Settings for scanning medium format black and white negatives on epson scan

Recently tried to scan medium format black and white negatives on epson flatbed scanner using epson scan 2 and no matter what I do I can’t manage to get results with acceptable sharpness. What are the recommended settings? Thanks in advance!

I use Vuescan but…sharpness is often the result of the focus plane of the lens vs. the position of the film. The focus plane on the epson scanners is very small. Unfortunately, I can’t think of a great solution to this issue, with BetterScanning no longer in business with their adjustable holders.

What holders are you using now? The stock ones? What are you doing to keep the negatives flat?

I see, I was using the stock ones. Would it be better to scan without a holder then?

No, that’s not what I meant. More just informational. I was also wondering if the film is curving and leaving the small focal plane. Is it sharper in parts of the neg than others?

Good evening all. Like most challenges with photography there can be multiple inputs to a problem. Could be the film holder needs foil or foam shims to incease gap between neg/film and lens. Might be the scanner is out of focus. Might be film is base down, might be focus of the shot when made. Perhaps its worth either taking a commercial target or scanning a newspaper page and checking the scan is sharp from corner to corner - then working from there. If you have already eliminated these possibilities, my apologies. Good luck.

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What model scanner are you using? If you are using an Epson V700/750 or V800/850, they either come with or can be fitted with Epson;s fluid mount assermbly, which is a glass bed that sits on top of the scanning platen, to which you can affix the negatives emulsion-side down using film cleaner to hold them flat for a very short period of time during which the scanner is in operation. This should produce acceptably sharp results. That said, normally a high-quality dedicated film scanner would be a better choice for scanning film, but those are few and far between these days.

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No, the whole image is not sharp.

I don’t use an Epson flatbed but I understand that you do have to tell the software whether you are using a holder or not. So with no holder specified it focuses on the surface of the glass and with a holder it focuses above the glass in which case you need to experiment to see just how far above the glass. I’m only going on what I’ve read though!

Just to add to my comment above, because I’m sure you already know that and will be using the correct setting, is there a very obvious difference between the results from using these two different settings in your case, and which is better? Perhaps the focus of your machine could be off.

You do not mention which model Espon you are referring to. The V700/800 at least do have adjustable heights, alas only three settings.
As already mentioned, you probably need to specify that you are using a holder with Scan 2 as it is primarily focused on document scanning by default. Remember to have emulsion side up too!

Have you tried turning on the “Show Texture” setting?

Hi. A reasonably good test is to take thin strips of printed cardboard, and to lay these onto the glass platten of the scanner. The first strip will be in total contact with the glass. The second will be the thickness of the card it is on from the glass. The third will be two pieces of card off the glass. The fourth will be three, and so on. Then scan this array and pick the piece of cardboard most in focus. The negative holder will need to offer the film strip at the same distance from the glass, as the layers of cardboard to the focused piece. (This is very hard to describe in written form) I hope it helps