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November 24, 2007

Spot the Difference

If you are looking for a reason to spend the dosh and get a film image drum scanned, here is what you get for your money.

Can you spot the difference?

To be fair, the image on the left was done on an old Nikon Coolscan LS2000, and the image on the right was done with a Hasselblad Flextight X5, but the key problem still stands.

The problem is "bleed", where areas of intense brightness starts to leak across the CCD into areas of darkness. This in turn is caused by the need for the CCD in the Coolscan to be so small, right up against the film. Drum scanners solve the problem by magnifying the image onto a much larger detector "far away" from the image, working like a standard camera.

So how do the modern slide scanners match up? Apparently the bleed problem has been reduced, but not eliminated, so your bleed problem remains. If you shoot medium format film, or even 35mm, and you have the option, go for the drum scan.