Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.scanner (More info?)
In short The Epson 4870!!
I purchased an Epson 4870 a few weeks ago and am astonished by the results.
From reviews I have read the Canon is not even close in its resolution,
sharpness, speed etc although it is quite a bit cheaper. The epson comes
with holders for 35mm strip (24 frames at a time), 35mm slides, 120
panoramic/strip and 4 x5in. I think you can even scan 10 x 8in by laying it
on the glass althogh I guess newtons rings would be a problem. The scans are
being used for repro and also output to a Durst Lambda printer at 200dpi for
larger prints, 1m x 1m etc.
I have been getting high end scans from medium format film from a Pro Lab in
Melbourne. The scans are done on a an Imacon flextight and cost a dollar per
Mbyte. Ie a 100Mb , approx 63 x42cm @300dpi scan costs $100. The Imacon is
a superb scanner but at upwards of $15000 its way out of my league. The
biggest problem I have had with bureau scans is operator input, in much the
same way that 3 different enlarger operators with identical equip will give
three different results.
They frequently do corrections using (I think) levels in photoshop instead
of curves witch are far gentler on your data. I have returned quite a few
scans for redos because of posterization or clipping, especially in the
highlights. Don't get me wrong the Imacon is more than capable of producing
superb scans with far more detail than the epson. I have compared Imacon
scans with the same film scanned on the epson (at 4800dpi/48bit). Up till
around A3 size @300dpi the Imacon is slightly crisper with slightly more
fine detail, but I have found the colour information and shadow detail to be
superior in the epson, much smoother. This is not because of the scanner,
but the operator. What I am saying is that a well done scan on the Epson
4870 beats an indifferent scan on something as high end as an Imacon. 72Mb
Photo CD scans off the same film are also beaten by the epson.
The "instructions" with the epson are pathetic and for a device with so many
options gives no guidance as to what settings to use to get optimum scans.
If anyone knows of resources or info on driving this scanner, please post!!!
I have compared scans with and without "digital Ice", a secondary surface
scan that removes dust. A 21/4 square 4800dpi/48bit scan takes around 4
minutes to do and is over 700Mb in size.( quick IMO), with DIce it takes
anywhere from 15-20mins. Previews and zooms tke less than a minute.
The epson driver crashes PhotoshopCS (winXP, Pent4/HT, 1.5GB 400Mhz DDR ram/
85% to PShop. 200Mb HDisk, at these sizes with Digital Ice on. I suspect
insufficient memory/Ram, It works fine as a standalone. I The dust removal
part works very well but I have found it does some strange things with some
tones, posterizing slightly.
I did some comparisons with the Silverfast SWare that comes with it and
although it has good instructions and seems to offer far more control (ie
you can select from dozens of film emulsions rather than just a generic "col
Transp, col neg" etc.) than the epson SWare scans take longer and I couldn't
get as good results as with the epson driver. Having a stereo with 20buttons
on it does not necessarily give you better sound than one with only one!!
The biggest problem with SFast is it works in 48Bit but only outputs 24 Bit.
I prefer to do my final corrections via curves and adjustment layers in
PShop as the scanner previews are only good for rough work and its difficult
to see the effect of fine adjustments.
I think to drive this scanner properly you need to invest at least a few
days "playing" with it and seeing what the dozens of different settings do
and which gives the best results. Like any scanner one of the biggest
problems will be dust. At 4800dpi, film grain is obvious as well as the
slightest bit of dust. Being all plastic it is a dust magnet!!!!! Keep it
and all accesories covered when not in use.
Summing up: I have been purchasing high end scans for yers and know a good
clean scan when I see one. The Epson 4870 gives astonishingly good scans,
especially up to A4. Up to A3 you really need to look closely to pick
between it and a Flextight. At larger sizes a well run flextight will (not
suprisingly) give better results.
Frank from OZ
"Grant Walker" <email@example.com> wrote in message
> I am looking at upgrading my old Canon scanner to a good quality scanner
> with slide and transparencies features and new software to clean up
> the Epson 4870 and Canon 9900 seem to be the best here in Australia, has
> anyone compared them, the Epson is more expensive, is it worth it?
> thanks for the assistance,
> Grant Walker.
> 13a Mellool St
> Barham 2732