Discontinued film scanners.

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by raymondc, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. I am just wondering if most of the dedicated film scanners are discontinued, is it just prolonging the agony?
    First the "used" scanners are v expensive.
    An amateur prob won't use it more than a pro, that means actual scan jobs that result in actual print jobs displayed outside, his/her own home or camera club. $2000US would provide a lot of outsourced scanning.
    Then, there are no warranty.
    Later in life, there may be software issues and driver issues.
    Should it fail, one wouldn't be able to find another one anyway, except the 10yr (say) used that might still work.
    So we have the slide or the neg. The obvious path is to make a print out of it. Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to just say to the lab give me a proof and then give me a print or if it is a slide, just say match slide, 11x16 print?
  2. Actually, there are some new players in the field, like Pacific Image, which makes film scanners ranging in price from about $200 to $2000 US (although one of the higher end machines looks suspiciously like a re-packaged Minolta Multi series machine.) The question is, do you actually need one? If you do a lot of film shooting, either pro or amateur, it might be a worthwhile investment. If you just do occasional, casual shooting, using a lab would probably be your best option.
  3. []...easier to just say to the lab give me a proof and then give me a print...[]​
    For me not even close. What I would pull out of a negative scanned on a Nikon scanner plus post processing tonal work I would perform on the image, a lab would never do this or even come close in the results produced. You can always talk yourself into or out of an approach but for me the fundamental criteria is that I love film, especially B&W, and when I digitise it, I want it done as well as it can. And finally, regardless of how much of a time sink scanning is as a process, no commercial service is ever going to put the effort into it that I would for a price I could accept for many frames.
  4. Re: Pacific Image, isn't other than the $2,000US one those scanners can fall into the consumer category? Even with the $2,000US one. I heard the Dmax isn't as good and historically Pacific Image doesn't have the same reputation as the more professional equipment.
    As an amateur they might just print 10-20x large prints out annually. Ones that actually gets framed up or gets exhibited or compete. An avg amateur prob won't make a sale even if they allow it to be.
    So I thought that a Nikon scanner now is just expensive. And what would happen down the road with the Nikon or with the Minolta. Two scanners who did a v good job. With production ceased. What happens if you buy one or you brought one in the past and it breaks down. I mean what happens in 2020 or 2030? Are we still gonna sing Coolscan or are we gonna sing Imacon and actually go thru the transaction?
  5. I haven't seen any reviews of Pacific Image scanners (but then, I haven't been looking for any). One thing that bothers me about them, looking at them on the B&H site, is the number of items in their specifications list showing "Not provided by manufacturer". The high-end models aren't yet available. Hopefully there will be some reviews before they hit the street.
    As for discontinued models, the older the equipment, the less likely you are to find real support anywhere. I'm waiting for the day when the light tube in my Minolta Multi II goes belly up. When that happens, it's probably toast unless I buy another one on eBay and either use it or cannibalize it for parts...
  6. this was a good discussion
    Pacific Image is still not well known.,
    and will the company be around when replacements are needed.
    we HAD a decent HP flatbed PAGE scanner. when the lap dies we could not get another one. Hp did not seem to be interestedoled
    I guess they still make scanners, but somehow that are all invisible to me.
    Sony apparently did not pick up support for the Minolta scanners.
    Nikon remains a mystery- do they or don't they?
    since there is no practical way ( nor counting cibachrome)
    to prinmt slides, that MUST be sacanned first.
    It seems that is a PLAN to kill slide fiulm..
    Almost nobody can afford or justify several thousand dollars for a Nikon Coolscan
    even if they were still available.
    it is a very sad situation.
    and I think lab scanning at that time of film development is a solution.
    it may not be good enough for many of us.
    all in all it looks like a conspiracy to get rid of film.
  7. The German company Reflecta are, (according to their website), releasing a multi format film scanner in July. It seems identical to the Pacific Image scanner,and very similar stylistically to the old Minolta Multi film scanner.
  8. For manufacturers to continue upgrading and/or offering newer, higher end models, they would have to be assured that there'd still be enough of a market. As to Nikon, they obviously got tired of the endless and costly sw catching up with constantly changing OS'... Others don't even bother and offer a package with, for example, the excellent SilverFast.
    It's been rumored that Plustek might come out (Photokina..?) with a scanner that would provide similar values as those of the Nik 5000 ED.
    No guarantee from The House.
  9. @Malcolm, @William: Reflecta is just a brand nowadays. They source products from other vendors like Pacific Imaging.
  10. Thanks, Remeo. I thought it was something like that, just didn't know which was the source...
  11. To demonstrate the demand for Nikon 5000 scanners, they sell for more than twice as much used as they did when available new!
    I operate a slide scanning business and when the four Nikons I have fail or are not usable on new OS's, my business could end. (but I'll start a different one :)
  12. Don't think that way (consumerism, planned obsolescence) .
    Say to yourself that you will always find a way to get those Nikons to work as long as you live, until someone finally makes an even superior scanner or offloads a new drum scanner on you for cheap.
  13. Scanners are actually not that badly priced compared to commercial scans. A good (high resolution 16 bit) scan of a 35mm slide costs $25 to $50 in Canada while for MF you are in the $50 - $100 range (Vistek prices). Since my Mac tells me I have over 2,000 35mm scans and 600 MF scans my Nikon 9000 looks like a bargain.
    The other advantage of self scanning is that you can get the image just right.
  14. I have a flatbed scanner for preview stuff. As a hobbyist I just don't print so much out - that is large and matted up for a purpose. I might print 10x if that per year that gets exhibited at my camera club annual exhibition or that gets put for camera club competitions. Probably more like 5 a year. Then perhaps 2 or 3 from my overseas trip for myself.
  15. I don't have time for that anymore. I use Scan Cafe whenever I do shoot film, and order their highest resolution files. Works wonderfully for me, albeit turnaround time is so-so.
  16. I have a flatbed Epson 4990. When I bought it I was hopeful that it would provide better scans of 35mm than my old 3170 did. I was rather disappointed because there was actually little difference.
    I don't have the budget for high-end scanners like the Nikon LS-5000 and higher, and I haven't seen any evidence yet of the scan quality one gets with a Plustek. So I'm hesitant even to risk the money on the Plustek. Besides, I've read more than once that if you want to scan at max res with the Plustek you better be prepared for a loooong wait. Like an hour per scan?
    So my quest continued for a reasonably priced method for obtaining higher resolution scans of my slides and negatives. Then I ran across a comment about digital slide duplicators on Flickr, and the guy even had a couple of examples. One slide scanned by a Minolta scanner of some sort, and another done with a digital slide duplicator. I couldn't see an appreciable difference between the two images. If anything I thought the dupe looked a bit better.
    You guys have heard of these, haven't you? They're all over eBay. Cost about $50 each. Well, I figured that was cheap enough to give it a shot so I bought one. They work by screwing the duplicator tube onto the front of your lens. Inside the tube is a close-up element that allows the slide to be brought into focus at such a short distance. I mounted it to an EF 28-80mm lens I owned and fired away.
    Well, the duplicates were clearly sharper than the scans of the slides I'd been doing with my Epson 4990. But the digital duplicator was annoying to use, and I couldn't help but wonder if I was getting the best resolution possible, given that I was shooting dupes with a kit-grade zoom and a dupe tube with a close-up lens in it. It was annoying to use because the front element of my lens rotated and every time it did, I had to recenter the slide so it would line up with the viewfinder's frame.
    After futzing around with it some more, I got an idea and decided to do a bit of cobbling. I own a pre-AI Micro Nikkor 55mm f/3.5. Sharp as a tack, it is. And I decided to put it to use. First thing I did was unscrew the close-up lens from the tube and retire it. Attached the tube directly to the Micro-Nikkor. But I needed extension tubes on the lens to get it to focus closely enough and at the right size. Turns out that for my APS-C sensor-sized Canon, 30mm of extension tubes on the back of that lens was just about right.
    So with this new rig I can shoot dupes with my DSLR using a high-quality macro lens and nothing else between the slide and the sensor. And yes, the images shot with the 55 Micro are noticeably sharper than the ones I shot with the previous setup using the EF zoom. No surprise there, really.
    My DSLR has "only" a 10.1 megapixel sensor. This translates into about 2600 ppi. Which should be noted is a higher resolution that most any flatbed scanner, regardless of their exaggerated claims. But for folks who have a 7D or a 5D Mk II or higher -- or the Nikon or Sony or Pentax equivalent -- think of how much higher resolution that'll be. A 5D Mk II for example will deliver an actuall 3744 ppi of resolution -- getting real close to those 4000 ppi Nikon scanners.
    Not really saving any money by using a 5D Mk II for duping slides as opposed to using a high-priced scanner, but hey, you're also getting a damn good DSLR in the mix.
    What about negatives, you may be wondering? Well, it is possible to reverse them in Photoshop or other processing packages and get very good results, so duping negs is possible too.
    So, to sum things up -- even if all the scanners in the world break down and finally die -- as long as you have a good DSLR and macro lens and a source of illumination (I use an off-camera flash), you can still digitize your slides and negatives.
  17. Reflecta is not just a brand. It is a company headquartered in Germany. Their USA brand name is Pacific Image. From what I can tell from reviews, they have good scanners but not so good software. It is recommended to buy SilverFast to run their scanners. Both are German companies, so I suspect they communicate well with each other to make sure SilverFast works well with their scanners. For my work flow, to save time, I use SilverFast archive suite. I scan once into what SilverFast calls an HDR image, and then process the HDR image later with SilverFast Ai. I find this workflow not too time consuming.......I do something else while my Nikon 9000 is batch scanning.
  18. Try the Xtend-a-Slide from PhotoSolve. It is a much better "slide duplicator" than those cheap things that are on eBay. The Xtend-a-Slide is designed to attach to a macro lens--it has no optics.
    It is made from metal, not plastic. It is a bit fiddly to get everything set up, but once you have it set up, using it is very easy.
    I'm using it with a Canon 60D and a Canon 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. The Canon 60mm macro lens works well with the basic Xtend-a-Slide. All I needed was a step-down ring from 52mm to 49mm.
    I used to use an Epson V600 and Vuescan. The images that I get with the Xtend-a-Slide are a lot better than what I used to get with my V600.
    Note that if you have a macro lens, all you need to do to see how well this works is a tripod and something white and translucent and a daylight balanced light source. I already had a Logan slide sorter (with a daylight balanced CFL inside) and that worked well enough for a validity test. But something like the Xtend-a-Slide is needed if you want to scan for real--it is practically impossible to align a camera so it is exactly aligned with the slide if you are using a tripod.
    Try it. You have nothing to lose but your scanner.
  19. Wow, Wayne, thanks for that link. It would have saved me a lot of time and effort if I would have known about Xtend-a-Slide. I managed to get to the same point by stripping my "digital duplicator" down to a bare tube. One thing they recommend at their website that I don't necessarily agree with is the use of close-up lenses in front of the lens. I prefer using extension tubes -- no optical distortion that way.
    I guess your 60mm f/2.8 will focus down to where you need it so you're getting a full-frame image of your slides with your 60D. My old 55/3.5 Micro-Nikkor just won't get down that close without the tubes and my Tamron 90mm macro is too long for it. Anyway, I should be able to get the same results with an Xtend-a-Slide and the Micro-Nikkor with tubes. Glad to know about this because I've always been concerned about the fragility of the dupe tube's plastic shell.
  20. If you have any questions go to the "Contact Us" page that is linked from the site's home page. Phil Williams, the co-owner of the company, was very responsive in answering my questions.
    Yes, my 60mm f/2.8 lens will focus down so I get a full frame image (and almost a full frame image on APS slides.) You are correct that the less optics, the better. PhotoSolve sells additional tube elements so that you can add to the XTend-a-Slide if you need more reach. When I was first exchanging emails with Phil I hadn't bought my 60mm lens yet. He was trying to steer me into getting the Canon 100mm lens because the 100mm lens's longer reach is handier when shooting bugs and flowers type subjects. The 100mm macro lens requires several additional PhotoSolve tube extenders. (I went with the 60mm lens because I don't shoot bugs and flowers--I bought the 60mm lens to shoot slides.)
    The Xtend-a-Slide is made of metal and is very well built.

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