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Fill 'er up with flammable fluid.
Designed for the serious amateur or professional photographer with a closet full of film negatives to scan, Epson's Perfection V750-M Pro scanner incorporates an old photo lab technique to repair scratches on a negative that can affect the quality of the final printed image.
Before the digital imaging revolution, traditional photo labs used fluid to fix badly scratched negatives. A film holder suspended the negative in fluid, the fluid filled in the scratches, and when a print was produced, it looked fairly clean. The V750-M Pro adopts this oldfangled technique with its fluid-mount film holder, which works only with black-and-white film. You apply a few drops of fluid to the holder, place the film on top of the fluid, and press down lightly to distribute the fluid underneath the film. Next, you cut a piece of Mylar film (purchased separately) large enough to cover the photographic film, deposit a few drops of fluid on top of the photographic film, and then cover it with the Mylar, again pressing down so the fluid covers the entire surface area. It’s not a difficult procedure, but it definitely makes scanning a bit more laborious.
We used the V750-M Pro's fluid-mount system on scratched, 30-year-old, black-and-white negatives and were impressed and pleased with the results. We had previously scanned these same negatives and cleaned up the scratches in Adobe Photoshop, which took one to two hours for each image. The fluid-mount scans cut down our clean-up time in Photoshop by roughly half. Using the fluid-mount film holder reduced the severity of the scratches and virtually eliminated the dust clinging to the negative. Over the long haul, the fluid-mount holder proves to be well worth the price.
The V750-M Pro fluid-mount system does have some caveats, however. First, you have to buy a separate $165 mounting kit that includes the fluid, Mylar, cleaning kit, and other items. Second, Epson doesn't sell the mounting kit or fluid; you have to buy it from Aztek (www.aztek.com). Third, the mounting fluid is highly flammable; if you order it online, it can only ship via ground. And finally, the fluid is only available in 1-liter bottles; Epson says that since you use only a few drops at a time, a bottle should last years.
For color film, you use Digital Ice, Epson’s digital technology for fixing scratches and dust. It works well, but it sometimes mistakes certain elements of a photo for a scratch or dust.
The V750-M Pro also has a dual-lens system, allowing for two native maximum resolutions: 4,800 dpi over the entire scanning area, and 6,400 dpi over the top half of the area. The higher-resolution area comes in handy when scanning smaller film formats.
The bottom line. Though it can't replace a drum scanner, the V750-M Pro is a more affordable alternative, especially for black-and-white negatives.
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.2 or later, USB or FireWire 400
Fluid-mount system for film works well. Great image quality.
Fluid-mount system requires practice and works on black-and-white film only. Fluid and transparent film not included.