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Author Topic: Replacing a Hasselblad Flexlight with a flatbed  (Read 396 times)

rahimin3d

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Replacing a Hasselblad Flexlight with a flatbed
« on: April 08, 2024, 05:19:47 am »

Hi there,

I'm hoping I can get some advice from seasoned veterans here.

Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that my education in this is limited to what I can find as information online, I scour the luminous forums for knowledge when and where I can find it, and have used this as my resource for over a decade now.

I am working for an organization that uses a Hasselblad Flexlight 3 I believe, and they've got volumes now to scan in. Approximately 100,000+ items to scan in which are in 35mm negatives, positives, 4x5 negatives, 120MF negatives, printouts in 6x4 and other formats.

I was curious about the movement of technology from where it was to where it is now.

If I was to use a flatbed scanner such as the Epson Perfection V850 Scanner professionnel, would this be a suitable replacement for the Hasselblad Flexlight that's now been discontinued to ensure I've got similar scanning quality without compromising what I need for archival purposes?

Am I giving too much credit to the development of technology, or misunderstanding it entirely?

Your thoughts and advice will be well received.

Warm regards,

Rahim.

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Rahim M Kara
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degrub

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Re: Replacing a Hasselblad Flexlight with a flatbed
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2024, 09:48:23 am »

1) Do they have an experienced operator of the Flexlight than can get very good scans from it and process the results ?
2) What is the purpose and expected usage of the scans of the films/slides/objects ?

#2 really determines what is necessary.

As long as it is not required to use the results from the V850 for high enlargements of the film or the scan is for a web use, the V850 should be ok with some knowledge and care in the scanning and processing.

Here is an alternative approach that may be more flexible, faster, and easier that some have moved to. It does require a dedicated area setup and some specialized added gear. Save the Flexlight film holders for use though !

https://photopxl.com/digitizing-negatives-with-a-camera-revisited/

First version of camera based scanning -
https://luminous-landscape.com/articleImages/CameraScanning.pdf
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rahimin3d

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Re: Replacing a Hasselblad Flexlight with a flatbed
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2024, 10:09:16 am »

Hi Degrub,

Thanks for the reply.

To answer the questions you asked:

1) Do they have an experienced operator of the Flexlight than can get very good scans from it and process the results ?

No, they do not. Their digitizer is an experienced photographer / film producer, but does not have any experience with such tools. More of a creative whom I'd guide in getting started with scanning, but would then leave alone to sort through his things.

2) What is the purpose and expected usage of the scans of the films/slides/objects ?

These are for archival purpose. They are used to print out in publications every now and then, but primarily for web & social, at least for the past 8 years.

I'll check out the links right away!
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degrub

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Re: Replacing a Hasselblad Flexlight with a flatbed
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2024, 12:06:11 pm »

For reflective objects you will need either the camera approach with good lighting or the V850 if they fit the scan area.

For transmissive , the V850 can work well depending on the amount of enlargement required. Based on your reply, it should be good enough for the larger formats and ok for 35mm. 4000 pixels/in scanning resolution is about the maximum required to out-resolve the eye and the film/lens combination actual capture resolution of the original object.

You might be surprised at how poorly the image captured on film really was when you look at a scan, yet it was able to be used to produce very good prints !

100,000 images/objects is a lot. i am told that the camera approach can be faster than the flatbed or film scanner approach. i have used both, but i am picky and did not have so many images to process.

Basic workflow is 1) raw capture (scanner or camera), 2) conversion, and 3) output (examples - print, jpg + raw or tiff + raw). There is a lot of discussion about archival format for images captured. Tiff + raw seems to be the safest format and is supported by the Library of Congress guidance
https://www.loc.gov/preservation/resources/rfs/stillimg.html

Don't forget about the disk space required and the long term job of maintaining additional backups across different devices/systems. Disks go bad. Interfaces change.  Formats readable change over time. Accidents happen. So diverse backup in physically different locations/systems is appropriate if the images have real value.


If the investment is minimal to try the camera approach, i would start there with a few hundred images/objects to get the hang of it.

Otherwise, i would suggest starting with the V850 route with the epson software and scan a few hundred images. If that is not good enough, try Hamrick's VueScan software  or Silverfast with the V850 to generate the raw image files. All have a learning curve, but Silverfast can be more difficult and certainly more expensive. Then you need a program to convert and edit the image file. You also need software to catalog and manage the 100,000 images.  Lightroom has the advantage over the others of being a digital asset management tool to organize all of the images and provides raw conversion and non-damaging editing (original raw scan is preserved ).

If colour reproduction fidelity is important for the usage, you will want to use a colour managed workflow.

There a many posts on this site and others about all of the above issues. Mark discusses some of the issues in his two articles.
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« Last Edit: April 08, 2024, 12:09:17 pm by degrub »
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digitaldog

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Re: Replacing a Hasselblad Flexlight with a flatbed
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2024, 01:23:00 pm »

The Imacon is a superb, high-quality film scanner. Noting in the flatbed area (short of something like a high-end Scitex) comes close to the quality. For reflective scans, yeah, get a flatbed. The software that drives the Imacon is quite good and not difficult to use or learn. It does a very good job on color negs, something many scanning software struggle with. Short of reflective scans, for film, NO, the Epson isn't close to a replacement for the Imacon if the quality (resolution, dynamic range, sharpness) is important.
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rahimin3d

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Re: Replacing a Hasselblad Flexlight with a flatbed
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2024, 03:32:08 pm »

This group never ceases to amaze me with the amount of information and good nature there is to share.

Thank you guys so much for this amazing help.

I'll keep it in mind as I start working toward figuring out what to do and consult with the core team at the organization.

You are all so amazing for such incredible responses.

Thank you   :D
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