Looking at 35mm negative/slide scanners for near term purchase. Interested in opinions or comments about 4000 ED.... also would be interested to hear about other scanners that you are using or would recommend.
I purchased a couple of months ago the Nikon coolscan, but I have not had the time to really use it. My first impression is so far so good. The automatic dust removal is great. seems to be the best in the industry. But I hate to learn photoshop. This is the major reason of my delay...
I use a Canon FS2710 scanner which I have found to be excellent - it's cheaper than the Nikon, but it does not have the dust removal software. If you set it up properly, and can scan all the details into Photoshop, then adjustments to the image curves etc are best done in Photoshop rather than in the scanner software.
We have scanned hundreds of transparencies and negatives, and are getting marginally better results with negatives. One of our photographers uses a larger format Nikon scanner, and he recons the slides are better.
The photos are on our web site
I bought this one more than a year ago. In the beginning I had problems with the software (I was using Windows 2000 and Nikon Scan 3) because it always crashed. After the version 3.1.2 came out, everything was fine. With this scanner, you'll also get the Silverfast software. It is really fine but I found the Nikon Scan to be easier to use.
However, the scanner itself is great. That is, if you use color negatives or slides. It has some "problems" with b/w negatives because of it's light source, which, in this case, is an LED. This is a directed light source (as far as I understand) and it is not optimal for scanning b/w negatives. That is what I understand but don't ask me why
The dust removal function (ICE) doesn't work with black and white negatives but with all other sorts of film. It even works with some Kodachromes but it's not guaranteed it will work to your satisfaction.
The detail of the scan is wonderful! I always scan without any correction and adjust the curves and levels in Photoshop. It saves a lot of time while scanning, especially batch scanning, and you can go and adjust only the pictures you want to publish. Of course you can rely on Nikon Scan's ability to alter the image but I prefer the other way. Hmm, what else to say? Ah yes, I also left the color management function off and I correct all the colors in Photoshop, if needed. When importing the pictures to Photoshop they get converted anyway in your current working color space (if it's configured that way) and then it's easy to determine if you need a change or not.
Ah yes, it has the capability of multiple scans to avoid noise. It seems to be working but I never tried. Maximum number of passes is x16.
The resolution is great (4000ppi) and the scanner is able to produce images of up to 127MB in size. The color depth is 14bit/channel which makes 42bit and you can save the files as 48bit TIFF (e.g. for editing in Photoshop).
Recently I made fifty scans at 2500ppi/48bit.
The images were about 44MB in size. I edited them in Photoshop, desaturated (because mostly they were b/w negatives), changed levels, sharpened if necessary and converted to 8bit/channel. The size now was some 23MB. I printed them in a near lab with a Fuji Minilab system at 20x30cm. Wonderful pictures I must admit!
Ah yes, there's a firewire card provided with the scanner and it works really fine (under Windows 2000). The scanner is fast and has a lot of features. The negative stripe holder, the negative holder (motorized, for up to six frames) and the slide holder are provided too. So is the firewire cable, software and so on.
I'd like to strongly recommend the Polaroid scanners. I've used a Polaroid SprintScan 35+ for my photography and graphic design work for about 5 years now, and I'm still extremely happy with it. I shopped around very carefully before buying it (it was about US $2500 US at the time). The newer model, the Super 4000, takes the resolution up to 4000dpi, yet costs only around US $1500.
The Nikon scanners have their infrared scratch and dust removal system and focusing controls because they seem to need them more than many other scanners. The Polaroid scanners seem to 'see' the image within the film, and don't pick up so much of the film surface.
Anyone looking at film scanners should visit Tony Sleep's site:
This site makes heavy use of frames, so I can't give you a link directly to the film scanner review sections. Follow the links to see reviews of every new and used film scanner you've heard of. He's got s&le scans of the same test image from each scanner for comparison. His reviews, comments and s&le scans are done to a more professinal standard than most magazine reviews I've seen. He's also a working professional who truely understands the issues involved; too many scanner reviews are written by people who might be sophisticated computer users, but don't have much professional graphic-arts knowledge.
Users of any film scanner might take a look at VueScan sofware. It's available both for Mac and Windows, and supports most film and flatbed scanners. This is a great alternative to many of the limited software packages that come with many scanners, especially consumer-type scanners; VueScan may even unlock features that you didn't know your scanner had, and if you use more than one scanner, you might be able to use VueScan for all of them. This also might be a good choice for someone with an older scanner whose software has not been updated for a while, or if you're switching a scanner from PC to Mac (or vice versa) and don't have the software for the other platform. If you buy a second-hand scanner, VueScan may be all you need, rather than trying to track down the correct software from the manufacturer.
I don't have much of my own photography on my website, but here is a page of watch photos. These were all scanned on the Polaroid SprintScan 35Plus, and all but the two shots of the vintage Minerva chronograph were taken with an RTS III and the f/4 100mm on the bellows. (The Minerva shots were taken with a Leica M3 and and 135mm lens head on extension tubes with a Visoflex).