A new scanner, and some wedding photos

I’ve used a trusty Nikon Coolscan IV for years, since I bought it for a song from someone who didn’t really know what it was (sometimes in life, you get lucky). It’s a fantastic scanner – quick, produces scans of decent size, and because it focuses on the film itself, capable of producing sharp results. However, it’s only designed for 35mm film – as I’m shooting more and more 120 film recently, I thought it was (sadly) time to replace it.

Looking online, there’s not all that much variety in flatbed film scanners – at least not within my price range. So I grudgingly sold my Nikon, and bought a new Epson V550 instead. My first impression was its size – the Nikon was quite compace, whereas this is a bit of a beast. The film holders were a bit fiddly to use, too (I just fed a strip of 6 negatives into the Nikon and it did the rest) – but on the plus side, I’m able to preview up to 12 frames of 35mm in one go now. My first roll is a rather underexposed one of Ilford HP5+, shot at ISO800 and semi-stand developed. The developing side seems to have gone a little awry – I’ve ended up with the dreaded bromide drag and quite prominent grain, but from my last experiments with HP5+, it’s not known for its smooth grain. The subject was a friend’s wedding – not in an official capacity, of course – just to see if I could contribute any candid shots. I’m hoping to print a few when I get back in the darkroom – hopefully I can salvage a bit more tonal range than the scans below…

These were taken with the on-loan 17mm Tamron lens (I need to get one of these…) and a 50mm 1.2 Pentax lens. One shot turned out particularly nicely, I thought:


I’m hoping to test out the Epson on some 120 shots from a while back, as well as some old mounted slides. Any tips for using the Epson V550 with Vuescan? I’d love to hear them in the comments below…

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