Lifetime capacity of Nikon Coolscan 5000ED and SF-210

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by tropdude, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. How many scans (of 35 mm slides) is the lifespan of Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED and/or Nikon SF-210 feeder?
    Is it realistic to scan 40,000 slides by doing about 300/day (about 6 batch-scans/day)? Or the machine will most likely brake on the way?
  2. I suspect it will survive OK....but it's a very laborious procedure even with the feeder.
    However, I'd give careful thought to doing this job with a D610 and a 60mm macro on a copystand over a nice stable (tungsten maybe?) lightbox with slide holder slot. Tether it to a laptop running ControlMyNikon software and you're off. You can even make it voice controlled if you want to!
    One of the old-fashioned vertical slide copiers is perfect with the bellows unit removed. Take RAW at the lowest ISO. Use a WB preset maybe? Batch process the files in DxO. With the 60mm 2.8D, by f5.6, it's very sharp, there is negligible distortion and no vignetting...unlike it's more modern cousin where you'd have to go to f8.
    The only downside is the lack of the IR wavelength scan to remove dust that I believe the Coolscan has. There may be a suitable dust removal plug-in for PS?
  3. I haven`t tested it, nor I even have a Nikon scanner... but I`d be highly surprised if there is any scanner on the consumer market capable of such amount of scans, and even worst, 300 scans per day up to 40,000. My office gear does`t survive that long without problems. I hope to be wrong.
    And by the way, have you ever scanned a photo? You`ll have a lot of work to do with 40,000 scans... I`m probably missing something, so I think this is the "unrealistic" part of the idea.
  4. I've always wanted to see if a Kodak Carousel slide projector could be modded so that a DSLR could be in the position of the projector lens and shoot the loaded slide in the gate, as it were. The auto control-gear for timed slide presentations is very cheap now. The gate could trip the camera with a 2 sec delay/pause. The big drum mags hold a serious number of slides. Very quick, accurate slide placement, fully automated, stable light-source, etc.
    They are also built to last. 40,000 slide 'projections' is nothing. If you've got 4 drums, you could load them as fast as it could shoot them. Digitizing a 80 drum mag in say 4 minutes. I think it would shoot them quicker than you could load them. That could be 1000 per hour!!
    I've got one in the loft somewhere, maybe time to have a bash myself!
    NB... Oh, and don't forget to ignore slide orientation, do them all landscape or all portrait.
  5. I would cut down on the number of images to scan by a factor of 10 at try to achieve scans of a much smaller number of, selected images only.
  6. Scanning is an extremely slow process, even when 'automated'. Nikon's stated scan time of 20 seconds is extremely optimistic, and you can easily double that time if using Digital ICE for dust removal. Then there's no guarantee that the images won't need some additional adjustment afterwards. There's also the issue of whether your software and computer will cope with the memory load of a batch scan. Each scan is likely to consume around 130 Megabytes of computer memory.
    I had a problem trying to do a batch scan of just 6 slides into PhotoShop a few years ago. Photoshop's memory management is awful. It hangs onto memory even if images are closed. Consequently my computer would come to a grinding halt after 4 or 5 scans, until PS had been completely shut down and restarted. So I certainly don't recommend batch scanning through PhotoShop.
    Mike's recommendation of using a high resolution digital camera instead of a scanner is good advice. Digital slide copying is a much quicker process, but needs human intervention for every slide. However I seem to remember that the German company 'Reflecta' made a large capacity slide scanner along the lines of a slide projector. What the quality was like though, I don't know. If you're looking for top quality TIFF output at 48bits/pixel and 4000ppi, then that's going to be a tough ask to fulfill 40,000 times over in any reasonable time frame.
    Or you could farm out the entire process to a scanning bureau - at around $1 per slide!
    Edit: Mike, I think the Carousel's existing light source would be far too bright and uneven for slide copying. A little white LED source would probably be a better choice, or a small and fast recycling flash tube. In any event I think a piece of opal glass or Perspex would need to be placed behind the slide - instead of the heat-absorbing filter maybe?
  7. I kinda assumed the 40.000 was a prerequisite, but as Ilkka said, do you really need them ALL?
    Computer storage of 40.000 images even at a modest 20MB each is pretty awesome too....!
  8. Thank you.
    Yes, all 40,000. There was a reason why I kept those slides over the years and the full line should be digitized. The question if 5000ED/SF-210 can hold up for the job.
    Hand-picking a subset is what we have been doing so far, but it requires manual slide number assignment to the generated files, which is VERY time-consuming (even for the person who is doing it). Scanning A-Z every slide pages would eliminate that step and also ensure that all slides are digitized.
    Any actual experience re the lifespan of the 5000ED/SF-210?
  9. I scanned about 16,000 slides/negs with an 4000 ED a few years ago. Took me about 18 months. I didn't use the auto feeder. I'm not sure if the auto feeder adds any stress, but if you hand feed it, I wouldn't be surprised if you managed to scan the whole lot. These scanners are built like tanks.
  10. I scanned a few thousand slides with a 5000ED a few years ago and even with the SF-210 (when fixed not to jam) it is still very laborious. Even though the 5000ED has dust and scratch removal you still need to make sure the slides are not too dusty or it will still show artifacts.
    I also found that the 5000ED did not always get the exposure optimally if you have images with lots of shadows or lots of bright highlights.
    I took it apart to clean dust off the mirror (not a job for anyone for sure) and it's built like a tank inside, so 40K slides should not be any problem at all unless it's been super heavily used in the past.
    The 5000ED has flare problems with images that have bright highlights next to deep shadows.
    For some of my more recent slides (that are in fantastic shape) I re-imaged them with my D800 + 55/3.5 AIS macro and the PB-6 bellows/PS-6 slide holder using my portable light table as the light source. This setup won't fix scratches or dust, but the D800 images have no flare issues at all, are just as sharp, and have better color and slightly better dynamic range. It is, however time consuming due to not having an automated system - it takes about 1 minute per slide due to dusting them off with a can of air and making sure the exposure is OK (using live view) prior to taking the image. Minor scratches and dust are usually easily fixed in post using NX2 or PS.

    Good luck!
  11. Don't do it. You will give up before your reach 2,000. Select and scan only those that are worth doing and then scan as required. When you scan your first shot you will realize the absurdity of scanning 40,000.
  12. I believe Scan Café, the commercial scanning site, use to advertise they used Nikon 5000 to scan 35mm negatives and Nikon 9000 for medium format.
    If my memory is correct and they were using the ED5000 commercially, you should be able to get 40,000 scans. (The operative words here are if and should)
  13. I have done something less than 72,566 image scans on my Canoscan 4000F US (maybe a third of that total is digital work, but I continue to do a lot of film shooting. Just last week my Canoscan finally seemed to work, but produced no images. I will have to grovel in the dust under the desk to see that all the connections, SCSI card, etc. are all properly plugged and connectioned (remember those Italian scientists who thought they had beat the speed of light but it was the connections?). But it is possible that it is dead scanner, a scanner.....[dead parrot routine].
    My images are of value to me, and many of them are also necessary records of research, so not scanning the bulk of them was not possible, and in the end it was easier to scan them all than to try to pick out which of the non-record shots were "keepers". One thing I did discover in this exercise was that visual inspection of the images did not reveal their true potential in post processing - many of my "seconds" became my favorite digital images. I had originally done the "best ones" but soon found that was terribly inconvenient when I had to track down ones that I had not chosen to do. And my slides were very carefully arranged in slide boxes by place and date, etc.
    You just need to set up a workflow, and dedicate an old computer to the task on a table or desk behind your actual current workstation (swiveling chair a necessity). It's best, of course, if you are retired. If you are not, you may want to investigate commercial scanners.
    Anyhow, I suspect that the Nikon is better made than the Canoscan, so 40,000 - Ha, Das ist gar nichts! (That's entirely nothing).
  14. The issue for me - are you planning to buy a $4,000 brand new that 1 or 2 stores have collected up or are you going to buy a modestly priced used unit. Then my worry would be what is that quality like after someone have already used it. I've contacted Tokyo Nikon and they said they can do CLA but they don't have any spare parts. Due to that alone maybe consider outsourcing or getting one of the Plustek's.
    FWIW I got a used CS 4000 2yr ago and now it no longer gets detected does boot up though but the LED goes dead after plugging into the computer. With these machines there are absolutely no warranty whatsoever - unless you buy brand new from a store and they may give you a (partial) money back warranty since Nikon doesn't warranty them anymore.
  15. There is one new scanner that I found when my Canoscan seemed to go to the choir invisible, it is the Braun 6000 ( ),
    It is available new in the USA at places like B&H and Adorama ( e.g., ) and there are even a few used ones about for a little less. Its benefit is that it will take large magazines to do many slides in a series. Slow or not, and high pixel counts just aren't real speedy, it can chug away unattended for quite a large batch - far more than the Nikon or Canon scanners I've seen or heard of. Price in USA is around $1800, not a lot more than the Nikon scanners, even used.
  16. z t, I used Vuescan. It takes a while to set up (by trial and error, I mean), but once you get it right, it's pretty nice. One thing you might want to consider is how you plan to name the files. I found that YYYMMDD_## for the slides and YYYYMMDD_negative roll #_## for the slides to be best. You can keyword them later when you import into LR. Also, if you have a lot of Kodachromes, you'll find that the cardboard mounts are a real PITA. If you have some keepers, you might consider transferring them to a nice Gepe mount. I also got around to cleaning the mirror in my scanner, but only after I scanned about 80% of my batch. Finally, if you are going to invest 100's of hours scanning like I did, be sure to periodically copy your files to multiple redundant HDs! I've got two copies sitting in a safety deposit box at the bank.
  17. Although Nikon may not offer a warranty, if you buy one on eBay (used around $2000), you could invest in a Square Trade warranty which would give you one year of warranty, possibly more.
  18. Square Trade warranty which would give you one year of warranty, possibly more.​
    If no-one can fix it, I'm not sure a warranty is going to help much. Nikon can't fix it and have no spares, so the chances of a independant fixer having any is small. I guess it might pay for a replacement, if there are any...or maybe your money back? I'd check the wording very carefully.
    The Kodachromes I've done with a borrowed D800E were better than the scans from my 5000ED. This may be because Kodachromes are a bit, aka...notoriously, tricksy to scan..?
  19. I have the Coolscan 5000ED and SF 210 and am using Vuescan. Nikon software does not support the scanner and it will not work on every computer without Vuescan which is still available and supported. I have scanned well over 30,000 images and have many more to go. The SF 210 jams periodically but does ok. You will need to tweak Vuescan to your liking but it works just fine and is actually faster than the Nikon scan software. I would load the batch scan device and walk away. If there was a jam, you just fix it and continue. I did the scanning over a period of a few months time pretty much leaving the scanner to go as long as it didn't jam. The only parts to be replaced would be the bulb and this appears to be made to last for many scans. I still have many more slides to go but haven't done a serious try for a while. Still, I think the setup is about as fast as you can go and not sacrifice quality. It is the highest quality image transfer as far as I can ascertain. I had mostly Ektachrome slides. There were some Kodachrome which required different settings.
  20. "If no-one can fix it, I'm not sure a warranty is going to help much"

    Actually, that is the best part - if it breaks, Square Trade will refund your payment in full, so you can buy another one!
  21. Elliot! Excellent plan...!
    Still not sure camera sensor technology hasn't overtaken scanner array hardware.
  22. I suspect the scanner can handle more slides than you have patience for, unless you really decide that it's important to get this done. I posted here a couple of years ago about my project, where I scanned about 45,000 slides and negatives on a Nikon Coolscan - it took up a reasonable amount of my spare time over a decade. It was important to me to do it, and I'm glad I have multiple generations of family history and their love of photography available, as do all of my kids and siblings (digital is wonderful for making sure that everyone has everything), and their kids of course can have the same. But it needs to be important to you to take it on.
    By the way, the scanner is still fine, waiting for more.
  23. I think that should work. I did about 20,000
    slides, two batches every work day (one started
    before work, one after, plus the necessary
    restarts when the feeder jammed), more on
    weekends or when I felt like it.
    The scanning process is to slow to sit there
    and wait for it to finish, and with the
    cardboard mounted slides the jam rate is about
    one per batch, even if you use the round peg
    trick to feed the slides.
    Be sure to sort out your sharpening and other
    parameters before you get going.

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