Learning how to use a film scanner is not hard but really time-consuming. You have to try different pieces of software, read documentation, read blogs and forums and group discussions on flickr, ask other people and, eventually, scan scan scan.
I bought my Epson Perfection V700 in September, tired of shooting a lot of film and ending up archiving it without even having looked at what I shot but using a 8x lupe (wait, I already said some of this in older post). After two months, but only very few serious scanning sessions, I feel I’m getting there, but the perfection, which is what the scanner name suggests (I won’t go as far as saying “promises”) is still far away.
What did I learn up until now? 1. My scanner has some limitations, as it is obvious given that it’s a serious-amator film scanner and not a pro-lab film scanner. These limitations become more evident in the 35mm format, but I bought the V700 because I plan to move to 6×4.5 or even 6×7 in the spring (or at least buy a medium format camera to have fun). 2. I need a larger monitor than my Macbook 13″. My scanner is at home so I scan film there, but I work on the tiff files in my office where I have a 19″. The difference is evident and I feel I need to have a larger monitor for the scanning phase. As as side note, I also need more RAM. My Generation 5,1 Macbook 2.4GHz is now 2 years old and has 2GB of RAM. I’ll upgrade to 4GB as soon as possible. 3. There is a lot of software out there and some of it is very good. Vuescan, ColorPerfect, obviously Photoshop. I get Photoshop CS4 for free through Brown University, I bought Vuescan and I’m planning to buy ColorPerfect. They are all great pieces of software. 4. I love taking pictures, but I also love looking at the pictures I took. In this sense, the scanner was a great purchase.
As conclusion, a very recent scan which I consider quite successful, although I think I can get even better results (if you look at it in a very large format you would notice a lot of color noise in the water in the foreground ). I suggest you to look at it big and on a black background.