Summit SP2 Photofix scanner review

About a month ago now I rescued my old Canon FTb from a dusty draw and decided to look further in to why it had forsaken me by blowing out all the images I took the last time I had it out with me.

summit negative scanner

Looking at it I found that the aperture ring in the lens had broken and was not adjusting. Everything else seemed fine on the body such as shutter speed and control, dials and metering seemed fine. A couple of days later I had a bargain deal on a new second hand 50mm f1.8 S.C lens at a cost of about £20 inc. p&p.

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Loaded with so ridiculously expired film (no point in wasting some good stuff if it’s still broken) I have been carrying this tank of a camera with me everywhere. Roll finished and £4.99 and 1 hour service later the negs came back. After seeing a mate able to scan using a flatbed scanner I wanted to see what I could do with mine… Not alot so Jessops got £50 of my money in exchange for a Summit SP2 Photofix negative/slide scanner.

When I was doing my reading up on scanners there wasn’t really alot out there. And alot of there brands I have never heard of and have identical looking boxes made by about 4 different brands. So I thought get one. What’s the worst that can happen. Getting it home I was impressed with the size and ease of set up. Software is clunky but straightforward enough. Plug it in, choose your slide settings and load the film begs in to the holder, insert and click capture. Simples. After a bit of use I found that it exposes slightly better if you leave it for a while to do its thing. The maximum resolution is 3600dpi so it’s not too bad I thought.

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Once I had scanned in a bunch of negs as high quality tiffs and jpegs I obviously had to bring them in to photoshop and work in them. At 100% these files are noisy and grainy and have lines rubbing through them. This could partly be due to the expiration date of the film used (which also meant colours were inconsistent and faded) but the lines through the images were a result I was not expecting. Having gotten used to high res desktop scanners and practically noise free digital camera images I did not even take in to account this digital noise issue and obviously this is down to the quality of the scanner and resolution. It’s certainly too soft to work on retouching wise. I thought I would be able to get a shot in in film, get it developed and use it alongside my digital work. I think not.

I will have to test some more films first but I have a feeling it will be going back to jessops and I will be spending a bit more money in the new year on a better scanner.

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As you can see the images are OK At a small size but blow them up and the result is soft, noisy and low quality. The expired film used as said before could add to the issues. Further tests will be carried out and I shall give 100% image samples. If I wanted a stylised low res image I might as well just use my iPhone and hipstmatic!

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