How to find a quality film and negative scanner?
October 17, 2007 10:26 AM   Subscribe

Scanning slides and negatives. What level of scanner must I consider to get high res. files from which I can produce sharp, digital prints up to 8" x 10"? Canon offers the CanoScan LiDE 600F for around $140.00 but I'm concerned about the quality of it's scans.
posted by tangyraspberry to Technology (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
It should work based on the specs. I don't know if it has ICE but if it doesn't you probably should pass on it. You should also have an idea of the back-end of your workflow. Some printers will print sharper than others.
posted by JJ86 at 11:06 AM on October 17, 2007

I don't know too much about the scanner in question, or about scanner technology in general, but I bought a Canon 3000F (similar to this one) a few years ago, which is consumer-grade flatbed scanner with the ability to scan film. I tried scanning some 35mm negatives a few times, but I was not impressed with the results. The scans are very blurry and not suitable for printing. It cost about $150 at the time (maybe 2002 or 2003?), so I'm thinking you need a specialized device to produce film scans suitable for printing.
posted by good in a vacuum at 11:26 AM on October 17, 2007

It all depends on how you're printing. I happen to use EZprints. I upload files that are 300dpi, so for an 8x10, you're looking at files that are 2400x3200 pixels.

For a standard frame of film (24x36mm), that means you're looking for something that can do 1000dpi optical. I'm a bit too busy at the moment to check on the 600F, but I've got the feeling it doesn't have that kind of horsepower.
posted by god hates math at 11:42 AM on October 17, 2007

The 600F does not incorporate ICE. That doesn't make it a bad scanner, though. I use mine through Photoshop I get quality high-resolution images.

The film scanning attachment is limited in that you will probably have to take the slide out of the holder in order for it to get a good scan.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:35 PM on October 17, 2007

I have a Canon Canoscan 8400F flatbed with an attachment for scanning negatives; I was more than happy with the results, although I needed to do a fair bit of adjustment of the colours post-scanning - in hindsight, I could probably have set up some kind of colour profile initially.

Not sure if it can do slides too, though.
posted by Chunder at 1:36 PM on October 17, 2007

Recently on CoolTools

That aside, I got decent results from a $140 scanner that included a lightlid, but I was scanning higher-ISO film negatives (usually ISO 400-800), so the grain size meant they weren't that sharp to begin with. The scans were good enough to capture the grain, but like I said... 800 ISO :-)
However, I expect I'll get better results for less effort via the service in the link above, and plan to try that next.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:55 PM on October 17, 2007

Get a used film scanner. You should be able to get something for around the same price as the CanoScan but your scans will be much nicer.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:11 PM on October 17, 2007

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