concerned about dwindling availability of new negative scanners

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by mhahn, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. Has anyone tried the Plustek negative scanners? If so, how do they compare to the Nikons? They seem to be about the only dedicated negative scanners being sold at this point by Adorama, etc., except for the Nikon 9000 (and it's on back-order at Adorama; who knows when it too will be discontinued).
    I'm a little apprehensive about what I'd get if my Nikon 5000 scanner bit the dust. I've had the Nikon for a while now, but have barely used it, but want to start scanning my old negatives in earnest now.
  2. If your CoolScan 5000 "bit the dust", you would be well served by sending it to Nikon for repair.
    As far as I know, only Nikon in Melville repairs scanners; El Segundo does not.
  3. I took a look at the Shutterbug review, and they say it's a very good scanner. Maybe there's no reason to be so concerned after all. Thanks.
  4. Has there ever been a Shutterbug review that was not favorable?
  5. Use your Nikon and enjoy the quality it produces. If or when it breaks deal with it then, don't worry about it now. Epson or Canon could release a realy hot film scanner next year or in a couple year or maybe never but none of us know. Maybe plustek could produce a Coolscan quality scanner in the next few years. You Nikon may never fail you and you could end up selling it in a couple of years.
  6. We have been at this for the last few days in another thread about whether there is a future for dedicated film scanners. It remains the most populous thread on this forum as I write.
    I think many of us are sending out a clear message in the form of a distress signal. We need good, really good scanners for our film. So far, while many flatbeds come close none can equal the quality of dedicated scanners.
    I dearly want one for my panoramic work. And occasional MF, which I'd like to do more of.
    Let me repeat what I said in that other thread. Even if digital blows film production out of existence, film has left a huge legacy that will need to be digitalized. This means that photographers who cannot afford drum scanners will need good and affordable dedicated scanners, just as traditional darkroom photographers need good and affordable enlargers.
  7. Alex, as I mentioned in the other thread (but was met with apparent disbelief if not derision by a couple of individuals), I've recently talked with someone that I am not free to name, but that is in a position to be quite knowledgeable about this situation. She urged me to tell everyone to let Nikon know about our continuing concern and desire for quality film scanners, and that they would listen. I had the definite feeling that she had to be guarded in her comments.
    As you alluded to here, that thread received over one hundred replies so far. I think it would be smart for us to mention that fact to Nikon, and mention any other pnet opinions and comments that one might think of. We really need to speak up and let them know. To everyone that cares: write and/or call.
  8. There seems to be steady (though expensive) supply of used scanners, at least on #bay. It seems that people get them, use them for their collection, then sell them or switch to digital. The better digital gets, the more people will switch to digital.
    Look at it this way: there were a limited # of any given Leica models produced. Yet at any given time there are plenty on the used market.
    One thing I don't understand is how the 5000 seems to command as much as a 9000.
  9. I am sure that if enough people said something to Nikon about scanners they would listen. I've been to Nikon Headquarters with the Nikon Historical Society and recall that they are good listeners. Whether they will do something about releasing upgraded versions of the 5000 and 9000 is another matter.
    Nikon is quirky. They have gotten totally out of film, yet they blew enormous sums producing the S3 and SP knock-offs. Go figure.
  10. Assuming that Nikon is a a publicly traded company, their priority is to make money for their shareholders, so they can't just make scanners because a small number of film enthusiasts would like them to.
    I would guess that Nikon's assessment is that the market just isn't there for them to be able to make money from their scanner line.
  11. Nikon is not going to start up the scanner thing again. They want mega selling items. The D7000 digital snapper will probably sell millions of units for Christmas and a scanner would sell nothing in comparison. Probably stand a better chance of writing to Epson and asking them for a dedicated scanner. I am sure they could package up a great scanner pretty easily.
  12. It seems to me that there are a lot of people asking for a dedicated film scanner.
    Also I don’t think Nikon would go bust in the making of one that is affordable.

    I mean come on, they seem to already make a few so called eatery level dslrs that I am sure hardly any of us would miss if they disappeared.
    Making all these different model dslrs is not going to give the ability to scan film from past negatives or present film shots.
    Lets face it there are people who like to use film and need a scanner they can afford ,not another model dslr that has scene modes.
  13. Interesting Alex... My impression after talking with this person for a while about related topics, and then mentioning some of our concerns, was that if enough people asked, something might happen. Jmho, based on the context and personality. She seemed straightforward, though I don't doubt that there's more to it, as you allude to.
    I've often thought since these scanners became discontinued and scarce, that if I do have to buy a good digital slr or rangefinder at some point, it won't be a Nikon. My long-time loyalty to Nikon is gone at this point unless they produce enough scanners that people aren't forced into digital, which is what I think their plan has been so far. Obviously, there is a need, and I can't believe that there isn't enough demand that it couldn't be profitable. But there's a vicious cycle going on it seems, where all the negativity that one will hear can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It sure seems that there are plenty of people interested in film considering the surprisingly many people I've met personally in the last couple of years, including many, perhaps mostly, young people, and of course, there are many here and in other forums on the web.
    There's an elegance and a much more enduring quality to film cameras, I think, and having a good scanner opens up the digital world to us. For 95+ per cent of the varied photography that I do, I would much rather have gradual refinements made in films, than in fast evolving digital camera technology, and all that that entails. The other 5%, for me, very low-light work, simply isn't sufficiently important.
    martin and ross... Just hoist up your trusty white flags and surrender, why don't you? Find every excuse in the book... But if you're going do that, please don't complain here any more, okay?
    Craig, Right you are, imho.
    Also, for those who would like to shoot film but are suffering because of the dearth of affordable, quality scanners, the "drug store" scans burned to CD can be surprisingly decent with today's modern films. I usually scan the neg's myself with my Coolscan, but several weeks ago a situation came up and I did a job for a friend. I didn't want to take the time to scan and process an entire roll, as he wanted everything, so it was much easier for me to have a cd made while I got the film developed. I was very surprised at the quality, and feel that it surpassed the majority of images I see in our local weekly paper, where I'm a pretty steady contributor. I think the total cost was less than $5.50 for a 36 exp. roll (no prints). I think so many photographers, those folks who just want "good pictures" and have some experience and don't shoot loads of snaps, would be so much better served doing this than getting involved in the seemingly endless (and expensive) world of digital.
  14. Jeff, I'm not "hoisting a white flag," I'm simply explaining, to my best understanding, what I think would motivate Nikon to get back into the scanner business. And that would be if they felt it was the best way to use their resources to make a profit. And I think they've already made a decision about that.
    I hope I'm wrong (or that they can be convinced to think otherwise), but I doubt it.
  15. Being keen to still use my film cameras, I've done the research to see which well known manufacturer seems to have its act together moving into the future. Epson.
    But you will have to get your head around this: There will be two types of relatively affordable scanners. The cheaper slot-based scanners that do strip film, and then the more expensive flatbed scanners that do strip, MF and LF plus hi-res document scanning....a la Epson V700 (soon to be replaced with the V900).
    The good thing about Epson is their aim to provide a solution for the quality fine art photo printing market by combining the scanner and printer into one bundled solution, managed by a Photoshop Elements script. We will just have to wait and see.
  16. Doesn't Imacon/Hasselblad still make a good range of scanners, of a much higher quality to Nikon? I have a Coolscan 5000, and I like it very much, but I have long resigned myself to the fact that Nikon have dumped film like a bad habit, turning their full attention to the more profitable solid state capture segment of their business. Film is great, but it is expensive, and we have to get used to paying a premium for ag-x products and workflow. Epson have a great option in the V700, and we still have the greatest advantage to ag-x over solid state capture, the wet print.
  17. I'm a little apprehensive about what I'd get if my Nikon 5000 scanner bit the dust.​
    An enlarger?
  18. david_henderson


    A few random points
    The Imacon/Hasselblad scanners mentioned above are very good but expensive enough that in most cases they are not a realistic consumer or even small business purchase. IMO they are a bit better than the Nikon 9000
    After having worked reasonably extensively with Japanese companies in another life, my experience is that they don't listen much to markets. The attitude often seems to be that distributors are there to sell what the factory make, not the other way around. Nikon might just be different, but I wouldn't personally hold my breath over whether contacting Nikon in N America or Europe would make much difference. Again just my view but I don't think Nikon are engaged in a company-wide conspiracy to switch everyone to digital. If there is a strong enough global demand for a product that can carry a profitable price they'll keep making it. However if that market in reality is a couple of hundred noisy people on a website, they might well work that out. If you want them to keep making the 9000, order one.
    I keep saying this but it is not necessary to buy a film scanner to get film scanned. I have little doubt that labs and the little scanning businesses set up by people with Nikons/Imacons/drums will survive longer than the retail availability of Coolscans. Prices do vary wildly, and some full-service labs are in cloud cuckoo land on scanning prices, but there is value out there for those that look. Personally i'm more than happy to accept that the bulk of my thousands of MF slides are never going to grace anyone's wall. If I need scans for screen-based applications including web, or to show a stock agency, or to use in a Blurb book, I'll happily make that scan on a V700 flatbed. If I need a scan to support a print, then i'll get it done on an Imacon pretty cheaply and well.
    So if Nikon do abandon film scanners, its not the end of the world. It might force those who want to make a full res scan of every shot they take to rethink their strategy, or buy whilst they still can. But then i'm not sure thats such a great strategy anyway.
  19. Here is my visit to Nikon HQ in Tokyo. A few of the folks from the Nikon Historical Society made practical suggestions to Nikon and the general answer was, "We will take it into due consideration."
    I am not so interested in making Nikon made scanners if they don't want to. I do want someone to fill in the gap left by Nikon and make dedicated scanners. Maybe Epson is the company we have to pursue.
  20. Yes, there are the Epson flatbed scanners available, as a matter of fact I use one. The only reason being is because I can not afford a dedicated film scanner like the Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED at a price tag of $2,199.00.
    There is the used market of Nikon no longer made scanners available but I am to scarred that I will end up with a broken piece of we don’t fix it any longer due to parts availability. That point could also be made with a film camera breaking but some how feel we have a better chance of that being fixed somewhere.
    There are other brands of dedicated film scanners out there if you look but don’t seem to see the grand reviews you seem to get from the affordable Nikon film scanners no longer made.
    It is of course the choice of Nikon if they choose to cater to the needs of us film type people. Its just that I feel that there are more of us than they realize. Thanks to all that help support film, it defiantly has a place that is appreciated by more than just a few.
  21. In all honestly I think the best we could hope for from Nikon is they might run the odd small production run of Coolscan 9000s. They are not that likely to develop any new models and the 9000 covers 35mm and MF so they can just produce the one model.
    Of course, if for some reason film should make a serious comeback then Nikon and Canon along with the rest will all want a piece of the action.
  22. Having worked for Hitachi all over the world in my past life, I agree with David H.
    Its no use contacting Nikon USA or Nikon EU. They are just the face of the fulfillment and service arm. All the decisions on product marketing are made in Tokyo. Occasionally they will query their overseas subsidiaries sales forecasts, but generally they will only manunfacture against hard orders. The idea of holding a large inventory is seen as hugely risky.
    The other thing they do is continue to produce and sell a certain product if its important for their image or marketing position. But Japansese companies are very adept at "marketing by brochure". Japanese consumers are notorious for basing their purchasing decisions simply on what the brochure says. If the blurb says its good then it must be. Consumer interaction through forums and user groups are very rare. Its also seen as un-Japanese to criticise an icon manufacturer like Nikon.
    One also needs to look at Japanese manufacturers in two groups. And their members behave quite differently. The first group, the zaibatsu, are made up of legacy traders and manufacturers which existed before WW2. They have a much more conservative nature and see themselves as guardians of Japanese reputation. These are the traditional trading houses like Mitsui and manufacturers like Nikon, Hitachi, Toshiba, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu etc.
    Then you have the newer, more consumer goods oriented ones which became established in the 50s and 60s...Matsushita, Sony, Sharp, etc. These guys are still seen by the zaibatsu companies as johnny-come-lately's even though they go back half a century. These companies tend to jump in and out of markets and don't have the long term view of the others. When I worked for Hitachi in Japan, it was almost like we were defending Japanese culture and reputation. We were doing marketing and sales plans going out 5-10 years. They also looked at product cycles within this 5 year "term" structure. Its only been in the last 15 years or so that the zaibatsu have woken up to the fact that they have to move in markets much more quickly and also represent their own pruducts directly in their own name, instead of behind overseas distributors.
    Hitachi is also your typical Japanese domestic producer who rarely sold products overseas as "Hitachi", except for consumer goods like air conditioners and washing machines. They were very late in exposing the Hitachi name to overseas consumer scrutiny. I was one of a very few non-Japanese to make it past local country management. My time with them in Tokyo and Hitachi City opened my eyes to just how well run and planned these companies are. The depth of loyalty to the company from its employees was very strong. There is no such thing as a bad debt. In the mornings at 9am every employee in Japan would suspend work, stand up and sing the company song in unison. Your life was Hitachi and in return for this loyalty, your were housed in a company apartment and looked after long term. They rarely dismissed anyone for anything other than fraud, and even then they would try to find a low risk slot, or in my bosses case, a lowly position in the hair dryer factory. Later, working for the likes of Sun and HP, the contrast was stark. I went from this culture to one where the longest view was to the next set of quarterly numbers. It was maddening to work at a senior level where 80% of your effort went into the politics of avoiding being retrenched.
    Nikon take their long heritage in optics very seriously...a bit like Leica. Their heritage underpins their behaviour. Mistakes can be made and I can just imagine the tone of the board meetings when Canon were dominating the pro space there for a while. Today, Nikon react quite quickly to market forces, but there is still a conservative approach which can be a blessing in some ways. You can bet that they have learned a lot in the past 5-10 years on how to preserve product and design longevity and thats good for us all.
  23. Hi everyone. Dont know if this is any new to all, but I've found in the market some other companies that make film/slide scanners. Besides Plustek, there is Vistaquest, ION, and Reflecta. Have to admit that have no idea of the product quality of each, but the Reflecta Scanner RPS-7200 Professional, seems quite similar to the Plustek 7600 I AI. They're all with 7200x7200 with 42bits of depht (Nikon are just 4000dpi and 16bits of depth, right?) And the Epson Perfection V750-M Pro Scanner doesn't seem bad, since has 2 lenses and a Color Depht of 48-bit internal / external. Maybe someone knows any of those and can give an opinon? Because i also need one (yes, another poor guy that belong to the minorities forgoten by big companies). As about film beeing more expensive, that's relative . It's much more expensive then before, that's right, but, how long does our film gear lasts? And when you buy a dslr for how long you keep it till you have to replace it?
    I think that the review at the link above says that the Plustek's claim of scanning at 7200 dpi is incorrect. It's more like 3,200 dpi, or something like that. I think there may also be a review of one of the Reflecta scanners.
    Have a look.
  25. david_henderson


    Mr Saldanha's post contains one or two misconceptions. The Nikon's 16 bit is 16 bits per channel of which there are 3, so equivalent to the 48 bits overall that some other scanners indicate. Scanner manufacturers- or at least some of them,- including Epson - appear to be keen on big numbers , and claim resolution numbers that they don't deliver in real life. There's a lot of stuff on on this issue. It is very tempting to believe that you've come across a scanner that delivers more than the Nikons for less money, but the sad reality is that you almost certainly haven't.
    The real defence for film users is to realise two things. The first is that they don't need the capabilities of the Nikons, or better, for every scan , and that something like an Epson V700 despite not delivering its supposed resolution is good enough for most scans made by most people for most purposes. The second is that you can have high res scans on Nikons and Imacons made without owning the scanner,.
    Your final point about having to replace digital cameras puzzles me. Are digital cameras less reliable than film cameras then? Or is it the case that at least you have the possibility, though not any compulsion, to upgrade digital cameras whereas new film cameras are something of a rarity. If your assessment of total cost of film vs digital contains an assumption that digital users need to replace their cameras every couple of years but film users don't, then you might want to consider how appropriate that is .
  26. Is it even known for sure that Nikon is still making the 9000? Did they give any notice before discontinuing their other scanners? Surely, they could at least do that.
  27. Martin,
    Thanks a lot. In fact that site has a review of the Reflecta Scanner, wich makes a very positive impression about it. It really might be my option.
    Mr Henderson, trying to defend Nikon Scanners "honor", wich is absolutely not the point of this discussion, since it's about the "availability of new negative scanners", not about how good old or discontinued scanners were. My idea was in fact to give some possible alternatives offered by today's market. And in terms of reliability between film and digital cameras, i'm not going to discuss that here, since it's not the issue of this post. Anyway, nevertheless how reliable a digital camera might be, 70% of digital cameras are consumption products for the big public, wich soon become outdated. (how many people still using those 1 or 3 Megapixel cameras?) It's not a matter of needing, but obviously you wont be able to find people using the same digital cameras for 20 or even 10 years, wich you can for sure with a film camera.
  28. I'm still using a D1h and it works great and I have an Olympus C220 2mp compact that my kids use that works as well as the day I bought it. For small 6x4 snaps there's no reason to upgrade the olympus and the D1h will do nice looking 8x10s all day long.
  29. I guess it's fine for some folks here to speculate at length about Nikon's history, culture, etc,. etc, etc. However, if you're going to somehow use that to avoid contacting them as I've stated that I was directly told by a very knowledgeable individual, I can only speculate about your true motivations. Seems very odd that some people are going on and on about this sort of thing, and not taking action, or at least talking about that...
  30. Jeff,
    I think some of us are just expressing our doubts ithat it would do any good to contact Nikon about this, but you're right that we ought to do it anyway.
  31. Hi Martin, I certainly didn't mean to direct my comment at you personally. In re-reading everything, this has been a fairly interesting topic. But I do believe that it's definitely worth the effort to contact them, and a comment such as the one I've pasted in, is what I don't understand, and most definitely do not agree with:
    "...Having worked for Hitachi all over the world in my past life, I agree with David H.
    Its no use contacting Nikon USA or Nikon EU..."​
    Of course the simple answer to this is, why not try? It costs nothing but a few minutes of one's time. Beyond that, I don't buy the negative mindset of "it's futile.." for all sorts of reasons. And the person that I talked with did not give me that impression.
    I find shooting film to scan on a quality scanner, and then making simple adjustments in an image editing program to be a quite viable process for many, many reasons, and hate to lose it for the future.
  32. I received a used Pentax 645 Medium format camera for Christmas :) I'm really looking forward to using it and I am also interested in the possibility of film scanning.
    I Just wanted to let you know by doing a web search I found a site called The company offers various scanning services and also sells scanners and scanner accessories as well.
    Late at night here so I will have a real look at the sights contents tomorrow. In an case if you want the scanner sales page is:
    bob church
    I look forward to comments.
  33. Possibly good news on the availability of new scanners: There's an announcement on Reflecta's website of a new medium format scanner that will be available in June 2011.
    I don't know anything about the company, however, or the availability of their products.

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