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Scanning with the Epson Perfection 4870 Pro

The Epson Perfection 4870 was one of the most popular of the Epson scanners when it was introduced in 2004 due to it having a 4800 PPI resolution and Digital Ice, which is a dust and scratch removal software. The Photo version came with a transparency adapter, a LaserSoft Silverfast Ai 6, Elements II, Monaco EZcolor and IT8 Targets and Epson Scan. I paid $350, which was the most I had ever paid for a flatbed scanner at that time.

What most users overlooked with all that fancy software, was the accuracy of the bundled latest version of Epson Scan. Prints or transparencies scanned through Epson Scan needed little, or in some cases, no tweaking when opened in Photoshop. In fact, two years later, I've still not needed to open the LaserSoft software at all.
Don't get me wrong here. Scanning film on a flatbed, even the Epson Perfection 4870, can't compare to using a dedicated film scanner. I've scanned over 5000 35mm transparencies in the last two years with my Nikon CoolScan 5000ED. But for larger film, whether negative or transparency, I've saved the cost of a much more expensive dedicated scanner and for my purposes the results are excellent.

The Epson Expression 10000XL

I've recently purchased the Epson Expression 10000XL for scanning oversize art work for clients and owning the Perfection 4870 has saved me $600 for the 12x17 transparency adapter. The 10000XL comes with that same excellent version of Epson Scan and gives great detailed scans of paintings, etchings and other flat art. In fact, using Photoshop's automated Rotate and Crop tool lets me scan as many prints as can fit on the bed and automatically rotate and crop each print as a separate file, saving me hours of scanning time.

Scanning Film with the Epson Perfection 4870 Pro

The first setting you need to change is to set the scanner to the Professional Mode, which will give you options that effect your scans. One option is that the scanner will show you all of the area the scanner is capable of scanning and let you draw the marquee that defines the scan. Otherwise the scanner will crop to the edges of the transparency guides and you'll loose the information at the edges of your image.
Make sure you scan at a high enough resolution for the intended use. If you're scanning 35mm film and want to make 8x10 prints, you need to scan at a resolution higher than 3000 pixels per inch. You will also find that high resolution scans can take what seems to be forever, especially if you have Digital Ice turned on. That's why I use the Nikon CoolScan for 35mm film.

The setting for scanning color negative film into Photoshop are:

File>Import>Epson Perfection 4870
Document Type>Film
Film Type>Color Negative
Here's a strip of four negatives I scanned:
Here's the resulting image after adjusting the contrast using Levels and adjusting the color using Curves, something I do with every image:
So you can see, if done properly, scanning negative film with Epson Scan is no more difficult than scanning prints.

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