Buying a new/unused Nikon film scanner

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by ray ., Oct 30, 2018.

  1. I'm seeing a few Nikon scanners available advertised as new. Since there are return options on them, I'm thinking of taking a chance on one.

    Would there likely be any issues with a new scanner that's been sitting in a box for several years?

    Does anyone know what the release dates were on various models of Nikon scanners, such as the LS-5000 and 5 ED, etc?
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I bought an older one in very good condition several years ago but have been unable to get it working due to hardware / software issues. Be certain that you have what you need to get it running!
  3. Many old scanners need old OS and sometimes old hardware, like SCSI.

    I have some scanners that need Windows XP, and so a computer with XP to run them from.
    Some you can use a virtualized XP system, but I found a low cost computer and someone
    selling XP to go with it.

    I have a ScanDual II, III, and IV, and also a Pakon F135, all of which run USB on XP.

    Many used scanners don't come with software, which you can sometimes find where to
    download on a web site somewhere.

    My latest, which I got from Goodwill, is a Wolverine 35mm negative and slide scanner.
    It isn't especially high resolution, but usually good enough for screen images, is pretty
    fast, and writes to SD cards. Then transfer the files to a computer from SD.
    I believe it uses a cell-phone style imaging chip, instead of the linear CCD array
    usually used on scanners.
  4. glen_h, I'm using a Nikon LS-40 scanner (that I may replace) with an iMac on OS 10.13.1…… Should be OK with another Nikon scanner if I go that route. I use VueScan for the scanner software.
  5. Some years ago, I had a working LS-1000, even with the auto slide feeder.

    The feeder jammed about every other slide, which made it about as much work
    as loading without the feeder. It has a SCSI interface, though I forget now
    which OS it uses.

    Not so much later, I got the ScanDual which usually works well, but isn't fast.

    Does ViewScan work with many older scanners on new computers?
  6. I'm using an older version of VueScan- 9.5.32. Haven't bothered and also hesitant to update to a newer version, since it does the job. It works fine on my 5 year old Mac with the OS I mentioned above.
  7. I'm quite interested in this question myself. I bought a new Nikon Coolscan V in 2008 just around the time that the discontinuation was announced (or expected or something), and it has actually sat in its box ever since. I took it out maybe twice for a couple of minutes just to check it out. It's never been connected to computer or the mains power supply. I will finally get around to scanning all my film...

    I was actually wondering if there is any lubricant or anything inside that could have hardened up over the years. I don't really know what's inside these things.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  8. Gosh, I haven't used my Coolscan IV in a long time. I bought it in 2003 and by 2007 it wouldn't work with Nikon Scan anymore. The software wouldn't recognize the scanner attached to the computer. I bought forever-updates of VueScan but have only used it for flatbed scanning the last couple computer upgrades.
  9. - There are generally two transport mechanisms in a film scanner. One to coarsely feed or advance the film/slide into position, and another to finely step the film or a mirror to do the actual scan. Both of these need different grades of lubrication to work smoothly. So, yes, hardening or evaporation of lubricants is entirely possible through time alone, but I think wear and loss of lubrication through usage is much more likely to cause issues. 'Hardened' grease will likely quickly soften with use, whereas lubricant lost through use isn't ever going to replace itself.
  10. Forget it. No service, no support, no parts, no current OS=no dice. Get a new Epson that can handle negs or look into DSLR scanning.
  11. The Coolscan V is a great scanner, and USB too. Nikon no longer supports it, but Vuescan can talk to it pretty well. I still use it.
    bgelfand likes this.
  12. I have a Nikon v Ed ls50, and I just used USB? I had it working on Windows 8 I think, or maybe it was 10 not sure. It was not xp in any case. I just used the nikon scan software. Worked fine for me.

    That computer died though so it has been sitting boxed for a year. I think you can buy Vu scan for this model

    If you buy a new Epson or plustek, it will have a warranty, sure, but it’s not as good and then eventually it wont have a warrenty, just like the coolscan. I’m sure there is someone in the world that will fix the coolscan if it breaks.(correct me if I’m wrong)

    But I would like to sell mine and buy a nexlab 135 plus. Faster. Or just not scan at all. Coolscan is great though, and not slow, I just have unrealistic expectations of fastness
  13. I bought a used Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 which I hooked up to an older computer running the MacOS that was current when it was new. It works very well, not only with VueScan but even with the original Nikon software. Such computers nowadays are much cheaper than any likely interface cards and adapters. Even at the fastest scan rates it is very convenient not to tie up your main computer with scanning. Do five or six scans while you are working on the main computer and then the old one beeps and you and you reload the magazine.

    For a much cheaper scanner that rivals the Nikon Super Coolscan 9000, try the Canoscan 9000F, but practically that requires a computer with Fast SCSI.
  14. If you are on a Mac, the newest operating system that you can use is 10.6.8 "Snow Leopard." There are no exceptions or work-arounds to this-Nikon Scan was never ported to Intel, so on Intel Macs it must run under the PowerPC emulator "Rosetta." 10.6 was the last version of OS X that supported Snow Leopard.

    The Coolscan V/5000 was the only one to use USB. It MIGHT be possible to virtual Snow Leopard(specifically Snow Leopard server if you want to follow the EULA) and use Nikon Scan in newer versions of OS X, but I haven't experimented with this.

    For a Coolscan IV/4000 along with the 8000 and 9000, the computer must natively run OS X Snow Leopard. It is not possible to "pass through" the Firewire connections in a virtual machine.

    AFAIK, versions of Vuescan that work in macOS Mojave will run any USB or Firewire scanner fine without any hoops to jump through. Vuescan is a good piece of software(I have a "pro" license to it) but I prefer the Nikon software for color work since "real" Digital ICE works much better than the IR cleaning implementation in Vuescan.

    Things get a bit more precarious with SCSI scanners. I've used a Coolscan III recently, and I had zero issues with it in Mac OS 9 on a PowerMac G4 using the Adaptec 2930CU SCSI card that shipped with it. With that said, trying to find a SCSI card compatible with a PCI-based G5 tower can make your head spin, and forget making it work with a PCIe-based G5. Also, even with G4 towers, the list of SCSI cards compatible with OS X Leopard(10.5) is quite small-the venerable Apple-supplied 2930CU, for example, doesn't work. Fortunately, OS X Tiger(10.4) plays nicely with most SCSI cards and you shouldn't have any issues in a G4 tower. I use OS 9 often with SCSI scanners, but color management isn't the best unless you're using an Apple monitor with built-in color calibration(21" CRT studio display, 17" ADC CRT studio display) and I'm not sure how good the calibration still is on monitors that old. A SpyderPro 2 will work fine with any monitor in 10.4.11 if you track down the correct version of the software. Older versions of Vuescan that will work on 10.4 are readily available on the Vuescan website(try 8.x). If you're using Nikon Scan, you need a version no newer than 3.x to work with SCSI scanners-fortunately all are available for free download with a bit of digging around Nikon's site.
  15. Anyone who thinks an Epson can even equal, much less exceed, the quality of a Nikon scanner for 35mm or medium format has never taken a serious look at the results from either scanner. I scan 4x5 on my V700, but I've been mostly unsatisfied for smaller formats.
  16. Nikon scanners are orphan products totally unsupported by Nikon. Under those circumstances, "quality" is a bit transient. Then there are the hardware/OS issues. Epson scanners haven't been measurably upgraded for years. But DSLR sensors seem to get regular refreshing, right? Top-shelf Coolscans are great if you're prepared for some survivalist moves and heartbreak when they conk out. Anyone supposedly comfortable with hacking old Coolscans should be open/able to figure out DSLR scanning.
  17. There's a decent cottage industry supporting the 8000 and 9000 at least, and they are kept alive in current OSs by Vuescan. There again, if you're a Mac user and don't mind dealing with older computers to support them, it's also not a big deal to use the Nikon software.

    I've seen amazing results from "scanning" 35mm with a DSLR. Medium format still seems to have a way to go.

    In my book, though, for medium format the 8000 and 9000 are still king in the consumer realm. Of course, the folks I know who have the Konica-Minolta MG scanners seem to love them, but I also never see them for sale. The fact that a complete 8000 outfit will still reliably bring over $1K and a 9000 over $2K seems to bear this out.

    The Hasselblads, Imacons, and the like all are very well regarded, but you're getting into yet another pricing tier and also from what I understand an even steeper learning curve. "Real" drum scanners(meaning PMT based ones) are even better in experienced hand. I've never run one, but I understand that cost aside(many are pennies on the dollar these days, but they were so expensive new that we're still usually talking four figures to buy a used one, and in many cases you're using even more obsolete software and interfaces to run the computer. I was looking up one model not too long ago where you needed an ADB HASP to run it, which means nothing newer than a B&W G3 Mac and probably OS 9 or earlier(you can upgrade your G3 to a G4, but the early G4s are really just a G3 with an integrated floating point unit, and for programs that aren't coded for that the G3 clock-for-clock generally runs a tiny bit faster and a whole lot cooler...if I had one I'd probably use my B&W with a 1ghz G3).
  18. Hmmm. DSLR scans of 120 are way better than 35mm with my D7200 and a 40/2.8g Micro Nikkor. Wonder why...

    Your talking "film" scanners and "film" is the problem. Insufficient demand discouraged development of new scanners. That's the big hairy primate roaming the room.
  19. If the "demand" doesn't exist for scanners, why is there still a strong secondary market for the Coolscan V, 8000, and 9000?

    Also, I know that you like to claim that demand for film continues to shrink, but I'll take a moment to point out something that you have yet to acknowledge-Kodak re-introduced two emulsions in 2018 and the more recently introduced of the two is sold out most places through well into 2019...
  20. Refurbing obsolete gear? Often a solid niche market provided demand, parts and know-how survive. But, please, quantify "strong." Film in late 2018 is a residual market, so small that I know of no manufacturer willing to bring anything to market other than the scanners we have now--none of them markedly improved for years. I'm also not seeing any uptick in new lab openings or expanded service in existing labs(e.g., E-6 lines?)to meet the supposed resurgence in film use. I love film and shoot it when I can but I'm not a fabulist.
  21. When warranty is up on the Epson, same boat.

    Someone inthe world will fix your coolscan. You just have to work for it and expect to put in extra effort if it breaks. The results are worth the risk. Buy a good one and you should have no problem. Buy a bad one, well that your own fault haha

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