Scanner for medium format negatives

Soon I'll have my first roll of medium format film developed. To save on the potentially brutal cost of prints, I'll probably just get negatives - which means I'll need a scanner. I've taken a look at the other threads but they are pretty much out of date. A friend had great things to say about the Epson Perfection 4990, specifically for scanning negatives. Comments, opinions, advice, insight, etc welcome. Thanks!

Nov 2, 07 4:33 pm

Don't know what your budget might be, but you're not likely to be real happy with the quality of film scans from a flat-bed scanner. Before you go that route, check out the Nikon Super CoolScan 5000 ED, which is a dedicated film scanner that can handle medium format negatives.

Check out this website for all you'll ever want to know (the good and the bad) about scanning negatives: Digital Darkroom Forum - scanning topics are in the col. to the right.

Hope you have lots of spare time!

Good luck.

Nov 2, 07 5:26 pm

Actually, you may need to go all the way to the Super CoolScan 9000 for medium format ... be sure to check the specs. If so, you're probably not going to be happy with the $1,800 price tag.

Nov 2, 07 6:33 pm

I would check out the Epson V700 flatbed. Epson claims close-to-drum scan quality and you can do up to 8x10 transparencies.

It's been on my list to buy for a while (I shoot 6x6 and 6x4.5 as well as 4x5).

Nov 3, 07 9:39 pm

thanks guys. i've read positive reviews of the epson 4990 regarding medium format negative scanning - which surprised me. yeah $1,800 is waay out of my price range but i'll take a look at that website and see what else is out there. daver, i've been a fan of your photos for awhile. let me know if you end up with that v700. i'd be curious to know what you thought. in the meantime, i'll be reading and saving my lunch money.

Nov 5, 07 10:04 am

now you know why pro labs charge $10-$25 per scan, they are just trying to amortize an expensive bit of equipment along with covering the labor costs of tweaking a scan to get it right.

it may be worth just paying somebody to scan the film for you then buying your own scanner.

Nov 5, 07 12:23 pm
Chilly Willy

Check out this website:

He has very good things to say about the Epson V700 (and the 4990 and the Canon 4950F for that matter). I have the Canon and it works great but it's pretty clumsy (and huge). I haven't even taken it out of its box after moving to New York. What I'd give for a Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro.

Nov 5, 07 6:26 pm

Here are a couple more reviews you may find helpful.

Epson’s Perfection V750-M Pro Scanner

Epson’s Perfection 4990 PRO

Let us know how it works out.

Nov 6, 07 10:52 am

well the 4990 is discontinued.. even used it sells for $400+ and according to ole vincent, the v700 and v750 (it's replacements) are better. i've only had a chance to read a little bit but this is exactly what i needed. thanks guys!

Nov 6, 07 12:33 pm

so, what sort of gear are you guys using to shoot medium format?

Nov 6, 07 12:37 pm

i just bought a lomo diana+. a bit deflated with digital at the moment and wanted to try something different. going to see how it goes and then maybe look into a hasselblad

Nov 6, 07 12:43 pm

interesting camera ... VERY different.

you using the plastic lens mostly, or the pin-hole feature? what sort of stuff are you shooting?

something of a quantum leap, from a diana+ to a hasselblad, don't you think?

Nov 6, 07 1:39 pm

> quizzical - I have a number of medium format cameras from Holgas and home-made pinholes to a few Yashica 124's and a Mamiya 645J.

> ether - Thanks for the complement. I have piles of film that has never been seen outside my living room at this point because I got sick of paying for poor-quality lab scans. One of these days I'll put together the cash for a V700...

Nov 6, 07 1:58 pm

i just got the diana last week and shot my first roll. i had the negatives developed over the weekend but of course i don't have any way of seeing how they turned out.. i'm sort of stuck as to what to do now. i definately don't have the cash for a scanner at the moment but i really need to see how the film is turning out. it was a sort of a rash/spur of the moment decision to buy the diana..hmmm..

daver, i'll look forward to seeing the developed film on flickr!

Nov 6, 07 2:24 pm

ether: I stumbled across this forum earlier today -- thought you'd be interested - Epson V700 + V750 Scanners

Nov 7, 07 2:16 pm

i'll check it out. thanks!

Nov 7, 07 4:16 pm
Chilly Willy

If you want to see results now, I've had (somewhat) success making contact sheets on a standard flatbed then messing with the levels to make them look decent. At 1:1 size this should be okay but you can't really enlarge any.

Nov 8, 07 11:19 am

I have the 4990 and I use it mainly for scanning 4x5 film. Though occasionally I run roll film so I have scanned medium format film with it just fine. I cant recommend this scanner enough. I bought mine used almost 10 years ago and its still chugging away. The V700 is going to be a bit better but you'll pay more for it. I process all my own film (color, slides, b&w) at home and scan quite a bit of film. Recent updates in windows have made configuring the old TWAIN drivers for this scanner a pain in the ass. 

Jul 2, 19 2:28 pm

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