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Page 7

The Fluid Mount Accessory

One of the biggest problems with scanning medium and large format films using a flatbed scanner is keeping the film perfectly flat. Drum scanners mount the film on a drum using special mounting fluid, this keeps the film in the focus plane and can assist in hiding scratches, Newton rings and dust. The Epson (V750 & V700) are the first scanner(s) together with the Fluid Mask Accessory that I have come across in the sub £1000 category. It's going to be interesting to see what difference this will make to the quality of the scans.

Before we take a detailed look at the Fluid Mount Accessory (FMA), I want to confirm that this is compatible with the V700 scanner. Some US readers have emailed me saying that the FMA kit was included with their V750 scanner, Epson UK have not made a decision regarding its inclusion for the UK market. However, it will be available as an optional accessory - price to be confirmed.

I have received two 1 liter bottles of KAMI SXL 2001 mounting fluid from Kami - Haynes Graphic Arts and Tapestry have both supplied the Mylar film for use in this review. Many thanks to the companies - please support them by buying your supplies from them.

WARNING Hazardous material

The KAMI SXL 2001 fluid is highly flammable and should be used in a well ventilated room. There is a eight page comprehensive safety data sheet included with the product, giving full instructions on how to treat skin and eye contact any how to extinguish a fire. This data sheet should be read fully before use of the fluid. Needless to say, DO NOT SMOKE when using this fluid.

The Film Mount Accessory hardware

The film holder comes in two parts. a base unit with etched grid lines on for easy alignment of film, and the top glass section the actual film holder. The holder is sealed so no mounting liquid can seep out onto the scanner platen.

The FMA ready for placing film
Two part accessory
Clean the glass
Remove dust from film
Place a few drops of Kami fluid to the Mount
Position film
Place a few drops of Kami fluid on the film
Overlay Mylar film
Take holder with film to scanner
Use the Film Holder setting on the scanner

The FMA will take some practice to obtained the best results.

  • Make sure all the surfaces are well cleaned, I generally use a good quality screen clean tissue.
  • Blow off any dust on your film using a blower or compressed air.
  • Apply a few drops of Kami fluid and spread it evenly on the glass.
  • Place your film on the fluid, do this quickly as the fluid evaporates rapidly.
  • Apply a couple of drops to the top surface of the film and then place the Mylar film on top.
  • Rub the Mylar film with a soft lint free cloth to remove all the air bubbles.
  • Lift the FMA holder and place it on the scanner.
  • Use the Transparency with Film Holder setting.

I cannot stress enough the importance of working in a well ventilated room and keep the fluid away from heat and naked flames. The fluid evaporates very quickly so you must have all your bits ready to go. Once you have finished your scanning, remove the film from the holder. The actual surface of the film seems to be clean. I would urge you to use some unimportant shots for your first trial runs - just in case.

I have scanned a 6x7 transparency using the medium format film holder and another scan using the Film area guide with the film placed directly on the glass platen surface. The film holder causes the scanner to use the Super Resolution lens (6400x9400dpi), whereas the film area guide uses the High resolution lens (4800x9400dpi). The FMA uses the Super Resolution lens.

The full frame 6x7 reference shot
2400dpi scan with Film Holder no USM
2400dpi scan with Film Holder with USM
2400dpi scan with Film Area Guide no USM
2400dpi scan with Film Area Guide with USM
2400dpi scan with Fluid Mount Accessory no USM
2400dpi scan with Fluid Mount Accessory with USM
Newton strikes back with mounting fluid - removing the air bubbles helps (right)
Air bubbles should be removed before scanning


Looking at the above results. Both the Film holder and Film Area guide scans are more than acceptable. I used 2400 dpi for the scans, this produced a 108 mb file, the details are just a small part of the image, if printed at 300dpi the picture would be 22 x 19 inches. I have included the straight scan and the same scan with USM applied in Photoshop - just so you can see what can be acheived. The Fluid Mount Accessory scans are sharper and generally cleaner, but not by a huge difference. I had a lot of problems removing the air bubbles from the Mylar sandwich combination, and although the FMA claims to remove Newton rings, I found it actually introduced them. Where the rings were removed I found a slight discoloration on the scan, you can just see it on the bottom right picture.

In conclusion , like anything you need to practice to get the best results, I tried this scan a few times and each time it got better, so if your interested in Fluid scans then this accessory could be your answer.

I will publish a price for the Fluid Mount Accessory on the forum, Epson have not as yet fixed this.



November 7, 2006

© Vincent Oliver 2008
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