Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

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Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby samester on Sun Mar 09, 2008 7:01 pm

I've been umming and arring about getting some slides scanned for a while but to get them scanned professionally seems quite expensive.

Anyone here have the Epson V700 ? It seems like the best scanner of its type and comparable to some drum scanners.

I do a little magazine and catalog photography and want to add my slide collection to my digital library. All of my slides are mounted and shot on velvia 50. What i'd like is for the scanned slides to be comparable in quality to say images from a D200 (or D70 for that matter) when printed in a glossy colour mag at say A4 or A3 size.

I'd consider buying a V700 if I knew what the scan quality was like and would love to test or sample what the unit has to offer.

I guess the big question would be is the quality of a scan from a V700 comparable to a shot taken from a digital SLR ?

Are there other units that anyone could recommend ?

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Sam
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby ATJ on Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:35 am

Sam,

I have the Epson V700 and it is indeed a very good scanner. It might be worth doing a search as it has been discussed a number of times before.

As for comparable to a purely digital image, that all depends on the slide you are scanning. If the slide is good you should be able to produce a much better digital image simply because you can scan to a higher resolution. The scanner can go to 9600 dpi, but even if you scan at 4800 dpi you will produce and image of a slide that is around 6800x4500 pixels. My D300 gives me images that are only 4288x2488 pixels.

Here are some images:
Image

Image

Image
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby samester on Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:25 am

Hi ATJ,

Many thanks for taking the time out to reply.

I'm keen on pixel peeping to see what the unit has to offer - would be interested to see a 100% crop of a scanned slide compared to a digital pic.

Last thing i want to do is buy one only to find out that i need a dedicated slide scanner or to have my slides drum scanned to obtain the desired quality.

Your pics look great and have me quite interested - would be great to hear/see more. Could you differentiate between a scanned slide and a digital shot (ie are there any scanning artefacts or weaknesses you could highlight that the scanner may have).

Thanks again,
Sam
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby ATJ on Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:58 am

Sam,

With pixel peeping, it is quite easy to tell the difference between a scanned slide and a digital image because in the former the grain will generally be noticeable, especially if you scan at a high resolution.

e.g.

Image

The other issue with scanning a slide is getting the colours, contrast and brightness right. Sure, you can look at the slide and do a optical match, but it is often difficult to get the subtle features correct. With the Epson software ideally you need to be good with post processing such as the use of levels and curves.
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby samester on Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:44 am

That really is a great help ATJ - greatly appreciatie you taking the time out mate.

I'm comfortable with post processing to correct colour and curves. Grain/noise has worried me about these machines although at a high enough res i imagine the image size should be sufficiently large to be printed A3 without suffering too much.

Thanks again,
Sam
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby Murray Foote on Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:49 am

ATJ wrote:The scanner can go to 9600 dpi, but even if you scan at 4800 dpi you will produce and image of a slide that is around 6800x4500 pixels.


Andrew

Have you actually tested at different resolutions to see whether there is actually any difference? 9600dpi is an interpolated resolution, the real scanner resolution is 4800dpi. Even then, and unlike film scanners, this is a theoretical resolution that the scanner will never meet rather than an actual resolution. I did some tests with my Canon 9950F and found no increase in resolution over 2400dpi. At least one other person (on the Photo-i forum) tested out an Epson scanner at the same time with the same results (I think it was a 4870). I don't think the V700 would be much different.

I don't remember this clearly but I think the maximum resolution with say Velvia 100 is around 6000dpi to 8000dpi. You'd need something like an Imacon to reach that. On the other hand, for 5x4 and 6x17 2400dpi is likely to be more than enough and 1600dpi will suffice for most purposes.

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Murray
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby ATJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:37 am

I haven't tested anything greater than 4800dpi because 4800dpi gives me more than enough pixels and certainly more than I'd get from my D300. At 6800x4500 for an uncropped image, that's 30MP, more than any FF camera available at the moment.
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby Matt. K on Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:00 am

I've scanned B&W negs shot with a Hasselblad with the V700 and they printed better than anything I could get out of my D300.
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby Murray Foote on Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:23 am

I haven't scanned any 35mm for some years. I haven't done any scanning this year since getting a D3 but I'm sure I'll get back to it, especially now Silverfast has a new release optimised for Canon. Last year I was scanning 6x17 and before that 5x4. I haven't done any comparisons with the D3 vs scans because currently the kinds of images I am taking are very different.

Some years ago I took an image on 5x4 that made a particularly good resolution test. There was a sunken ferry at Ultimo surrounded by a ring of floats, part of the wharf had fallen into the harbour and on the next wharf was a turn of the century (20th) American-style wharehouse building. In front of the building, probably more than a hundred yards away, was a no parking sign for boats, just about possible to read at maximum magnification. I found that I was able to get equivalent resolution even scanning with my old Canon 9900F scanner as compared to an earlier 16x20 Cibachrome print.

The image:

Image

and the sign (scanned at 1600dpi):

Image

Around the same time I did a comparative test between the Canon 9900F and a Microtek Artix 1800. I found the Canon had pretty close to the resolution of the Microtek but the Microtek had a much better dynamic range. So that's potentially another factor. I feel sure that well-exposed slide or b&w film has more potential than most people realise but even if they give good results, flatbed scanners are the bottleneck. Results will also depend on the software, including how well you use it, probably on whether you use wet mounting and maybe on whether you weight the scanner to avoid vibrations.

My understanding is that the V700 is somewhat better than the Canon 9950F but not enough to justify an upgrade and the same was true of the Canon over the Epson 4870 and 4990 (which were little different). There was a German magazine reported from time to time on the Photo-i forum (whose name I forget but it was printed in German and is not directly accessible). This appeared to be particularly authoritative on resolution. Although the V700 came out the best of the scanners mentioned it came out with effective resolution as less than 3000dpi, about 2800dpi if I remember correctly.

This ties in with my finding that with my scanner, scanning at 4800dpi produced no increased resolution over 2400dpi, notwithstanding the increased number of dots, just an increase in the file size. Of course others with different methodologies and perceptions may find differently should they do such tests. And if the resolution of the V700 is 2800 or 300dpi and that is visibly different from 2400dpi then it would be better to scan at 4800dpi because Photoshop will have better resampling algorithms than the scanner and its software.

Regards,
Murray
Last edited by Murray Foote on Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby MCWB on Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:16 am

Murray Foote wrote:(Postscript - I found the file referred to above which I scanned at 1600dpi in 2005 but I can't post it just yet because my free FTP utility has become non-free and I haven't quite decided whether to shell out of find something else).

FileZilla. :up:
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby Murray Foote on Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:50 pm

MCWB wrote:
Murray Foote wrote:(Postscript - I found the file referred to above which I scanned at 1600dpi in 2005 but I can't post it just yet because my free FTP utility has become non-free and I haven't quite decided whether to shell out of find something else).

FileZilla. :up:


Thanks very much, Trent. That did the trick! I've now included the image (and removed the comment, in case anyone is confused).

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Murray
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby Murray Foote on Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:54 pm

Actually the one other thing I forgot to say was that with digital images you can usually upres by 100% fairly easily but with scans you're generally stuck with what you scan at.
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby gstark on Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:22 pm

Murray,

Murray Foote wrote:My understanding is that the V700 is somewhat better than the Canon 9950F but not enough to justify an upgrade


I'm unfamiliar with the Canon's specs, but one also needs to consider that scanning, with a flatbed, can be a very time consuming and labour intensive process. The V700 has features that help to address this issue. While scanning will always be a PITA, the V700's features make this less so.
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby Murray Foote on Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:03 pm

Hi Gary

Sure scanning tends to be time consuming but I'm a bit mystified as to what features you are referring to. The holders are improved over the 4990 but the Canon ones are OK anyway. There are shims enclosed for adjusting the height but that historically has been more of an Epson problem than a Canon problem. You can make your own anyway but I've never seen the need.

The main complexity is in the software rather than the scanner itself and that is reatively scanner-independent. Canon's Scangear is hopeless so you have to go for Silverfast or Vuescan. Epson's software is OK but Silverfast and Vuescan still offer improvements.

There may well be quality improvements with the V700 but I doubt there is much in the way of functionality improvements.

Andrew

I reread the Photo-i V700 review in response to Gary's comment. If i understand correctly, the 4800 dpi resolution is for reflective scanning whereas film scanning uses a different lens and 6400dpi. If this is so, you would be better scanning at either 6400dpi or 3200dpi and my guess is that 3200dpi would be the optimum maximum resolution.

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Murray
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby ATJ on Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:47 pm

Murray Foote wrote:I reread the Photo-i V700 review in response to Gary's comment. If i understand correctly, the 4800 dpi resolution is for reflective scanning whereas film scanning uses a different lens and 6400dpi. If this is so, you would be better scanning at either 6400dpi or 3200dpi and my guess is that 3200dpi would be the optimum maximum resolution.

I just reread it, too, and doesn't seem to indicate that 3200 dpi is any better than 4800 dpi (other than the resulting number of pixels) and the reviewer appears to use them interchangeably. Perhaps when I have some time I'll do some test scans myself.
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby Grev on Sun Dec 28, 2008 7:47 pm

As shown, 35mm scans are definitely comparable to digital, providing it's a slow speed film.

Otherwise, scans from the RZ67 can go to 1.1 gigabytes per image!! :shock:
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Re: Epson V700 Film Scanner - are scans comparable to DSLR shots

Postby Murray Foote on Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:26 am

Grev wrote:As shown, 35mm scans are definitely comparable to digital, providing it's a slow speed film.
Otherwise, scans from the RZ67 can go to 1.1 gigabytes per image!! :shock:

Well, I don't know about that. Take for example this old link: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/shootout.shtml. It's true enough for web images which after all are generally no more than 1MP but for printed images it depends on how large you want to print. On any format with the V700, even though it's the best consumer flatbed, you probably get less than half the detail that's actually in the film for the finest grain slide film (eg Velvia 100). That's not going to make any difference printed at A4 and an A3+ print may still look fine but I expect one scanned on a Nikon 5000 would be a little better.

The comparison becomes a little more difficult because I think the only sensible point of comparison is between final, fully-processed images (or prints). Also the feel of the images can be different, edge rendition is different, digital images up-res much better than scanned film and file size is no indication of information or quality. I think that digital is in general superior to 35mm film and the crossover point is somewhere around medium format. There are also other factors than resolution - for example a D3 (shooting RAW) has both greater dynamic range and greater exposure latitude than slide film and far greater sensitivity for working in low light.

Still, we shouldn't get too fixated on the technical. An outstanding image will still be an outstanding image whether sourced from film or digital (and could even be from a Holga).

Come to think of it, for more detail on the comparison, check out this article: http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/film.vs.digital.summary1.html

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Murray
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