Film is still a favorite medium among photographers today, and whether you’re a dynamic or former analog user, the simplest way to talk about your treasured occasions is by digitizing your film through scanning. Get the best black friday deals and sales on your favorite product.
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Many photography labs offer scanning within their services, often using large scanners in a position to process a complete roll of 35mm film in a minute. But, exactly like developing at a lab, having a lab scan your film costs money, which explains why many persons just like the notion of scanning negatives themselves. There are a lot of options in terms of digitizing film yourself (including simply by using a camera), but many of these methods require complex setups, some have huge equipment costs, plus some just aren’t very good. Others, meanwhile, are actually very good and affordable. Meet up with the Epson Perfection V600.
Epson Perfection V600 key specs:
Appropriate for 35mm and medium format
Max film scan resolution: 6400 x 9600 dpi
Dust/scratch removing technology
The Epson V600 retails for $229.99, although there have been several deals around the net for under $200 during writing this article. In the box you get the scanner, two plastic film holder inserts, a power cable, a data cable and an Epson software CD.
Beyond the film holders, that is an extremely straightforward out-of-the-box experience.
Before I get too deep into wearing down what using this scanner is similar to I would like to give some context. First, as the Epson V600 works extremely well for a number of scanning applications, I’ll only be discussing using it to scan film. Second, I am scanning my very own film for quite some time using a variety of various film scanners, and without a doubt you will find a steep learning curve. Everything can be achieved right, nonetheless it just does take time to patch together each component and make certain you’re processing things in a manner that works for you.
There are, of course, many different methods to obtaining a desirable image from scanning film; the opinions in this post are just based from my experiences. Film negatives certainly are a lot like Raw files; how you process them could make a huge difference to how they conclude looking (particularly regarding color negative and black and white films).
Getting the V600 create
Once unboxed and create, using this scanner is pretty straightforward: you lay your film in another of the supplied plastic holders, snap it shut and stick it in the scanner in order that your negatives are devoted to the scanner bed. You can scan up to twelve 35mm photographs or four medium format photographs simultaneously. The scanner also posseses an additional film holder for mounted slide film.
I wish the plastic holders were manufactured from something top quality. I’ve used other scanners that contain magnetic strips because of their holders and I favor those by an extended shot.
Once your negatives are set up, it is time to get scanning via the included software, ‘Epson Scan’. Based on which scan mode you select (more on that below), you just set your desired scan quality, make a preview scan and choose your scan area with a marquee tool (except completely Auto mode). You then commit to the ultimate scan, which can have a long while or some time according to your quality settings. Sound simple? Definitely not…
On my Windows 10 desktop the scanning software was completely unstable
When I primarily create the V600, I had it linked to my Windows 10 desktop and quickly found the program to be unstable, crashing frequently through the preview scan. Eventually I couldn’t even get my computer to identify that the scanner was on and connected. That is apparently no uncommon problem either (I tried all of the fixes in the hyperlink to no avail). I finished up following a couple of tutorials online to repair the situation but still wasn’t able to obtain it to work reliably.
So, I switched to my Apple Macbook which, though generally slower than my PC, had no issues at all running the program. Once I finally first got it ready to go, I actually found it fairly user-friendly. The look looks dated, however the procedure is straightforward.
The program has four modes, the precise options of that you can see in the images below (I’ve omitted the “Office Mode” because I’m not covering document scanning in this review).
Full Auto Mode
Full auto mode may be the easiest of the modes to use, but will be too dumbed-down for some users.
Home mode may be the mode I’d recommend since it offers sufficient options without having to be overwhelming.
Pro mode supplies the most options nonetheless it could be overwhelming, with so many scanning quality windows that if you don’t really really know what you’re doing, you will likely feel claustrophobic.
If you are using the Professional Mode, the desktop will get crowded real fast with the several modules. There’s actually yet another COLOR SCHEME module in Professional Mode which you can use to improve the hues of colors in your photographs that’s not pictured above because I couldn’t fit it alongside the rest of the windows. If you are up for this, the Professional Mode offers a huge amount of control, but I believe Home mode will probably suit most users just fine.
‘Home’ vs. ‘Pro’ mode
Home Mode offers sufficient control to have a good scan in order that after that you can make all of those other adjustments to image quality in whatever photography editing software you like. You have DPI, Brightness scale, and a small number of intelligent options like Color Restoration. The V600 also contains Epson’s ‘Digital ICE technology’ – obtainable in all scanning modes – which automatically removes dust and small scratches (though I still advise dusting with canned air or a rocket blower before every scan).
Home Mode offers sufficient control to have a good scan
Professional Mode, however, offers a complete slew of adjustments and filters including Grain Reduction and extra dust removal alongside exposure and color adjusting tools like histograms, curves, white balance sliders, etc. An added really nice feature is you could change the bit-depth of your scans, with the choice of 8- or 16-bit Grayscale and 24- or 48-bit Color. The DPI setting goes completely up to 12800, so if you are thinking about making big prints this will establish you right for that.
Above you can view a comparison of the same shot scanned in Home Mode (left) and Professional Mode (right). THE HOUSE Mode scan has noticeably less dust and hairs as the Professional Mode (with dust removal switched off) has more dust but is somewhat closer to how I believe the picture should take care of some slight white balance, tint, and contrast corrections. Photo was shot on Portra 400VC with a Hasselblad 80mm F2.8 and a Proxar macro filter.
Quality compared to photography lab scans
More important than how this scanner stacks against itself is how it stacks against scans done by professionals in a photography lab. Below is a gallery comparing photographs scanned on the Epson V600 to kinds scanned by the experts at Panda Lab within Seattle, WA.
The Epson scans were all done in ‘Home’ mode at 4800 DPI (for 6400 DPI scanning you will have to switch to ‘Pro’ mode) and saved as Tiffs. This led to files ~6600 x 4400 pixels. With regard to comparison we’ve downsized them to complement the Panda Lab scans and saved them as JPEGs. Besides that, no additional adjustments were designed to either scan.
When viewed at 100% or on a sizable monitor, the lab scans show greater detail and drastically finer grain compared to the Epson scans. In addition they do a far better job reflecting the tonality of the Fujifilm Pro 400H film these were shot on. With the Epson scans, the colour is OK, but there’s a dependence on color-correction.
The corrected Epson scans are certainly good-enough for social media sharing or small printing
The image below and the right can be an Epson scan edited in Lightroom to complement the tonality of the Professional scan. With just a little fussing, you can obtain the colors close, however the professional scan still looks sharper, more descriptive and less noisy compared to the Epson. But according to your intended viewing size, that might not exactly matter; the corrected Epson scans certainly look sufficient if you ask me for social media sharing or small printing.
Of course, the lab scans cost money (~$10) and the Epson scans cost you time, after initial investment. It took about three minutes to scan each 35mm frame, this means if you are shooting rolls of 36 exposures, that’s 108 minutes of scanning. If you choose the Epson for the retail price of $229.99, you’d theoretically need to scan 23 rolls before saving cash versus the price tag on lab scans, which would take a lot more than 41 hours.
Medium format hiccups
Note the slightly darker band in the highlights in the upper left quadrant of the image (120 HP5+ Pushed two Stops and scanned with the Epson V600). This appears in a number of of my images.
Sure, the V600 can scan at high resolutions and high color depth, but however some slight banding is definitely an issue whenever using medium format film – I didn’t notice this matter with 35mm. Banding isn’t an uncommon issue for flatbeds, nonetheless it is something to understand.
For those who have no idea, banding appears like what it appears like: some of your picture could have a straight band of a slightly different exposure along the type of the scan. That is something that can type of be corrected using Photoshop but according to the complexity of your image it could turn into a huge pain to manage.
Below you can view a full gallery of this same roll of HP5+ all scanned using the Epson V600 and edited to taste in Lightroom.
The Epson V600 has some flaws, like flimsy film trays and dated-looking software. But assuming you will get everything create successfully (sorry Windows 10 users), it’s not too difficult and straightforward to get decent-looking scans using Home mode, particularly if you’re only seeking to scan 35mm. However, for the best quality scans, you are going to spend lots of time ready for the V600 to accomplish its thing.
Ultimately I think the product is a great option for amateurs and enthusiasts buying a decent way to scan their current work, or for all those looking to bring new lease of life to old negatives. But also for those desiring both top quality files and painless turnaround, your neighborhood lab is still your very best wager – for those who have one nearby.
What we like:
Decent scan quality
What we don’t:
Flimsy film trays
High-quality scans have a long time
Banding is definitely an issue when scanning medium format
Dated-looking scanning software
Hiccups with software on some Windows 10 machines
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