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Scanner Advice

19 Jun 2011 7:47PM
I currently have a Canon Canoscan 4400F flatbed scanner which I bought and use really only for document scanning and it's pretty good, can't really fault it for that purpose. It does also have the ability to scan 35mm film and has a slide holder and the scanners resolution is 4800 x 9600dpi, 48 bit colour depth.

I want to now digitise my fathers archive of family photos all of which are on 35mm slide and number in the hundreds of images. This isn't really about 'photography' in terms of an art form but about preserving family history as well as possible. My question is whether my scanner is up to the job.

I've done some tests with my existing scanner and scanned the same slide three times 1200dpi, 2400dpi, 4800dpi.

I'm a little confused and torn about which resolution to use as on the one hand I want the best I can get as I don't want to do this more than once as there are so many but on the other hand as there are so many I don't want to spend months doing it if a lower res would have been acceptable. Ultimately I think it would be safe to say that generally it is unlikely that these photos/scans would be printed but it would be nice if it were possible to do so, however one or two photos it might be nice to get enlarged and framed. My main intention is to scan them as a digital archive so that if anything ever happened to the originals at least we would have the digital version. I also intend making a DVD slideshow to be viewed both on a TV and a Computer. All of that said I am fussy and just scanning at screen resolution is just going to bug me.

The results of my test were:

Took 2 mins to scan resulting in an image that would print at just short of 6x4 at 300dpi however it really wasn't high enough resolution and you could clearly see pixilation when zoomed in at 100% and loss of detail.

Took 5 mins resulting in an image that would print at just short of 10x8 at 300dpi. The result was very good and no pixilation was really visible at 100%

Took 8 mins resulting in an image that would print at just short of 22x15 at 300dpi. The result was not anywhere near as better as between 1200dpi and 2400dpi. Considering the extra time it takes I would say that it wasnt worth it unless actually needed to print at that size.

I did also try one at 9600dpi but as this was going to take 16 minutes I abandoned it as being unpractical.

So based on this I would say that 2400dpi is fine for screen viewing and has the benefit of being able to print at up to 10x8 and that perhaps I should only scan slides I want to print at larger sizes are resolutions over 4800dpi.

However I have been looking into the Canon Canoscan 9000f scanner which offers 9600x9600, 48bit scanning. According to Canon this can scan a slide at 1200dpi in 18 seconds (compared to 2 minutes on my current scanner) so presumably that would mean that it could scan a slide at 4800dpi in just over a minute and take 2 minutes for a 9600dpi scan which sounds very attractive. That said it costs around 200 which although not a huge some of money is enough in this current financial climate.

So what do people think?

Do you think 2400dpi would be a good compromise resolution?

Does anyone have the Canoscan 9000f (or a scanner of similar performance), is it good, does a 9600dpi scan take around 2 minutes, is it worth the extra time.

I'm not that familiar with scanners so I don't fully understand what the difference between 4800x9600 (my current scanners spec) and 9600x9600, does this mean I would expect higher quality scans with the Canoscan 9000f even when scanned at the same resolutions?

Incidentally I did also look at dedicated 35mm scanners like the Plustek 7600i but although I read good reviews about them I noticed that they were more expensive than the Canon, took longer to scan then the Canon and had a lower resolution to the scanner. Am I missing something?

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vetcameraman 14 145 United Kingdom
19 Jun 2011 10:46PM
Have a look HERE and HERE for technical reviews. THIS seems to be a middle range cost effective model - do a web search - appears elsewhere at around 299 but depends on Euro: if you look at this or the Reflecta website. Perhaps more than you wanted, but I suspect a better result, and consider resale value. Other reviews seem to give it the thumbs up. Also think about variety of software to get the best processing results - supplied software, Silverfast, Hamrick's Vuescan or something else? May change end quality and overall costs. Limited UK suppliers for the Reflecta, but in an open EU market, not so hard to find with a bit of searching for best value.

Hope this helps.
21 Jun 2011 4:36PM
Many thanks for that, it certainly makes for interesting reading and has put the cat amongst the pigeons. The Proscan 7200 does sound good but 300 is a bit more than I can really afford at the moment. It seems from that website that the two best scanners that fit my needs and budget are the Canon 9000f and the Plustek 7600i. From that website it appears that the Plustek would give better quality as it achieves almost double the scanned resolution as the Canon but this has the drawback of making it a lot slower than the Canon and also that it produces huge file sizes.

I think what I might have to do is buy the Canon and then pay for any important slides to be additionally professionally scanned as this is probably the best compromise.

Thanks for the help.

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