Showing posts with label scanners. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scanners. Show all posts


Let the Drum Scanner be the Judge of Your Shots!

It's been quite a while since we've been posting anything here. But I thought that would well be worth to post, to demistify certain misconceptions about the "high" resolution of contemporary consumer (or even prosumer) scanners. Fact is, our featured (and excellent, too) photographer, Margus has been in the "drum scanner business" (so to speak) for quite a while. And he's got enough guts to take the bumpy (and expensive) road to restore a drum scanner back in working order. Bravo!
Anyway, I dared to post a couple of photos (retrieved from his photostream). These pics very explicitely show the obvious superiority of a drum scanner, even though with such a "low" (nominal) resolution of 3000 ppi and the "modest" Dmax of 3.6. 

Copyright Margus Sootla. Retrieved from Flickr.
Copyright Margus Sootla. Retrieved from Flickr.
Now, a question arises very naturally: if drum scanners would be more common (=affordable to use) in the past years, how many more photographers would stick with film (or at least for a much longer time)???
Margus, my very compliments for the excellent scanner restoration job!



Scanners: The »Missing Link« finally arrived!

It's been a while since I used to use my own, now defunct film scanner. It was a flatbed Mustek Bearpaw with the transmission mode scan option. It wasn't a stellar scanner, but you could scan 35 mm images and get a decent quality 20x30cm prints from a Frontier machine, or a decent A4 inkjet contact negative to use with alternative photo techniques. But it died some years ago....well, it's performance did (and who will ever repair an obsolete scanner?). All in all, it wasn't a bad scanner considering the price at the time. For a couple of years I was actually relying only on outsourced scanning-be it made by a friend or by a photo lab. Fact is that I was shooting mostly slide film in that period and scanned only selected images. Fact is also that all that time I was toying with the idea of getting a »serious«, medium format scanner. MF scanner prices were never low (new or used ones), but looks like their prices even skyrocketed a bit in the past time (for respectable used models). Then, I was waiting for the (so long) announced OpticFilm 120-until its price has been, thanks, I said-for such an extra premium in price I can rely on outsourcing for scanning medium format film, for many many years. So I got annoyed of myself not being able to decide which scanner to get. And owning a good scanner is always a good thing....
Anyway, finally I decided to get a Plustek scanner, more precisely the 8200i SE model. Just arrived yesterday! I am still in the need to install it, can't wait for the weekend to test it!

I chose the intermediate model of this Plustek scanner line, since the 8100 model doesn't have the nice and useful feature of IR detection (and removal) of scratches and dust particles, while the 8200 Ai model costing over 50 % more than the 8200 SE (and more than double of the 8100), but having the auto IT8 calibration feature seemed to me way too much. Optically-sensor and lens wise-all 3 scanners are identical, save the mentioned features. While the IT8 calibration is surely a nice (and expensive addition), it can be compensated by a much cheaper solution: you can shoot a test image of a (reasonably priced) color-checker chart (yes, those which became popular among digital photographers, but they existed also before...) and then set and save you color curve values in an image editor for any given film type. You can even borrow from someone a test chart for a day or so and have the job almost done. That's it! Anyone who ever worked in the darkroom for a while can get a grasp of such a procedure. And, if you really want to go crazy, you can buy ready-made IT8 targets on specific film emulsions-check this link for these outrageous prices! If I knew before, that would be my best investment in a Kodachrome film....just kidding
Note: if you shoot only BW film, even the IR dust removal feature is useless, unless you are using chromogenic BW film. So in such a case you can save some money too.


Plustek OpticFilm 120 update (and a rant)

It was one of the first posts on the blog  about this medium format scanner. The actual market release date still seems to "float". When should this happen? Who knows, I don't. The vendors have been accepting preorders for the scanner for quite a while now. The feaures look promising, at least on paper. Not so for the price. Wex Photographic offers the scanner (in pre-order, of course) for £1999. Wow, that's serious money, 2.5k€! In these days people get a medium format camera in mint condition for some 15-30% of that amount! And you can get a (used but working, of course) Imacon or drum scanner for that sum.....I really do not understand who will ever buy such a monster (price-wise). If one needs to scan MF film for sharing online, then a Canon or Epson flatbed does the job just right, for 10% of that price. When you ever need high quality scans (exhibitions, print sales), then it's just better to pay a professional to do that. But yes, it is a problem to find a good professional these days.....I don't know for you, but I'm not gonna buy it. Not in a million years. If I ever get crazy one day, I'll get to scavenge an old drum scanner....and a SCSI adapter :)


Monday column; the another story... The learning process about digitalizing the first roll of developed film

Hello! I’m back again. It was busy for me lately, but here I’m. The last time I was talking about how I developed my first roll of b&w film. This story is about how a newbie digitalized his first roll of film.
I was describing in previous columns about how was my first contact with analogue photography. I quickly learned how to develop film on my own, but then I was left with developed roll of film with no clue what to do whit it. The enlarger and darkroom printing was for me still in clouds of, at that time, unknown future. At that time I have had no means of my own to view or scan the film, so the first move was that I went to the local quick lab, to scan my roll of film. Because unfortunately it was the nonstandard 120 format film, it could not be scanned on the fuji machine. But I was reassured that they could scan the film on the flatbed scanner. The result was disappointed for me. Not that I wanted or even that I could expect extreme quality from my first roll of film taken with Agfa Isola 1 and developed in the bathroom. 


I was not happy but I didn’t know any better. The next time I asked if they can scan the film in the best possible quality. I got this. 

Then I realized that the person who is scanning my film has no clue how to scan a film on a flatbed scanner. And for the results I was getting it was very expensive. I quickly made a calculation that a scanner will pay off in scanning only 20 of 120 format films.
After my first encounter with analogue photography I was beginning to shoot with cameras with more “standard” film format. This was scanned on the Fuji frontier scanner, and the workflow for doing that seemed that was more straightforward at that minilab. The results were better. 


But none the less, I made the decision to buy a flatbed scanner. I scanned again the disappointingly scanned film. The result speaks from themselves.



Plustek OpticFilm 120: the anxiety is still high....

Many of us have been delighted by the news some half a year ago that Plustek is going to release a brand new-and affordable!-medium format scanner. The scanner is also listed on their official website, but so far, there's no clue when it will be put on shop shelves.....For the price it has been speculated to be around a grand-quite nice, if you compare to some refurbished or "like-new-condition" Nikons or Minoltas. Otherwise, the Plustek is a fixed-focus device, while the other two have an adjustable focus. Probably not an issue, provided their "patent-pending adjustable pitch 120/220mm film holder" will do the job well.
Plustek OpticFilm 120. The market release date is still a mistery. Source:

Also, a nice feature of the scanner will be the Auto IT8 Calibration®. In the meantime, we can only guess when the D-day will come...Hopefully, as our anxiety about this scanner rises, the (anticipated) price won't!

silver regards