Flatbed Vs Film Scanner

After shooting my first roll of film with an SLR (see First Images), I had to scan the print to put on the website. I took one look at the scan and was disappointed. It didn’t matter what settings I used on the scanner – the image was still terrible. The color is all wrong, the dark areas are underexposed, and the highlights are blown out.

The following image is the same frame that was scanned with a Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III – Thanks to E.O. for letting me borrow his for the weekend! You can see an immediate difference.

The main thing that initially stands out is the color. I couldn’t get anything from the flatbed scanner that had a color palette anywhere close to real life.

Finally, there’s the issue of dynamic range. While most people may not put much thought into dynamic range (the range from the darkest dark to the lightest light), I believe it has a large effect on the quality of the image. In the image below, the top frames show the blown out highlights of the flatbed and the correct highlights of the film scanner. The bottom frames show the “blocky” shadows of the flatbed and the detailed shadows of the film scanner.

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