These two files were both scanned and processed exactly the same way–but there is one important difference:
The second was scanned using the Betterscanning holder, with ANR glass.
If you zoom in, you will note a definite increase in sharpness–but the interesting thing is the ever-so-slight difference in the actual character of the file–presumably due to the slight curvature of the film, and differing height above the scanner glass.
Holders matter, people.
Unfortunately, I may have to invest in another film scanner (? Braun–WHERE ARE YOU Opticfilm Pro??) as I think there is more in the negative here, and the Epson seems to be maxing-out. The Epson is definitely good…but good enough, I’m no longer certain.
Well, here is the same negative placed right on the V600 glass, with the Betterscanning ANR Glass placed over it. It may, in fact, be even sharper, but the difference is extremely hard to notice. At the very least, it is certainly NO WORSE than the second scan, leading me to believe that either (1) Film flatness matters more than height; or (2) the Epson V600 is really maxed out in terms of detail resolution.
Below are crops of both images, with the Negative-on-glass on the RIGHT (Left is the Betterscanning holder)
Admittedly, these files are a tad flat (and shot at ISO 80 on finely-grained film…) so I may repeat the experiment later using something with a bit more structure.