What will give me the sharpest results? Epson Scan 2 converting with NLP or Silverfast?

Hi all. I have been down a rabbit hole, watching every youtube video I can find, reading as much as I can on how to get the best possible results when trying to scan B&W 120 film on an Epson v600. I am using a Lomo Digitiliza with some added felt feet at the bottom to give it a little more space for sharpness. I am using the Epson Scan 2 software to get the get the initial negative file, scanned at 2300 dpi and then converting to positive in Lightroom Classic.

The results are…fine. I dont expect the sharpness to be that of what I get back from professional labs. But everything feels PARTICULARLY soft to me. If I used Silverfast, would it make a difference?

Do I need to be more careful about how I line up the film holder in the scanner?

Any ideas around this would be greatly appreciated!

Given that you’re not entirely sure that your scan is in focus I’d recommend removing those felt feet temporarily and then methodically try scanning at different heights from the glass starting at zero using thin shims under the feet cut from anything suitable that you have around the house. If it’s a focus issue then you should see a height at which the resulting scan is sharpest. The scanner is fixed focus and there may also possibly be quality control issues in your example. I can’t see that the software will affect things other than in the amount of default sharpening added but no software can compensate for a scan that is slightly out of focus.

Thank you for this! Im not sure if it is an issue with focusing, but it was a thought that crossed my mind. I will absolutely try this.

I saw this link this morning and thought obviously the color rending is at a hugely dramatic difference, but there seems to be some difference in sharpness as well!


Yes I can see why that thread drew parallels with your own experience, still probably worthwhile confirming the actual focus height though, it would be interesting to see how precise the height needs to be. You might also try a demo version of Vuescan, it’s fully operational but leaves a watermark across the image. There is I suppose the (very) slight chance that the focus is just below the glass so it would never quite be in focus. Am I right in thinking that you have one of two options to set when scanning, with or without a holder?

I have used Epson V850 long time ago and that one has holders with height adjustment legs - they DO matter! So pick a negative and scan it at least 1mm increments, starting flat from bed and see where it’s sharpest.

Overall there are many small thigs what matter, but if you start with out of focus results…then other steps don’t matter so much :slight_smile: