.4. These may be fine scanners, but have other reasons than this number to choose them.

Marketing's scan speed spec is not shown either, because it is also not very meaningful. SCSI is faster than USB 1.1, especially for 20-60 MB scans. Focusing can take a long time. Saving a very large file also takes awhile. Don't be surprised at 3 minutes overall at full resolution and 16 bits. There's lots of reasons, and computer speed is a big factor too. Scanner exposure time is a bigger time factor than interface bus, and this varies with film frame.

Maximum size 24 bit 35 mm film images are about:

2400 dpi 3400x2200 pixels 7.5 megapixels 22 MB
2820 dpi 3800x2600 pixels 9.9 megapixels 30 MB
4000 dpi 5600x3600 pixels 20 megapixels 60 MB

16 bit data will be twice this size in MB. You need at least 4 times that much system memory, and 8 times is better for editing. If that image is too large for the purpose, then try scanning at 1/2 or 1/4 or 1/8 of full optical resolution, using even fractional divisors when possible.

Auto Focus is a motorized focusing method, and can compensate for warped or buckled film frames. Other units are fixed focus.

Batch Scanning uses a motorized film feed mechanism to position each film frame. This can allow automatic scanning of multiple images. The table value shown is the number of frames:    film strips / mounted slides.

Some few Minolta and Nikon models have optional autofeeders for 50 mounted slides (about $500).

APS film size requires an optional hardware APS adapter (about $120 to $250). These can batch scan the full APS roll. The Canon FS2710 APS adapter is manual and included.

The Multi-Scan feature can scan one frame multiple times (typically 4 or 16 times scanned in one slow pass). Those images are combined into one image, to average out the random scanner noise in the image data. It is an important noise reduction technique to produce clean dark tones from slides (even in scanners with so-called 4.2 dynamic range too). Multi-Scan is not such an advantage for negatives, because negative dark tones are inverted to the highlights where the noise is harder to see. VueScan can multi-scan with some units that don't support multi-scan.

Some scanners provide a fourth infrared hardware channel (RGB+IR) to allow software to detect and remove dust, fingerprints, scratches and other film damage. Such software is Digital ICETM and VueScan. This causes a slight softening of image sharpness, but it is a popular option, and many users consider it essential. Subsequent sharpening can help. IR does not work with conventional B&W films, and often not so well with Kodachrome, but it does work on all other dye-based slides and negatives.

The Nikon units uniquely use LED illumination source instead of a fluorescent lamp.

The Polaroid and Microtek 4000 dpi models are similar hardware, with different software.


Copyright © 2000-2010 by Wayne Fulton - All rights are reserved.


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