The price is good, but there are so many IFs to consider. It is not cut and dried. Here are he issues of a film scanner that needs to be tested:
- Quality of the scan. That depends on the hardware and software wired in the thing.
- Durability. Will this thing last for my entire baul of film? In my case, I'm talking of at least 1,000 shots, easy. I have so many rolls from the past that it will take me at least 6 months of weekend scanning to get this out. The thing better hold up because if it will fold in just 500 shots, then it's wasted money.
- Speed of scan. Mind you, 3-5 min becomes long if you have a roll or 2 of film to process. Typically, it requires about 4-5 min to scan a strip, not counting if the software allows you to color correct and do exposure corrections. Add 1 min or 2 to that before the scan. Risk it with Auto (if he software has it), hoping it will guess right so, you will work less PP the image files.
- Quality of the jpeg or image engine. A bad converter will not bring out the best file. The hardware may be good, but if the jpeg converter is bad, then that's it. If there is a TIFF(uncompressed), even that needs a good engine, though it will be less lossy and compromises of lost details or mushied image.
- the use of digital ICE or some noise/dust removal software. Without this, our imperfect negatives will require lots of PP. If the process of digitizing is long enough, then the process of removing dust, hair, etc will add more time to PP, aside from color correction and exposure compensation of done in post. So, a 5min scan now requires 1-2 min more to clean it up per image. That's extra work. The reality of it all, old negatives and the way most shoot is really dark, grainy, and maybe the film has faded (purplish or bluish or yellowish), so a software that does that for you is just going to be a time saver!
- other film sizes than 35mm (110mm or medium format sizes). Will it take them? Does it do positives (slides)?
In short, scanning or digitizing your archives is not a single or 1 month project if you have hundreds of shots in your baul!
Last year, I ordered from a friend who is from the US an Epson V300. It was an U$89 scanner (P3,800) flatbed scanner but with a film strip attachment. I ordered it there because this same thing costs about P8,800 over here. Now, the quality of the film scan was good. In fact, impressive for something so cheap. What is not good is the hassle of putting those film strips in its container. Ads to the time to scan. Scan time takes about 5
There's a reason why I didn't buy these flat bed scanners in 1998-2000, or even in 2007. They were not just expensive (the good ones) but he cheap ones weren't really good. And Nikon film scanners (now discontinued) were very expensive (U$800 or so), and cumbersome to use esp the early models. I also asked around how much labs charge for conversions and they seem reasonable if you have only a few to convert. But what I didn't like is the poor quality of the conversions. Grainy and jpeg quality was poor (the jpeg engine of the lab machines).
Well, the Epson V300 (and series) seems decent enough, so last year, I had one bought after accidentally bumping to some images scanned by this scanner. This was after my ex-GF's mom want some of her old negs converted. Asked again for the lab price and then online research and that's I how decided on the Epson V300. There are other models there and maybe add some more and get better software and firmware or higher rez. But this will do for me. 5-6-8mp on 24-bit is good enough. I just want a decent 8x10 or 11x14 sized prints and a good 5mp can go 11x14 if the scan is good and jpegs are clean.
The epson seems to do that well. You have to get that out right first because if it is not, then all the other things are useless. True, they are important, but at the end of the day, when you are about to print or view that scanned image, a bad scanner or capture with poor jpeg implementation or bad ADC is going to make you feel that you just wasted your time! When I saw my first scans with the V300, I smiled and even shouted to my ex. It was such a good scan for such old and dirty film! That's what a good scanner does.
There is one advantage that a flatbed scanner can do, and that is to scan also prints. If for that the v300 has the edge. But we all know we want that cdr-king scanning for the negs! So, it has to be fast, clean, can do positives and maybe even 110 films.
So, should you get this? Well, if somebody still doesn't have a film scanner, this may be good. IF one has maybe 100-300 shots to convert, it's worth it. The trick is to get some really good negatives, and try them out of the store, Bring a known laptop and check the results on the screen. IF it makes you smile and exclaim, then it's good enough. Just check the warranty and work your scanning so that whatever happens you will be finished in 3 months because that's what is the extent of the warranty. Personally, what will break there is probably the scanning bulb (has some thousands or hundreds of hours b4 it breaks) or the scanning motor if it slides the film strip holder in the light and sensor to do the scan. That is a moving part and that is a point of failure. Not any different in a flatbed when the light and sensor is moved behind the glass in the flatbed. The device is really simple and it is not a printer or some device with very wearable parts. So, likely, it will last a bit of a spell. The only thing one must know really is how good it scans and how fast it is.
Check the scanning speed too. Now, good scans take time. So, I'd go for that P2,800 model simply because it is a one-stop shop and you can plug in an SD card and all work will be done there.
Seriously, if I didn't have a v300 or have other expenses, I'd give this a try. But if this thing has a good jpeg engine and ADC and is fast, and easy to set up, I might even consider it as a flatbed scanner really is not ideal for film scanning film. What one can do is go to he store, ready to buy it. Test it with a laptop and some good shots and bad shots you know on film. If the scan is fast and clean, then I think it's worth a shot.
So, anyone here care to try?