Nikon Scanners, Vuescan, Digital Ice, Kodachrome and the Intel iMac

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by robin_barnes, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. I have recently bought a 20' (white) Intel iMac and would like to add a Coolscan scanner to my setup -
    preferably a 9000 but possibly one of the 35mm models. However my internet research indicates that
    Nikon have not updated their scanning software to run with the Intel Macs and, with demand for scanners
    reducing, it seems unlikely that they will bother to do this in the future.

    This leads me to the conclusion that I will probably have to use Vuescan and I have a few basic questions
    with regard to this:-

    1. If you use Vuescan can you still use Digital Ice?

    2. Nikon suggests that the 9000 is better suited to scanning Kodachrome than the 35mm models. Can
    anyone confirm this from their experience?

    3. How good is Vuescan with Kodachrome?
  2. I use Silverfast with a Coolscan 5000. With either SilverFast Ai6 or Vuescan Digital ICE in NikonScan is used in a passthrough arrangement between the two software programs.

    I tried and did not like Vuescan which is why I switched over to SilverFast.
  3. I don't own a coolscan, but I think one will run just fine on the intel iMac, just maybe not as
    fast as it could. I do own and intel iMac and I recently bought a 5 year old minolta dual scan
    that certainly doesn't have updated software for the intel chip and it runs perfectly.
  4. Thanks for the above responses.

    Ellis I would be very grateful if you would say a little more about why you prefer Silverfast
    to Vuescan.



    PS Before anyone rushes down to the Apple store to buy an iMac with a twenty foot
    screen I feel that I ought to mention that I have yet to gain complete mastery of my iMac's

    Why SilverFAst over Vuescan, i nmy experience I liked the results better.
  6. It should be noted that Kodachrome, especially under-exposed Kodachrome, does not scan as well as other film types. The shadows are often too dark. Kodachrome's emulsion seems to be denser than other film types. In-camera exposure latitude may be less than other film types.

    OP, Can you explain what Nikon says to make you think the 9000 would make a better scan of Kodachrome than a 5000?

    When scanning Kodachrome AND using Ice (dust removal feature), it's important to set the film type to Kodachrome. This Kodachrome film setting on NikonScan also sets the Ice to a lower power, reducing the Ice artifacts but leaving more specks than with a non-Kodachrome setting.

    Sometimes even when set to Kodachrome, Ice can cause artifacts.
    See my entry and sample photo at the bottom of this page:

    Be aware, those type of artifacts(pictured) only seem to occur on the 50's era, laquer coated Chromes. The actual Kodachrome emulsion make-up changed a few times over the years.
  7. You might wish to check the NikonUSA site here:*&p_li=&p_topview=1

    To quote from the site:

    "We are pleased to announce the latest results of compatibility testing, first announced on June 1, 2006, of our Macintosh (Mac OS X) software products for digital cameras and scanners on Intel-based Macintosh computers

    "Nikon Scan
    Version 4.0.2
    Based on testing of version 4.0.2, installation takes longer than normal. However, we have confirmed that installation is completed after a short wait and basic operations are possible.* However, when sleep settings are applied in Mac OS X System Preferences>Energy Saver>Sleep panel (any setting other than Never) and the computer enters sleep mode, the scanner's connection is terminated. Therefore, Never should be selected in the Energy Saver's Sleep panel. We are currently looking into resolution of these problems."
  8. For what it is worth, I have been unable to get my Nikon 4000 ED to work with my new Mac Pro with the latest versions of either Silverfast (v6.5.1r2) or Nikon Scan. With both applications, the software freezes when I eject the film strip and I have to "force quit" the application. I have contacted Silverfast support on this. Their first suggestion was to uninstall the Preferences file and restart Silverfast. I tried that without success. I also tried uninstalling and reinstalling the programs, again without success. Last night I spent an hour on the phone with Apple support. Still no luck but the technician concluded that my Mac Pro and operating system were OK, so evidently the problem is not with them. I have sent a detailed explanation of the issue and what I've done to Silverfast support. I'm hoping they have a solution. In the meantime, I found that Vuescan does work and does not show the problem I encountered with Silverfast and Nikon Scan. Like Ellis, I too perfer to use Silverfast, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to use it.
  9. Ellis - thanks for the thread reference.

    J.Harrington - I have read that Nikon makes this claim with regard to the 9000 and
    kodachrome however I'm afraid that I can't remember where I read it. However, I believe
    that it relates to Digital Ice and the fact that the 9000 has Digital Ice Professional as well
    as Digital Ice 4 whereas the 5000 only has Digital Ice 4.

    Martin - please would you let us know what the solution to your Silverfast problem is - if
    and when you get one.

    Thanks to you all,

  10. WHen I switched to Windows Vista, I got Vuescan. It is also supposed to work with your system. I removed my Nikon drivers, and installed with the option that there was no scanner driver installed. It works great. And works great for Kodachrome. I recently scanned 50 year plus kodachrome slides using digital ICE. Amazing results! And Vuescan is inexpensive!
  11. "With either SilverFast Ai6 or Vuescan Digital ICE in NikonScan is used in a passthrough arrangement between the two software programs.
    People have begun to use the trade name "ICE" much as they do "Kleenex" or "Xerox" ("hand me a piece of Kleenex while I Xerox this memo about how well ICE works in Vuescan" :) ), but the most useful generic term is probably infrared cleaning. That out of the way, no, Vuescan does NOT have ICE, which is a specific, licensed implementation of IR cleaning, nor does its developer claim such. Vuescan does, however, have its own, homebrew IR cleaning routines, so in the generic sense, yes it does offer IR cleaning for any supported scanner which has an IR channel available, as Nikon scanners do.
    I point this out, not to be pedantic, but so that folks considering Vuescan understand that the cleaning routine in Vuescan will not be the same as ICE. In my experience, it generally works quite well - but as is common with Vuescan, how well may depend as much as anything on which version you're running. IR cleaning is one of the things that Mr. Hamrick seems to like to tweak fairly regularly.
    And just to be complete, real ICE IS available in Silverfast, but it has nothing to do with a passthrough from Nikon Scan. Silverfast licenses the technology themselves, and are thus able to include it directly for scanners which offer an IR channel.
  12. Yeah, Vuescan using the IR data for cleaning, but it is not ICE. With my Scan Elite 5400, Vuescan's cleaning was no where near as good as ICE. Much more incomplete and left more obviously softened areas. Depends on the scanner I think, other users with Nikon scanners report good results with Vuescan's cleaning.
  13. jtk


    Current Nikons are (I think) the only scanners with the forth infared-dedicated light for which the more advanced Ice 4 was designed and named.

    Ice 4 can be installed on older scanners with 3 lights (older Nikons, 5400 and 5400II Minoltas)but according to documentation it won't perform as well. Vuescan also takes advantage of that 4th light if the scanner has one.

    With Nikon V I find Vuescan's infared at least as good as Ice4. But the real reasons I prefer Vuescan are its better-organized front end and its superiority with B&W silver film. I'm not aware of any difference with Kodachrome, but I only scan that occasionally ... few problems. Seems zero difference with E4/E6, C41.

    It's easy to physically clean film that's been processed and stored reasonably well. ( canned air, perhaps Tiger Cloth).
  14. Robin --

    You asked me to let you know the upshot of my effort to get my Nikon 4000 ED to play
    nicely with my new Mac Pro. The short of it is that they won't play together as advertised.
    I have been in touch with Silverfast support and Nikon support. Both basically say to
    uninstall and reinstall the software. That has not solved the problem, as I explained in my
    post above.

    Having struck out with them so far, and with Apple support, I did an archive / reinstall of
    my operating system (OS X 10.4.10) and then reinstalled Silverfast. Still did the same
    thing -- the program freezes when I eject the film.

    Last night I ltried the scanner and Silverfast on my wife's computer, which is an original
    model Mac Mini, i.e., not an Intel-Mac, and uses OS X 10.3.9 (i.e Panther). Silverfast
    (v6.5.1r2) worked perfectly on that computer -- the film ejected normally and the
    computer did not freeze. Does this look like a clue?

    Today I made an appointment with a "Mac Genius" at the local Apple Store and lugged my
    Mac Pro and scanner in to see if they could solve the riddle. I wound up trying the scanner
    on two computers at the Apple Store (downloading and installing the software for the
    purpose) -- another Mac Pro and a iMac, both Intel Macs running OS X 10.4.10. Silverfast
    froze on both of these machines when I ejected the film -- same problem I have with my
    own Mac Pro.

    So, I conclude from this that Silverfast v6.5.1r2 does not work properly with an Intel-Mac
    running OS X 10.4.10. I can't tell whether the flaw occurs with the Intel-Mac computer or
    the OS X 10.4.10 operating system. I have emailed Silverfast support with the explanation
    I laid out above but have not yet heard back from them.

    One thing that is curious to me is that the problem seems to be general for the Silverfast
    program on these machines -- it is pretty clearly not limited to my machine or something I
    did to screw things up. I ran into the same flaw with Nikon Scan, too, as I explained. It
    would seem likely that this flaw would have occured for others who use this software and
    equipment. That being the case, I am puzzled that Silverfast has not reported this to be
    the case, if it is so. I can't be the only person on earth using this combination of
    equipment and software. Likewise, I have not seen posts on the problem on this or other
    forums where I would expect to find them. I wonder what I am missing.

    Anyway, for now I have to give up on using Silverfast and my Nikon scanner on my new
    Mac Pro. I can still use them on my old PC and transfer the files to the Mac after I've
    scanned them. Not the ideal solution but one that will work. I could also use Vuescan if I
    care to since it works fine on my Mac. Odd that Vuescan works well and Silverfast

    That's my report.
  15. It's a late reply, I know, but for what it's worth:

    I have a macbook pro and a coolscan 9000 with nikon scan 4 intalled running and working fine. I can't imagine why others are having so much trouble with this. are you downloading the most current software from the nikon site? One important thing I have found, is on the website there are two options for downloading nikon scan. one says "full version" and one says "updater" The option for the updater actually gives you the most recent version of the sofware, regardless of whether or not you have a previous version installed. Follow this link:

    hope you can figure it out and I'd be happy to help anyone with questions.

  16. Jamie --

    Thanks for letting us know that your Coolscan 9000 works with your MacPro. Unfortunately, I have not been so fortunate with my Coolscan 4000ED. I reported to Nikon technical support the results of my efforts (detailed in my post above) to get my 4000ED to work on an IntelMac at the Apple Store, which failed, and on a non-IntelMac, which succeeded. Nikon technical support responded as follows:

    "Unfortuantely the LS-4000 is not fully compatible with Intel Macs. It cannot used powered adapters such as the SA-21, SF-210 or SA-30. You can use the FH-3 and the MH-21 but you cannot use the strip film adapter. Some users reported success using Vuescan. Unfortunately we do not have any information if or when their will be an update to correct this. Sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks for using Nikon products!"

    I can't explain why the Coolscan 9000 works with the Intel-Mac (your experience) and my Coolscan 4000 does not, other than to speculate that the firmware for the 9000 may compatible and the firmware for the 4000ED may not be.
  17. martin,
    im sure that yours is a firmware problem with the older 4000 scanner, but just for kicks, you should try and download the nikon software from the link that I provided and see if there is any inane update included in there that may help you. if not, sorry for you.

    I have used vuescan and find it to be a terribly frustrating program. i have used silverfast and do not like it simply because it makes too many auto corrections for me. the best scan in my opinion is a flat scan straight from the nikon software that the user then manipulates in photoshop afterwards, but that is making an assumption on my part that you know how to use photoshop well enough to get the scans that you want.

    i hope the link I provided may help anyone to resolve their problems, but if not, good luck!
  18. Jamie -- I did update the firmware on my scanner to v1.10 and also installed and tried Nikon Scan 4.0.1 and updated that to 4.0.2 in my effort to leave no stone unturned. It did not resolve my issue. However, it is conceivable that I did not update the firmware correctly. There is note on the download link to the firmware upgrade that says one must have Nikon Scan 3.1.4 installed. I think I did not have that version installed on my computer when I upgraded my firmware. So, it is possible that this is the problem. I did mention this to Nikon technical support but they did not say anything in their response other than the statement I quoted in my post above. Anyhow, I'll try again and see what happens.
  19. Martin thanks for giving the feedback I asked for.

    I sent Nikon UK an email asking for clarification on iMac/Coolscan compatibility and have
    received the following reply.

    "The Coolscan scanners are not currently compatible with Apple iMacs. Nikon are
    currently running compatibility tests but there is no set date for these results therefore I
    cannot inform you of when this issue will be resolved."

    All things considered it looks like Vuescan is the safest bet at the moment.
  20. Here is the latest on my effort to use my Nikon 4000 ED and Silverfast on my Mac Pro. I
    retained my old PC and have it networked with my Mac Pro so I can use it via MS Remote
    Desktop. So, from my Mac I can now open my PC (which is running Windows XP) and
    operate my scanner using Silverfast remotely and save the scan files to a folder on my Mac
    Pro. It seems pretty smooth so far and its as fast as it was on my PC before. So that
    seems like a decent workaround if you don't mind having a PC around to use as a server.
    That will do for now. Hopefully Nikon and/or Silverfast will get around to correcting the
    problem that makes this workaround necessary.
  21. Hi, I just bought a second-hand Nikon 4000 so I gave the Nikon Scan software a try on my
    Intel Imac. Scanning is pretty cool and ICE is working perfectly. Inserting and ejecting film,
    however, is a mess and Nikon scan is not able to handle that well. So, for ejecting film I quit
    Nikon scan, startup Vuescan, eject the film and insert the new one. Then force quit Vuescan
    (otherwise the film is ejected on normal quit) and start Nikon scan again. Adds a few seconds
    to my scanning time, but overall this works great!
  22. BTW Vuescan is now in Universal Binary for Macs and runs the Coolscan 5000 just as fast as Nikon Scan did.
  23. Has Nikon yet addressed the compatability problem between Nikon CoolScan 5000-9000 scanners and Intel Macs?
  24. In an attempt to get to the bottom of the CoolScan 9000 issue I talked for a while with the Nikon tech people. There is a Leopard native update that is just weeks away... but as far as the CoolScan 9000 is concerened they said no more are being manufactured. They would not say that a new model is on its way.. cause it's not. and they would not say it's been discontinued... but what's the difference if they have ceased manufacture?

    If you want one at a reasonable price... better hurry!
  25. Although this thread is a little bit older, the following could be interesting for the nikon users, who've posted above, or for anyone looking for info on the discussed issues in the future.

    - A few months ago SilverFast added support for all nikon scanners on Mac OS 10.5 Leopard. (Directly, not through the MAID-module).
    - Silverfast has it's own infrared cleaning tool ("ICE") called iSRD (infrared Smart Removal of Defects).
    They have improved this tool for the latest SilverFast 6.6.0r3 version, especially for scanning Kodachromes !

    You may want to have a look at the newsletter oct. 08 for more info on Kodachrome scanning.

    Don't forget about the Multi-Exposure feature (for increasing the dynamic range). It's important when scanning very dense slides.

  26. I have been learning Silverfast AI Studio and HDR with Leopard on my MacPro and the software works flawlessly... I however do not :cool: I am still learning the ins and outs of Silverfast's incredible feature set.

    I also have VueScan Pro which is good... but not AS good as SF for my really critical images.
  27. Ahh, I just got the SilverFast newsletter dec. 09.<br>
    They are offering Kodachrome IT8 calibration targets now.<br>
    The question how to scan kodachromes should be answered therewith. :)
  28. The Amazon Customer Discussions has a recent post detailing an approach to using ICE with Kodachrome formulations that are problematic. I have not yet tried it because I am a Photoshop neophyte but wanted to pass this on to this active thread.
    US Aussie writes:
    Hi Mr Bell,
    Here's what to do with Kodachrome slides and ICE. Do one scan with ICE off then one with ICE on. Save the images then open them in Photoshop. Select the no ICE image and copy and paste on top of the ICE image. Now using the erase tool erase the top layer in all the blurry or less important areas. Now in the areas you want really sharp use the erase tool at a small size to remove visible dust. So effectively you use the ICE layer in areas of less importance and the sharp layer with spot erase for the rest.

    I just learned this technique from my volunteer work at the Academy of Natural Sciences where I am scanning bird pictures done on Kodachrome. The Kodachrome emulsion is thicker and applied different to other slide types and so ICEd images come out more blurry than an Ektachrome slide would. This double scan method seems to work well - but the scanning takes longer.​
  29. I use a 9000 with SilverFast AI studio and Leopard with no problem. I am getting the new Kodachrome test IT8. The latest version of SF was written to work on Intel MACs without the Nikon MAID drivers... and it works very well indeed.

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