Buying a Scanner

   10 December 2008, terribly early in the morning

I’ve been putting off buying a scanner for some time now, which has been frustrating because i’ve been developing black and white film at home these past few weeks. Not being able to see what my photos look like kind of defeats the purpose of taking photographs. The problem with buying a scanner now of course is that in a few weeks they may go on sale. On the other hand buying one now means that I get to help the economy, and could tell my children that my purchase helped change the course of Canadian history. I opted to buy one now, intrepid consumer that I am.

I bought an Epson V500. They actually had a ‘used’ one at Henry’s for $200, which is what I bought. (I lucked out, in that it was probably some sort of over stock or customer return: nothing had been unpacked.) This is Epson’s entry level flatbed film scanner. I had thought about paying for the next model up, but I think that for looking at photos on a computer you really don’t need something spectacular. I don’t think I’d print from scans when I have negatives readily available. A dedicated film scanner, which is what I originally wanted, are upwards of a grand: that’s just stupid expensive. Epson has a model down from this, the discontinued 4490 that the V500 replaced. This might be a good option as well, though the V500 has an LED light source, so there are no warm up times to worry about: scanning is faster. The V500 seems to do a good job of things, based on the scans I’ve seen by people on Flickr.

Scanning seems like a voodoo art. Do you scan the negative as a positive, B&W as colour, etc? The next step is figuring out how to scan stuff properly. My first attempts worked out well enough for now.



  1. I feel a little dissed every time you post pictures from a roll of film you develop where more than half of it is of me and then you don’t post any of me. wth Ram! I’ve finally embraced the fact that you take too many pictures of me but you go and diss me like that? =(

  2. You complain about the photos I post too much. You had your chance and you blew it!

  3. How long does it take to scan a roll of film? Are you cutting your negatives up to be the same length as whatever shoppers gives you? The scanner looks pretty long so I imagine you can scan a whole bunch at once.

  4. The scanner can do 12 negatives at a time, 2 strips of six. The sleeves I have right now are 5 wide, which means they can fit in a normal binder. With the settings I use I’d say it takes 10 minutes or so to scan 10 negatives. I can time it next time I do a roll.

  5. Hi,
    I’ve just bought a v500 too.
    Which settings do you apply to get the better results with 120 or 35mm films ?
    Also, do you use the Epson software or another one?

  6. I have just been scanning 35mm B&W. I use the built in software, though I’ve heard vuescan is the way to go. I scan at 2400 DPI, and don’t use any of the extra options, except for the unsharp mask.

Don't be shy, you can comment too!

Some things to keep in mind: You can style comments using Textile. In particular, *text* will get turned into text and _text_ will get turned into text. You can post a link using the command "linktext":link, so something like "google": will get turned in to google. I may erase off-topic comments, or edit poorly formatted comments; I do this very rarely.