[sane-devel] offtopic 35-mm scanner question

Brian J Densmore brian at amason.net
Thu Oct 20 17:04:36 UTC 2005

Miguel Bazdresch wrote:

>On 10/20/05, Alan Corey <alancorey at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>I'd have to pretty much agree with breacher even though I'm not familiar with
>>the Epson Perfection 2400 and I'm a newbie with SANE.  I've got one flatbed
>>scanner with a transparency adapter built in, and it makes me wonder why they
>>bothered except as a marketing tactic.  It's about useless.
>I have an Epson 2480 and I'm quite satisfied with it. I haven't used
>it for negatives, only slides; for many purposes the results are quite
>good. Some random thoughts:
>* Sane support is very good, but native support (in windows) is still
>better. In particular:
>    The windows driver detects and crops the slide area; under sane, you have to
>    manually crop the slide mount.
>    The windows driver supports 16 bit per channel, and this really
>makes a difference
>    for high-quality scans.
>* Having said that, working in xsane is infinitely more comfortable
>than the obnoxious Epson software under windows.
>* Flatbed scanning is slow. Not just the scan itself, but the process
>of placing the slides, cleaning the scan surface, opening and closing
>the lid.... it quickly adds up. If the archive is very large, the time
>savings of a batch scanner could be worth the extra money.
>* For a large archive, I'd even look into spending the money in having
>somebody else do the scanning, a large photo shop or somebody else who
>can do a high-quality job.
>In short, for web posting and small prints I find the 2480+sane to be
>an exceptionally good combination for the money.
I'd like to comment on this also, as I am currently working on making 
the Canon CanoScan 8400F,
work as a negative scanner in Linux.

The thing with scanning in negatives is this, first due to the small 
size of negatives,
in order to print of a decent picture requires considerable 
magnification. This is
a lesser problem with medium format negatives. Negatives generally have 
a dpi resolution
of around 3-5000. Hence you'll want nothing less than a 3200x3200 dpi 
scanner for decent output if you plan on printing anything over 4x6.

Secondly, it will take you a very long time to scan in a collection with 
even a dedicated
film scanner. Scans at high resolution are huge (100MB+) and slow. The 
best solution
is to take your negatives to a professional and have them scanned and 
put on CD.
It's much faster and possibly more cost effective.

Thirdly, most of the windows software with the better quality film 
scanning scanners has
lots of enhancement capabilities built in, that clean up negatives as 
they are scanned in. While
this can be done in Linux after scanning, it is not trivial. So even if 
you get a  professional
quality scanner that works in Linux, the quality of the raw scans will 
likely be less than
an equivalent in Windows.

If I haven't yet deterred your interest, your best bet is to go with an 
Epson. Expect to pay
around $200 - $400 for one that will be satisfactory for film scanning. 
There are a number of
reviews on the Internet by photographers. Try googling for them.

BTW, the CanoScan 8400F and 9950F can both create near original quality 
scans, unfortunately,
neither works in Linux yet, and Canon is not Linux friendly. The Epson 
4870 and 4990 are also
very excellent.

Brian JD

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