Nikon Coolscan LS-50 vs 5000

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by mikelins, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. Hello everyone. I've been looking at purchasing an old Nikon Coolscan for awhile now, but need some advice. Forgive me if I use terminology wrong as I'm still learning. I'd love to have a 9000, but it's a little out of my price range, so I'd like to get an old V or 5000. I've got a collection of old slides (roughly 100), and lots of old family 35mm negatives I'd like to digitize. I'm not looking to make a business out of scanning negatives and slides for people, so I'm leaning towards getting the V since they're so much cheaper, but I'm concerned about a few things:

    1. 14 BIT vs 18 BIT: I read there's very little perceptible difference between the two, but if I'm scanning under/overexposed or faded slides and negatives, I need all help I can get. Many of the old Ektachromes and older 35mm color negatives have badly faded and it's a
    "Scan it now or lose it," kind of situation, I feel. Would I benefit much by getting the 18, instead of the 14-bit A/D?

    2. MULTIPASS scanning: Also, the 5000 has multipass scanning. I've read it has a 2-line CCD versus the V's 1-line CCD. I know software like Vuescan and Silverfast have a multipass feature for the V but I'm concerned about loss of detail from their method...I think some call it registration issues? Wouldn't the 5000 give better results, in that respect, than Vuescan or Silverfast's multi-scan method or does it really make a noticeable difference?

    3. Also, the V is a prosumer model and a 5000 is considered a more professional model, so the 5000 is more likely to increase of value with time, or has their demand diminished in recent years?

  2. I have and have had the Coolscan V (LS50) for over 10 years. So far, it has done everything I need. I am an amateur, not a professional. I take pictures for my personal use; I am not paid.

    I would note that my DSLR - a Nikon D750 - is also a 14-bit color machine. I have not heard anyone fault it.

    For your use - family slides and negatives - the LS50 should be just fine. What cameras and lenses were used to take the pictures? So unless the pictures were taken with top of the line Leica cameras with top notch lenses on professional film and professionally processed, the LS50 probably exceeds the negatives.
  3. I have a V, and it has yet to let me down. For 35mm film, it's miles ahead of high end consumer flatbeds like the Epson V700 I use for medium format and 4x5.

    To me, the most compelling reason to get a 5000 would be for the fact that it can scan an uncut roll. Since I cut all my film myself(whether home processed or lab processed) I could make use of that by scanning before cutting.

    When I used an old Canon flatbed, I often did multi-pass on "thin" negatives just to maximize the s/n ratio. While the Nikon can't save a REALLY bad negative, the fact that it has much fewer optical compromises for transparency scanning than a flatbed makes it generally better. I do use occasionally do multipass in Vuescan to pull out more shadow detail from Velvia, but don't find it necessary all that often.
  4. I also have a V, and although I have retired it (I got a Polaroid SprintScan 120), it did everything I needed. I only used the multipass feature a few times, but it worked well for me.
  5. Thank you all for the advice!
  6. Just for the record, I did spend the money for the CoolScan 9000 and don't regret it at all.

    However, most of my 93,633+ images (658.13 GB on disk) were originally scanned with the much cheaper CanoScan FS 4000US. The CanoScan produced excellent 4000ppi scans and I could see little difference from scans with the Nikon.

    The catch is that the CanoScan is only usable with the fast-enough "fast SCSI" - a now obsolete connection. The alternative, which is not practical, is USB. If you could find an old machine with fast SCSI to run it, the two together would still probably cost less than a Nikon Coolscan 9000 (which is not without its own interface complexities).

    See (LINK Nikon Coolscan LS9000 ED, ICE, and CanoScan F4000US - Part 2) for more detail and links to other reports on the scanning topic.
  7. The weak point of the "Professional" Nikon and other brands of film scanners is that they used "Professional" means to connect to computers - SCSI or Firewire which are obsolete and difficult to install on modern computers. On the other hand, the "Prosumer" versions (LS50, LS5000, et al) use USB which is readily available.
  8. In the Mac world, SCSI is a nightmare even with late G5s and OS X Leopard. If you stick to G4s and Tiger, it's no problem. I've tried piles of SCSI cards in G5s, and the only functional one I found had an oddball external connector on it for which I could not find a cable. Even then, I CAN NOT seem to find a card that's supported in Leopard-and that includes cards that shipped with Leopard-compatible G4s. I'm told that there are some ATTO cards that work, but they are pricey. PCI express SCSI card that will work in Macs(whether last-generation G5s or Mac Pro towers) are rare as hens' teeth. When I need to use my one SCSI scanner, I use a G4 with a factory Adaptec 2930CU in OS X Tiger.

    Firewire is a bit of a different story, though, at least when it comes to Macs. My mid-2012 MBP has a Firewire port on it, and it works perfectly in High Sierra. If you have a computer that lacks Firewire but has Thunderbolt, it's really easy to get Firewire via the correct dongle.

    Of course, that comes with the caveat that Nikon Scan is a PowerPC native program. That means that you either need to use a Mac that runs OS X Snow Leopard or you need to virtualize SL. The latter is no problem.

    Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 7.35.36 PM.png

    I'll also add that my V700 has both USB and FireWire. I use FireWire-admittedly on a G5-as I find it faster than USB 2.0.
  9. No problems with a 1394 card on my Win 10 machine.
  10. Hi,
    I'm not sure my case is 100% relevant in terms of connection, but I have a Nikon 8000 ED with a 1384 Firewire card. When I upgraded my computer to a new iMac (2017, 10.13.4 High Sierra), I wasn't sure the scanner would work. However, with a small adapter, the firewire plugs into the computer's thunderbolt port and works perfectly. I use Vuescan, by the way.
  11. As said, older machines that still have the older connections are very inexpensive. An additional plus is that with the right OS they can even run the original software for a film scanner.
    My really ancient Macintosh Yikes! G4 runs older versions of Mac OS X and the Nikon Coolscan 9000 software as well as it ever worked;

    The setup lives for serving the scanners....
  12. How's this for a scanning set-up?

    The Coolscan V and Epson V700 are connected to the dual 2.7 G5. Since Nikon Scan is single threaded, this is the fastest PPC computer on which it will run natively. I'm running 10.5.8.

    BTW, I have VueScan and use it a decent amount, but both the Nikon and Epson software have real Digital ICE(the software side of things). Vuescan's IR cleaning isn't as good in my experience.

    When the need arises to use my ancient Polaroid Sprintscan, the PowerMac 9600 comes to life. I need to get the PowerMac Quicksilver dual 1ghz moved back in for that.

  13. A bit of thread archaeology here but I found this interesting and I've just gotten my Coolscan LS-50 (V) going again, goes.

    I bought the Coolscan in about 2004 or 5 not wanting at the time to spring the extra $500 for the 5000. I have to say the main killer is speed. The LS-50 is faster than the market norm at 38 seconds per scan, but the 5000 is almost twice as fast again with the two-line CCD. And if you're willing to part with an arm and a leg on eBay, you can get an automatic slide feeder as well. So this is the production environment scanner.

    I don't think there's any meaningful difference in build quality. The only physical difference is that double-wide CCD in the 5000; as far as I know the bulk slide feeder is blocked from the LS-50 by firmware alone.

    I use Vuescan. I've found I need to set about a 2.8mm offset when using the strip film feeder. Not quite sure why.
  14. I use a digital camera (Sony A7Riii) to "scan" slides, which I process in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. One advantage is the ease at which exposure and color correction can be employed, compared to a Nikon scanner. I use a Nikon ES-2 slide holder with a Nikon 55/2.8 macro lens, PK-13 extension tube (for 1:1) and a simple Nikon to Sony lens adapter.

    The LS-50 has a SCSI interface, which is almost irretrievably obsolete, as is the Nikon Coolscan software. I gave mine to my son years ago, but he was never able to use it with his Mac. The LS-5000 uses USB, and nearly all features can be accessed using Silverfast HD software. Forget the automatic slide feeder, as it is highly unreliable. Cardboard mounts must be in perfect shape, and the folded edge must be oriented toward the scanner. Clearing a jam every dozen or fewer slides is not a pleasant task. The roll feeder, on the other hand, works well. However I've not tried either feeder with Silverfast.

    Scanning is slow, 1-2 minutes per slide. Using a camera is much faster, at least 120 slides/minute. ICE is nice, but not necessary if you clean each slide with an anti-static brush and/or compressed air. An airbrush compressor works perfectly, and doesn't melt the polar ice caps like canned "air" (Freon).
  15. I use a V, but only for my archives. If Kodachrome film and Kodak processing became available I'd still be stuck with V's issues with Kodachrome. Nothing E6 rivals Kodachrome.
  16. I think you are in error, Ed. The LS-50 (Coolscan V) sitting on my desk has a single USB interface, no SCSI, with which it is attached to my Windows 10 computer which runs both the (obsolete?) Nikon Scan 4.03 software and VueScan. It works just fine, thank you, as it did on my Windows 7 machine and my Windows 2000 machine before that.
    don_essedi likes this.

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