Wednesday, July 9, 2008

loving the Epson V750 Pro

Yes, I realize it is somewhat geeky to write an ode to a scanner. Misha promised me a new scanner when I ditched my old one, an $80 Epson Perfection 2480 that couldn't really do medium format, during my move from San Francisco. And he went above and beyond the call of duty and got one of the best ones out there.

I rarely scan documents. I scan negatives, made with my antique film cameras (and I do believe that all of the film cameras I use are technically antique), because I like using my film cameras and tend to take better pictures with them than I do with digital SLRs (even the new hotness of the Nikon D300).

Some of my archaic film cameras, with a Holga and some digital stuff thrown in for good measure. Taken by a Nikon Coolpix 950, which was pretty hot stuff in 1998.

The quality of negative scans made with various flatbed scanners varies wildly, but most seem to agree that the Epson V750 Pro is at the top of the heap. Dedicated film scanners and drum scanners deliver even higher quality, but they cost as much as a small car and are total overkill (in my opinion) for creating files that will be viewed primarily on a computer monitor or online. If I wanted to make a giant fine art print of any of my photos, I'd just skip the digitizing altogether and get a nice wet print made by someone who knows what he or she is doing, which is not me as I don't know how to print yet. (I say "yet" since I do plan to learn some day. When, I don't know.)

So far my favorite features on the new scanner are the giant film holder that allows me to scan many frames in one pass, and its ability to figure out where the frames are and make them into separate files without me having to define the scan area and hit "go" for each one.

Misha on the Golden Gate Bridge. Leica M3, Summicron 50/2, Ilford XP2 (C41 black and white film)

The first negative I scanned was a shot of Misha on the Golden Gate Bridge in April. I scanned this one at 2400 and did some minor tweaking in CS3. My old scanner would have put weird horizontal lines into the sky (or any other large area without a lot of detail) but this one turned out perfectly. The file as a whole came out beautifully, required very little postprocessing, and it prints wonderfully too at standard sizes.

Well, after results like that I had to keep scanning.

Solo in Portland's Washington Park Rose Garden amphitheater. Rolleiflex 2.8F, Fuji Provia 100. This one also printed out very nicely.

Sheep grazing "backstage" at the Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Trial, Heber Valley, UT, August 2007. Rolleiflex 2.8F, Fuji Neopan Acros 100.

Anyway, I'll be scanning and posting more on Flickr as time allows, and if I can get past Misha who has discovered the joys of scanning his old negatives.

P.S. -- Can someone explain to me why, when I edit Blogger on a PC instead of my Mac, it keeps throwing extra carriage returns into my post at totally random times? Or not putting them in where I want them? And not center justifying stuff after I center justify it? And just generally misbehaving?