Using a Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 with Modern PC

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by Sandy Vongries, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Not long ago, got hold of the device and accessories. So far, been unable to get it to work ( I don't have Firewire ) My computers are all newish and Windows based. My computer skills are reasonable, but a bit dated. Has not been urgent, since I've gotten pretty decent results copying slides both with cameras and Canoscan 9000. Frankly, unless the results were much superior to current methods, my instinct is to be sure it works then sell it on. Suggestions appreciated, obviously, under the circumstances, expensive solutions might not work for me. Thanks!
  2. At least where I live it's pretty easy to find older computers for next to nothing. Same with firewire cards. If all you wanted to do was make sure it works, you could buy something cheap (or borrow), download Nikon Scan or a trial version of Vuescan and see if it works. You could also scan a few negatives and compare the results with your current methods of scanning to see if the difference is worth it to you. If it is, then you could go through the trouble of trying to get it to work on your more modern computer.

    I have or had a similar dilemma. I've got an 8000 that works on my 6 year old computer but not with Nikon Scan. I find Vuescan to be a less than great solution with that particular scanner. Good results can be obtained but so far it's been a slow process. Vuescan won't do thumbnails with that scanner and previewing each image is sloooow.

    So I picked up an older G5 that will run Nikon Scan and I use the Macintosh equivalent of Remote Desktop to do the scans from my newer computer. Honestly I still don't know if it's worth it. I have not been blown away by the differences between scans from it vs my Epson V500, but I'm very much an amateur. A more trained eye might have a different take on it.

    I got the scanner cheap and could sell it for between $500 and $1000 pretty easily. With that profit I could get a modern, supported scanner than may not have the batch scanning options and won't do medium format, but for the few negatives that i want larger prints from, might work perfectly well.

    What I will say about the 8000 and I'm assuming is true with the 4000 is that these beasts are extremely well built scanners.
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks, Tom!
  4. Firewire adapters are easily available. I have a Lenovo laptop with built-in Firewire, but also have an adapter for my MBP. I have Firewire in an HP workstation, but cannot get it to recognize the scanner. It works just fine with the laptop and Silverfast software, under Windows 7. I haven't tried it yet with my iMac or MBP. I've been using Silverfast with a variety of scanners for nearly 20 years, It costs more than Vuescan but has more features and better support. The interface is consistent between different scanners.

    Nikonscan has better support than Silverfast for strip and roll scanning on the 4000, but Silverfast works about the same on the 8000 (I have both). Since I have a mix of 35 mm cut into strips of 6 and 6x6 film, I'm only working with the 8000 at present.

    At one time, Nikon recommended firewire cards with a Texas Instruments processor. You need to use the "Legacy" drivers, which are included with Windows. Microsoft envisioned Firewire as a peer-to-peer network, and the new drivers require handshaking that never occurs with older devices.
  5. VuScan. Online. Great with my old Konica-Minolta + new Mac.
  6. Although I did originally hook up my Mac Pro to my CoolScan 9000 with VueScan, I ended up using my ancient G4 (Yikes! even) Macintosh (which had Firewire) and the original Nikon software. It can plug away on a batch behind me, and I just use a thumb drive to transfer the files.

    Vintage machines of the original period of the CoolScan are cheaper than most solutions converting new machines to accept the old interfaces (as tom said). Plus, they don't tie up your workflow -- all you need is desktop space (not trivial).
  7. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    JDM -- as usual, you hit the nail on the head! No space for another computer, and even less interest in another technological antique -- surrounded by those already. I'll probably end up posting it for sale "as is" or for parts..
  8. Sandy, a Firewire dongle for your Mac will cost about $30. You can download a fully working copy of Silverfast for free. Everything works, but it peppers the image with some message that it is a trial version. Otherwise you can save and print the scans. You can test it with a trial version of Vuescan too.

    Neither program worked with my HP workstation because the computer simply would not recognize the scanner. Both worked with my Windows 7 laptop. I haven't tried it with my iMac or MBP.

    I have had great success copying slides with my Sony A7, but the Nikon scanner is still the best way to scan negatives, or unmounted film of any sort. In addition to ideal film handling, scanner software converts negatives to positives in one step rather than two or more using a camera.
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Ed -- all computers on hand are recent windows machines -- having gotten my computer training and experience thru the business world, I have never even touched a Mac.
    Suppose I'm not fussy enough, but the slide copying results I've gotten both with macro gear on the cameras and on the Canoscan 9000F have been pretty decent. What it comes down to, is I bought the dam' coolscan, so I need to get it working or "get it gone." Thanks for your input.
  10. Can certainly understand where you're coming from Sandy. If you wanted to cut your losses you could sell the film adaptors separately from the scanner and I think you'd come out pretty well. Not wanting another computer on my desk (or counter in this case) I ended up doing the following:


    The old G5 (bottom left) that is connected to the scanner is a behemoth but it sits on the floor next to the my wife's shredder and the dog food. ;) I stand so I don't need the leg room. It's on the same network as my iMac so I just use remote desktop from the iMac to do the scans and it dumps the files back on my iMac.

    The pic shows Nikon Scan running off the G5 and being displayed on the iMac. All very doable in the PC world as well if you want to jump through the hoops, - and it sounds like you may not.

    I don't need an extra monitor/keyboard/mouse with this setup but yes, it is more crap sitting around.

    Also possible would have been an old Mac Mini or an old laptop, either of which would take up less room. Finally, another option would be to do what you're considering, - sell the Nikon and go down a different path. I did try another scan last night to compare what I was getting from the Epson. In this one I could definitely see more detail but the colors didn't come out quite right. That's something that can be addressed after the scan of course.

    JDM - I did try Vuescan with my 8000 and wasn't particularly happy with it either.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
  11. Sorry, Sandy. I though I was the only one never to have touched a Mac until last October. It's even easier to equip a PC with Firewire, given the caveats I offered above.
  12. Install a firewire card. Get a new hard drive. Swap the hard drive out and install Windows XP on the new drive. When you're done with the scanning swap the drive back and run your Windows 10.
  13. This sort of thing's always happening in industry/commerce. An upgrade of OS or hardware and it all goes t*ts up!

    The easiest solution is an old PC running an old OS that talks to the hardware & software nicely. If you don't load garbage like Office, I.E or anything much else by MS or Adobe on the computer it'll run sweetly and fairly swiftly. Once scanned you can plug in a portable drive to transfer the files to a more powerful computer to do the heavy lifting.

    BTW. I came across an interesting comparison between a Canon FS4000 scanner, a D800E slide copier setup and a drumscan. There was almost nothing to choose between the Canon dedicated filmscanner and the DSLR copy. Even the drumscan didn't show any more real detail.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
  14. If you want to speed things up, there are cheap and plentiful 7450-based upgrades for your Yikes! that will make a noticeable difference. The 7450 series processors have on-die L2 cache and an external L3 cache interface. It's overall a more efficient packaging than the 7400 with external L2 cache that shipped in the Yikes!. I have a Sonnet 1ghz/1mb L3 in a G3 minitower, albeit this particular upgrade holds a premium still. The 700 and 800mhz versions are much more affordable. The G3 beige series, G3 blue and white, and Yikes! all use the same ZIF socket and with some caveats processor upgrades are interchangeable across all three models. In fact the Yikes! is more or less a G3 B&W without the firmware block that prevents it from booting with a G4 installed and also without the ADB port present on the B&W(the solder pads are there-the physical port just isn't).
  15. thanx ben.
  16. Long, long ago when I first got my Canoscan 4000, I tried USB.

    Like trying to pour molasses through a very tiny pipe.
    SCSI was faster, in fact the "fast" SCSI turned out to not be that much slower than the FireWire on my CoolScan 9000, to my grave disappointment.

    Mind you, the Nikon had its advantages, although whether they justify the great difference in initial price is another matter.
  17. To be fair to USB, back then is was USB 1.1 or something. Good for keyboards, mice, low-end printers, floppy drives and things like that. Not much else.

    SCSI was great if you liked stiff, thick cables, remembered to terminate, didn't have conflicting IDs in your chain, and didn't accidentally disconnect something while it was powered on. ;)
  18. "remembered to terminate"
    sounds like a Schwarzenegger movie, but only recently when I replaced my CanoScan 4000 (SCSI) with the Firewire CoolScan I took out the "Fast"SCSI card with an almost unbearable sense of newfound freedom.

    Scuzzy was the word. I piped over 60,000 images over that.And, yes, it was only USB 1:(

    Free, thank God almighty, free at last!
    SCSI no more, hallelujah.

    Any effort, by whatever method, IMHO, to scan a film* image at higher than 4000 PPI is only going to resolve the film grain or dye clouds better, not the image itself.

    *commercial film, that is. There were some technical films that may, note italics, have gone higher, but nothing you could get down at the local camera shop.
  19. Dare I ask how many boxes of slides like that you had?

    Makes my scanning needs seem pretty paltry in comparison.

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