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Medium-Format Scans

Medium-Format Scans

Medium-Format Scans

Q) I have many film images on 35mm and even more on 6x7cm film. I could never afford to get very many drum-scanned and printed. I want all the detail I’m used to seeing in prints from 6×7 images. That’s why I moved to 6×7 in the first place. I note that Epson has a flatbed, V750-M PRO, that William Neill now uses, and Nikon has the 9000 ED desktop scanner for medium-format film that you’ve used. I’m looking to print my 6×7 images at 16×20 or 20×24. Will either of these scanners serve my needs?

A) There’s no question that a high-end drum scanner or an Imacon scanner will give superior scans. But will you see that much difference in the size prints you want to make? The newer technology of the Epson Perfection V750-M PRO will give you excellent results due to its high dynamic range (4.0) and resolution of 6400 dpi. Another advantage of this flatbed scanner is that it will take negatives or transparencies up to 8×10 inches in size and also will meet the occasional need for scanning reflective copy.

The Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED is a film scanner only. It has a resolution of 4000 dpi. The largest sheet of film this scanner can handle is 6x9cm. It does, however, have a dynamic range (4.8) that exceeds the Epson flatbed scanner, which might be important when extracting information from dark shadows. The bottom line is that there are advantages to each, and you’ll have to decide whether you need a scanner that will accommodate the larger film sizes. The Nikon lists for about $1,000 more than the Epson, but both should give you satisfactory prints up to 20×24.

This image of poppies was photographed with a medium-format camera (Mamiya 645) on transparency film and then scanned using the Nikon Super Coolscan 8000 ED. This image has been enlarged to 40×60 inches with excellent results.

One of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers and a leader in the field of digital imaging and photographic education, Lepp is the author of many books and the field editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine. One of Canon’s original Explorers of Light, Lepp finds inspiration in advancing technology that fuels creative innovation and expression of his life-long fascination with the natural world.