Today I purchased an Epson V700 flatbed scanner. Why you ask? After all, I was thrilled with the progress I was making by merely producing files by taking pictures of the negatives on a homemade light box with my Fujifilm X-E2.
What happened to make me re-think this method? Well, I knew after doing some post-production work in Adobe Light Room that the files had issues. They were fine for online postings, but after making my first 11X17 print, I just knew this work flow was a compromise. The print lacked a sharpness that was to be expected from a tack sharp 8X10″ negative. Not only that, but the artifacts seen at a 1:1 magnification no longer looked like an actual photograph, but rather an image that had been manipulated in PS using a variety of “painterly” filters. Now the effect is actually interesting, but it’s definitely NOT was I was shooting for.
Here is a 1:1 close up detail that illustrates the problem.
Not all images exhibited this type of transformation. Here is another example showing a 1:1 detailed portion where the subject matter was far less detailed. In addition, the quality of the light is much softer creating an image with tonal range, but without harsh shadows. Those shadows seem to contribute to the transformation of the photographic image into one of more illustrative qualities. The edge to edge artifacts are far less noticeable and border on acceptable. As you can see, the shadow detail is well defined, and the gradations are smooth.
The problem is, when over 50% of my images are landscapes, which are high frequency detail rich images, it became necessary to go to the next level of reproduction via the flatbed scanner.
The Epson V700 is capable of scanning up to 8X10″ transparencies with a Dmax of 4.0 and an extremely high resolution. Couple that, with the ability to scan multiple 2-1/4″ negatives simultaneously, this seems to be the logical route. I spent far too many hours in the darkroom, months and years on location to “cheap out” in my attempt to transform my analog archive to digital.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still frugal with a dollar, so when I found this scanner at Epson.com in the “refurbished” section for $415 including shipping, I jumped on it. I figure I can always make my scans, and they sell it on Ebay. I’ll probably be able to get most of my money back if you consider what a used V700 is fetching these days.
I will post similar detail images from the scans as soon as they are ready.