After receiving my Epson Perfection 2400 Photo in 2003 I started scanning my negatives. It soon became obvious that scanning all negatives at a quality suitable for large prints would take too long, so I completed the remaining negatives at a resolution suitable for printing reference contact sheets. I would scan selected images at a higher resolution for printing, but after a while, that fell by the way due to the time it was taking. A quicker method had to be found. A number of small scanners which are basically a camera / light box combination are now available, (promising scans in a matter of seconds) which have caused me to re-evaluate the practicality of re-scanning some of my more interesting negatives. I have compared scans using the 5MP Maplin Compact Film and Slide Scanner and 5MP Aldi Traveller scanner.
The following is not intended as a review of the mentioned scan methods, but for comparative purposes and is published in hindsight. I include images scanned by Klick when the film was first processed. The Klick images are to be viewed as a reference to basic commercial scanning service capabilities. The Maplin and Aldi images were scanned at 1680 x 2550 dpi in Tiff format and converted to jpeg maintaining their resolution. The Klick image has been upscaled from 1024 x 1536 to 1700 x 2550. To compare the results, I use FastStone Image viewer, as it allows up to 4 images to be simultaneously displayed and scrolled. Comparing the banners in the portrait images reveal sharpening in the Klick image and flaring in the Aldi and Maplin scans. The Epson scan did not bring out much extra detail, and on closer inspection I decided that the negative was not that sharp to start with.
The landscape images are the outcome of scanning a sharper negative on the same film. The image ‘Epson Klick size’ was scanned at 1200 dpi, (a comparable resolution to the Klick image) and saved without modification as a jpeg. The ‘Epson Klick size sharp’ is the same image and has been auto coloured and sharpened. Sharpening in the Klick image is again obvious, but the tonal range in the Epson scan provides a more pleasing result. The Epson will scan up to 2400 dpi without interpolation, and provides a great deal of control over the final appearance of the image. As yet I have not found a quick scanner that complements the capabilities of my Epson.
The Maplin scanner was returned, as the calibration process did not eliminate the vignetting that the back light produced (see bottom left of Maplin scan). The Aldi scanner was returned as it was not equal to my existing Epson scanning capabilities.
Aldi Traveller – Digital Film Scanner: http://www.aldi.co.uk/uk/html/offers/special_buys3_18156.htm?WT.mc_id=2011-03-25-11-11
Maplin 5MP Compact Film and Slide Scanner: http://www.maplin.co.uk/5mp-compact-film-and-slide-scanner-503038