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VuPoint FS-C1-VP 35mm Slide and Negative Scanner vs. Epson Perfection V750 Pro Flatbed Scanner...

(This review was originally posted on June 4, 2008, and was updated with new information Jan 2010 and May 2013.)

Overview:

Okay, if you thought the HP S20 vs. the VuPoint FS-C1-VP scanner was unfair, we're going the whole gamut and pit the VuPoint (and the S20) against what is probably the best flatbed Negative and Slide scanner made.

See the VuPoint Review for specifications and other comments.

Epson Perfection V750 Pro:

The Epson Perfection V750 Pro is a flatbed scanner, which has both a reflective and transparent scanning mode. (I'm not going to get into the reflective scanning mode, except to say it will function like a traditional scanner at 600dpi.) It can scan transparent medium in sizes up to 8"x10". In terms of 35mm, it can scan four strips of 6 frame negative film, or 12 mounted slides in rather flimsy holders. (Though I have to say, that it seems flimsy, but I've found that polycarbonate plastic is usually pretty tough stuff. No breakage or further complaints.) It also comes with holders to hold medium format negatives and also has the ability to fluid mount a negative.

It's supposed to scan pretty close to a true 4800 dpi (though Epson claims 9600dpi), using a color CCD line sensor, illuminated by a white cold cathode fluorescent lamp. It will save the final image in a variety of formats, though I generally save in an 8-bit single TIFF format.

It has real scanner software, which will correct for negative reversal, and allow color, white balance, saturation and other normal parameters pre-scan, and scan any portion of a negative/slide up to 9600dpi.

It uses a USB, USB2 or IEEE-1394a-2000 (i.e. firewire) interface. It comes with Epson Scan software, as well as x-rite EZcolor color matching software, Photoshop Elements 5.0 (4.0 for the Mac) and LaserSoft Imaging SilverFast Ai 6.5. The scanner is supported under Microsoft Vista to 98SE, and Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.

I've only timed slide scanning, and at 4800 dpi, it takes about 30 minutes to scan 12 slides. Approximately triple that time if using Digital ICE for dust removal. 4800 dpi will result in an approximate 100MB, 31.5 megapixel image.

It has a reported Dmax of 4.0. Very good for a scanner.
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Testing the unit:

The scans from the S20 and VuPoint are straight from the other review. Needless to say, the V750 outperforms both of them. Again, if you want to see the S20 vs. VuPoint review, it's here.

Slides:

I spent a good deal of time dialing in the slide scanner, including the focus and color balancing, though there's still some tweaking to do. (The scanner software allows you to save any number of scanning profiles.) But even then, the detail in the shadows and color reproduction of the scanner is terrific.

Normal Slide Normal Slide

The same is true with the chapel, where the detail on the doors is there, and the color is a bit more realistic vs. the actual slide. The scan appears to be a little soft, but some minor post-scan clean-up will solve that. (You can sharpen from the drivers, but I don't like to sharpen until I'm preparing the final image.)

Normal Slide2 Normal Slide2

The scanner also did a very good job with the grainy, pushed Ektachrome slides. The detail is actually better than the dedicated S20 film scanner.

Dark Slide 1

Dark Slide 1 details

I was a little surprised by the following scan, until I actually took a close look at the original slide. After reviewing a few others, it's quite obvious the S20 was weak on red, and over-saturated blue. The raw V750 scan looks almost exactly like the original slide.

Dark Slide 2 details
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Negatives:

I didn't spend a lot of time with the negative (as in reversal) aspect of the scanner, since it's not my primary objective with this scanner. So the scans aren't as sharp as they should be, and each is slightly adjusted from the scanning software, due to the differences in the negative masks. But I'm still pretty happy with the results. When I'm actually ready to do some negative scanning, it shouldn't be hard to come up with the settings to make the negative scans look better than these.

Golden Spike NHS

Golden Spike Details Golden Spike Details Golden Spike Details

This scan is a little under-saturated, but the blacks at the bottom of the image are a little more realistic of what's actually on the negative.

Mammoth Hot Springs

The next scan was adjusted slightly from the scanning software. The sky blue and other colors are right on.

Bear Tooth Highway

[Update: I've done a lot of negative scanning since I wrote this review, and I'm pretty pleased with what I'm getting. This site will get updated when I finish editing the pics. It takes 9 minutes per frame, with ICE at high-res.]

The following are scans from the VuPoint and from the V750, tweaked, polished and otherwise finished. The full size images (for this web site) are on the Disneyland and SeaWorld/Marineland of the Pacific Pages, under ThemeParks.

MarineLand VuPoint MarineLand V750

Disneyland 1 VuPoint Disneyland 1 V750

Disneyland 2 VuPoint Disneyland 2 V750
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My conclusions:

You get what you pay for. Well, maybe not always, but it's true in terms of this scanner test. The big question is, is the V750 worth 6 times as much as the VuPoint?

My opinion is yes. I can get high-resolution, archive quality scans from this scanner. With the Silverfast AI software, it may take a bit of time to actually scan the images, but I'll get high-quality images without having to spend a lot of time post-scan. The time to scan the images is longer than I'd like, but I can crop, set white balance, adjust the color balance, etc, for all 12 slides, start the scan and walk away. That makes it a bit less painful. :-)

The color rendition is excellent, the detail it captures is excellent, and the scanning software has everything you'd want in it.

Yes, it's a bit expensive, and I'm sure the V700 would serve just as well. (The V700 is just about the same scanner as the V750, but lacks the coated optics, comes with Silverfast SE, and lacks the color matching software. It also doesn't have the fluid mount capabilities. But it's $200 less.)

Still, I'd highly recommend this scanner, as much as I would not recommend the VuPoint. It's about half the price of a good, dedicated 35mm scanner, and can do medium and large format negatives and transparencies, as well as reflective scanning.
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Note: Except for the last three sets of images, no sharpening was applied to any of the scans.

The computer used for the VuPoint and V750 scans was a 4GB, 2.6 Ghz Core2 Duo machine running Windows XP Home.
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May 2013 comment

I have finished the first phase of my rescan project. It was on again, then off again, then... Well, you know how it goes... The facts first, then I'll slowly slide into opinion. :-)

I've finished processing about 4400 images scanned on the V750, leveling and fixing egregious errors on the full size raw scans, with minimal cropping. Also done is resizing them for this website (with exposure and color correction), so the upgraded images should start appearing on this site by late June 2013.

Raw scans are generally 80-90MB tiffs, about 6600x4400px or 29-30 megapixels. Yeah, that's overkill for what is mostly consumer quality negative film, but I do consider them archive quality, uncorrected scans. In other words, I'll never have to scan them again, which might be a good thing considering how much some of the negatives have degraded in 25 years.

Overall, though, I'm extremely impressed with the results. With image density, color and detail so much better than the HP S20 scans and the consumer quality prints (not to mention a vastly more usable Photoshop, both in speed and features), it's like I'm seeing some of the pictures for the first time.

Finally, I do have to add that while I really like film for its analog structure and density, I don't miss it at all. Today's digital cameras have far surpassed film in terms of image quality and color control, not to mention the costs of both the film and processing.

And perhaps, this project reminds me of just how much time it took to post-process film to digital. Yes, it's much faster today, but even with digital dust removal, I found myself doing a lot of touch-up work...
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Revisions:
  • 12/31/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 08/29/2014 - Update to v3.2