Which scanner to buy?

Posted By
Oct 2, 2003
I’m thinking of getting a epson scanner soon which is better the 3200 or the 3170. What are the general differences between the two?

Oct 2, 2003
3200 has a bigger/better/smoother/softer backlight. It supports 4×5 film. More professional-level software package available.

The 3170 (which I have) has a very uneven backlight, but apparently software interprets the stripes, and compensates during the scan, so the film scans show no sripes. It supports 35mm film well (up to two strips of six each), but 120 film carriers are limited… and it stops there. Each 35mm image, at 3200 d.p.i., can take up to two minutes. Comes with Photoshop Elements 2 (but no Elements manual), and costs $199.
Oct 4, 2003
I’m scanning some old negatives with the 3170 I got two days ago.

One thing is that the 3170 lacks a firewire port…it has USB 2.0

I’m scanning some old Kodak 35 mm ASA 200 color negatives @ 3200 and that leaves a image size of 4373 x 2795 pixels and a file size of 35 MB if it’s scanned as a 24 bit image. At 300 dpi, print size will be 9.3 x 14.5 inches.

It’s nice to see the detail that I could not get out of the 4 x 6 prints from these negatives.

I had no problem installing the Epson driver software, however for everyone’s information it started to crash halfway through making the
thumbnails. Moving the scanner driver’s temp work space to another hard drive fixed the problem.

Oct 4, 2003
I’ve found the Epson software clunky. I want to scan the whole slide, all the way to the ragged edge; I want to disable its image enhancement; I want my defaults to stick. Some do, some don’t.

Kodachrome slides are all a little blue.

I thought film scanning was fuzzy, until I tried some Plus-X that looked sharp, and realized that the grain on Technical-Pan, Panatomic-X and Kodachrome-25 are beyond the scanner’s resolution.

In testing, I’ve found that while you’re supposed to shoot negative film through the base, shooting through emulsion is slightly sharper–and you can tell the software to flop it over.
Oct 5, 2003

That really says a lot for the 3170. I had some 20+ yr old Ektachrome slides I took when I was in Europe. I finally dug them up and scanned one with signage, then fired up the slide projector and saw that there was no more detail in the projection than in the 3200 dpi scan.

I have a long way to go in figuring out Epson’s scan software. <g>

The pict I took was of "Checkpoint Alpha" in Germany right on the old "Iron Curtain". There was a mined fence that ran between East and West Germany. Odd all of that is gone now.

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