Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
02-15-2011, 05:07 PM   #1
Senior Member




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SE BC and NE Montana
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 198
State of the Union on scanners, please

Hi all... the military has kind of kept me... otherwise occupied in interesting places for nearly two years now... and I've only managed to pop into the forums once in a while. So I'm a bit out of touch with things.

Including scanners.

The last time I was active here, just before the military got me busy, I was looking at converting 30 years of slides to digital format. Now, with semi retirement looming, I still am. The project has now been considerably extended by the death of my father, who leaves behind about 60+ years of slides.

The quality of all these slides will range from "pretty damned good work" to "Well, it's not very good, but it's the only slide of your grandparents at the homestead". In some cases the film used will be a bit of a mystery. My intended approach is to go with the best compromise of price vs quality available, and happily accept the additional cost of having difficult & valuable slides (to me/us) done as a custom job in a photo shop on high end equipment.

I am owned by a wife who is a landscape architect and is a bit of a photoshop guru to go with that, and who possesses a critical eye for color correcting. I am assuming that some shortcomings in equipment/software/technique can be handled by her or her teaching me if I bribe her enough.

So that's the situation, and as I look around today it appears that the Nikon scanners have pretty much disappeared from the landscape. They can still be found, but in the brief look I took, the prices have increased considerably. The idea that people would scan their slides and then sell their scanners to the next guy at used prices doesn't seem to have worked that way. My planned project solution has taken a bit of a beating.

Anyways... that's MY situation as I consider purchasing a scanner to start the project. I could probably be talked into spending more than $2500 on a scanner if I thought I could get most of it back on resale (this is a one time project). But with semi-retirement, anything more than $2500 right now is going to involve asking the family to sacrifice a bit, which isn't necessarily fair.

So thats the background scenario - what's the state of the union on slide scanners today?

I see there's a few new Nikon CoolScan V ED at Amazon from a few sellers for around $2500, and that unit has been well covered in the past here. Looking at Adorama, what appears to be the top of the line in their offerings is the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i Ai, rated at 7200dpi. It looks quite the steal at $440, but I doubt that the rule "You don't get something for nothing" has changed much. Other new offerings (to me) are the Pacific Image Powerslide 3650. One thing I do have is time, and I'm not going to get it done in just a couple of months, so high output is not a major concern.

So... before I start going through two years of past posts here and elsewhere, re-reading scanner reviews and opinions, etc, can some of you give me a bit of a kickstart by offering your opinions and suggestions on the state of archiving slides today, and scanners that I might want to keep in mind while doing my homework?

Thanks very much, folks, appreciate any help on beginning this rather daunting project.

02-15-2011, 06:50 PM   #2
Pentaxian
SpecialK's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: So California
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 15,390
I have an Epson Pefection 4990 that works well for casual use and family history stuff. However, if you start scanning at 7200 dpi or so, that 60 years of slides is going to take 180 years to copy.
02-16-2011, 12:28 AM   #3
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 30,133
There are pretty good scanner reviews at the link below:
Detailed test reports and experience reports about film scanners slide scanners: market overview, application in practice
Note that Reflecta is the generally the same product as Pacific Imaging.

Note too that the advertised resolution of almost all film and flatbed scanners is grossly overstated. For example, the real-world resolution of my Epson V700 (advertised at 6400 dpi) is only about 2400 dpi.


Steve
02-16-2011, 01:55 AM   #4
Senior Member




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SE BC and NE Montana
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 198
Original Poster
I won't be scanning everything at high resolution, but when I want to get the most I can out of a slide, I do want that capability. I also know that resolution isn't commonly found to be as claimed i.e. the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i has about half it's claimed resolution.

Early on, it appears there's nothing as a likely alternative at this instance so it looks like I may end up shelling out for a Nikon Coolscan.

02-16-2011, 07:54 AM   #5
Veteran Member
lbenac's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Burnaby, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,313
QuoteOriginally posted by Rick Quote
Hi all... the military has kind of kept me... otherwise occupied in interesting places for nearly two years now... and I've only managed to pop into the forums once in a while. So I'm a bit out of touch with things.

Including scanners.

The last time I was active here, just before the military got me busy, I was looking at converting 30 years of slides to digital format. Now, with semi retirement looming, I still am. The project has now been considerably extended by the death of my father, who leaves behind about 60+ years of slides.

The quality of all these slides will range from "pretty damned good work" to "Well, it's not very good, but it's the only slide of your grandparents at the homestead". In some cases the film used will be a bit of a mystery. My intended approach is to go with the best compromise of price vs quality available, and happily accept the additional cost of having difficult & valuable slides (to me/us) done as a custom job in a photo shop on high end equipment.

I am owned by a wife who is a landscape architect and is a bit of a photoshop guru to go with that, and who possesses a critical eye for color correcting. I am assuming that some shortcomings in equipment/software/technique can be handled by her or her teaching me if I bribe her enough.

So that's the situation, and as I look around today it appears that the Nikon scanners have pretty much disappeared from the landscape. They can still be found, but in the brief look I took, the prices have increased considerably. The idea that people would scan their slides and then sell their scanners to the next guy at used prices doesn't seem to have worked that way. My planned project solution has taken a bit of a beating.

Anyways... that's MY situation as I consider purchasing a scanner to start the project. I could probably be talked into spending more than $2500 on a scanner if I thought I could get most of it back on resale (this is a one time project). But with semi-retirement, anything more than $2500 right now is going to involve asking the family to sacrifice a bit, which isn't necessarily fair.

So thats the background scenario - what's the state of the union on slide scanners today?

I see there's a few new Nikon CoolScan V ED at Amazon from a few sellers for around $2500, and that unit has been well covered in the past here. Looking at Adorama, what appears to be the top of the line in their offerings is the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i Ai, rated at 7200dpi. It looks quite the steal at $440, but I doubt that the rule "You don't get something for nothing" has changed much. Other new offerings (to me) are the Pacific Image Powerslide 3650. One thing I do have is time, and I'm not going to get it done in just a couple of months, so high output is not a major concern.

So... before I start going through two years of past posts here and elsewhere, re-reading scanner reviews and opinions, etc, can some of you give me a bit of a kickstart by offering your opinions and suggestions on the state of archiving slides today, and scanners that I might want to keep in mind while doing my homework?

Thanks very much, folks, appreciate any help on beginning this rather daunting project.

Plustek problem is that you need to manually push the carrier after every shot which is time consuming. You also need to scan at 7200 to get 3200. With Vuescan you can reduce the size of the file immediately after scanning.

The Coolscan V price seems way over board. For that money you are better of looking for a Nikon LS-9000 whihc should have an easier resale value (MF and 35mm).

You could look for a Minolta DualScan IV or a Minolta Elite 5400 both are as good as the equivalent Nikon and can be found (from time to time) used way under the $1,000 range.

Luc
02-16-2011, 08:48 AM   #6
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,053
With that many slides, maybe you ought to consider the slide copier + DSLR as an alternative. Once you purchase the required bellows and slide copy attachment, set up lighting etc, you can save the set up - or set it up very quickly. And once that is going, all you are doing is putting a slide in, tripping the shutter, taking the slide out - you can get a lot of through put. The quality will likely be better than with most flatbeds
02-16-2011, 10:05 AM   #7
Senior Member




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SE BC and NE Montana
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 198
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by lbenac Quote
Plustek problem is that you need to manually push the carrier after every shot which is time consuming. You also need to scan at 7200 to get 3200. With Vuescan you can reduce the size of the file immediately after scanning.

The Coolscan V price seems way over board. For that money you are better of looking for a Nikon LS-9000 whihc should have an easier resale value (MF and 35mm).
Yes, I read the German review on the Plustek, noting the actual resolution of the scanner versus claimed, and that you end up with a very large file without a corresponding amount of data.

The time required to manually index slides doesn't bother me as I can pick away at this while doing other things beside the scanner. Every session will probably become a session of looking at old pictures I haven't seen in decades. So it will probably be an enjoyable trip down memory lane and not just a chore.

I did notice in the review what you mentioned about reducing the size of the file. You mentioned VueScan - is that the "TIFF Size Reduction" setting? My wife isn't handy at the moment to ask her about how you do this in Photoshop, but is this some sort of pixel merging operation? I assume that in the merge there is no noticeable lack of quality because duplicate pixels get dumped?

Another quck VueScan question: does it allow multi-scan capability in a scanner that doesn't do that generically?

That German review comparing the Nikon CoolScan 5000 to the Reflecta and Plustek, kind of underscores why you might decide to simply bite the bullet and buy a Nikon. There seems to be a big quality gap between the Nikon V/5000 and the options below that. The price sucks - although it reflects the demand - but from what I'm seeing on Ebay and elsewhere, it doesn't appear to me that those who bought Nikons to do a project are seeing much difference between their purchase price and what they resold for.

However... pictures taken decades ago with consumer lenses on old Spotmatics. You have to ask yourself how many slides out of all of them are going to show significantly better results coming out of something like a Plustek rather than a Nikon? Composition, lighting, and exposure of the slide aside, is the lowest common denominator going to be the original image quality? Or (more likely?) is it an additive process where any image defects in the original image and scanning shortcomings come together? Perhaps older slides with shot with lower end cameras and lenses need all the help they can get.

Nesster, I did look at the slide copier route. There's even a web page showing how to use a modified slide projector.... I guess it comes down to a decision of wanting output quality to be around what you would get with a Nikon V/5000, and slide copying, flatbeds, etc isn't going to get me there.

Last edited by Rick; 02-16-2011 at 10:29 AM.
02-16-2011, 09:57 PM   #8
Veteran Member
lbenac's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Burnaby, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,313
Yes that is the TIF/JPG/DNG size reduction set to 2 the output tab.
Yes you just loose the fluff and no actual real useful data
Yes but it is now doing several passes instead of reading the same spot twice. Depending on the quality of the scanner there might be some registration issue

I had a Plustek and having to come back to push the damn holder every shot just killed me. At 7200 it takes a long time to scan a neg - but you will find out by yourself I am sure

I still think that the Coolscan is way over-priced compared to the Minolta equivalent.
The only saving grace is that if it fails during the process you should be able to have it fixed by Nikon for a "small" amount

Good luck in your project.

Luc

02-17-2011, 12:12 AM   #9
Veteran Member




Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 381
I'd suggest picking up a cheap scanner initially and trying out on a few photos to understand better whats involved. You will better determine whats important after slogging away with a Epson V300 and beg for something faster. Some scanners are severly handicapped: speed, dust, colour curves, optical quality. Your analysis that a Nikon is expensive is a bit flawed, as its unlikely to get cheaper, and really the cost is (rate*time*price)+change in price. So really, with interest rates so low at the moment, you can justify owning any expensive kit you like If I was in your shoes, I'd seriously look at the Nikon as they apparently handle dust better, offer better contrast, and are twice as fast as something like a Plustek.

Dont waste time using scanning to evaluate slides. To work out whether a slide is any good, I would get a light table and 4x or 6x loupe/lupe. Its much quicker than scanning to determine whether its worth while. This will save you a lot of time. I would not scan everything. There is no point scanning the duff pictures, but I'd make sure you archive them properly in acid free paper etc etc
02-17-2011, 06:45 AM   #10
Veteran Member




Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Fife, Scotland
Posts: 834
For that number of slides you need something like a Coolscan V with the slide feeder.

QuoteQuote:
I see there's a few new Nikon CoolScan V ED at Amazon from a few sellers for around $2500
Blimey - maybe I should sell mine? That really is OTT. On Ebay in the UK they got for about 800, which is quite a bit more than I paid for mine when Nikon was still making them.

My suggestion is to look for one on Ebay, also look for the slide feeder (SF-210 or SF-200 I believe) and get scanning. I found a few completed SF-210 listings on Ebay and the prices were from 250 - 400.

When you have finished you can probably sell the kit at no lose. This kit is in great demand and is no longer made, good examples (original packing etc.) will get a good price.

IMHO it is well worth looking for one with the original packing as it protects the scanner really well, and make sure the seller is aware of how to pack it for safe transit - if they don't do the right things in the right order it's likely to arrive u/s. Also make sure they will take a return. Before I brought my Coolscan V I got the previous version on Ebay, and it was DoA. It hadn't been properly mobilised and the mechanical bits were damaged beyond repair.

I have a few other thoughts as well:
  • You will need lots of canned air to blow dust and so on off the slides before you load them;
  • D-ICE doesn't work with B&W, and not usually with Kodachrome which is a real pain if you have slides in the card mounts - they shed dust like mad;
  • Organise your slides, give the boxes numbers, and come up with a scheme for naming the files so that you can always get back to the original slide for a rescan;
  • Buy a large HDD or three!
  • If you scan to 8-bit TIFFs at 2,000dpi those will do for most purposes - if you want to do an extra-special large print, see above - rescan at 4,000dpi to a 16-bit TIFF (e.g. 8x the file size!), give it some loving with Photoshop and print
  • Store your slides dark, cool and dry. They are your originals, even when scanned treasure and cosset them. Not many families have such an archive to enjoy, I hope you and yours truely appreciate and enjoy them.

Last edited by cats_five; 02-17-2011 at 06:52 AM.
02-17-2011, 08:16 AM   #11
Veteran Member
lbenac's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Burnaby, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,313
QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
Your analysis that a Nikon is expensive is a bit flawed, as its unlikely to get cheaper, and really the cost is (rate*time*price)+change in price.
I still thing that it is expensive compared to a Minolta Elite 5400 which is every bit as good as the Nikon V/5000 and can be found used for $700.
For my use I also purchased a LS-8000 as it can handle both MF and 35mm so yes I am with you about a few years back when I sold the Plustek and got Minolta (s) instead.

Cheers,

Luc
02-17-2011, 02:03 PM   #12
Veteran Member




Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Fife, Scotland
Posts: 834
The Minolta might produce the same quality scans (or it might not), but by the sound of it the OP has thousands of slides to scan, and being able to do them in matches of 40 or so makes a big difference to how long that will take - and how tedious it is.
02-17-2011, 06:44 PM   #13
Veteran Member
lbenac's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Burnaby, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,313
QuoteOriginally posted by cats_five Quote
The Minolta might produce the same quality scans (or it might not), but by the sound of it the OP has thousands of slides to scan, and being able to do them in matches of 40 or so makes a big difference to how long that will take - and how tedious it is.

True that is one of the (costly) advantage of the Coolscan 5000 that you can add a full roll feeding system for negative or a slide feeding system.
Is that on both the V and 5000 or only the 5000. I know that Nikon put some arbitrary restrictions on the V to differentiate from the pro model?

Cheers,

Luc
02-17-2011, 10:24 PM   #14
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 30,133
QuoteOriginally posted by lbenac Quote
I know that Nikon put some arbitrary restrictions on the V to differentiate from the pro model?
Bit depth, IIRC...
02-17-2011, 10:26 PM   #15
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 30,133
QuoteOriginally posted by lbenac Quote
I still thing that it is expensive compared to a Minolta Elite 5400 which is every bit as good as the Nikon V/5000 and can be found used for $700.
For my use I also purchased a LS-8000 as it can handle both MF and 35mm so yes I am with you about a few years back when I sold the Plustek and got Minolta (s) instead.

Cheers,

Luc
I agree, though a good Elite 5400 is getting to be hard to find. I have the Nikon 5000, but if I see an Elite 5400, I will buy it


Steve
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
bit, film, nikon, offerings, opinions, photography, prices, project, scanner, scanners, slides, time
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Could an IT Union stemmed offshoring? johnmflores General Talk 12 08-04-2010 05:37 AM
Architecture Union Covered Bridge timstone Photo Critique 11 04-21-2010 07:46 PM
union square normant Monthly Photo Contests 0 10-27-2007 08:19 PM
A shot from Union Square NaClH2O Post Your Photos! 5 02-27-2007 03:33 PM
Union Sq Park -=JoN=- General Talk 0 01-29-2007 10:39 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:32 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top