35mm scanners

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by robbinewman, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. robbinewman macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2007
    Anyone have any feedback on Nikon Coolscan 5000 versus the Pacific Image Powerslide 3650

    I have a large pro library to scan and may need to do batch scans.

    I realise the Nikon is highly rated but its very expensive if you add a feeder unit. I mean how good is the Pacific anyhow?

    I have to hi-res scan the hero images before they fade or get fungus etc
    Not fussed how long it takes.

    Any feedback welcome.
  2. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    I can't offer a direct comparison, but I have the Nikon scanner. I can recommend it highly: the images look terrific, while often showing up deficiencies in my technique or choice of film, or critical focussing. Put a good tranny in, and you'll get a good file out... ready for a few - hopefully minor - adjustments. The ICE software zaps dust and minor scratches very well; any greater damage needs a round trip into Photoshop.

    I scan trannies individually. Yes, it's a bit boring, so I do it as and when I need to. Not sure I'd want to spend a whole day doing it. A good job for a dull winter's evening. :)

    The Coolscan has a very simple interface, easy for someone like me to get good scans straight away. It's not cheap, but it's built to last... and I'll be using it for years. I have no regrets about buying it...
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I was reading in the CEO's Blog at scancafe.com. They use the Nikon Coolscan 5000 but do not use the feeder. They've done ten million 35mm frames to date without damage to one frame. He says in the blog that their test showed they could not scan a million frames with no damage using the feeder.

    I know first hand that the Nikon scanner will pull all the detail from the film. Quality is such that my lens, film and how careful I was when I took the shoot are the weak link. When I first started my scanning project I thought I'd have to scan everything at 4,800 DPI but I quickly found that only my best shots, taken in fine grain Velia or Kodachrome 25 using a tripod, good optics and very clear air require 4800. Most frames 3,000 is more then enough and anything shot on 400 ISO color negs, 3,000 is almost overkill. The hard part is color balance. Getting color negative to look right on screen is a bit of an art with every change of film type and light being different. Automation can help but it's not perfect.

    How many 35mm frames do you have? when you figure in your time and the cost of equipment it could be quite expensive to scan them yourself. It really does take about 3 to 5 minutes of your time per image because you have to do at least some minor Photoshop work to each frame. You just can't go 100% full automatic. At the very minimum you will have to quality check each frame and likely at least look at a histogram to check shadow and highlight details and color balance and when you are there it is hard to avoid making a small correction. And then there is dust and scatches that the ICE system misses (ICE gets only about 80% to 90% of the way there automatically.)

    You can outsource this for a cost of about $250 to $500 per thousand frames. So if you only have a few thousand frames you can send it out but if you are going to do 200,000 then it would be good to set up your own lab but remember at 3 minutes per frame that is 20 per hour. If you have to pay someone or if you value your time at even $10/hr outsourcing sounds good, even for 200K frames.

    Don't think you can beat the 3 minute per frame rate either. That is a very productive speed if you care at all about quality.
  4. pinktank macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2005
    I've had better luck with epsons higher end flatbeds, and I used both the coolscan and the flatbeds extensively
  5. robbinewman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2007
    Scan dilemma

    Wow....thats surprising?
    Please supply more info on the flatbed and why you think the result is better?

    ....and thanks to everyone for the feedback so far, particularly Chris re the time v money thing. My wife does the slide works so its sort of free labour there...lol
  6. M@lew macrumors 68000


    Nov 18, 2006
    Melbourne, Australia
    Never heard of the Powerslide, but I have an Epson V500 and it's pretty good. It does 135 & 120 film and doesn't break the bank. I've heard the Nikon's are pretty good but they are quite pricey. The V700 is cheaper and I've read to be pretty good. It's around $400AUD more expensive than the V500.
  7. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    I use a V700 with great results. However, instead of using SilverFast, I use VueScan. It's much easier to customize and use than SilverFast, and the results are just as good if not better. I decided to go that route after reading a couple of articles published by a professional photographer. So far I am very happy with VueScan.

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