Nikon Coolscans are they really that good vs the current new offerings

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by RaymondC, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. Maybe Vuescan is the way to go?
    I recently downloaded the latest version and got outstanding results straight off my Primefilm scanner - after a little playing with the settings.

    WRT the settings for the Coolscan. Nearly every Windows program has a .ini or config file that dictates its startup conditions. If you can find that and edit it, you should be able to change the default preferences.

    Maybe the .ini file has been moved or write-protected during Windows update?

    There are known issues with OHCI (firewire) driver versions from Win7 onwards, that MS has been reluctant (or too lazy) to address. They're mostly fixed by using Device Manager to 'update' the OHCI driver to the legacy version. However I doubt that the firewire driver is responsible for disallowing changes to the preferences dialogue.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019

  2. I am running a Nikon LS50 under Windows 7 x64. I suspect the problem is with your driver. When I installed, I first installed VueScan, which installed the tested VueScan Driver for the Nikon Scanner. Then I installed Nikon Scan 4.0.3, but unchecked the box to install the Nikon Drivers. Nikon Scan recognized the VueScan Drivers and has been using them for the past eight years without a problem.

    I would suggest.

    1) Download the test version of VueScan.
    2) Remove the drivers you installed
    3) Remove Nikon Scan
    4) Install VueScan
    5) Install Nikon Scan. Uncheck the box to install the Nikon Drivers.
    6) Launch Nikon Scan and test.
  3. Nikon Scan s/w does more hardware checks. To double check if the hardware is really fine maybe run XP or Vista with a old computer and see if it works. From what I have heard, there are people running Nikon Scan with the latest OS without issues.

    Between, I managed to patch up my damaged ribbon cable and it works. Still though, I kinda thing it's nice but for me shooting film in 2019 I'm not exactly so picky with IQ if I am shooting film.
  4. Unfortunately, I still find even the most current version of Vuescan to have inferior IR cleaning to Digital ICE, which Nikon Scan includes.

    I find that Vuescan often creates weird artifacts around dust and will sometimes even miss things that ICE handles perfectly. I dread having to "massage" out a scratch, for example, with the spot healing brush in an area with a lot of detail. I unfortunately don't have my examples at hand, but I have film I've scanned where ICE removed a scratch and you could basically only see it had been there if you knew right where to look, whereas Vuescan didn't even touch the same scratch on the same negative.
  5. I installed VueScan, so now the VueScan driver is installed. When I use Nikon Scan with the VueScan driver I can make modifications in the preferences and when I click the OK button it appears to work correctly, but the changes I made are not implemented. It does not cause Nikon Scan to stop responding like it did with the other driver. I have a Windows 10 Professional 64 bit operating system and Nikon Scan is version 4.0.3.
  6. I also installed Vuescan (a demo verson) a few months ago for use with my Nikon Super coolscan 8000 with a MacPro running OSX 7.5. When I try to prescan a 120 film strip holder the scanner doesn't recognize the breaks between images and just produces a preview of part of the strip. Can Vuescan produce thumbnails which I can select from? My Silverfast demo does this effortlessly.
  7. In Vuescan there's provision to set the "Frame Offset" and "Frame Spacing". You need to measure the distance from the end of one neg to the next, and the gap between the images. Then type the numbers in. Search for the manual and read about it
  8. Thanks for the suggestion. The procedure works but is a pain when scanning different films and/or slides as the numbers have to be entered with each strip.
  9. A much easier approach is to run an older OS emulated with VirtualBox (free/open source). This lets you run an older OS inside Windows 10. I managed to get a very old scanner to work in VirtualBox/Windows XP, whereas VueScan couldn't find it on WIndows 10
  10. As an IT guy, I have no trouble with the ‘computer’ aspects of scanning, but I worry a lot about the optics & mechanicals of my scanners. For 35mm I use a ScanWit 2720, and I just bought a Sprintscan 120 for 6x6, but when they break mechanically, I’m mostly helpless.

    In my experience, VueScan can do a lot, but the UI is definitely more techie than friendly.
  11. I have a CoolScan 8000 and I didn't really like VueScan (though I'm glad it's an option). It can't/doesn't do the fast thumbnails with that scanner that the NikonScan software does. I keep an old Mac under my bench where the scanner is kept just for doing scans. I connect to it remotely using screen sharing. It doesn't even have a monitor, keyboard, or mouse attached. Any post processing is done on a more modern computer. I just grab the tiffs off the old Mac after the CoolScan has done its thing. It works pretty well. There are no weird driver/software issues to futz with and I don't have to worry about a software update breaking something.

    It was a fast Mac for its time but dirt cheap now. It has no trouble with NikonScan.

    VirtualBox or something like it would be fine with a CoolScan V but on the Mac only a limited set of Firewire devices is supported so that's a no-go with an 8000.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
  12. There's a guy on ebay who cleans the mirror and does lube on Nikon scanners. He sells them as well, CLA'd and at reasonable prices with warranty. He's able to do or get done some repairs as well.

    I made the mistake of selling my lightly used 9000ed along with Hasselblad equipment a couple years ago. Then decided I wanted it back and ended up buying a used 8000ED a couple months ago from him. I'm one of the few around I guess who actually enjoys scanning. I like the delayed gratification that to me is similar to watching an image come up in the developer tray, but without having to mess with chemicals….. I also use a Leica digital M. I like all of it and go back and forth at different times depending on what I feel like using.
  13. I know there are many on forum that like repairing old camera equipment. Old grease/lubricant is the cause of a lot of problems when it comes to cameras and the same is true of the Coolscans. Dirty optics is another common problem - typically it's the mirror. Again, cleaning optics is something people that work on cameras have experience with. However the mirror in these scanners is critical to good image quality whereas in cameras they typically are not. So you do have to be careful with them.

    Anyway working on the big Coolscans (8000 and 9000) is pretty easy. You quickly figure out that these are well-built pieces of equipment, - well built pieces of equipment that are frequently done in by some dust and old grease. ;)
  14. My back-up scanner is a Nikon Coolscan III, a bit of a relic that connects via SCSI. I have it set up on a PowerMac G4 in OS 9.

    In any case, it NOW works fine, but when I first set it up I noticed that scans from it were a fair bit lower in contrast than the transparencies I was looking at, and also tended to have "halos" around the highlights. It was similar to the effect of a mild soft focus filter(or simple home made ones like pantyhose stretched over the lens or vaseline on a clear filter).

    Finally, I braved opening it up, and I could see that the mirror was both accessible and quite dirty. I used Sensor Swabs and Eclipse Fluid to clean it, plus cleaned all the other optics I could get to with Eclipse and Kimwipes.

    Almost immediately, when I got it back together, it started returning scans nearly as good as what I see from my V. The maximum advertised resolution is a bit lower, but at least on things that aren't modern, fine grained slide films(Velvia, Provia, E100/E100G) I can generally still grain resolve film with it. I have a Coolscan II also, but I've never used it(I should try it). It's a lot smaller than the III and later(the III, IV, and V are all the same basic size) but haven't bothered with it since it doesn't have ICE.

  15. Hi Ed,
    I've been spending too long on a borrowed Nikon Coolscan V and it's time to return it with my work unfinished. I like your suggestion of a 1:1 macro lens and film holding device. I already have a 24MP camera but the film holder device is proving tricky to search for - do you have a specific name or brand or make for this? Just to narrow down my options? Thanks.
  16. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    The rodenstock lens in the Flextight probable cost more than the entire Nikon unit.
  17. After along draught, there are quite a few slide/film copying holders. Many have an integral lens to be used alone, or as a diopter for a conventional lens. If the lens can be removed, you can use it with a macro.

    Rather than breaking things and putting them back together, I use and recommend a Nikon ES-1 for slides or a Nikon ES-2 for slides or film strips. The build quality is good, and they can be easily used with 50'ish macro lenses which have 52 or 62 mm filter ring.
  18. I have gotten extremely good results slide copying with the Canon 5DII, 21 MP camera. For 35mm I stitched 3 frames, 6x6 I stitched 6 frames and 4x5 I stitched 18 frames. I really must try my 5DSR to see if there are any gains, and to see if I can reduce the stitching going forward.

    I have kept very good care of my slides and negs so dust is rarely a problem.

    I may be returning to medium format film and have no concerns about digitizing those images my self, and know I will have no trouble printing to my typical sizes of 24x36".

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