Slide Scanner Advice Please.

Dave Kendrick

Well-Known Member
Hi all,
I've e-mailed Hamish with the following request and then it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to post the plea on the forum, so here goes, with due apologies to mine host ;)

My family have started telling me how difficult I am to buy for at
Christmas so I'm looking for guidance. I have been threatening for ages
to scan my lifetime's collection of slides and colour negs. (I have a
fairly decent scanner for doing prints but it's colour negative and
positive capabilities are a bit limited, pixel wise). With a budget of
around £250 can you suggest a good scanner to do my slides and negs
please? If it helps us both I'm quite happy to buy through you and, if
there are any bargains you may be aware of I'd be happy to buy second
hand providing it's in reasonable nick and does a good job.

Thanks for any help or advice.

you are on my list to email .. but i was going to suggest a post here ...

the answer to your queery is epson v500... i have one, its mint!
the answer to your queery is epson v500... i have one, its mint!

Hi Hamish,
Thanks for your advice - much appreciated, but it leaves me slightly puzzled :confused: .
1) I was expecting preferences to be expressed for purpose built negative and slide scanner, rather than a flat-bed - are the flatbed ones really better for negs and pos's as I have an Epson Perfection 1650 flat-bed already - it doesn't have the resolution of the V500 though.
2) Your last comment, "I have one, it's mint" suggests that it is for sale SH - is that the case and if so, what do you want for it?
sorry, i meant its "mint" as in "its good"

you could get a dedicated slide scanner if you like, but the epson does up to 7200 dpi and slides and negs up to medium format ... i can also teach you how to use it via the forum,(ill get you working in "pro" mode which is easier than the other modes when you know how - i know how) and its well within budget now the price has dropped a little, and i can see if i can get you one at a good price through the shop and you have already seen the scanning quality in the reproduction of your sketch that i took ages to do ...
Hi Hamish,
Sorry my friend but it looks as though all bets are off :( . I have just mentioned to my wife that her desperate search for a Christmas present for me might be over, only to be advised that my daughter has already bought me a slide scanner. I have no idea what she's gone for but I'm certain it won't be a flat-bed. So it looks as though I won't be able to take advantage of your kind offer but many thanks ayway :( .
A decade back, it was common knowledge that flatbed scanners used for film produced dreck. Half a dozen years back or more, I got the Epson 4870, when I really wanted the Nikon CS9000. The Epson was $600CDn and the Nikon was $3300 which I just could not justify, and I was deeply depressed as I walked home with it. My first scan and print was baffling, because it rocked me back on my heels with its quality. "Everyone knows that flatbeds could not produce quality scans from film." but there it was.

One of the working shooters in the city had launched a new magazine format web site and invited a group of contributing photographers to its debut. I brought along a collection of 13×19 prints from medium format scans and spread them on the table, asking for the collective experience to explain how they were done. The verdict was "professional drum scans." I replied "flatbed". Everyone was astonished.

Some skill entered into it. I began digitizing with a video camera and doing image processing on an Amiga in the late 1980s, so was not exactly a novice. The current version of my scanner is the V700 and Vincent Oliver at a most trusted photography site found that while the Nikon produced a slightly sharper original scan, the Epson with a touch of USM made the scan indistinguishable with 100% pixel peeping. Years ago members of a 4870 forum actually used the same film for a professional drum scan against it and made large prints and put them up for reactions. In most cases - though not all - the 4870 won.

Were my 4870 to self-destruct - unlikely since it is rated at 100k scans before maintenance - I would buy the V700 before nightfall. It has also saved my early portfolio prints which are now fading drastically, saves me typing with OCR and does macro photography on occasion.

I can not offer an opinion on the more consumer versions, but have had no reason to upgrade from my 4870. The quality of my prints well exceed those I made in the traditional fume room.
Hi Guys, particularly Hamish,
Update on the scanner pressy situation:
Without any input from me or my wife my daughter has formed the opinion that the scanner she had purchased for my pressy was not what she thought I wanted/needed/deserved so she has returned it and options are open again. My wife has agreed to discuss with her the desirability of the Epson V500 but there is still time for me to entertain other possibilities if anyone has any.
Hamish, not discounting your advice, the V500 is firmly pencilled in but I just thought I'd throw it open again. Budget could stretch a little beyond the V500 if there are cost effective benefits to be had. Having said that, there's probably no real need for going up market as my requirement will be largely if not exclusively, limited to getting good sharp 'normal' sized prints rather than poster sized enlargements.
The v500 had dropped in price recently, mine cost me around £250... The next model up is the v700 ... You don't need a v700...
Another option would be a plustek
But you loose a lot of functionality for extra cost... Quality might be a bit better, but I doubt I would notice ... If you want to ring me at the shop dave (have you still got the number) I'll find out the different specs of different plustec models, but I really do think the v500 is as good and as versitile as you are going to get within budget...
Put it this way, we scan and touch up negs at the shop for customers... We use a v100... They are a few years old and cost £60 they do a good enough job at scanning negs for print up to a4 ...
If you took all the images you need to scan with a professional level lens and have kept them in perfect condition since they were taken and want nigh on perfect reproduction a v500 will do the job...
V500 Scanner Arrives (nearly ;) ).

Hi Guys and Gals, :)
My Christmas pressie is in the building but Santa won't let me have it until the day ;);) .
It is an Epson V500 scanner and the main job for it will be digitising the best of a lifetime's collection of (mainly) slides of virtually all 35mm variants which I seem to have used at one time or another. Next in terms of quantity will be digitising colour pics and/or negs (where available), again mainly 35mm but some old 120 negs, and then some even older B&W pics and negs.
I know just enough about both computers and photography to be dangerous ;) so I would welcome any advice and encouragement (are you listening Hamish? :) ). I'm not a total beginner but I'm past the age where my mind absorbs details like a sponge and I don't understand the technicalities very well so it will really need to be basic, but no hurry so plenty of time to gather your thoughts :D .
The Epson software is about as simple as it comes Dave ...
I use the "professional" mode and even that is self explanatory ...
I don't use any of the automatic dust removal or "ice" trchnology although they are worth playing with to see how useful or otherwise they can be ...
Scanning slides or negs needs a little more thought - I set it to scan to "original size" but at 3200 dpi ... This gives an image very roughly equivalent to 10mp I think - about 25mb in tiff format.
Obviously "reflective" means photo or printed image and the other setting "transparent" (I think thats what it's called) means neg or slide... When scanning neg or slide there is a white removable panel in the lid that needs to be removed to reveal the light to iluminate the transparency from the opposite side to the scanning side ...
Erm what else ... ... ... Just have a play dave and let menknow if you come unstuck ... It's quite easy really :)