Plustek OpticFilm 120

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by peter_gilbert|4, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. I just came across a press release stating that Plustek plans to unveil a new 120 (MF, and 35mm) film (and slide) scanner next week at the CES show in Las Vegas. No specs other than "professional grade". Looking forward to learning more about this!
    http://www.geardiary.com/2012/01/04/plustek-to-unveil-new-line-of-scanners-at-ces/
    Peter
     
  2. That would be awesome about now for me....
     
  3. Now, if it only had a little red metal flag on the side it would be perfect :) (Looks like a mail box, yes?)
    Peter
     
  4. I hope they do something about that dynamic range, they seem to be stuck at 3.5 and refuse to move.
     
  5. Nothing wrong with a new and (hopefully) better mousetrap... From the (albeit somewhat sleeker) looks of the box one might deduct a connection to the PrimeFilm 120. The 2 buttons top right being the give-away. Everything of course depends now on what's inside, on the specs. Most likely will come with the latest version of SilverFast. Not a bad thing at all.
    As to Dmax, Harry, I would like to throw my 2 cts. into the ring... Before my current Nikon 9000, I had a 4000, then a 5000... Before those I worked with a Polaroid 4000 which, on paper, was inferior to the Nikons and various others. Just these days I re-scanned a neg with the 9000, a 30 min' job with all the bells & whistles. Well, wouldn't you know..?
    With the Polaroid (Microtek) it used to take less than 10... The rest meant about an hour's tweaking in the Shop. End results are very hard to distinguish from each other. Certainly, while the 9000 goes through its motion, I can do something else. While post-processing of scans from older models meant (means) time and, not to forget, know-how.
     
  6. It is not a relabeled *other* brand scanner. If it were it would be selling already.
     
  7. Hi Mark from Plustek here. I am the marketing and business development guy in the US region.
    The Reflecta scanner is manufactured by Pacific Image. Anything with a Plustek brand on it is designed and manufactured by Plustek.
     
  8. @Mark: Any specifications you are able to divulge at this time?
     
  9. Peter, unfortunately I can't. We haven't formally announced the product and until we do and specs are subject to change. So I don't want to set any expectations that may not be met with the final product.
    I will say that we received a lot of suggestions from potential customers and many of these suggestions were incorporated in the final product. So we are listening!
     
  10. there's definitely a market (Imo) for a good *affordable* dedicated 35mm/120 film scanner.
     
  11. richard, there always has been a market for *affordable* scanners. What's your idea of affordable though?
     
  12. It's reasonable to assume that the Plustek will be marketed to compete with the PrimeFilm 120, which has gotten mixed reviews. I'd be surprised if the Plustek was priced much lower or higher than the PrimeFilm at around $1750.
    Here's the problem with these scanners: at this price point, they'd have to show a clear difference from the Epsons. I currently have an Epson V500 and a Nikon 8000. I scan both using betterscanning glass, so I think I'm getting the max out of both. The bottom line is, at sizes about 16x16, the differences can be difficult to see. There is a small difference at these sizes, but in prints it is not proportional to the price difference of $200 vs $1500. At least the Nikons have a professional build quality.
    So if neither of these units can equal the Nikons but is priced so much higher than an Epson, is it really worth it? The Epsons are fast, and easy to batch-scan.
     
  13. I would love to have a good 120 scanner. Nikon stopped making the 9000 just before I could buy one, and after that, I didn't want to be an antiquated product (I have plenty of those scanners). With good DMax and software, it ought to be a hit. Now about 4x5?
     
  14. Mark, are you talking to Lasersoft about Silverfast software support for this scanner?
     
  15. I recently dumped my Nikon 9000ED because this "professional build quality" kept breaking after few hundred scans and it cost me over $500 to fix it. The scanners don't make sense anymore. I have been take photos of the negatives and slides with macro lens using digital camera. Quality is very close to 9000ED. Grain is clearly visible. For 120 format I took 6 photos of the negative and stitched them into one image, giving me 475 mb tiff. When I print these images - I can't distinguish quality with the quality of scans. I do use glass carrier to do this.
     
  16. So presumably this scanner is now on display at CES? Has anyone seen it and can provide additional information?
    Mark.. any idea when Plustek will be coming forward with specs, price, and availability?
     
  17. I'm not at CES. This show is usually staffed by personel from our main office. I'm not sure, but from what I understand, the scanner wasn't in the box with all of the other scanners.
     
  18. @Mark: Meaning it will NOT be announced this week?
     
  19. Been there, seen that... Make an announcement to confuse potential buyers of a competitor's product. It took me a good 6 months waiting for the much touted Canon EF 200-400mm Zoom lens before I finally bought something else. Not to say that this scanner will never happen. Drumit up, drumit up..! True, they "haven't formally announced the product", but an image of it has somehow (..?) found its way into the media.
    Now to Mark Druziak (who must feel pretty embarassed at this point); ..."Anything with a Plustek brand on it is designed and manufactured by Plustek."... That may be so. Doesn't change the fact that the 2 buttons are located at the same place top right of the proposed new model, just like on the box of the Pacific PrimeFilm 120 and/or the Reflecta MF5000, going by the images of all three... Photographers have the eye.
     
  20. @WolfWeber I understand your frustration. I should have more info after our weekly meeting with the factory next Tuesday.
    There is no reason to attempt to confuse competitors. The market for this type of scanner is pretty small and trust me, confusion is not part of our sales strategy.
     
  21. I don't know if I would go for one if it became available. Here is why: After having gone down the hybrid route and not getting that little final "punch" from the scanned negs, I recently set up a wet darkroom again. It cost me US$75 for everything except the sink (no joke! sink was not included:) which I need for doing 6x6 and 35mm work. Without putting traditional printing before hybrid processing or extolling the virtues of either method, let me just mention one aspect - time - there is no big difference if you use one or the other. Like Wolf mentions above, one scan which you want to be spot-on will take roughly the same time as a traditional print, all accounted for (except perhaps washing and drying) with analysis, tests, dodges and burns etc.
    Had there been an affordable, good, scanner available say in 2010, I would probably have bought it. But after I found my way back in to the darkroom, I really don't know. Besides, I'm having more fun that sitting in front of a computer monitor - which I do all day at work at any rate. But that is me. Mileage may vary.
     
  22. one scan which you want to be spot-on will take roughly the same time as a traditional print, all accounted for (except perhaps washing and drying) with analysis, tests, dodges and burns etc.
    One perfect scan can be printed as many times as you'd want, that's the difference that bought me.
     
  23. Predrag, I do use my flatbed, but I scan (or copy - as many as I want in no time) the print instead of the negative. Print scanners (flatbeds) are 14 a dozen. And cheap. Negative scanners are not. And I prefer that workflow to scanning the negs because if I do need to make a million copies, I just feed the print I like in to the machine at hand and press one button.
     
  24. Okay.. I avoid scanning printed stuff because there's certain factor of IQ degradation. and I never print smaller than 30x30cm.
     
  25. Saw one at B&H yesterday. $1799
     
  26. Mark, please: "I should have more info after our weekly meeting with the factory next Tuesday."..? Any updates..?
    Bob, what U saw at B&H most likely was the Reflecta not the mystery Plustek 120.
     
  27. Mark, Yes, any updates? Zero coverage of Plustek at PMA/CES that I could find on the Web. Hope your folks didn't get lost in a Casino ;~)
     
  28. Ok here is what I can say. The scanner was not shown at CES because it wasn't going to be ready for sale within a 3 month period following the show. Originally we thought it was so that's why we included it in the CES press release and press kit.
    I found it very interesting that this press release caused A LOT of interest from potential customers worldwide. More so than any other press release during my tenure at Plustek.
    So how can you find out when the scanner will be available? Here comes the sales pitch...
    Follow Plustek:
    On Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/PlustekScanners
    On Google+ https://plus.google.com/118125961533170260225/posts
    On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Plustek-Technology/169691449783876
    Or set up a Google News alert for Plustek
    I'm sure that I will start posting some hints when we are getting close to product availability.
    I know there is a lot of disappointment around this news (hey I shoot MF and was disappointed!). But here is the deal... we want to make sure that this scanner is a killer, high quality product that does not disappoint our customers.
     
  29. Oh well... Hate to repeat myself: "Been there, heard that. But didn't get to see or put my hands on it."
    Sounds much like the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 lens. Trumpets, trumpets. That was a year ago.
     
  30. Thanks for the updates, Mark, and I appreciate any further you can provide as more information becomes available. I am very interested in seeing what Plustek comes forward with to support current and legacy medium format film users.
     
  31. I'll make sure that I "sound the trumpets" when the end is near!
     
  32. Thanks Mark, I also appreciate you providing this information.
    I've written to two companies in the past year, asking for a desktop medium format scanner.
    Kodak (as part of the Figital Revolution campaign) -- they wrote back saying no way
    Plustek -- now they are close to releasing a scanner!
    50% success rate. If only everything in life was this easy. :)
     
  33. Hi everybody
    I'm Ricco from French Rivièra
    I register an account here to contribute to this post
    I shoot MF with a Pentax 67 and I have a ton of slide from my Family
    I'm really interested to buy a good scanner since I missed the opportunity to purchase a Nikon Coolscan 9000
    and now the price is... ASTRONOMICAL
    After send many eMail to plustek I receive answer one week ago
    It's Martin Lin from Plustek who answered me
    He told that the scanner go out for april month !
    I really hope they have a good Dmax close to 4 (or more...) and resolution close to 4000dpi...
     
  34. So here is a loaded question: Just what would you pay for a new scanner with similar specifications to the Nikon 9000?
    FYI the Nikon 9000 ED was selling for about $1900 or more in 2009-2010.
     
  35. $2000 would probably be my upper limit. I would hope it would come with SilverFast Ai as well.
     
  36. i would be quite happy if i could get something similar to Coolscan 9000 for $2000. i hope that the glass holder could be more reasonably priced, though. by the way, a glass holder is really a requirement, not an option for a medium format scanner.
     
  37. My budget is between 1500€/2000€
    I would be so happy if he has similar specifications !
     
  38. Will the new scanner support 6x12 and 6x17 negatives? From what I understand, the Nikon 9000 does not, which is one reason I have the Epson V750, with which I have been getting very good results, surpassing my own expectations and the predictions of all of the "experts" I consulted. See http://www.paulbohman.com/blog/2011/12/the-resolution-of-6x7mm-film-revisited/
    If the new Plustek scanner handles 35mm film and 120/220 film at least as well as the Nikon 9000, in terms of Dmax and resolution, and if it can scan large 6x12 and 6x17 negatives, I'll almost certainly buy it.
    How much would I pay for it? My hope would be that it could come in between $1500 and $2000. Any more than that, and it doesn't look so tempting anymore. I can buy a used Howtek 4500 drum scanner for about that price or maybe a little more.
     
  39. Paul, you make some very good points in your blog posting. Specs on the scanner will be available shortly.
    Everyone: Thanks for playing along with my "How much would you pay" game. Your suggestions and will be taken into consideration.
     
  40. Thanks Mark, Can't wait :)
    This will be a moment that we wait for long time !
    http://www.cebit.de/product/opticfilm-120/288575/S157465#productDescription
     
  41. Here is a little more info:
    • Film up to 6x12
    • Final testing is still going on, but it looks like MEASURED resolution will be around 5000 dpi and MEASURED DMax of 4.8.
     
  42. That sounds very promising, Mark. A few questions:
    • What kind of mechanism does the system have in place to keep the negatives flat?
    • Would it be possible to scan 6x17 negatives in two parts and then stitch them later?
    • What scanning software is being used?
    • If it's your own software, does it have accurate color profiles for current films like Portra 160, Portra 400 and Portra 800? Silverfast only has profiles for older films, and creating a new profile is a very time-consuming and technical process.
    • Do you want a beta tester or reviewer? Sign me up! Seriously. I'm your target market. I can do my own direct comparisons to my Epson V750, and I can outsource drum scanning and Imacon scanning for further comparisons.
     
  43. +1 on being a beta tester. Chances are probably slim, but it can't hurt to ask, right?
    How many 6x6 negatives will fit in the negative holder? I'm guessing 3, but I've got a few unscanned and uncut rolls of 120 building up and I want to make sure I'm cutting them to fit this new scanner.
    I personally like Silverfast, but I agree their negative profiles are getting out of date. They don't seem like a very nimble software organization. Given what their software costs, I expect more from them.
    It would be nice to have VueScan support right away as well.
     
  44. Just to be clear on this, I haven't had my hands on this scanner yet but from my conversations with the project manager and our CTO here is what I know:
    • The negative holders are a completely new design. I was specifically told that there was a lot of effort designing them so the film was held flat.
    • I have some conflicting info on the number of frames that can fit into a film holder. Give me a couple days to work this out.
    • SilverFast 8 is the software we will launch with. I'm not sure what their plans are for Porta films, but I will ask.
    • VueScan - understood
    • Beta testers - maybe. I have a local lab and a writer signed up now, but in case anything falls thru, send me an email with your contact info and a short bio: markdruziak at plustek.com
     
  45. Unfortunately, those negafix profiles are old, for previous versions of Portra, and I've found them very inaccurate even for the versions of Portra that they're supposed to support. They're worse than using no color profile at all, at least in my experience.
     
  46. Or maybe it's that those profiles were optimized for a different scanner. I have an Epson V750 Pro, which I've calibrated with Silverfast's IT8 calibration tool. Even with the calibration, the Silverfast color profiles are useless with all the negatives I've scanned. I spent a very long time creating a custom negafix profile that gets it close, but I still have to add additional global color adjustments in Silverfast. Using those two tools, my scans turn out well, but it would be a lot nicer if I could just select an official, calibrated negafix profile for the kind of negatives I use on a regular basis.
    Actually, one more thing I'll mention is that either the scanner or the software produces slightly inconsistent results, even with very consistent lighting. When I'm shooting in the studio, I might have 20 frames of exactly the same lighting setup, but the color balance between frames when I scan them is usually variable from one frame to another. I don't experience this kind of variability when I shoot with a digital camera, so I know it's not the fault of my studio lighting. Something's happening at the scanning stage that makes me have to make color adjustments that I shouldn't have to make. I don't know why it happens, but it's a real pain.
     
  47. Final testing is still going on, but it looks like MEASURED resolution will be around 5000 dpi and MEASURED DMax of 4.8.​
    Great joke! Even the Imacon has some problems to reach a Dmax of 4.8.
    5.000 dpi - is it a printer? (because scans are measured in ppi or even spi).
     
  48. We will have to see what the Dmax is when the production scanners are available. I'm just reporting on what they were finding in the lab last week. The point is, this isn't a design spec.
    No worries, no ink required!
     
  49. Paul,
    I have spent quite a large amount of time on this question of inverting negatives. The short answer is that you can't get consistency because all the software vendors are trying to give you an automatic solution.
    To get a consistent conversion you need to know the inherent balance between the three colour levels in the film (traditionally you could get this by calibrating the scanner to an unexposed portion of the film). This then also gives you a true "black" (negative film is inverted). For a true white you can come close by sampling a fully exposed "end" piece of the film. Whilst it is possible that this represents a true white there is a possibility that one or more channels may suffer "solarization" and that this may be slightly off. In my experience with modern films this isn't something you really need to worry about, you can pretty much take this as "white". Lastly, you need a grey scale image (you can photograph a target with daylight balanced light source) to figure out the curves. You can then have the "black point", "white point" and "response curves" as layers and apply them to all your frames. You should have consistency from this workflow under one condition. The condition is that the scanner settings do not change from frame to frame. Since the scanner will always do its own adjustments if "negative" mode is used you must manually scan in "positive" mode. Not only that but you must fix the exposure since most scanning software will do an "autoexposure" for each frame. Lastly, your chosen manual exposure must be sufficient to correctly scan all the frames without any clipping of highlights or shadows on any of the frames. This is a little harder on a device with a narrower DMax range.
    What negafix is doing, just like Epson Scan, like Nikon Scan, like Vuescan, like ColorPerfect, like everyone is that they are taking an image that generally has no unexposed or fully exposed section of film showing. This means there is no hard reference since no film border or fully exposed film is in the frame. Even if some film border is included in the image the software is generally set to ignore the edges of the image so as not to be confused by the image of the film holder itself. Clever software is then guessing at the endpoints of each primary colour based on the idea that the brightest highlights and darkest shadows are generally neutral. It is then applying canned curves for whatever film brand you told it. Since the endpoints are based on guesses based on what is actually in the image area of each frame the results change from frame to frame.
    I understand the motivation of the various vendors in trying to simplify things for us but I would dearly love someone to automate all of this at the scanning stage so that we all could get truly consistent colour from our negatives.
    By the way, I love your results. I would also love this scanner to be as good as or better than my 9000. And I would REALLY love a solution that would automate what I described above but, sadly, it would probably be a hard sell since the results of the "automatic" products seem to satisfy most people.
     
  50. Sam,
    Very interesting/informative stuff! In Paul's thread you mention:
    Consistency in inverting negative film images is not otherwise possible since the software inverting the image has no reference to help it know “true” black and “true” white relative to the film itself. It fails to be consistent for the same reason auto white balance fails.​
    I'm curious about this statement.
    It's not the 'inversion' process in and of itself that leads to this inaccuracy, is it? Because, in Photoshop, the 'invert' function simply maps new R, G, B values to (255-R), (255-G), (255-B). Leaving a discussion of color profiles aside, there's no other way to do this inversion, correct?
    If I understand your post above here on photo.net properly, the inaccuracy in automated scanning software then comes from an attempted 'auto white balance' where casts are removed by neutralizing the darkest/brightest portions of the frame... which is of course prone to error (especially when sometimes a cast *should* be preserved since even the human eye-brain system has a limit as to how much it'll shift interpreted white balance... if this weren't so then the pre-dawn 'blue hour' would just be gray, right?).
    So, if I'm still following you correctly, then isn't Erik Krause's Advanced Workflow the best way to deal with negatives? That workflow suggests you scan a blank frame of your negative roll; this determines optimum exposure since if you 'autoexpose' a blank frame, you'll cap your exposure so that know darks are clipped. Next, you adjust the individual R, G, & B gains so as to render the orange mask neutral (neutral blacks). I suppose at this point one should re-autoexpose the blank frame to determine optimal exposure in the presence of those R, G, B gains (can't remember if he suggests you do this). Now, scan the entire roll using these settings as positive film. Then, invert in Photoshop.
    Shouldn't this give accurate 'base' scans from which to work from, getting rid of any orange mask/scanner light source casts, with consistency from frame to frame throughout an entire roll?
    Also, I thought I remember reading somewhere that either Vuescan or Nikon Scan attempts to remove the orange mask by reading the edge of the frame (unexposed negative). Is this not true then? (not that it affects me much, because I use Krause's workflow, and seem to get consistent results... though don't quote me on that... it's been a while & I mostly scan Velvia 50 which is much easier to be consistent with using proper IT8 targets)
    I realize this doesn't get at neutral whites (since that needs to be determined from a black, exposed portion of negative), or at the correct curves you need to apply to maintain a neutral gray ramp... but for the latter you'd need to build your own profile. I've had limited success with this by shooting my own color charts... but the funny thing about this is: if you're trying to get accurate colors by shooting color charts and trying to get a colorimetric match, aren't you actually removing the characteristics of the film from the equation? Meaning, if you do this (successfully, not an easy feat) across many different film types, they final resulting picture should look the same... meaning Portra will look like Ektar will look like Fuji Pro 160...
    Or am I missing something here?
    Sam, have you ever tried building LUT profiles for film? Or do you think it's more wise to stick to simple R, G, B correction curves? I've heard the latter is preferable.
    Thanks, this is fun stuff!
    Rishi
     
  51. I think if you can calibrate a scanner with an IT 8 target the whole process would be easier and deliver consistent results. With VueScan and my Nikon Scanners I can use IT 8 targets and calibrate the scanner for different negative films - it works without any additional software and delivers great results, as long as your scanner can deliver linear scans.
    I really don't yet see a reason to use iCorrect EditLab Pro or ColorPerfect D1.05.
     
  52. The manual workflows described are pretty much a manual way of doing what the automatic software does. The key step is where you take the three colour channels and adjust the endpoints according to the histogram. This step is where you (like the automatic software utilities) are making an assumption that the brightest bit for each channel is essentially white and the darkest bit is essentially black. If you have shadows and/or highlights which are less than perfectly neutral you will be introducing a colour cast that will be troublesome to remove. Since your endpoints now differ from the "real" endpoints of the film (in other words, you have perhaps unwittingly defined very dark brown as "black" and very bright pink or yellow as "white" and remapped the image to these black and white points you selected when you defined the endpoints for each channel) the correction required to correct any cast is no longer a simple gamma curve.
    What is far preferable is a stored set of endpoints determined from a strip end as well as a stored set of gamma curves determined from applying those endpoints to a greyscale image on the roll and colour balancing it with per-channel gamma curves. The endpoints plus curves applied to any other frame should yield accurate colour.
    To put this another way. Take a slide scan or digital camera image that is already positive and colour accurate. Note the per-channel histograms. The endpoints for each colour are not necessarily the same. If you make them the same (as per the workflows referenced or as the various softwares discussed to automatically) you will be degrading the colour integrity of the image as you will see if you perform the experiment.
    As far as the character of different films. They are not, in my experience, as easy to remove as that. If that were the case, every colour-accurate slide film would look like every other one. Bad colour accuracy is not the defining character of any decent negative film.
     
  53. Wait, jens g.r. benthien, how do you use IT8 targets to calibrate a scanner for negative film?
    -Rishi
     
  54. If you have shadows and/or highlights which are less than perfectly neutral you will be introducing a colour cast that will be troublesome to remove. Since your endpoints now differ from the "real" endpoints of the film...​
    How would my endpoints differ from the 'real' endpoints if I'm scanning a blank frame of negative film to determine the true black point?
    I concede that I'm not determining a true 'white point' since I'm not sampling an overexposed, 'black', piece of film. But I should be effectively removing the orange mask of the negative film with the workflow previously described.
    -Rishi
     
  55. How would my endpoints differ from the 'real' endpoints if I'm scanning a blank frame of negative film to determine the true black point?​
    Re-read what I wrote. The endpoints on the "end strip" (a frame with some fully exposed and some unexposed film) WILL be the true endpoints. The endpoints on any random image from the middle of the roll will not. If some unexposed film is present at the margin then you may have the opportunity to sample that as a "true" black but you will still be guessing at the white based on whatever is brightest on that particular frame.
    This is the problem I am discussing.
     
  56. Rishi,
    get a reflective target here: http://www.targets.coloraid.de/
    shoot it with a negative film, and calibrate your scanner with the negative.
    Repeat the process with each emulsion you have, save your profiles and apply them accordingly for future scans.
     
  57. Jens: Thanks. I've actually tried that (I get all my scanner/reflective targets from Wolf Faust), to a certain extent, with limited success when actually building profiles. And this methodology you propose is exactly what I referred to earlier when I mentioned that if you follow this to its logical conclusion, it'd remove all characteristics of the film itself from the equation. Therefore a scan of Pro 160C would look like Portra would look like Ektar because in the end you're just trying to recreate the reflective color chart accurately, NOT the way the particular film in question would render that chart.
    This is very different, for example, from IT8 profiling for slides. There, Wolf Faust actually records the IT8 chart on the film, then uses a spectrophotometer to measure the color values of the color patches *on the film itself*. Therefore, when you build a profile from this frame of film, you're just attempting to match the colors the scanner recorded off the film with the same colors on the film as measured by the spectrophotometer. Thereby rendering an accurate representation of the way the chart looks on the film, not in the real world under some lighting condition.
    You can't do this with negative film because it doesn't make any sense to spectrophotometrically measure color patches recorded on negative film, since the colors are inverted & affected by the orange mask.
    -Rishi
     
  58. Re-read what I wrote. The endpoints on the "end strip" (a frame with some fully exposed and some unexposed film) WILL be the true endpoints. The endpoints on any random image from the middle of the roll will not​
    Sam, I understand that, and believe I've been saying the same thing. I'm not using any random image from the middle of the roll... I'm using the unexposed leader to render a neutral white (which becomes a neutral black upon inversion).
    Essentially, I'm curious as to how to manually solve the issues you raise.
    If you set the R, G, B analog gains so as to render the orange mask on an unexposed portion of the film neutral, you'll essentially get neutral blacks upon a simple inversion operation... do you agree? Since I'm scanning as a 'positive', these gains essentially render a neutral white in the actual scan (prior to inversion).
    Now, how could I get neutral whites (neutral blacks in the actual scan, prior to inversion)? Let's say I scan a portion of overexposed film from the end of the frame in Vuescan. What settings in Vuescan would you alter so that in the non-inverted scan, the blacks are neutral? Typically I think of getting neutral blacks a matter of setting the R, G, B offsets (e.g. in monitor calibration). Vuescan offers the following under 'Color Balance: Manual':
    • Neutral red
    • Neutral green
    • Neutral blue
    These alter the 'red, green, or blue component of neutral color' & are set to 1 as default.
    Then there's:
    • Brightness red
    • Brightness green
    • Brightness blue
    ... which are listed as gamma multipliers for the individual channels.
    In general, though, I thought the prevailing philosophy was to leave 'color balance' set to 'none' in Vuescan.
    I understand that this doesn't even begin to get at finding the curves to maintain a neutral gray ramp, but one thing at a time...
    In a nutshell: is there any way to accurately get a neutral scan of the overexposed frame of negative film in Vuescan? That is: if R, G, B analog gains allow you to get a neutral scan of unexposed negative film, what are the equivalent sliders/settings to render the overexposed portions neutral (neutral black point prior to inversion)?
    Thanks,
    Rishi
     
  59. I would do the exposure for R G B based on mask in scanner software as you are actually setting your scanner exposure to capture maximum information. I usually leave a little margin to avoid clipping black (positive black). Apart from locking exposure I wouldn't do anything else in scanner software. Curves and white (positive white) I would set as layers in Photoshop and apply them to all frames after scanning.
    I feel a little bad about the thread highjacking. I was really just quite moved by Paul's images and felt moved to respond regarding his frustrations with inverting consistently. I'm really excited about this scanner. If it is good it will be a fantastic resource and I really hope is sells well. If it does, I wonder if Plustek would punt on a real film scanner like this for 4x5. It has been a very long time since the last film (not flatbed) scanner was available that would do 4x5. It is only a little bit wider, really, than 120 film...
    Sam
     
  60. On the contrary -- I feel like this discussion helps the thread if Plustek is listening.
    Essentially, if you set the R, G, B gains in software based on a scan of the blank leader, & these gains actually alter either voltage multipliers or integration times for each color channel during the actual scan, then one *can* effectively get rid of the orange mask & get consistent inversions in post.
    This could be a built-in option in future scanners/software.
    -Rishi
    P.S. Yes I also leave a bid of a margin so that the max RGB in a scan is something like 240 (8-bit).
     
  61. As I understand it, the exposure for each R G B colour in a scanner is usually varied simply by varying the "dwell time". So the aperture is fixed, the sensor gain is fixed, but the time the film is exposed to each colour sensor varies. To double the exposure for blue, for example, the scanner merely exposes the film to the "blue sensor" for twice as long as to the "red sensor". This is a very simple procedure and as far as I know is common to all scanners that can scan negative film.
    For example, if you scan in "negative mode" the scanner normally works this all out for you. However, if you scan in "positive mode" you normally have to set the three different exposure times or "analog gains" yourself.
    So it's not the hardware that needs to change, it's the scanner software. And I fear that the market is too small these days for the likes of Plustek to invest in creating their own scanner software. They will probably bundle Silverfast or something like that.
    Sam
     
  62. Right. 'Integration time' wasn't the right term; I meant 'exposure time'.
    I'm intrigued by your method of subtracting out the variance in black via layers in Photoshop. Do you mean that you scan an overexposed portion of film, then calculate how much to subtract (or divide?) from each channel to get them to be equal? Then create an appropriate layer in Photoshop (using the color selector tool), then subtract that from your scan before inversion?
    You're right that, at this point, it's really an intelligent software issue.
    I wonder what the variability in the color of overexposed film for any given film type is... if it's not much, one could figure out 'canned' subtractions/corrections. And this might be better than trying to determine corrections from any individual frame of film... this latter approach is unacceptable to me (and to you too, it'd seem) because it gets rid of color casts that *should* actually be there.
    For example, you never 'auto white balance' *all* your digital images... right?
    -Rishi
     
  63. Plustek is still here listening... carry on!
     
  64. The most useful thing Plustek could do, from my perspective would be to convince silverfast (or whichever brand of software you end up
    bundling with the scanner) to create useful profiles for the latest versions of Portra. I contacted Silverfast a while back and they said they
    weren't going to create any more new negafix profiles, but that's ridiculous. That leaves the rest of us photographers to stumble around
    on our own, and waste hundreds of hours trying to figure out something that we're paying Silverfast to do for us. It's their software. It's
    their job to give us what we thought we were paying for to begin with. When I realized how useless the Silverfast negafix profiles were, I
    was annoyed to the point of being kind of angry.



    And, from the other recent comments on this thread, it sounds like we need a better way of ensuring consistent white balance. I was
    really excited about doing my own scanning until I actually started doing it and realized that it requires an enormous investment of time to
    get the color balance right… every time I scan anything! I was expecting the processes to take some time, but I wasn't expecting it to be
    exasperating. But it is.



    I've considered moving to positive chromes just to avoid the headaches of dealing with the color balance problems of negatives, but for
    the type of work I do, shooting people, the best films are negatives. I want to use them.
     
  65. Paul's frustration is extremely representative of anyone who cares about high-quality scanning. I spent hours, days, weeks, months, years researching scanning methods. It was a fun learning experience, but someone with less academic interest would've either given up or settled for less a long time ago.
    I even went as far as modifying the light source & building my own holder to flatten film properly with a Minolta DSE 5400. It worked wonderfully, on par w/ the film flatness of an Imacon without all the problems that come with rolling film around a drum (mis-registration of film if you've ever trying to overlay/HDR scans). I switched to chromes for color accuracy b/c with proper IT8 profiling, at least I could be sure that WYSIWYG... in fact, with a properly calibrated workflow, I can scan the same slide on 5 different scanners & the resultant scan will look *exactly* the same, contrast & color-wise. But even there I had to communicate with the writers of an open-source color calibration package (bless their hearts!) & get them to change some of their profiling behavior to address a certain issue with profiling (the 'blacker than black' problem).
    What I'm trying to say is-- if these sorts of issues had been worked out to begin with, and *not* sold as a $25,000 scanner in the Flextight X5 (and they don't even have a color profiling package included), maybe a lot more folks would still be having fun with film :)
    I'm glad that Plustek took a step in the right direction & realized the importance of calibration, including IT8 targets & the software for it in their packages. Something Nikon/Canon/Minolta/Imacon should've done a long time ago. Dealing with issues like accurate negative scans also warrants some R&D (and doesn't seem very hard at any rate... at least setting the black & white points from unexposed & overexposed film leaders). Erik Krause's 'Super Advanced Workflow' should've been implemented as standard in most software packages by now.
    And then there's the question of resolving power & film flattening techniques. I hope Plustek has made some improvements in the former; as for the latter, short of wet scanning (too tedious) & Flextights (too expensive), I don't know of any techniques to write home about. Though a friend of mine & I were researching one method we haven't had the time to fully see through yet. Anti-Newton glass is another option, but has its own host of problems that must be dealt with.
    -Rishi
     
  66. Rishi, Resolving power and re-designing the film holders to hold the film flatter were two high priority design goals.
    I haven't seen the scanner yet, but the CTO who is also part owner of the company, said some things that made me very confident that this scanner will be something Plustek will be very proud of. If you have met many CTO's, you will know that these guys aren't marketing guys and pretty much tell it like it is!
     
  67. This is a heartening development. Glad I'm not just speaking in a vacuum here.
    I agree with the above sentiments. There is absolutely NO reason that negative film cannot be as colour consistent from frame to frame as slide film. It is still high quality dyes on film and x mix of light will produce x mix of primary colors. The problem is in the history of the products. Slide film was used for publication and has a whole history of being painstakingly colour matched on output for WYSIWIG. Color neg was always hugely popular with consumers and the traditional reproduction involved colour balancing by eye for a nice final image rather than for accuracy (e.g. every corner photo lab).
    It is an absolute waste of time for each of us here to laboriously re-invent the wheel from first principals. It is shocking the number of charlatans who make their money by claiming to have solved the issue when they are merely peddling another "close enough" solution. Silverfast, negfix8, ColorPerfect, etc. etc., I'm looking at you! The people who come closest to getting this right are Vuescan who at least have an option to make getting a good usable raw scan easy (the old "lock film base", "lock image colour" two step. If you select to also have a "RAW" output it will give you a non-inverted TIFF that should have all three channels with the same exposure on each frame).
    ColorPerfect. They are so close! I've gotten some brilliant results in the past but they are another purveyor of auto-white balance magic. You can sometimes get great results but never consistent ones. This is because they seem to want you to edit to a final image within their plugin rather than allowing you to get an accurate "flat" conversion.
    My current workflow involves finding an appropriate scanner exposure for all three channels and fixing it. One that gives me no clipping on either end of the scale for all channels.
    Next, I scan all frames in the roll at this same fixed exposure and try to take at least one picture of a neutral greyscale target on each roll.
    Next I bring in the scan of the "end" and go through a set of actions called "CNeg" from an old free set of photoshop actions called "DonzRGB". This simply automates creating a bunch of layers with levels and curves controls with helpful labels.
    Next I set "black" and "white" from the "end" scan frame and leave all the other layers alone.
    Next I copy this layer set to the frame with the greyscale and do whatever I need to with the "curves" layer to get a neutral grey scale.
    Finally, I take the layer set from this frame and copy it to all the other frames. This gives me consistent accurate colour on all the frames in that roll and a good base image for each frame that I can then make artistic adjustments to.
    But what a lot of work! Both to come up with the workflow from first principals and then to manually implement. Someone could automate this if they cared. If they did then the vast bulk of "new wave" film shooters might find themselves with excellent images rather than mostly-disgusting-looking "retro" images. This would raise the puplic perception of modern negative film from a curiosity to a real contender.
    Someone should automate all of this as part of the scan process. Photography and the future place of film in the public imagination deserves it. The company that makes it easy as part of their scanner solution could make a whole new market. Rather than merely add a little dpi here and a little dmax there they could have a product that fundamentally improves most people's scans!
    Lest anyone think this is all theory and hot air, these are the recent images I have created using this workflow. What you won't see, unfortunately, is the greatly reduced effort overall in getting to a good pleasing rendition versus the many other avenues I have been down in the past:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/samagnew/6722196897/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/samagnew/6744722245/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/samagnew/6703631561/
    Also just about anything recent in my stream (2012 or newer). I want to specifically point out the last image of the studio shot of the cupcake with the white background. I challenge you to take a shot like that through the scanner software of your choice as "negative", through negfix8, through ColorPerfect or anything else and come out with something that isn't mush! It would be fantastic if this could be a properly solved point-and-click solution for all of us. Kodak, after all, are making some AMAZING colour negative film these days. Aparently, they have even now found out that it is the business they are actually best at.
     
  68. Assuming Plustek has created a product with high resolution and good Dmax, the last two hurdles, as mentioned previously are 1. film flattening, and 2. color balance.
    I'm not opposed to doing wet scans, so if the Plustek holder allows for wet scans, that would solve the film flatness issue, even though it is kind of tedious to do wet scans. In fact, the best approach would be to have a good dry holder plus a good wet holder. I don't have any ideas on how to create a good dry holder, because none that I've seen work very well. As far as a wet holder goes, the best approach is to place the film on the bottom of the glass, so that the camera doesn't have to shine through the glass. (This is the ScanScience approach; refer to their web site) The glass can cause diffraction and Newton rings, and anti-Newton glass is kind of like putting an anti-aliasing filter on a digital camera's sensor: it blurs the resolution slightly.
    But hey, if you can come up with a good way to do dry scans so that I don't have to spend the energy doing wet scans every time, I'm all for that. I'll still do wet scans for my most important images, so make sure I have that option too.
     
  69. Rishi, Resolving power and re-designing the film holders to hold the film flatter were two high priority design goals.​
    Mark, thanks, that's very encouraging. Not to be a downer, but as Paul points out, we all have yet to see a dry flattening method that actually works (same level of resolved grain as you'd expect from a drum scanner). We were working on modifications to a novel material for this purpose... worked well in initial tests, but as I mentioned earlier we haven't had the chance to see the project through yet. The only other way I can see a holder actually flattening film is by applying tension to the film-- easy for 35mm (yet still no one did it?!); harder for MF (Nikon tried with their MF holder... but it was a poor implementation, especially as MF or LF is even harder to keep flat across the frame). I'll be very curious to see what you guys come up with.
    Next I set "black" and "white" from the "end" scan frame and leave all the other layers alone.​
    I take it you do you this using 'Levels' in Photoshop?
    Kodak, after all, are making some AMAZING colour negative film these days. Aparently, they have even now found out that it is the business they are actually best at.​
    Haha, yes, but what happens when Hollywood completely switches to digital? Maybe we'll be lucky and have more directors follow Christopher Nolan/Wally Pfister's awesome/inspiring example of shooting more and more on 65mm Kodak negative film, then contact printing to make copies to preserve resolution from shoot to theater :)
    anti-Newton glass is kind of like putting an anti-aliasing filter on a digital camera's sensor: it blurs the resolution slightly.​
    I wouldn't call it blurring; however, AN glass can introduce its own texture if the etching is not fine enough or if your light source is too collimated (and most are, I guess due to design & efficiency constraints).
    Essentially there they're recapping Erik Krause's 'Super Advanced Workflow' philosophy of getting a neutral scan of the negative to begin with by adjusting exposure & individual R, G, B gains. In my opinion, it's really the only way to go when scanning negatives.
    Assuming Plustek has created a product with high resolution and good Dmax​
    Oh yeah, regarding Dmax... how many of you have held your chromes up to a nice bright light source (e.g. the sun) & seen a world of detail in the shadows that not even a Flextight can pick up? :)
    Mark: another question for the Plustek scanner-- have you found a way to deal with the pesky 'pepper grain' problem?
    Cheers,
    Rishi
     
  70. Wow, this forum has exploded. Literally... Just goes to show how smart Nikon's decision makers are when it comes to abandoning a product line.
    As to 'pepper grain' Rishi, which can be worse (mostly due to lousy lab work) than hi-ISO noise from dg cameras,
    a scanner-incorporated diffuser may provide the best (in all relativity) solution. My Nik. 9000 however only does a fair job, by far not as good as some of the top-of-the-line Imacons. At a price, without saying...
     
  71. Hi Wolf,
    Thanks & yes I know: I've researched many different materials as diffusers & their effects on pepper grain & have found a satisfying solution. Just wondering if Plustek did :)
    Also, I'm surprised that you say the Nikon LS-9000 only does a fair job. In my tests, it did the best job of suppressing pepper grain of any scanner I've tried (LS-4000/5000, Minolta DSE 5400 series, Imacon 848, Flextight X1), though I admit I haven't yet tried the Flextight X5, which supposedly has a more diffuse light source than the X1.
    Here's the LS-9000 vs. the Imacon 848 (pay attention to the tiny black specks sprayed all over the image, not the big specks which are dust/gunk that don't show up on the LS-9000 scan b/c of IR cleaning):
    [​IMG]
    Link to full-resolution image
    Here's the LS-9000 vs. the LS-5000:
    [​IMG]
    Link to full-resolution image
    Please view the above images at full-resolution to really appreciate the differences.
    A lot of the pepper grain is, in fact, removed by the IR scan, something the Imacons lack. However, the LS-9000's light source appears to be diffuse enough that even without IR cleaning pepper grain is not typically a huge problem. The LS-9000, despite its shortcomings, was really a well engineered product, IMHO.
    -Rishi
     
  72. Rishi, "In my tests, it (LS-9000) did the best job of suppressing pepper grain of any scanner I've tried"... That may be so. Hard for me to compare apples with oranges as your test scans were done with VueScan. Results seem to confirm my own with Nikon's scanning sw. The LS-9000 surpresses pepper grain at the cost of image sharpness. Results are a bit too soft for my taste. Perhaps I should have mentioned that... Since, for the occasional film or slide film scan, I do employ my Nikon mostly, I should pretty much know what I am talking about. Results from top of the line Imacons may only be superior from subjective viewing, because of the high price one pays and higher pixel resolutions.
    For the new Plustek 120 model, the co. is actually advancing "10.660 dpi" with a special 8-coat lens (no manufacturer given) that promises to be superior to most previous ones... ISRD IR-channel..? Yes. "Noise-surpressing sensors", multi exposure function, Silverfast AI Studio 8, etc. I am selling my Nikon while the market will still give me more than what I paid. Towards the new Plustek, I might add. If the sounds of the trumpet-speak turn out to be real.
    By the way, no reference here as to the new Plustek OpticFilm 8200 AI, apparently a much improved 7200 35mm scanner.
     
  73. Meant to end my previous posting as follows (got cut short by the Forum's sw): "our man" Mark seems to be more than a few yards behind the curve... No reference here as to the new Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai, apparently a much improved 7600i AI 35mm scanner. Updates soon, Mark..?
     
  74. Wolf,
    I may be a few yards behind or ahead of the curve depending on which side of the curve you are on. haha
    So here is the scoop on the OpticFilm 8XXX scanners. The hardware as the 7XXX series. The only difference is they come with SilverFast 8.
    Where did you hear that it was "much improved"? I'm trying to make sure that we portray it exactly what it is.
     
  75. FWIW, Wolf, here's my NikonScan vs. Vuescan comparison... similar, except I get artifacts w/ NikonScan (but it does do an effective job using the IR scan to get rid of pepper grain):
    [​IMG]
    Link to full-resolution image
    I don't mind the lowered contrast with the LS-9000 so much b/c the softer light source has other advantages. Some contrast deficiencies can be fixed by proper profiling & sharpening anyway.
    From what you say of the promises of the Plustek, I sure am eagerly awaiting its release!
    -Rishi
     
  76. Welcome back "our man", from whichever curve..! As to Ur question, I don't remember... Too many links & pages by now on Google. No desire to go back to them. Even on the Bay the 8200i AI is being offered, no stock as of yet.
    2 relevant questions for U - Do U know (or when will U know) the manufacturer of the touted lens for the 120mm scanner..? Can we expect for the +10K dpi to be halved in the real world, as is the case with most Plustek scanners..? Not that +5000 wouldn't be sufficient if all else falls into place.
     
  77. Can't wait
     
  78. Rishi, I much commend U for the comparative work with various scanners. I am too busy and distracted to go through anything similar. Also, The pep grain on Ur originals doesn't seem to be as bad as on some of mine. I am one of those who remember Q-labs... Now I am one who hates to look back. Dg is my way to go.
    ..."The resolution on the Imacon 848 is so vastly superior to that exhibited by the Nikon LS-9000, that I don't see how I could ever go back to the Nikon line of scanners."... Wait til U get to work on an X5.
     
  79. as wolf says too many link on Google, even on Plustek website, even in French :
    http://plustek.com/fr/produit/opticfilm-series/opticfilm-8200i-ai/introduction.html
     
  80. The specs are far from anything professional:
    Technology
    CCD - color image sensors
    Resolution (Optical)
    7200 x 7200 dpi
    Scannmodi Color: 48-bit input, 24/48-bit output
    Grayscale: 16-bit input, 8/16-bit output
    Monochrome: 1 bit
    Multi-Exposure
    integrated
    Dynamic Density
    3.6 Maximum scan area
    36.8 mm x 25.4 mm
    Preview Scan speed:
    Negative: 8.01 seconds
    Positive: 7.57 seconds
    Scan speed
    at 3600 dpi: 36 seconds
    at 7200 dpi: 113 seconds
    Scanning Method: Single Pass Infrared channel integrated Function keys
    IntelliScan, QuickScan
    Connection: USB 2.0 Power supply: Input voltage: 100V - 240V Output voltage: 15V, 1.0A
    Net weight: 1.6 kg Dimensions (W x D x H): 272mm x 120mm x 119mm Interface: TWAIN - compliant Operating system: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, MAC OS X 10.5, 10.6, 10.7
    As with other simple scanners you'll be lucky if you will reach 3.000 ppi resolution
    Dmax: 3.6, that means in real world conditions it'll be around 3.2
    Keep your Nikon LS 9000 or Minolta or Polaroid film scanners!
    BTW, Rishi's tests showed an excellent performance of the Nikon. I use the LS 9000 and LS 5000 for my professional work, even for large prints or banners or posters. If quality is crucial, I send my slides to a subcontractor and have them drum scanned. Can you imagine how many drum scans I can get for the value of an Imacon X5?
    All in all, the new Plustek is another 'hot air' balloon. You can get an Epson V750 for less and have the same results, but with the option to scan large format slides and negatives or 6x17 strips.
     
  81. @jens - Please don't confuse the OpticFilm 8XXX with the OpticFilm 120. They are completely different designs.
    The OpticFilm 8XXX is the same hardware as the OpticFilm 7XXX scanners except the 8XXX ships with SilverFast 8. That is the only difference. It is only a 35mm scanner
    Availability of the 8XXX will vary by region.
    @Wolf - We typically do not release info about the components used in our scanners.
    Regarding the resolution... We all at Plustek US are very sensitive to the Optical (actual) vs Mechanical specs for this product. We are lobbying for actual specs to be published when the product is released. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the sensor we were going to market with was discontinued. We found a new device and testing was taking place last week. It's best for me to wait until I get the final word for R&D on resolution before commenting on resolution, because I will probably be wrong! (On the wrong side of the curve again!)
     
  82. Mark, that was the link provided by rico...
    Anyway, the most important points will be:
    1. Casing: will it be sturdy metal or cheap plastic?
    2. Film holders: pecision milled from aluminium or cheap plastic?
    3. Real world resolution: 4.000 ppi or less?
    4. Dmax 4.2 or less?
    You are talking about a sensor now - will the sensor (probably a DSLR sensor) be capable of capturing the same dynamic range or tonal range as a Nikon LS 9000?
    Why will Plustek limit itself to Silverfast? Many users here and anywhere else are running VueScan, because VueScan doesn't have the limitations of SF in regards of using it for more than one single scanner. If Plustek would talk to Ed Hamrick, I think he will code some very nice features into VueScan for the new scanner, meaning that users won't have to get accustomed to new and weird workflows and even can use the same software and interface for different scanners.
    Try to give this scanner a damn good name, so potential buyers won't have problems to separate it from other models! Give it a name that will turn it into a legend **if** all other specs will be met.
     
  83. @jens - I really don't think I should talk about specs at this point until the testing and product verification is final. Things are subject to change. The info I posted last week is still the latest that I have.
    I will say that the design team had a goal to produce a scanner at least as good if not better than the LS9000.
    I hear you loud and clear about VueScan.
     
  84. Apparently Rico's link is for a 35mm scanner, as the pic on the webpage is quite different from what OpticFilm could look.
    Let's be a little more patient here. Plustek is working hard to listen to us and take the time to develop a scanner with great potential, and we film shooters should all be supportive of what they are doing there.
    Mark, look forward to more news on this scanner!
     
  85. jens at this point your being rude. (you are aware Nikon is out of the scanner business?) Mark is being very honest and polite and you just want to bash everything. I have a plustek 7600i for 35mm and i can assure you it does a fine job. I'm sure the 120 scanner will do a fine job when ready.
    Questions like "Casing: will it be sturdy metal or cheap plastic?" are a non issue. I use a small Motorola computer at work. Fits into a pouch that clips to your belt. It was originally designed for the military and we laugh when they fall and hit the concrete floor. They bounce and don't break. Guess what? These units are made of plastic.
     
  86. Hey guys, no offense take here. I realize that photographers are very passionate about their craft and don't want a piece of equipment to compromise their art. That's why I shoot with a Holga ;-)
    Regarding the construction of the holders... I'm guessing they will be manufactured out of a highly stable polymer. (Don't forget, I am the marketing guy!) But seriously, I doubt they will be a machined piece of metal. The manufacturing costs would be much too high.
     
  87. @mark druziak:
    Coming in a little late to this thread, but I wanted to thank you for being so direct and straightforward. It was covered briefly a while back, but I wanted to emphasize an important (to me, possibly to others) aspect of negative carriers.
    35mm: Holds 6 frames.
    120: Holds 3x 6x7 frames
    These are common sizes for film strip filing pages, and it would be helpful to not have to take a strip out of the holder to flip it around to be able to scan all the frames (a la the stock Epson 120 holder.) I'm OK with flipping the holder itself around (like one of the Minolta 5400 holders required you to do.)
    I realize it's late in the products' development, but I really hope Plustek takes the time to hit a home run.
     
  88. ..."The resolution on the Imacon 848 is so vastly superior to that exhibited by the Nikon LS-9000, that I don't see how I could ever go back to the Nikon line of scanners."... Wait til U get to work on an X5.​
    No no no no!
    I later retracted that statement if you read further down in that thread! It was because of a sticky focus point error in that version of Vuescan I was using; I later showed that the LS-9000 resolved very near the level of detail that the Imacon 848 resolved! The Imacon does resolve more in tests involving resolution test charts aimed to determine the extinction resolution of Velvia (data not shown). But the LS-9000 was extremely respectable, with room for improvement. In fact, the Minolta DSE 5400 resolves more than the Nikon line of scanners... but of course only scans 35mm film.
    That particular Imacon 848 I used is actually older & resolves less than a Flextight X1 I recently used. Maybe dirty optics on the 848 or better design on the X1-- I don't know. I'll redo some resolution tests, eventually.
    BTW, Rishi's tests showed an excellent performance of the Nikon​
    Yes! Exactly! Thanks Jens for reading through the rest of that thread :) I really wish I could delete that entire thread because people who only read the first post are completely mislead! And as a scientist, the thought of misleading people is pretty disturbing to me!
    Yeah I appreciate Plustek sticking through in this business. We need (better) film scanners. Whether Plustek's offerings will be 'better' remains to be seen. It requires people with real passion & resolve on the development team to put out a better product... but it is possible... simply based on modifications I myself did. Also, it's not that terribly difficult to resolve as much as an Imacon. I've been able to do it with a couple hundred dollars worth of optics...
    The dynamic range of the sensor is an interesting problem... if you just run the numbers you need a sensor with 13-14 stops of real dynamic range to get a true dmax of 4 or thereabouts. Even then, of course, you're susceptible to noise on the low end b/c of noise characteristics of sensors & just signal theory in general. This becomes an issue with slide film-- since there's a world of detail in the shadows, to actually extract the information in the shadows you need to apply a pretty bright light source, which then endangers the highlights.
    I still don't believe that an Imacon extracts all the detail in the shadows of Velvia, thought it begins to come close with adaptive light + manual HDR. Which is, incidentally, rendered very difficult by the fact that repeated scans of the same frame of film are not always easily superimposable b/c of non-similar geometric distortions of the film as it is bent around the drum from one scan to the next.
    -Rishi
     
  89. I think there is only a marginal difference in resolution between the Nikon LS 9000 and the Imacon. Just check the tests from Les Sarile and Rishi Sanyal here at photo.net.
    What the Imacon lacks is ICE, translating into more time to spend for cleaning dust spots and scratches after scanning.
    However, IMHO a company that will be successful in the scanner market needs to come up with a nice machine that meets the above mentioned specs. For example it would be an advantage to offer USB 3.0, Firewire 800 and Thunderbolt interfaces - this is state of the art today and makes the machine future oriented.
    Some people might prefer plastic or polymers - I don't. Metal is a far better haptic experience if you want to transport 'value'. Guess why the prices of the Nikon scanner skyrocketed the last year...
    If someone has to invest 2.000 into a scanner, he expects a value, and he expects the same built quality as the one of his film cameras. Lift a Plaubel 69W Proshift Superwide with 1.8 kg and than imagine to have a light weight scanner - that won't match. Film shooters love the heavy, solid feel of their devices.
    Just my two cents.
     
  90. What the Imacon lacks is ICE, translating into more time to spend for cleaning dust spots and scratches after scanning.​
    Yes, I detest the Imacons for this very reason. Try cloning out pepper grain ;) Of course, I wasn't smiling when I had to do it for an exhibition.
    But FYI, if you scan frames of film where you've shot ISO 12233 charts at magnification factors meant to expose the resolving limit of the film, you *will* see that a Flextight X1 will clearly outresolve the LS-9000 and show you pretty much the level of detail visible under a light microscope.
    The LS-9000 (or any Nikon scanner) just cannot resolve everything on the film (RVP 50), something Mauro Franic & I have clearly shown in the past.
    -Rishi
     
  91. The LS-9000 (or any Nikon scanner) just cannot resolve everything on the film (RVP 50), something Mauro Franic & I have clearly shown in the past.​
    True. However, if I need slides for very large prints I have them drum scanned to get the maximum quality. For the daily routines like posters, small banners, books and magazines up to A3 landscape format the LS 9000 is perfect (if not to say 'overkill').
     
  92. Fair enough. But I still one day dream of a user-friendly scanner that'll extract everything out of your film for you. Resolution, DR, with flat film, color-accurate, everything.
    It's not an impossible task. It's just that no one's had the resolve AND resources ($$) to do it yet (albeit: it'll be easier when we have CCDs with 14-15 stops of dynamic range to deal with slide film which, IMHO, is the only film anyone should be shooting today b/c the S:N ratio of negative film is just unacceptable next to digital, despite its magnificent dynamic range).
    -Rishi
     
  93. It's not an impossible task. It's just that no one's had the resolve AND resources ($$) to do it yet (albeit: it'll be easier when we have CCDs with 14-15 stops of dynamic range to deal with slide film which, IMHO, is the only film anyone should be shooting today b/c the S:N ratio of negative film is just unacceptable next to digital, despite its magnificent dynamic range).
    -Rishi​
    Actually, I feel that this is film's sweet spot. Hence the earlier discussion.
    Negative film does trump digital in two of its very weak points. Dynamic range, and highlight handling. Of course the tradeoff is that this means that the dynamic range is very compressed on the film itself. A poor quality scanner will turn this into poor signal to noise ratio and a very visible lack of "smoothness" in ranges of even tone.
    This is why a good sensor and good signal path and good A/D converters are critical to getting good results from it. However, on a scanner that can handle it (the 9000 is just about good enough, drum scanners are great at this) negative film shows the strengths of film and a hybrid workflow like no other medium. Hence the passionate discussion about the need for consistent tools for properly inverting the negative image whilst preserving the image's integrity.
    Sam
     
  94. ...I'm sorry to give that link omitting to mention it was for the 8200i
    after looking in detail the specs (of the 8200i), they are the same as the 7600i

    I did not want create polemics or problem
    the thing that interests me is the 120 scanner
    So thanks again Mark to give us all this information about it !
     
  95. I look forward to the Plustek Opticfilm 120 medium format scanner and hope that I can afford it when available. The suggestions on probable performance parameters sounds perfectly appropriate and inviting to me and my only criteria for buying a new scanner is that it should be able to handle 120 film strips and that the resolution and Dmax/Drange are 'one generation' better than my Opticfilm 7500 SE. I believe that Drange is much more important than absolute maximum resolution. My 7500 has Dmax of 3.5 and that is far too modest. If this new 120 scanner betters or equals Nikon on some parameters that will be a nice bonus. I will not buy a Pacific Image / Reflecta current scanner because of their limited resolution of 3200ppi and Dmax and I will also not buy a Nikon because of its high price. My prefered scanning software is Silverfast, however I am seriously concerned about the bad implementation of Negafix profiles and the high cost of the software that has not evolved much in the last years. Why is Silverfast so slow and cannot do multisampling 'on the fly' without rescanning the complete frame ? An expensive software like Silverfast should have tackled performance problems early and the whole software motor core should have been revritten for more speed and better functionality a long time ago. I want better GANE, fast multisampling & multiexposure on the fly and advanced sharperning and grane reduction on the same time, not just either one. IMO Silverfast 8 seems just to be a pretty skin for the old Silverfast. A rewrite is tedious but really important for performance gains. Now my only real concern is if Opticfilm 120 will fit my budget.
     
  96. Two points:
    1. Congratulations to Plustek for bringing to market something photographers have been asking for for years. If the product is anything but poor it will fly off the shelves.
    2. Are the rest of you insane? When Mark asked how much you would be prepared to pay you're supposed to say 100 bucks tops! Why invite a price increase by talking of $2000? For all we know this unit could have had a price tag of $999, now it might be $1999!
     
  97. Fair enough, Sam, those are good points. Actually what I meant to say was more that slide film is suited better to landscapes, where you do want that higher signal in the medium itself such that enlargements will be highly detailed & clean.
    But negative film does have its place. The smooth rolloff in highlights is great for cinematography. And the large formats still well out-resolve most digital video cameras.
    I remember getting into a debate about the S:N of slides vs. negatives here on photo.net. I remember arguing the following: when compressing a large tonal range into a smaller one, your ability to retain the S:N is dependent upon the small steps in tonal range (in the medium itself, not the tonal range of the recorded scene, though the two are inherently entwined) being distinguishable from the noise floor. In a CCD, this means that tonal jumps must be represented by a signal greater than random electronic noise. In film, this means that the tonal jumps must be represented by an incremental increase in dye greater than random variation in dye clumps. That means that even with a perfect digital sampling system for the film, the signal recorded in the medium itself will affect the final S:N. Whether the negative or the scanner is limiting at this point in time/tech, I'm really not sure. I'm sure someone could figure it out though.
    Though, if you believe multi-sampling helps negative scans, then I guess you might argue that the scanner tech is still limiting...
    Does that argument above make sense Sam, or anyone?
    Cheers,
    Rishi
     
  98. Jamie Robertson : "100 bucks"
    :) Nice joke
    "talking of $2000?"
    can be the feeling than paying for something expensive we will have a good device ?
    but not as expensive as something can cost... ;) :
    http://www.scandig.com/filmscanner/nikon/nikon-super-coolscan-9000-ed2.html
     
  99. Rishi,
    Yes, I think you understand me perfectly. What I am saying is that I see very smooth tonality in scans made with better equipment (drum scanners) and that oversampling helps on something like the 9000. And this makes me think that the sensor/A/D chain is still the limiting factor.
    I also LOVE slide film. I think negative film is important for the reasons I gave before and also because of the ease of home processing or mini-lab processing. It is much more common and accessible so the market will judge a scanner largely based upon its ability to do negatives well. Or, conversely, if it is awesome at negatives that will be what will make it a legend alongside such greats as the 9000.
    Sam
     
  100. Some people might prefer plastic or polymers - I don't. Metal is a far better haptic experience if you want to transport 'value'.
    Any new 120 scanner must be as well-made as the Nikons. If service bureaus around the world don't accept it as professional grade, I find it unlikely it be commercially viable. For the amateur market, they still have to compete against used Nikons.
     
  101. Coming back to the question of price... If it's around $1000 or lower, I'll buy it or preorder it the moment it's announced. If
    its more than that, I'll probably buy it eventually still, but I won't be in as much of a hurry. That's just the practical
    economic reality.

    I'm really encouraged by all the interest in the new scanner though. It's good to know that a new scanner will soon be
    available.
     
  102. Let's be realistic. If it is going to be any match for the Coolscan 9000 it is going to cost at least as much. The 9000 went for $2200 new as I recall. Also, it will be plastic but from the product shot we saw it is a very good looking box. The trays will be plastic. They were on the 9000 and every other scanner I recall. If we are lucky they will be well designed to hold the film flat and there will be a selection of different ones available. If it costs $1000 it won't be touching the Coolscan for performance. How could it really be otherwise?
    I for one just hope it will be great. If it is great it will be worth somehow affording. If it is too "affordable" then it will hardly be worth buying.
    One feature I think is really strong on the 9000 that I don't see on the other Plustek and cheaper scanners is an automatic transport. I think this is key to productivity. The 9000 is not the fastest in the world at 35mm but at least I can load twelve frames (strip film) into it and not look at it again until I need to load the next twelve. The same with strips of four frames of 6x4.5 120 film. This batch capability is key (for me) to getting through a stack of film. If I had to advance each frame by hand I would be a lot less tempted by the product even if the IQ was great.
    My $0.02
    Sam
     
  103. Oh goodness, advancing frame by frame by hand?? With multi-sampling? Forget it!
    I hope it's good too, and the first thing I'll be looking at are what novel method they have for holding film flat without glass... or with glass, for that matter. Unless of course there's enough DOF that it won't be much of an issue... which likely won't be the case if you have enough of an enlargement factor for a high resolution scan (the greater the enlargement, the thinner your DOF).
    Color me skeptical, but if film is to compete in today's age, scanners have got to replicate the level of sharpness across the frame that a dSLR or a Flextight/drum scan of film exhibits.
    I don't think it's impossible. Just requires some clever engineering.
    -Rishi
     
  104. Actually, Rishi, after ..."@Wolf - We typically do not release info about the components used in our scanners."...
    I had decided to drop out of this Forum. After all, would anyone here buy a car from a company that will not inform about who makes the tires the vehicle runs on..? Hasselblad actually pushes the fact that lenses in their scanners are made by Rodenstock. With a Nikon scanner we know from the outset where the lenses come from. Of course, once the product is on the market, the Savvy will be able to get all relevant information. Even if it would have to be via US Customs. As far as I know, all imports have to have their component specifics declared.
    On the other hand, how can we get clarity if: ..."We all at Plustek US are very sensitive to the Optical (actual) vs Mechanical specs for this product. We are lobbying for actual specs to be published when the product is released. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the sensor we were going to market with was discontinued. We found a new device and testing was taking place last week."... "Testing was taking place"... Wow. Did I say: "Trumpets too early"..?
    If I didn't, I do so now.
    As to metal or plastic, the surface, whatever that may mean, is touted to be made of high-grade metal - "hochwertigen Metalloberfläche" means just that. Too bad the US branch of Plustek seems less "with it" than their European counterparts. When you trumpet loudly, you better know your notes.
     
  105. FYI the OpticFilm 120 does have an auto feeder, but not a roll feeder.
     
  106. Hasselblad actually pushes the fact that lenses in their scanners are made by Rodenstock.​
    Yeah, well, they have to, in order to justify their insane prices :)
    Although they also list their Kodak CCD info too.
    Sure it'd be nice to know what's inside, but it does seem like common policy to not list information about internal components.
    In the end, I'm mostly interested in actual measured specs.
     
  107. I'm not sure I'd judge quality by price. Nikon's prices indicated what they could get for them because they were the only player, not the price of manufacture or materials. Leica's lens price have spiked recently, but not because the cost suddenly went up, but because demand has also spiked.
    To me the material of the casing or film holders is not really relevant. What is important is the design of the moving parts such as the film loading mechanism because that is what's likely to fail with high use. Nikons are very robust machines, which is probably why they weigh a ton and why service bureaus can run them all day. In order to justify spending $2000, the new scanners should also prove to be this durable.
    Let's say it came with a one-year warranty. Would you buy one? I wouldn't--I'd wait a few years to see if they hold up before selling my 8000.
     
  108. Just a couple clarifications.
    The resolution specs published in the German press release are actually the resolution of the CCD.
    The lens is an 8 element lens.
    The layer and coating references must have been a translation issue (Chinese -> German -> English)
     
  109. Any chance that it will have a 24x65mm ("XPan") holder ? Although actually with today's reported demise of Kodak E100G I'm a step closer to finishing with film.. :-(
     
  110. If it will have true not lower than 4000dpi, 4.2 D-max, holders keeping film flat better than Nikon 9000ED, including 9x12, great not plastic build, faster scanning time than Nikon, than I am able to pay 1700$ max. Over that I will look for a drum scanning.
     
  111. Mark, when will we see actual specs? When will there be units available for review? When will they go on sale at major resellers like B&H?

    Sam
     
  112. Sam, I won't start guessing about when the scanners will hit the retailers shelves. Typically I'll know the scanners are being shipped about 45 days before they actually arrive in the US.
    We will set up pre-orders at any of the major resellers that are interested about 30 days before availability.
    As far as review units go, if you are a member of the press, drop me a private message with your credentials and I'll get you on the list.
    The good news is that we are moving along in the right direction. I recently saw some images that were scanned with one of the scanners and it even had OpticFilm 120 embedded in the EXIF!
     
  113. Marc:
    As the owner of a Minolta Scan Multi Pro that is getting long in the tooth, I will be following this scanner with some interest. I will be waiting to see the actual specs and tests before committing to buy. I would assume that you will have demo's at the major retailers at some point and, if I may make a recommendation, that a schedule be published of when and where. In my case that would be LA :)
    cheers
    Tim
     
  114. @Mark :
    Any news now the CeBit Congress is open ?
     
  115. I am not at CeBit. But I understand that the scanner is on the floor. Typically we won't issue a product announcement press release (at least in the US) until review units are available.
    Mark
     
  116. maybe it will be available in EU before US, like you did with Plustek OpticFilm 8200i
    and price category? Sub 1000 or over 1000?
     
  117. The model on show at Cebit was advertised with "4.8 dynamic range" (?!), and priced around 1500 EUR.
    It's really massive and the holders look quite sturdy.
     
  118. It looks like serious business for sure. Why so quiet from Plustek though, It's 8 days since Cebit closed and no official updates?
    [​IMG]
     
  119. Wow, is that --- seven holders? Are Plustek really looking to pick up the Coolscan 9000's crown? Fantastic! I hope this beast is as good
    as it looks!
     
  120. MERCI BEAUCOUP Antonio
    it reassures since we have no more news from plustek
    it seems big, but I've already have a small office to him
    I cannot stand wait more :)
    and a single word go out of my mouth(if he have realy the spec was giving) YA OOOOO !
     
  121. If the price is around $1500 than I will say Wow! If it's near $2000 than I prefer to spent this money on drum scanner.
     
  122. A drum scanner won't have a warranty or ICE and will require you to maintain an obsolete computer to run it. If your
    budget is $2000 I would strongly caution you against a drum scanner. I would love to have one also but Tim Parkin is the
    next best thing to owning one (cheapdrumscanning.com).

    As for the Plustek, I will be more excited if it is closer to $2000 providing that the quality and durability implied in that price
    are there. The world of film really does need a replacement for the late great Coolscan 9000.
     
  123. Still no news (exact parameters, specifications, output examples) on new mf plustek scanner ?
    It would be nice to have any affordable and high quality replacement of Nikon's ... but I'm a bit skeptical:
    10660 will be number of elements (pixels) on linear CCD array, so maximum theoretical output resolution is already limited to 4200-4600 dpi (it depends on shorter side -width of the scanning area, what will be approx. 60mm)
    8 element lens is probably nothing special - Nikon has 14/6 lens (with 6 ED elements)
    So probably no drum scan killer, but there's still hope for good, nearly 4000 dpi scans :)
     
  124. I'm reviewing the final product specs right now. I'll just say one thing, you better start your workout program before you buy one of these! It is HEAVY!
     
  125. Marc:
    If this thing can provide scans equal to or better than my Minolta Scan Multi Pro in terms of resolution, DR etc, then I'll be in
    Cheers
    Tim
    PS any idea when Plustek will announce the final specs?
     
  126. I know it's too late in the process to submit wishes, but as a Coolscan 8000 user, I only need the new Opticfilm 120 to provide MUCH BETTER contrast in slide film scans, and I'm buying it.
    Additional benefits like sharper, faster, warranty, good software that works without hacks on Windows 7 64-bit etc etc... are also welcomed.
     
  127. Toni, contrast is something you add to taste in post. The higher the dynamic range the LOWER the native contrast.
     
  128. With better contrast I mean: No flare.
     
  129. I own the Plustek OpticFilm 7600 and if the new OpticFilm 120 can transfer the quality of the 7600 over to MF, it will already be worth buying. Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement :) Looking forward to its release!
    - Chris
     
  130. Any new info?
     
  131. Please help a worthless old man on his "last photo legs" to make a last few images.....
     
  132. I guess what I really hope is that between the current renaissance in "artistic" photography and the curiosity of a younger generation I'm hoping that a truly good new scanner would have the power to re-invigorate film shooting. I certainly am someone who is scanning their current output, not their historic output. I shoot film not because I don't have the choice of digital but because I choose film.
    However, I want it to look good in its digital form since that is how images are shared and even printed these days.
    Is there a problem? I find it curious to still hear nothing from Plustek.
    Sam
     
  133. I think we can be glad to have Mark from Plustek to give us updates from time to time. Usually, you do not get anything from the manufacturer before release. When Nikon delayed the release of the D800 due to the disasters, nobody was curious as Nikon did not release any info about an upcoming product before. It was just the rumor mill suggesting that delay, which was later confirmed by persons working together with Nikon.
    Also, Mark communicates on additional platforms like Flickr where e.g. he stated that official information from Plustek USA will be released 30 days prior to sale. There are other platforms as well, just google a bit, e.g. rangefinder forum.
    There was been a lot of information released so far, much more than usual for a manufacturer which is very kind of Plustek. It was said that the original delay was caused by the "one of the big" sensor manufacturer whose sensor devision was sold, which makes it likely that the original sensor should have been a Kodak. If you have a look at Kodaks linear CCD sensor portfolio, you'll see that they do not offer a sensor which resolution is as high as the one the new OpticFilm 120 is going to have. If there aren't sensors in Kodaks product range that are not listed in their catalog, it is likely that by switching to the new sensor, the OpticFilm 120 also gained a plus in resolution, which makes the delay really less of a worry. BTW, if I am not mistaken, the stated resolution suggests a Toshiba linear CCD sensor (TCD2957BFG) which would do the job, coupled with a respective lens. If one is interested in further technical details beyond the ones given so far, looking deeper into the sensor specs should give some info about what capabilities to expect.
    Chris
     
  134. @Chris Strom... You are quite the detective!
    There are no real holdups that have been mentioned by the product manager. As was discussed previously, the sensor discontinuance was the big one.
    Here is a little more background on what happened towards the end of last year. We were going to show the scanner at CES, but just as soon as the CES press release went out, the development team realized that they couldn't get the scanner together with the new sensor fast enough for CES. So we reissued another CES press release that didn't mention the OpticFilm 120.
    When CeBIT came around, the re-design was far enough along to be confident that the specs and the availability were realistic enough to show the scanner at CeBIT. So under normal Plustek announcement conditions, you wouldn't have heard about the scanner until about a month ago.
    I have to reiterate, Plustek does not want to have any false starts with this scanner. We realize that it will be under the scrutiny of many editors, users and product reviewers and we want their out of box experience to be EXCELLENT!
     
  135. Thanks you again Mark to give us all this information !
    I'm sad that this is not a Kodak sensor because I scan a lot of my 16mm film with the Spirit DataCiné and the quality is amazing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_DataCine#SDC_2000_Spirit_DataCine)
    But like you say Mark, I suppose if there is a delay is that you "struggle" for make us a crazy scanner...I hope :)
     
  136. The suspense is making my eyes cross. Any updates?
     
  137. New pics ! :
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.288795254540161.70751.169691449783876&type=1
     
  138. Old pics :) :
    Before the CeBit, it was shown at CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2012 :
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mannin/6861344413/
     
  139. One thing that's wonderful about my Nikon 9000 is that it outputs a Nikon RAW file which makes post production fantastic. Will this unit output a RAW file?
     
  140. The scanner will ship with Silverfast Ai Studio 8 which I think does output RAW files,
     
  141. Mark, do you know aprox. date of its release? Thanks.
     
  142. I emailed Plustek last week and was told it will be available in mid July.
     
  143. Now on the plustek site
    http://plustek.com/mea/products/opticfilm-series/opticfilm-120/introduction.html
     
  144. By the looks of it the lens will reduce the image to half its size on the sensor - with a 10600 ppi sensor this results in a 5300 ppi scan of the film. It is also motorized (I wonder if this might make it more difficult for Ed Hamrick to add support for this scanner to VueScan)
     
  145. Martin:
    Ed does that with my Scan Multi Pro so I don't see where it will be a problem.
    Tim
     
  146. and no news about the price?
     
  147. ..."and no news about the price?"... Well into July now. Time to put up (or shut up).
    Anybody (at Plustek) out there..?
     
  148. Well, Plustek did reportedly promise it for mid-July and it's not mid-July yet, so it would be fair to give them a couple more days before getting all demandful.
    that said, i'm itching to see some hands-on test results...
     
  149. Not sure where you heard the July date. My guess is that it was from one of the support groups at Plustek. We have not officially announced it but we are looking at a September availability. The last I heard is the SilverFast has been integrated and production has started.
    We will have images when we make the formal announcement. Around the same time as the announcement, you should see pre-order pages at many of the on line photo retailers.
    Let me know if you have any specific questions. markdruziak (at) plustek.com
    Mark
     
  150. Thanks for the update Mark! The July I picked up from the previous page of this thread, where someone said they called Plustek and was told Mid-July. Now we can disregard that bit of info since we have this valuable update from you.
     
  151. I don't know if it has been asked, but does the scanner have fixed focus or can the focus be adjusted?
     
  152. Toni, I'm not so sure how valuable my update is, but thanks for the kind words.

    Antti, the scanner has fixed focus, but the holders are patent pending to hold the film flat. There are some photos on our
    Facebook page that show the holders.
     
  153. If it's possible to get sharp edge-to-edge scans from 120 film with the Opticfilm 120 fixed focus approach you guys deserve a few patents granted for it.
     
  154. I should have a negaflat by beseler-like flattening system. So which is your facebook-adress?Any news? Will you show it at photokina?
     
  155. Here is our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Plustek-Technology/169691449783876
    Yes the scanner will be in the Plustek booth at Photokina: Hall 3 Booth 13A
     
  156. What are the advantages/disadvantages of a fixed focus scanner for high-quality scanning?
     
  157. Ok then it's not for you. But lots of people have paid more than that for a Coolscan 9000, and the Plustek is hopefully better. So I think that if it fulfills the promise, it will sell.
     
  158. Most people expected it in range $1500-2000 and there were willing to pay it, not more. For now it's "better" on a paper only, tests will show if it's close to Nikon 9000. Howsoever it is good but 2000 GBP price will be for many too high to pay.
     
  159. In my opinion the world was not short of "OK" photo scanners. Look no further than the Epson line of flatbeds with tranny adapters. What the world lacked after the passing of the Coolscan 9000ED was a properly "enthusiast" GOOD film scanner for under $10,000. I sincerely hope this OpticFilm 120 is that. If it is, it will be more than worth the $2000.
    Sam
     
  160. Someone just posted this on another forum that I read:
    http://www.slideshare.net/mdruziak/plustek-opticfilm-120-product-introduction

    It's an interesting presentation. I would guess it's aimed at either internal marketing folks, or it's intended for distributors and resellers.
    One thing I noticed, though, is that they totally messed up the design of the rear cover. It looks like there's no way to leave it plugged in to power/USB *and* close the rear cover. Putting the hinge above the USB and power ports would have been a much better idea. Not really a deal-breaker, but kind of a dumb design for a clever feature.
     
  161. Boy it's hard to hide stuff from you guys! That is for our channel and retail partners. But there are no secrets in it so feel free to have a look.
     
  162. At above link in Specification it stays: "Dynamic Range: 4.8 (Theoretical Value; Practical value is 4.01 with SilverFast Multi-Exposure). So the scanner reaches 4.01 dynamic only by performimg a double scan? (that's also mean increased scanning time). What level does it reaches after first pass? Around 3.2?
     
  163. ..."So the scanner reaches 4.01 dynamic only by performimg a double scan? (that's also mean increased scanning time). What level does it reaches after first pass? Around 3.2?"...
    Could someone from Plustek (Mark D..?) please provide clarification regarding this rather important (and unexpected) issue. Doesn't sound correct, but if it was I sold my 9000 ED too soon.
    Thanks.
     
  164. Wolf, I don't know the answer to that question. Give me some time to talk to the R&D team to see what measurements were done.
     
  165. Sorry Mark, but I have to be persistant on the above issue..! B&H is showing the scanner for +/- $ 2000,- with end of September availability. That's in a few days. (Can you confirm..?) I for one wouldn't dream of ordering the unit until these tech specific infos are clarified. Claro.
     
  166. Wolf, if the Dmax issue was critical to me, I would actually wait for some real-world tests and perhaps comparisons to other scanners. I for one can't read much into Dmax this and Dmin that and decide if that's what I'm going to like... For me it's more like, how will my 6x7 Velvia scans look compared to my current Coolscan 8000, for example.
     
  167. For many photographers real Dmax value is most important and it should be very clearly explained by producer. Same issue was put on Plustek's facebook site, I do not know if the answer was given, but I can not find now this question there... :(
     
  168. Well, my point is that even if you know the Dmax value you need to be able to compare it. Most of us are coming from an older scanner model that we were not completely satisfied with; otherwise we would not be lurking here in the OpticFilm 120 thread. For example, I have a Coolscan 8000. I know what Nikon advertises as the Dmax value. I don't know how they measured or calculated it. Even if I knew how the opticfilm has measured their Dmax value, I still don't know How Much Better it is than my Coolscan, because I still don't know how Nikon measured/calculated their Dmax value. However, by taking my Velvias and scanning them on the Opticfilm, I will know in a way that is actually useful info for me.
     
  169. ..."Give me some time to talk to the R&D team to see what measurements were done."... That was some 10 days ago. No more trumpets. B&H pushed back earliest delivery dates by a full month, while Mark D. seems to have fallen silent. Even worse, as of today no mention of the new model at the SilverFast web site...I should've known better. Sounded too good to be true. Been there, seen that. Once too often. Smart of you, Toni N., to have held on to the 8000 ED. I will have to scramble now to find another 9000...
    Trusting is as trusting... And so on. Ouch.
     
  170. I apologize for this delay. Scanners were delivered to Plustek offices in the US and Germany this week. I have been doing some testing and I'll post results on our Facebook page and our blog for those of you without Facebook. I am going to be on the road most of October so I really wont get to post tons of samples (or frequently update this forum), but hopefully there will be enough to give you an idea of what the scanner can do. I don't think SilverFast will mention the scanner until their software for the OpticFilm 120 is available for download. The dynamic range question will be answered but to do it right now would take resources away from launching the scanner and cause a further delay. If you have specific questions please feel free to send me an email: markdruziak at plustek dot com. Thanks for your understanding.
     
  171. All quiet on the Plustek front... After waves of first excitement, no one here seems to be interested anymore. The fact that B&H has since removed the previously announced first date of availability doesn't bode too well either.
    I am now in the silly position of having to cover miles to get some slides scanned at a service lab. That'll teach me.
     
  172. We are in a bit of a delay and I apologize for this. I put an announcement on the Plustek Facebook page and in the Media section on Plustek.com http://plustek.com/usa/news/. I'll post updates in both of these locations as soon as I have more to post.
     
  173. Wolf, how could you be so sceptic?
     
  174. Alex, how could I ..."be so sceptic?"..? Unless your question is supposed to be funny, I suggest reading this Forum from the start... Idiot me, I sold my perfectly working Nikon 9000 ED scanner because -against better knowledge from experience- I got snowed with numbers from the Plustek hype that turned out not to be correct. How about D-max of 4.01 instead of the originally trumpeted 4.8..? And what is 4.01 anyhow..? .01, wow..! Said Nikon does better than that.
    Etc., etc.
     
  175. so what is your main problem ( i read all about this scanner and im in good contact with Mark) ? scanner parameters or delay?
     
  176. Both of the above. Obviously. Some 10 months (..!) ago, on this here Forum, we guardedly welcomed a new and better mousetrap... Plustek back then: ..."will introduce... a professional grade film and slide scanner"... In my book and by my experience, 4.01 D-max is not much professional to write home about. Whereby it can be assumed that the .01 is just a tolerance stretch to bring the scanner slightly above the critical -4- value.
    I for one will try to replace my former Nikon LS 9000ED with the same or similar. Dmax of 4.8 requested here.
    Quotes below were somehow added by the Forum's Editor or (more likely) soft ware.
    OpticFilm 120, a professional grade film and slide scanner

    Read More at http://www.geardiary.com/2012/01/04/plustek-to-unveil-new-line-of-scanners-at-ces/, Written by Douglas Moran, Copyright © Gear Diary OpticFilm 120, a professional grade film and slide scanner

    Read More at http://www.geardiary.com/2012/01/04/plustek-to-unveil-new-line-of-scanners-at-ces/, Written by Douglas Moran, Copyright © Gear Diary OpticFilm 120, a professional grade film and slide scanner

    Read More at http://www.geardiary.com/2012/01/04/plustek-to-unveil-new-line-of-scanners-at-ces/, Written by Douglas Moran, Copyright © Gear Diary Plustek will introduce at CES include OpticFilm 120, a professional grade film and slide scanner

    Read More at http://www.geardiary.com/2012/01/04/plustek-to-unveil-new-line-of-scanners-at-ces/, Written by Douglas Moran, Copyright © Gear Diary Plustek will introduce at CES include OpticFilm 120, a professional grade film and slide scanner

    Read More at http://www.geardiary.com/2012/01/04/plustek-to-unveil-new-line-of-scanners-at-ces/, Written by Douglas Moran, Copyright © Gear Diary
     
  177. There's a lot of vitriol directed at Plustek here. Perhaps we should give them a bit of a break...If they had rushed it to market with flaws, they would have been thrashed for turning out an over-priced piece of junk.
    Now, as for the dynamic range issue, I direct all readers to this graphic:
    http://images.silverfast.eu/img/newsletter200612/ExtendedDynamicRange_big_en.png
    From this page:
    http://www.silverfast.com/highlights/multi-exposure/en.html
    According to their own documents, Silverfast claims a dynamic range of 4.00 for the LS-9000 with multi-exposure (same as the Plustek) and 3.18 for a single-pass. Plustek has not advertised a single-pass dynamic range figure. Now, there are a lot of variables, like flare, character of the noise, etc. But the 2 scanners seem comparable in regards to this parameter. Measurements for the Nikon are claimed to be in accordance with the same ISO standard (21550) as used to support the Plustek data.
    The 4.8 Dmax claim in Nikon's literature is as fictitious as it is for Plustek. It just means: 16-bits = 16-stops * 0.3 = 4.8 DMax. It's a theoretical quantity. Nikon has never published a measured figure for Dmax or dynamic range.
    I encourage Plustek to encourage Silverfast to release the test report, similar to what they have done with other Nikon and Epson scanners:
    http://www.silverfast.com/PDF/TestReport_ME_DWueller.pdf
    I believe I have figured out the method used to derive these numbers, based on the test report, and I hope to do some testing of my own, soon as I get the fog cleared from the underside of my V750.
     
  178. The above comment just reinforces my original impression that one should not blindly stare into numerical metrics alone - what will really decide it for me is, will a scan of Velvia 50 look better than on my Coolscan 8000? There are many reasons why it could, one of them is that it will certainly be possible to perform better regarding flare than my CS-8000 does. I would even say, easily, but we'll see.
     
  179. Greg, that is part of the plan to have the OpticFilm 120 added to the SilverFast test report. As far as the specs go, we are just trying to be honest with them. Yes the 4.8 number is a theoretical number and hopefully we updated all of the literature to clearly state that. The 4.01 number is one that was provided by LaserSoft as part of their testing. If this number changes either up or down, we will again update the literature and also add the non ME dynamic range. I also agree that there are a lot more than specs that contribute to image quality and workflow.
     
  180. Vitriol, hm..? Somewhat rhymes with snake oil...
    But let's go to memory lane, reading the lips of Mark D.: ..."Feb 08, 2012; 08:41 a.m. Here is a little more info:
    • Film up to 6x12
    • Final testing is still going on, but it looks like MEASURED resolution will be around 5000 dpi and MEASURED DMax of 4.8.
     
  181. Vitriol, hm..? Somewhat rhymes with snake oil...
    But let's go to memory lane, reading the lips of Mark D.: ..."Feb 08, 2012; 08:41 a.m. Here is a little more info:
    • Film up to 6x12
    • Final testing is still going on, but it looks like MEASURED resolution will be around 5000 dpi and MEASURED DMax of 4.8."... Capital "MEASURED"..! Go back and read for yourselves. Throughout the pre-market drum-up-interest time, we were given bits and pieces leading to the impression that this new gizmo was going to be at least as good if not better than the previously mentioned Nikon LS 9000 ED... Trying to belittle (Greg Mikol, not Mark D., my apologies) that scanner's confirmed values is understandable. If you can't quite reach the top of a mountain, you might succeed by trying to bring it down. On the subject I suggest that those interested in a thourough (not sweetheart) review go to the test site of Patrick Werner, one of, if not, the BEST..! Patrick does indeed say that "density range of 4.8 is a theoretical value which results from translating the color depth." He did measure true resolution at 3900 dpi, a minute 2.5% below specs given by Nikon. In comparison he gives most tested Plustek scanners to be +/- 50% under manufacturer's claims. Though at this point I've lost interest in the new OpticFilm 120, I am still looking forward to a test review by P.W. That oughta clear the air.
    • (I had to double up on the previous posting because of a phone call which kept me from finishing in time...)
     
  182. Wolf,
    I think we all understand your frustrations if you made such a bold decision as to sell your 9000 in advance. It must be very aggravating. However, I think most of us would agree that this would be classed as "taking a chance". Lots of people are following all of this buildup and many think we would be interested if it really does match or outperform the big Nikon. However, I think most of us are likely to wait on a shipping product and real test results before pulling the trigger. That you didn't wait is certainly bold but I think you should be big enough to live with its consequences. Mark and Plustek's launch problems are their own and your self-created issue is your own.
    Just wait and see like the rest of us. Maybe it will be great. Maybe not. I think it could be great. But I'm not letting go of my 9000 just yet.
    Sam
     
  183. And, like I've maybe said at least elsewhere before.. the Opticfilm will be the ONLY medium format scanner that you can buy new (perhaps, some opportunistic random eBay store selling the last CS9000 unit ever for triple price, and the Imacon X5 that costs as much as a good car, notwithstanding). As years roll by this alone will become more and more important. And even if it DOESN'T outperform the CS9000 it might still at least push down the prices of the used unes, which are outrageous at the moment. So for someone like me, who has the CS8000 and didn't sell it, I can only gain from Plustek's efforts..
    And anyway, outperforming is such a complicated beast. There are many factors where it can win or lose: speed, flare, true resolution, dmax, a-ccd-that-does-not-generate-streaks, software, ability to scan 6x12 or not, flexibility re: "weird" formats, ....
    For me personally the biggest doubt has always been the lack of a focusing mechanism but I've decided to wait and see on that one.
     
  184. "And even if it DOESN'T outperform the CS9000 it might still at least push down the prices of the used unes, which are outrageous at the moment".
    really great news. Do not you think Plustek should not ask $2000 if its OpticFilm 120 will not reach Nikon 9000 scan quality which was selling for $2000 during production ?
    Lack of focusing mechanism, poorer lens comparing to that in Nikon, not possibility to use glass for ultimate film flatness on full surface, very long time scanning (the issue which Plustek is struggling now with OpticFilm 120 - what is probably the reason why it postponed the official selling day)... they do not give reasons to believe Plustek 120 scanner will reach 9000ED scan quality.
     
  185. ... and what seems more questionable is this "true" 4,01 Dmax with SilverFast double-exposure pass.
    Read this interesting thread "Multi Exposure scan with old dedicated film scanners - need EXAMPLES" on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/ishootfilm/discuss/72157629081616737/
    "multiple scans with different exposure is basically changing the histogram level in much the same respect as when you adjust dark areas in Photoshop. multiple passes concept is just a selling point made up by the outside scanner software producers trying to have something to sell so people will buy"
    If OpticFilm 120 scanner is capable to reach 3.14 Dmax, how Plustek calculate it has 4.01 Dmax. with SilverFast double esposure pass mode? Second pass with exposure for shadows will generate more noice in the shadows, ok, it brings some details too but this is a soft "work" in histogram level, not the scanner ability wich still has 3,14 Dmax.
     
  186. Microtek offers scanner with 4.7dmax for a flatbed, and plusted only 4.01 for dedicated film scanner?
    The Mikroted is targeted at medical and industrial users, not home users, so I doubt they are not telling the truth, as always reviews are nowhere to be found
    http://ww7.microtek.com.tw/products.php?KindID=7&ID=334
     
  187. Just as an aside, I assume the difference with the medical scanner is that it is for X-Rays and therefore presumably monochromatic. How awesome would that be? You should get much better scans of black and white. If you wanted colours I guess you could just do three different scans with three primary colored gels over the backlight unit and combine in Photoshop. More tedious, I guess, but imagine the fine control you could achieve. You could probably get some really cool colour effects just by using slightly different gels for the different primaries.
    Very intriguing... Very off-topic but very intriguing!
    Sam
     
  188. That is a monochrome scanner. I'm not trying to put down the competition (I work for Plustek) but the resolution of that scanner is listed as 3200 dpi and it is monochrome. If the listed resolution is 3200, the actual resolution is less than that. Dmax of 4.7? Maybe but they don't specify Dmin so we don' really know what the dynamic range is. Our spec on the OpticFilm 120 is a measured dynamic range number. I actually saw the Microtek scanner yesterday and it looks like a good alternative for a doctor's office looking for a lower cost xray scanner.
    As far as the OpticFilm 120 goes, you can find more info at the following two links:
    http://plustek.com/usa/products/opticfilm-series/opticfilm-120/
    http://plustekusa.blogspot.com/2012/10/plustek-opticfilm-120-frequently-asked.html
    Or you can send me an email: markdruziak at plustek dot com or even call me! 562-650-3900 (EST)
     
  189. How does the new filmholders hold 35mm film and slides on plustek? AFAIK the Nikon 9000 needed the glass modification to reliably scan 35mm slides you had to unmount them place on glass put custom mask and then scan.
    The holders for plustek come with glass? If not I don't understand how the 35mm slides can be scanned? Is there autofocus?
     
  190. There are two different holders for 35mm. One is for film the other is for slides. However, you can scan unmounted slides in the 35mm film holder if you want. The design of the 35mm film holder is the same as the 120 holders. Each frame is supported on all four sides and the top frame is held in place magnetically.
    No autofocus. The holders are very rigid and robust. I forget the actual thickness of the frame but I think it is like 1/4". The optics are designed with a depth of focus to accomodate any variations in the film surface that isn't removed by the holder. So far in testing by LaserSoft and Plustek, there haven't been any problems with image sharpness caused by the lack of autofocus.
     
  191. Few days ago, Plustek published interesting table on their blog: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pEO474i6h...iS3E/s640/scanner+measured+resolutionsJPG.JPG
    Table contains measured resolution data, including new Plustek opticfilm 120 scanner numbers. According to Plustek, optical resolution at 10600dpi is impressive 5793dpi, at 5300dpi it is still very good 4598dpi.
    However, same source lists optical 4096dpi for plustek 7600 (at 7200dpi) - what substantially differs from 3250dpi measured by these guys: http://www.filmscanner.info/PlustekOpticFilm7600i.html
    (filmscanner.info is reliable source)
    So if we divide Plustek numbers approximately by 1.25, we will probably have correct numbers, cca 4600dpi maximum resolution for 35mm film (very nice result for $2000 scanner).
    Real numbers for 60mm wide film (mf) will probably differ from above results, as 10660px ccd array (used in Plustek scanner) leads to 4500dpi (just theoretical limit, there are more limiting factors like optics, dof ...)
    Indeed, anything above real 4000dpi for MF would be phantastic!
    Filmscanner.info also mentioned 15.1.2013 as date, when scanner will be available ...
    http://www.filmscanner.info/PlustekOpticFilm120.html
     
  192. Just a little background info on those test results. I was a little surprised that my results for the OpticFilm 7600i were as high as they were so I went back and retested the resolution a couple more times. My conclusion was that maybe the scanner I had was on the high end of the resolution bell curve distribution. Or maybe the one the Filmscanner.info was a little to the left of the distribution curve. Or both. So I reported it as I saw it.
     
  193. I'll just add to this to say that my personal testing of a Plustek 7500i yielded a result similar to Plustek's results, Group 6, Element 3, approx 4096 DPI. As far as I know, the 7500 and 7600 share the same optics.
    I think the filmscanner.info tests are quite pessimistic. I believe they are using a film target to test resolution, and at those spatial frequencies (80 lp/mm), the MTF of the film itself could start to get in the way, depending on the quality of the target.
    We'll have to wait for some independent testing to be sure, but I don't really see any reason to doubt Plustek's numbers.
     
  194. There are so many variables in testing a scanner, the difference in results hardly surprises. I'll give you an example.

    I personally own a Silverfast resolution target. That is the one used in the resolution tests of filmscanner.info. If I insert this resolution target into my Plustek 7600i with the frontside upwards and scan it with 3600 dpi, I get this:
    [​IMG]
    I think, it is fair to say that symbol 5.6 is resolved into seperated lines, which would translate to 2896 dpi. Not bad! 3200/2896, thats 90% efficiency.
    If I raise the scanning resolution to 7200 dpi, I get this:
    [​IMG]
    I think it is valid to say, that 6.3 (thats the 2nd symbol in the 6 column because the 6 comumn starts with symbol 6.2) is besing resolved, albeit very low contrast. This is equivalent to 4096 dpi scanning resolution. Impressive for a consumer scanner at this price point.

    If I now flip the resolution slide and insert it with the backside upwards, I get vastly inferior scans:

    3600 dpi scan:
    [​IMG]
    7200 dpi scan:
    [​IMG]

    This would lead to much lower measured resolution figures. But why should anybody do this, you might ask. Well, maybe because he used the scanner for scanning slides before conducting this test. Let me explain:
    [​IMG]
    This is a shot of a ferry boat that shuttles between the german isle of Sylt and the danish isle of Rømø. I took it on Fuji Velvia RVP50 using an AF-S 50mm f/1.4 at what I remember to be f/5.6 and about 1/160-1/250s as it was bright sunlight. This roll of film was developed at a well known professional studio in germany, farbglanz.de. But the following experiences are valid for cheap mass laboratories as well, as my experience has shown.
    If I insert this slide into the Plustek 7600 with the frontside upwards, just like the resolution slide for optimal performance, and scan the small part in the near center of the frame, I get this:
    [​IMG]
    Not bad, and while I was running my first scans with the Plustek, I thought this would be it.
    But then I tried flipping the slides, and in this case, the corresponding scan looks like this:
    [​IMG]
    Now thats an improvement!

    I suspect that depending on the construction of the slide frame, the actual film within the frame is position in different heights. The depth of field of the scanner cannot compensate due to the lack of an AF and in case of the Plustek 7600i, the native depth of field is not cast enough to allow greater variances in film height. For the slide frames I buy and use, it is better to flip the slide for scanning. In case of the resolution target and the slide frame it is using, it is better to scan the other way around. Other users might have experienced the same without knowing, which would explain the differences in apparent resolution of the same scanner. Also, it might not always be possbile to perfectly adjust to the actual plane of focus just by flipping the slide.
    Christian
    PS: larger images are displayed in reduzed size. judgement of shaprness and resolution should be performed with the images maximized. otherwise, false conclusions could be drawn.
     
  195. Christian, thank you very much for your explanations. That's my experience with a KonicaMinolta 5400 II, too.
    If the focus plane isn't placed accurately in between the filmlayer, you will lose hundreds (if not thousands!) of spi. My excessive USAF 1951 testing ends up with an average resolution of ~ 4500 spi. BUT, roundabout two percent of the scans provided 5000+ spi -> focused exactly!
    So, how many spi will you lose scan by scan, if the Plustek 120 doesn't even feature the ability to focus filmlayers exactly?
    There are no stretching frames for 120 film, aren't there?
     
  196. @Chris Strom
    This is exactly why I have asked about the plustek 120 about the frames/autofocus.
    mark druziak said:
    "One is for film the other is for slides. However, you can scan unmounted slides in the 35mm film holder if you want. The design of the 35mm film holder is the same as the 120 holders. Each frame is supported on all four sides and the top frame is held in place magnetically."
    "No autofocus. The holders are very rigid and robust. I forget the actual thickness of the frame but I think it is like 1/4". The optics are designed with a depth of focus to accomodate any variations in the film surface that isn't removed by the holder."
    No autofocus - means you can't put film on modified holder with glass because it will not be in focus. So if plustek could not make frames to make 7600 scanner reliable, could they improved so much that MF120 is somehow different. After all it's frames are also plastic.
     
  197. It was close to a year ago when this supposed great new scanner from Plustek was first discussed here. I admit to have been one of the fools who got duped by the pied piper from that co. Now even B&H seems to have given up on providing an availability date. And the fact that Plustek's p.p. isn't giving us any infos in that respect doesn't bode well at all. How'bout it, Mark..? Can't call it a slight delay anymore, can you...
     
  198. Well, apparently the scanner has started shipping in some areas as some people have been posting photos scanned with the opticfilm 120 on Flickr.
    From those I can already see that for scanning tough Velvia 50 slides with low flare, it beats my old Coolscan 8000 hands-down - even when comparing to the condition when my scanner was still new.
    Sharpness-wise it's hard to say. all the pics I see are reduced size and oversharpened (or something else has happened to the pictures which overblows the grain).
    Also no comments about real-life speed so far.
    Ideally I could test this device somewhere with a couple of films of my own before making up my mind. My ideal set would be to test Velvia 50, Provia 400X, Ektar and Portra 400. If the quality combination of sharpness+flare beats my CS8K, I'm buying this.
     
  199. Hope to see Stefan here, soon
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/plustek_opticfilm_120/
     
  200. Maybe I haven't been burnt by prematurely abandoning things that work already in favour of some promised improved technology that turned out to be vapourware. Or maybe I've just yet to grow old and bitter.
    But I really am having trouble grasping all the rather vitriolic comments and bilious recriminations heaped upon Plustek during the development of this new scanner from some quarters. Mark Druziak has been, I think, quite forthcoming in providing information to us--when he has it. And it sounds like he's been, as much as possible, careful about releasing information until he has confirmed it with the authoritative source and/or tested it himself. It seems to me that he has reasonably conveyed news that Plustek is trying to produce a scanner to replace the defunct Coolscans, and has responsibly tempered the optimism such an announcement may engender by his regular updates when reliable information reaches him.
    Will the new scanner equal or exceed the Nikon scanners? How will we--or Mark--know, until they are actually available in production models and have been tried out in real-world situations? We can certainly hope that they do, and have a reasonable expectation that they'll at least be a higher-quality option than the Epson flatbeds. Will the price/performance ratio make them an attractive option? No way to know that either, until we can see the ultimate selling price and have a look at sample scans from retail units.
    If they do live up, at least largely, to our hopes--well then, I might just buy one. If they don't, I'll stick with the cheap but somewhat livable option of the Epson I now have. They'll certainly be an improvement over the other alternative: the out-of-production-for-all-eternity (it appears) and pretty much unobtainable Nikon product. The fact that *anyone* is trying to make a new scanner for us hard-core filmophiles is to me a pleasant development, and leads me to want to encourage them rather than heap vituperation upon them.
    I personally am pleased that Plustek is taking their time. They already produce a pretty darned good 35 mm scanner, so they could have used their favourable reputation from that to rush out a product that, because of its rarity and their prior performance, people might have snapped up too quickly (as it sounds some posters here were wanting to do). The fact that they are waiting to release the product--which costs them time and money. after all--seems to me to indicate that they are trying to make sure they get this scanner (which is a rather complex device, and aimed at a discerning and highly critical and demanding constituency), right on the first go.
    If that's the case, more power to them--and to us, as we'll eventually get an even better product when it actually hits the shelves, as it's starting to do, it appears. How about we pause from trashing Plustek for a few weeks--or at least until we see real-world reviews of the scanner, which will tell us if doing so is indeed justified. I for one am hoping we'll be pleasantly surprised--and well-rewarded for our (and Plustek's) patience.
     
  201. Thanks Bernard. I appreciate your support!
     
  202. I guess (almost) everyone likes a pad on the back... But Mark, instead of graciously accepting support from your support group, you might have helped your cause better by providing some updates..! None (as of this date/time) on Plustek's USA website either.
    Just because I got a good replacement for my excellent Nikon Coolscan 9000 ED doesn't mean I'm not interested or curious anymore... A better mouse trap is a better mouse trap. If indeed it turns out to be better. And that, for all interested, remains to be seen. Test results, if no further delays, now announced to be published by April 15th.
    Here's the latest: The 120 has been on sale in Germany since yesterday. First shipment "sold out". Now on back-order with only a 3 day wait. SilverFast is now showing the scanner on its website as being one of the many supported models. So much from this here educated former international photo journalist. Your turn, Mark...
     
  203. Well, vapourware it is not as I have just received the unit but before anything I want to say that I completely agree with Bernard Miller's post and want to add my thanks to Mark Druziak. It is because of his posts and perseverance despite some negativity from forum members here and elsewhere that I decided to invest in an Opticfilm 120 unseen and unreviewed. To me his honest updates have proven that Plustek, or at least one of its employees, is prepared to make an effort to face its customer base.
    Anyway, for those interested:
    I bought the unit "off the shelf" from Park Cameras. It arrived well packed. It looks as I expected it to look (although I was not aware that Taiwan was the country of manufacture; though not that it matters) and the box contains, aside from the scanner, power supply and cables an assortment of film holders, an IT8 calibration target and a copy of Silverfast Ai Studio. The film holders look reasonably substantial but of course I won't know how if they will hold the film flat until I've tried them.
    I'm not much into writing reviews but over the next week I will scan some Velvia 35mm and 6X9cm to put it through its paces and will try and post some results but having worked only with the Epson V750 for a number of years and Vuescan, it might take some time to (re) learn Silferfast about which I only have a rudimentary knowledge. I normally save scans in RAW and manipulate them through the excellent Photoshop plugin Colorperfect so I will first need to figure out how to do this via Silverfast.
     
  204. Vincent, this is great! 6x9 velvia 50 performance is what do care about the most. Eagerly waiting for your experiences. I hope you can post at
    least one image without sharpening applied.
     
  205. Hi Toni
    Sure, I'll do my best only give me a bit of time. I've found out through bitter experience that knowing how to use scanning software is just as important as scanner quality. I've had my struggles in the past with Silverfast which is why I migrated to Vuescan but hope that the re-learning curve is not too steep.
     
  206. Vincent, let me know how the scanner works out for you. If you have any questions/suggestions, please drop me an email: markdruziak )at( plustek dot com. This scanner is manufactured at our plant in Taiwan. It is closer to our development and product management team so they can see first hand what is happening on the assembly line. They can also react faster to questions and issues.
     
  207. or please share your experience on a flickr group, there are few shots from Stefan and Mark in the pool already.
     
  208. If someone is willing to scan a frame or two of Velvia 50 6x7 that I send them, put it on a USB stick as an as-much-unprocessed .TIF as they can and send them back, I would be happy to pay them a modest fee for their trouble.
     
  209. Oh and, Mark, I guess you have provided a few scanner units to some good, well known reviewers who are just about to publish their reviews, right? I hope :)
    Back in the day when there was still competition in the film scanner space, the reviewers of www.photo-i.co.uk were very good. That is so long gone, most of their scanner reviews can't even be found on their website anymore.
     
  210. Yes we have a detailed review plan, but we need to fill our pre-orders first. Some people have had orders in for a long time.
     
  211. Some initial findings:
    Setup: Straightforward. There are two disks, one with a driver and the other Silverfast. Installation was easy and trouble free.
    Manuals: The Plustek manual is very short but to the point and adequate.
    Film Holders: Are substantial and very easy to use but basic. Nonetheless film is easy to load but a light box is an advantage to position transverse guides at the right place. Borders with Velvia are black and so is the holder so not always easy to see.
    I chose an "easy" Velvia 50 6X9cm to start
    File size: Scanning 48bbit HDR At 2650 ppi the file is already 400 MB, at half resolution 5300ppi with ME enabled just over 1 gig. At full resolution you will need a very powerful computer
    Scanning Speed: Good
    Resolution: Exceeds my expectations; in fact superb
    Colour: Accurate. I've not calibrated yet. The supplied target is I think Kodak (Mark, can you confirm?) so will need to order a Fuji.
    Compared to Epson V750: I've rated the Epson highly and have used it for the past couple of years. For me it gave three problems: poor film holders, mediocre quality for 35mm and dust on the glass. Try as I might I never managed to get rid of it. All these things are much better with the Opticfilm. Epson quality has always been acceptable for me on 120 format but this is in a different league.
    Is it worth the money? For me definitely.
    Attached picture scanned in HDR at 5300ppi then processed via Colorperfect and Finished in PS. Minimal sharpening, just with NIK PRE-sharpener. It is of course impossible to evaluate the scanner on the basis of this small image but I will leave the professional reviewers with that task.
    00bFMT-514371584.jpeg
     
  212. Vincent, thanks for posting your experiences. Regarding the calibration... I may be mistaken about this from a recent conversation with a Lasersoft employee, the calibration adjusts the ICC profile of the scanner. The target is measured at Lasersoft in their lab. When doing the calibration on the scanner, the target is measured by the scanner and compared to the original calibration file. Notice the serial number on the bottom of the target. So the film base or emulsion doesn't really matter that much. It's the same idea as building a profile for your printer or calibrating your monitor. By the way, the scanner is shipped with a standard profile built in. Many times that is good enough. I will talk to the Lasersoft people over the next few days and confirm the calibration stuff and post what I find.
     
  213. Mark, what you describe is indeed the usage of the IT8 calibration target. It offers the possibility to adjust the scanner output to standardized and calibrated readings of a laboratory, therefore allows for the truthfull reproduction of colors, at least as far as the scanner hardware allows for.

    But the target has to be made specifically for the film you are going to scan. In terms of Kodak slide film, this is simple as Kodak states that the target can be used for the complete range of Kodak Ektachrome Slide film, probably because the film base and materials are similar.

    But in terms of Fuji slide films, different targets are necessary. This is because the various films use different kind and numbers of layers and substances which can lead to different color appearance for the scanner's sensor. Often, one target can be used for different Fuji films (e.g. one target is for Provia 400X and Astia 100F), but e.g. Velvia RVP50 needs a special one. The physical nature of this effect is called metamerism, which leads to different color responses depending on which film is used in combination with which (scanner) light source.

    A good source for Fuji slide film IT8 targets is Wolf Faust at www.targets.coloraid.de
    Christian
     
  214. Chris, thanks for your explanation. As soon as I posted my response I thought: "Yeah but Kodak 'red' isn't the same as Fuji 'red'."
     
  215. Chris, thanks for your explanation. As soon as I posted my response I thought: "Yeah but Kodak 'red' isn't the same as Fuji 'red'."​
    Yes, but I'm not sure that was Chris's point. Sure Kodak may not render a real-world red the same as Velvia, but that doesn't necessarily mean that a scanner profiled with a Kodak target won't scan the Velvia red properly. Velvia will have already rendered the red differently on the film; if the scanner is capable of accurately representing that particular red (on the Velvia film itself), then it'll scan just fine.
    The point, I believe, is more that that red on the Fuji film itself may scan differently than a red of the exact same color on a Kodak film if the dyes on the different films happen to interact differently with the scanner light source/CCD. Now, in reality, I don't know how often this happens or what the magnitude of the effect is. In other words, you may end up with a perfectly fine Fuji Velvia scan whether or not you use a profile made from the Kodak target or the proper Fuji target. But, you may not-- therefore, it's safer to profile the scanner with the intended film target, even though it may not have a drastic effect on some/most scans.
    Is that about right, Chris?
    Would be nice if someone were to do a controlled comparison of what I described above... and write an article :)
     
  216. Actually I think we are all right here. I had a discussion
    with my contact at Lasersoft that confirms Rishi'point.
     
  217. Vincent, can you give a rough estimate on how long it took to scan that image? Is it more like 1, 5 or 10 minutes?
     
  218. The target is in fact Fuji Provia Pro. Personally I still believe that for Velvia at least, a specific target should be used but I'm willing to stand corrected. Having scanned Portra 400 neg film as well, the results are superb and the colours are very nice and pastel but not what I expected. I'm not saying they're necessarily wrong; just different to previous scans.
    Toni: Sorry I haven't timed it but it was quick compared to the V750 but scanning time is not the only factor. Speed depends on resolution settings. For 120 I'm perfectly happy with 2650 ppi; for 35mm I'm still on the sidelines because I can see a substantial difference between 2650 and 5300. At the latter resolution the file is just over 200 MB and at 10600 about a 1 GB. These very large files are needing a lot of computing power. I use an iMac quadcore with 12 GB ram and it is struggling with files over 500MB
     
  219. Indeed Mark, Rishi's explanation is correct. In fact, by personal experiences, I can confirm that using an inappropriate IT8 target leeds to false color casts. When I am back home, I can post an example of what happens in this case and what the differences look like. Its not that in every case it looks wrong, but different. Often, the color cast is visible in the shadows.

    Christian
     
  220. This is indeed what I'm experiencing; more with Portra 400 than with Velvia. The latter has scanned very true to (Velvia 50) colours uncalibrated. The Portra I'm not so sure about but then I scan RAW and process with Colorperfect so there are added variables.
    On a different tack and possibly, Mark, a question for Silverfast/Plustek : If scanning in RAW (HDR) does the software still take account of the target anyway?
     
  221. Calibration targets only apply to slide film. Each colour negative film has a different orange
    mask, which the scanning software tries to remove automagically. Results vary from film to
    film, app to app.
    (You can try to profile this using features offered by advanced scanning applications
    like silverfast and vuescan, but calibration targets have nothing to do with this.
    Personally i never got this part of vuescan to work.)
     
  222. Vincent, I can answer this question, if Mark doesn't mind.

    Scanning raw does not take IT8 calibration into account. In terms of slides, this is not a problem. You can use a commercial or free ICC creation tool (e.g. LPROF ICC profiler) to create an ICC file based on a scan of the IT8 target and the IT8 information file. To use it afterwards, copy the created ICC profile to your system directory and use an ICC profile capable image editor like Photoshop. While opening the RAW file, there should be no color space ASSIGNED to it and ideally, you are asked to do so. In the drop down list of color spaces available, further down below you should find the one you created (listed with the name you gave it during the creation process). After applying the profile, the colors of the image are corrected. Afterwards, CONVERT the image to your working space color space, e.g., AdobeRGB.

    In terms of negatives, this is not possbile. You can only rely on ColorPerfect to identify unusual color drifts and to care for them. The two most important things to watch out for when using the ColorNeg part of ColorPerfect for negative conversion is (from my personal experiences)

    a) make sure that the RAW scans you obtain are in linear gamma

    b) whatever colorspace you assign to the RAW file while opening in photoshop, make sure it is also the working color space set within photoshop preferences and to not convert it afterwards until you have finished the work within the ColorNeg plugin.

    Best wishes,
    Christian

    PS: for some reason, the editor does not recognize my carrier returns...
     
  223. Thank you Christian. This is really useful but just a further question if you don't mind:
    When I scan via Silverfast in 48bit HDR I do not see that I have an option to change the gamma. By default on the Mac it sets it as a 2.2. When I then open in Photoshop the first thing I do is to assign a working profile (Adobe 68 RGB) and only then use the Colorperfect plugin. At that point I can make all manner of changes including the Gamma but you seem to suggest that I should change that to 1.0 BEFORE scanning and therefore within the Silverscan environment. Question: How do I do this?
    Sorry if I sound clumsy with this but having mainly used Vuescan I'm not yet very competent with Silverfast.
     
  224. You are welcome, Vincent.

    I am using Vuescan, too. It has its pitfalls, but once you know them it is pretty reliable.

    I had a similar issue with Silverfast when I tried to evaluate whether to use Silverfast or Vuescan to obtain RAW scans. I wrote to technical support and got a good explanation how Silverfast works. But I have to admit, the answer is stored at home in my private mailbox.

    As far as I remember, when using the HDR 48bit output, the gamma setting is of no importance. It will change the appearance of the preview window, but not the actual file output. It would alter the output if you choose an 48bit output WITHOUT the HDR mode. I may mix up thing now with Vuescan, but I think it has something to do with whether you want to have all the image manipulation functions of Silverfasts scanning software included (you would use normal 48bit mode, only usable in the professional version, not SE version) or if you want to have just the pure sensor signal (48-bit HDR mode). ColorNeg, in this case, relies on the HDR 48bit file which is by nature of the sensor data, in linear gamma. You have to assign the working color space of your image editor while opening just because ColorNeg has to make sure that there are no color space conversions in the background by the image editor to shift between working color space and image color space. The plugin is very sensitive to color space mistakes.

    Christian
     
  225. Thanks Chris!
    As a by the way, in the past I had lots of problems with Silverfast with regular crashes and licensing issues. They must have done something because since installing for Opticfilm 120 it has been pretty stable and actually I'm starting to like it.
     
  226. I just want to add my experience on viewing images scanned with this scanner. Either the file size or scanning at or above 5300 dpi confuses the default Windows and OSX photo viewers sometimes. I have had people tell me the same image that looks great on my computer looks out of focus or fuzzy on their computer. In all cases they were using the default viewer. I don't think this happens 100% of the time but it does happen some of the time. I asked the people that were reporting fuzzy images to open the same image in either Lightroom, PS or use the Picasa viewer. Using these programs made the image look as it should. All I'm saying here is that if you look at some of the full resolution images and they do not look good to you, don't panic. Try using one of the viewers I mentioned.
     
  227. Toni: As far as scan times are concerned for a 6X9 Velvia 50 in 48bit HDR with ME enabled takes 6 minutes 10 seconds producing a 313MB file.
    I think this is more or less on par with the Epson V700 although I never timed the Epson. The results however are certainly worth the time.
    Here, using a Velvia 50 taken on a dark rainy day on a wide aperture (hence the oof foreground). Both scanned at 2600, the epson scan (top) which is sharpened for print whereas from the OF 120 only sharpened by Nik PRE sharpener. The main difference for me is the benefit of a well working ME which reveals much more details from the shadow areas. The colours from the OF 120 scan were not altered in any way.
    On reviewing the images posted: They are really too small to reveal the differences I was trying to illustrate. Sorry but they are certainly there and visible on print as well.
    00bFkV-514667584.jpg
     
  228. Now the Opticfilm 120
    00bFkW-514667684.jpg
     
  229. Mark: the soft image in certain photo viewers may be due to their downsizing algorithms. Since 5300dpi scans are huge, they have to be downscaled considerably to fit on screen. Adobe apps usually use good on-the-fly resizing for viewing; some other photo viewers may not.
    Same principle as sharpening after downsizing an image.
     
  230. Thanks Vincent. Even though the scale is too small to make a decent judgement, the Optic 120 sees better into the shadow (DR)....so that's encouragable. Could you give an educated guess/estimate how large of a print would be possible (from 35mm or 120)....using your results...say 300MB ?
    If 6min is the "target" (I know it changes) then I'm looking at 428 days of scanning.....7hrs/day. Yah, total excitement here :>). What I'm really saying is OMG what have I got myself into ? I think I'll place myself into nearest state hosp....and save them the friggen trouble, eh ?
    Les
     
  231. I would appreciate a cropped, 100% detail view of a small area of a 135 negative scanned at full (5300dpi) resolution, preferably compared to the same area scanned with the V700/V750 at 3200dpi. Over at the German forum APHOG, one such example has recently been uploaded. It looks entirely disappointing, to say the least - in fact, barely any improvement over the V750.
    I really look forward to buying this scanner, but at this price level I need more reassurance that this is not just another instance of the "X dpi in the specs, X/2 dpi in practice" game scanner producers have been playing for so long now. I'm sure a lot of prospective Opticfilm 120 buyers are feeling the same right now, so please... keep the examples coming. Thanks!
     
  232. Hi Leszek: Sorry I don't know but I would guess certainly to A2 size, which is as big as my printer will allow.
    As to time: Of course not every photograph has deep shadows and therefore it need not always be necessary to use multiple exposure. By disabling ME you are halving the scanning time.
    Making good scans takes time. That is fact. For you, with so many negatives, you would need to think of batch scanning. The OF120 film holders can only scan 2 6X9cm at the same time whereas a flatbed 4 or in smaller format many more so that might be an advantage. At any rate I do not envy you your task. Good luck!
    Guido: The maximum resolution of the V750 is about 2400. For me that has mostly been sufficient. At that resolution I do see substantial improvements in resolution, colour, dust and workflow As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm not much of a reviewer so in your case would suggest that you wait for tests by people who are expert in these things.
     
  233. With a good 5 inches of snow there was not much else to do except take some pictures;
    Kodak TRI-X 120 rated 400, developed XTOL, scanned Opticfilm 120. Sharpened for print.
    00bG7c-514937584.jpg
     
  234. 6X9 Velvia 50 from 120 looks blurry :(
     
  235. Okay, so now that the units are getting out there...
    What we all really need to know, from those who've used other scanners:
    1. Are they better than the Epsons?
    2. How much better are they, if so? Is it worth the cost to upgrade to the Plustek over an Epson, particularly the top-of-the line V750?
    3. How do they compare to the Coolscan 9000? Better, worse, the equal of?
    As someone else mentioned above, full-size crops would be very helpful. And even better would be full-size crops side-by-side with those done on an Epson scanner with the same frame, particularly with the BetterScanning holders (with the ANR glass, if possible).
    Looking forward to it!
     
  236. Hi Bernard, I can give you my personal opinion so far:
    1. Are they better than the Epsons? : For 120 film I doubt it unless you were printing really large and wanted the extra resolution. For 35mm the Epson just doesn't cut the mustard for me and so, for a dual format scanner this does pretty well. If you have a lot of negatives then the Epson is much quicker because the holders take twice the amount of film. Also I haven't got to grips with the Plustek batch scanning. On first trial I had frame misalignment problems but they may be due to my inexperience.
    2. How much better? My main gripes with the Epson are with the film holders and dust. The holders from Betterscanning work well but you are introducing yet another glass surface to keep clean. Dust/smudges means much more post processing and this, for me, is a huge benefit of the Plustek. The Epson can be used with Vuescan which I personally prefer to Silverfast which is the reason for the additional price on the Epson V750 which otherwise has the same spec as the V700.
    3. I have no experience with the Nikon.
     
  237. As a side note, the Epson V750 has more than Silverfast when compared to the V700: It has (supposedly) better coating on the glass surfaces, and the price includes a wet-scanning solution (Which you have to request separately, which, I suppose, most people who bought the scanner don't - and wet scanning is quite a bother anyway.)
    Maximum sharpness at some specific spot on the frame is one thing, and getting consistently sharp scans across the whole frame is something else. One thing I've liked about the few largish medium format scans on the Plustek that I've seen is, that the grain appears pretty consistent across the whole frame. Especially for "floppy" medium like Fuji slide films, this is quite the achievement (and something I would like to repeat myself before getting too enthusiastic ;)
     
  238. How can anyone still be considering V750 or V700, these are built in some china basement, with dust under glass and bad plastic (that outgasses). They should not even be called photo for same reason. If EPSON made them like it should have been done it's over. I have waited for a year for EPSON to wake up and start making it in quality controlled manner.
    If you live in some country where a 800 Euros is lunch money, I do not.
     
  239. Oh and before somebody suggests to clean V750 myself:
    The outgassing is also present on all optical surfaces like mirrors etc. inside the scanner on the optical path between image and CCD not just the glass surface that you can see it so easily. Because of this and the fact that mirror head assembly cannot be taken apart there is no point in cleaning, you have to replace the whole assembly with good one, built from right type of plastic that does not outgass.
     
  240. Somebody should also buy Silverfast resolution target with and test their MF120, it's the only way to see comparison with V750. There is also a wrong way to scan the target, unless the MF120 holders really hold film flat.
     
  241. Can someone possibly help
    I'm having problems aligning 6X6 film to the scanner film holders. 6X9 and 35mm no issues. Am I doing something wrong?
    Yhanks
    00bWuK-530483584.jpg
     
  242. Just picked up mine today in Oslo, Norway.
    A bit disappointed because it isn't true that you need a DVD drive on your computer OR an internet connection like their flyer said. You cannot activate Silverfast without the disc, so since new Macs don't have DVD drives I guess I will have to buy one just for this registration.
    Annoying because it is $100 extra but mostly because I don't get to use this new toy today.
    Also there is no Mac driver on the Plustek site nor through software update and I assume you need one since there is a DVD bundled for that as well.
     
  243. T. Storm Halvorsen Please send me your contact information: markdruziak >at< plustek {dot} com We will resolve this for you.
     
  244. T. Storm Halvorsen If you want, you can go to https://www.silverfast.com/problemreport/en.html?filter=assistant&sub=sales and then click on My Computer Doesn't Have A CD/DVD Drive.
    Follow the instructions on the screen.
    Drop me a note if you need more help.
     
  245. Thanks, that worked fine! So far I haven't been able to scan a single negative tho. Is there a manual anywhere explaining how you choose which part of the film strip to scan?
    In the WorkflowPilot I choose Negative and it only prescans the left half of the 120 mm film strip. Scan mode is greyed out until this is done. When completed I have the incomplete film strip and the red selection frame cannot be moved or resized. Now I can choose scan mode Transparent 6x6, but I only get a preview image of the full first negative and there is no way to choose other frames of the film strip.
    Tried a dozen times now. If I choose prescan outside of the Pilot the negative holder just goes all the way through and nothing is scanned. It prescans to 99% but nothing comes of it.
    There has to be a proper manual somewhere? Because simply clicking start like the small bundled manual says doesn't let me choose what to scan.
    Feel like an idiot here. Have been working with Photoshop and other digital stuff for 19 years (even older versions of Silverfast) but I cannot even get a simple preview going here. :(
     
  246. Thanks but unfortunately that only somewhat helps. I was able to select the second frame once but Silverfast crashed instead of performing the scan (it crashes a LOT) and I was never able to select that frame again. THat is to say, I select it, but the first frame is prescanned instead.
    I finally scanned that frame just to see the result and it was nothing like the prescan. It comes out a negative and upon inverting it you find that the originally dark image is extremely overexposed and washed out white. It is also as soft as a flatbed scan.
    I need to know if there is any hope of getting this to work or if I need to take it back. Here in Norway it is doubtful that I will even get my money back but they had one left in stock today and I may be able to get that one instead.
    That is to say if this isn't all some incompability with OSX 10.8.3
     
  247. I suggest you go to Silverfast.com and log a call. They can log into your computer via Teamviewer and see what is going on. The problem you mention about prescanning the first frame was supposedly corrected in SilverFast 8 R22. If you get into this situation, the only way out of it that I know of is to Select the Service Dialog from the opening splash screen and then select Software Reset. But as I mentioned, I is important to report your problem to SilverFast.
     
  248. OK, I will report it. Thanks!


    After resetting Silverfast crashed the first time I tried performing a scan, but I have now been able to scan a few negs
    without any troubles. Also the Pilot stays off now when I restart Silverfast. No need to ever have it on as it doesn't seem to
    work very well with 120 film. There is hope.


    Still going to report the stability issues but I guess I'll be keeping the scanner of it continues to work over the next few
    days. Sorry guys for turning this into a Silverfast support thread. I was on the verge of a breakdown. :)
     
  249. Storm, the next release of SilverFast will have a fix for the Workflow Pilot and from what I understand an alternative method to using the Overview dialog.
    Regarding support.... it's best to contact Plustek and SilverFast directly thru our websites. I don't always monitor these threads. Also please feel free to contact me directly via my Plustek email address, but please also log a call via the websites.
     
  250. I am very happy with my Plustek OpticFilm 120 bought from the Finnish distributor. The scanner is extremely fast, scanning a 6x7 frame at 5300dpi without iSRD takes about 3 minutes. However I am disappointed with the software Silverfast 8 because when the scanning is finished Silverfast goes into processing stage and uses up all the computers processor and memory resorces and still this crunching 'Processing' takes 35 minutes. This is ten times the amount of time for the scanner to do its job and clearly unacceptable. One german review stated this scanner is slow but in my opinion the scanner is very fast but Silverfast 8 is very slow and inefficient. And all this without using the Silverfast functions iSRD, SRD, ME, GANE and USM. If Silverfast can not sort out how to get the software to process the images faster my only hope is that there will be VueScan support for OF120. The results from Silverfast 8 are quite good, but I do not have time to wait for software that processes the image forever.
     
  251. The scanner has been more or less available for a while now...
    However the price of used Coolscan 9000 units has not so far plummeted. What gives? Nikon die-hards still are not convinced that Opticfilm 120 delivers?
    I'm not looking to buy an used Coolscan 9000 for cheap, I'm just using it as a kind of indicator of the general consensus about Opticfilm 120 - after all, why pay 3000+ Euro for an used 9 year old model when you can get a new this year's model for ~1900 euro?
     
  252. Hi Martin N
    For the quality of the scans I'm not finding the Opticfilm 120 particularly slow although I must admit that generally I would scan my 6X6 and 6X9 at 2650. But even at 5300 I have almost no processing delays (maybe 10 seconds max) so am wondering whether your computer is doing something else or has insufficient resources.
    My work process involves the scanning and while it is doing this I process with PS and import the finished image in Aperture. Despite the three programs being open and crunching away at the same time as the scanner I'm not hitting any hardware speed restrictions (imac i7, 12 GB ram). The only process which takes time is using the "smart sharpen" filter in PS which can take substantially longer (perhaps 30 seconds). Interestingly I do not have this slowness when using unsharp mask.
    The only real issue I still have is the alignment of the holders with 6X6 film. Mark Druziak suggests that this is due to camera misalignment but I have the same issue with the Hasselblad and Rolleiflex both aligning perfectly. I'm wondering where I can get a replacement as my dealer does not stock individual holders.
    As far as Silverfast is concerned, again I have no problems. I think they have improved the software from previous iterations and for me at least works consistently well.
    Al;l the best,
    Vincent
     
  253. >> Vincent van Walt
    Hello
    I can believe this is a Windows PC problem. I compared my present machine with AMD AthlonII, 4GB RAM and Windows 7 to a laptop with i3, 4GB RAM and Windows 8 and there was no significant improvement in processing speed. The german review probably used a Windows PC with i7 and 8GB RAM and they measured the processing speed almost exactly as my results on a much older PC. It could be Silverfast is somehow not optimized for Windows. Maybe I have to buy a MacMini.
     
  254. No, I have a Mac Mini and it doesn't fully meet the actual system requirements of Silverfast. For instance, the required memory is listed
    as 3GB, I think it was, and SilverFast simply won't run with that. Constant crashes. I have expanded the memory to 8GB, which is the
    Mini's maximum amount. That is to say, on two of Apple's pages I visited, the maximum amount of RAM for my model is listed differently,
    as either 8GB or 16GB. But in any case they don't sell bigger memory modules than a pair of 4GB.

    So 8GB I have which is juuuust enough. I scan medium format at the default resolution of 2650dpi and leave all of the tools off except for
    double exposure. That is as good as it gets.

    Will be interesting to see what a future VueScan version will be like when it arrives. SilverFast is simply too primitive and outdated.
     
  255. Almost any image processing you do in SilverFast will add some time. One of the things that I think takes a lot of time is rotation of the image. I believe Lasersoft Imaging is working on some efficiency improvements for the next release.
    Vincent, refresh my memory about the alignment issues again? If I remember, you can't align the movable frames on the holder with the frames on the film? Can you send some photos of your issue to markdruziak >at< plustek dot com? I apologize if you have done this already. I don't have access to my work email right now. Also, what country are you in? I can try to get you some film holders. We will eventually sell them separately.
     
  256. Regarding Silverfast slow post-processing times....
    Back in 2007, when I was using an Epson V700, I noticed that Silverfast's dust-removal processing ("iSRD") took several times longer than the ICE post-processing of the Epson Scan software. I was scanning 6x7 films at 3200 DPI so of course they were huge files but it always bothered me how Silverfast had speed issues which Epson Scan didn't. If it wasn't for the NegaFix functionality in Silverfast, I wouldn't have used it at all for this reason alone.
    I wonder if Silverfast still has the same problem today....
     
  257. And about memory... I wouldn't expect Silverfast to crash because you have too little RAM - your operating system would use swap to substitute for RAM in this case, which would be very very slow, but it shouldn't cause a crash. Unless there's something really odd with the software.. in the software business, anything IS possible.
     
  258. >> Nikkanen
    My machine has 4GB of memory and Silverfast crashes EVERY time i try to do ME(multiple exposure) at 5300dpi. It can't substitute virtual memory and I have had discussions with Silverfast about this and they say they won't or can't fix it.
    >> Halvorsen
    What is your processing time with mac mini at 5300dpi ? Have you timed it ?
    Martin
     
  259. Yes, expanding my memory solved my constant crashes. This was following that advice from SilverFast support. But too
    bad that they list a system requirement that just isn't true. I had enough memory for all other uses so it was an extra
    expense. But oh well. I'm sure if I scanned at full res and applied dust removal and other things then I would need more
    memory still. But there are no more memory slots and I'm not buying a new Mac just yet. Also the screens on the iMacs,
    which are the next step up in power, are not as good as the one I have now with my Mini.


    No, I haven't timed it. I only scanned a few photos at 5300dpi because the Mac Mini is struggeling with files that big. For
    instance, when you zoom and then drag the image sideways in Lightroom to look at details, there is a delay of meny
    seconds each time before anything happens. Those files are huge and I think the grain looks sharper at the lower
    resolution anyway. I would be surprised if the actual optical resolution isn't in fact a bit lower than 5300dpi. But I don't
    know, it just doesn't look quite right to me.
     
  260. Using a Mac Mini for demanding graphics processing is simply pushing it... back in the day this kind of work had to be done on special expensive workstation-class systems, and while technology has progressed and prices have come down, we're still not at the point where you could really do this kind of work on what's basically a laptop-level computer (that's what the Mac Mini basically is, a Macbook without display and battery.)
     
  261. Yes I know. I used to have the biggest Power Mac but that one is of course outdated and gone years ago. The Mac Mini
    is perfect for my simple use now that I don't render 3D or edit video anymore. Also it is nice and quiet since it is next to
    my bed and I rarely turn it off. :)
     
  262. Thanks a lot for the info. I scan at 5300dpi becuse its the optical resolution and I don't want to scan again soon. In my opinion the scanner outresolves the film, so that 5300dpi would be very nice if only the films could resolve more and have smaller grain. The sharpness is quite gorgeous. However, I can't even dream about using ME or iSRD currently. I do like the Silverfast UI and file quality and would never consider Vuescan if it was not for the devastating in-memory operation lags in Silverfast.
     
  263. I have now bought a Mac Mini (i5) with 8GB of RAM. After testing this setup it seems that Silverfast 8 performs much better on this setup. When testing frames 6x7 at 5300dpi without iSRD or ME, I can now time them as 3 minutes scanning and about 3 minutes processing in Silverfast. Thats very nice and fully acceptable to me. I have also had to leave my Lightroom workflow. I save files on a NAS drive and Lightroom struggles with the previews at 5300dpi on every image inspected. By the way I save JPEGs for getting acceptable read speeds. I discovered that CaptureOne 7 handles these networked files MUCH better than Lightroom and I can now use 5300dpi 6x7 without struggle in CaptureOne 7. So now I can recommend CaptureOne and Mac Mini with 8GB.
     
  264. I just got the SF USAF1951 test slide and I can report a measured optical resolution of 4400-4600dpi when scanning at 5300dpi. This limit drops with scanned resolution of 4000-4800dpi but these resolutions are still usable in a pinch. I am very happy that my sample of OF120 performs up to specification and is not a misaligned machine. I was lucky.
     

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