What's a good scanner for scanning slides and film?

Let me put it this way: Here, here and here are examples of the scans I got back from Cord Camera. You can judge the level of quality of the scanner they use yourself. I am not sure what kind it is, but I don’t think it’s that good. However, if I could get these same results from a flatbed scanner, I’d be happy with it. (I also plan on doing some medium format film, so the scanner would be useful for that as well.) Would that be possible?

Is that the full rez, 1814x1214 or so? The scans themselves look fine to me, but way too small. I thought you were going to link me to some truly terrible scans. (I occasionally have to deal with scans that people send me from Walgreens or Costco or what not. Those have been, in my experience, really awful.) I also don’t have the original slides/negs in front of me to compare but, honestly, those scans look reasonable to me, except for the size.

That was the full resolution. The files are around 2 MB each. I’ve read that a full resolution scan should be like 55 MB, so apparently they are massively shorting me on the resolution. For what they’re charging, I’m surprised. There are also highlights and details in the slides that the scans don’t seem to pick up.

Could I get the level of quality you see in those pics from a sub-$300 flatbed scanner?

Unfortunately, I have no clue how good the sub-$300 flatbeds are these days. My guess, based on your reaction to the posted scans (assuming that size isn’t the only issue bother you) is that you’d be much happier with a dedicated film scanner, but scanner technology may be much better these days than last I checked.

The dynamic range of the scan itself looks pretty good. There’s no major clipping occurring that I see either visually or by looking at the actual histogram. But, like I said, I don’t have your originals to compare them with. For whatever reason, I’ve always had much more difficulty getting slides to look right scanned than a neg. It’s possibly because I have an actual positive to compare the scan against, but it seems to me that scanned slides lose a lot of their vibrancy and tend to clog up in the shadow tones.

As for file size, the size will depend on how they’re delivering them to you. I would want at least something that comes in at about a 10 megapixel image (a 2700 dpi scan), but preferably around 21 MP (a 4000 dpi scan) for a 35mm slide/neg.