Would I be happy with flatbed in place of Nikon 9000 scanner?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by benny_spinoza, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. I'm posting this question here because I know that this forum has deep expertise in film scanning. I have a Nikon Coolscan 9000ED scanner. I'm not a heavy user of it, so it is tempting to sell it on some large auction site and pay off a few bills. But I still like to scan now and then, and have a Hasselblad which I like to use sometimes. I don't print very often, and usually not larger than 8 by 8 or 8 by 10. So my thinking is to sell the scanner and buy an under $200 flatbed, like the Epson V600 or Canoscan 9000F. I figure that if I ever want a very large print, or an exceptional print to give to relatives and display in a frame (which is seldom), I could always have a negative professionally scanned. I usually shoot C-41, such as Portra or Ektar 100. So my question is: Having had the Nikon 9000 for several years, do you think I will be happy with the output of an inexpensive flatbed scanner for computer slideshows and prints not larger than 8 by 8, or 8 by 10?
  2. Well, no, an Epson - say a v600 - will not give you the same image quality you're used to.
    BUT it's pretty quick and easy to use (particularly with an aftermarket film holder) and the quality is certainly there to make a 10" print. You can expect to get about 4000x4000 pixels worth of "real" resolution (measured in details resolved, bot pixels spit out by the scanner) and my usual strategy (I have a lot of computer power) is to scan a 16-bit-per-channel TIFF at a high res and do color corrections then downsize in Aperture to get a 4000x4000 compressed file. Printing at 10" I can't imagine having any complaints.
    BTW I'm having a somewhat similar experience - just sold my 500CM. Not pressing finances, but I wasn't getting enough use out of it to justify the luxury and the buyer is going to get a lot more out of it than I will. I still have a Mamiya C220, which, being honest, is quite enough for my purposes, and if I start longing for a big camera I can order an RB67 or something that's a lot less money than a 500CM.
  3. If it were me, and unfortunately it's not, I would keep the 9000.
    It would be really difficult to replace it these days. The flat beds work OK, but they are just not to the same standard as scanners like the 9000. IMHO
    I have an older, and very much slower, Canoscan 4000 and a Canoscan 9950 flatbed scanner. The latter works, but not up to the dedicated film scanner.
  4. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Apart from the fact that I chose a V700 not a V600 and the fact that I exclusively used 120 film, I did what you're thinking of doing and I'm happy enough. Sure the Nikon will give you better scans, but unless your application is demanding enough to use that quality, so what? Many people with scanners will find that what you're considering - getting a flatbed to cope with the bulk of the volume and sending out the odd bigger scan for when you need to make a larger print.
    My V700 does all the work for screen-based applications, for my website, and for the odd self-published book where I effectively print up to say 10" across. I find it faster and easier to use than the Coolscan albeit that I have a third party film holder to keep the material flat. The only doubt in my mind would be if you scan mainly 35mm film- I assume you must use some MF at least since otherwise why have the 9000? But I have no experience to tell me how large I'd want to print from a 35mm original.
  5. If you only do negs, the v600 may just be fine. If you have positives (e6 or reversal), the light hood on the v700/750 is second to none. The difference in dmax is a jump from 3.2->4.0.
    I have a 4490, Plustek 7200i and a V700. My brother has the v600 and aside from my 4490 using a tradition lamp vs the v600 using leds, it is the same unit. Before the arrival of the V700, the 4490 handled all my MF (6x6,6x45,6x9) and did it well. About 6 months before I got the v700 I started to do a lot of slide.
    I didn't notice the difference a good dmax would do until I got the V700. It's not so much a resolution jump as a everything else jump. Inside it has a lot more 'tunables' the software uses to get a better scan. These thing you have on the 9000 as well. Going to a V700 may be an easy move, and going to a v600 will be quite a noticeable move.
    My Plustek 7200i, resolution wise, is a pretty tight race to the v700. Not enough to do an upgrade, by itself. However E6 or Reversals are night and day.
    With all this, I wet mount and don't have a clue where I put my epson stock film mounts. They are pretty useless. The DOF is much broader on the V700 which makes the holders more acceptable, but you will miss the 9000 ability to actually focus.
    If it is all about the money, do the v600 and go here.... http://myfilmstuff.blogspot.com/2010/04/5-wet-mount.html You will at least get a decent scan out of the thing.
    If it more about the money, but you still want some decent quality, get a V700 instead.
    If you scan 35mm at all, forget about the V600 and get the V700.
  6. I have a V500 scanner and think it is unsuitable. Maybe the V600 is better.
  7. I know exactly where you are coming from. I also have a Nikon 9000, but I have only had mine for about a year and a half. I bought it when the last few new ones could be had for a relatively sane price. It is one thing I have that I could easily sell for twice what I paid for it. However, that very fact is one reason I do not sell it. It is still in high demand and almost like the "holy grail" of home scanners. I think I would soon be sick if I sold it. I also could sure use the cash, but that money would soon be gone, and then I would be left with no Nikon scanner and no ability to replace it, except with something much less capable. I do not use it very often, but when I do, it is so nice to be able to make a 16bit true 4000 ppi Tiff scan. Getting the same quality from an outside source would cost at least $50 for a drum scan. I have a series of film shots I have done with a pinhole camera at the 6 x 9 format. I can do a full size scan on all of them, and still be able to crop into it as much as needed and still make an excellent 16 x 20 print. With no cropping, a print the size of a large poster is not even a strain. Since I enter lots of calls for entries to photo galleries, I need to be ABLE to output at large sizes if needed. The actual NEED is few and far between, but having the Nikon scanner is like safe haven. I may not use it all that much, but if I did not have it, I would then be left having to use something of far less quality and would have to dump at least $50 anytime I needed / wanted a truly good scan.
    I also have the Nikon glass holder so the quality is the best it can be. If you are not using the glass holder, you are missing out on the best the scanner can do.
    One last point. I have had other scanners, Epson and Canon both. To me, the quality difference in the scans between the flatbeds and the Nikon is not just for huge print sizes. It can be seen even on the web. The clean, sharp resolution, the color, shadow detail, ... all that makes itself shown even in small prints or on the web.
    So my personal opinion is you would soon really regret selling the Nikon. I know I would. I suggest you hang on to it unless it is almost a matter of not being able to eat unless you sell it.
  8. Having a Nikon 9000 and a Hasselblad is a great combo.
    If one then goes to a flatbed, one truncates the higher end details. A consumer Epson flatbed picks up less details than a Nikon 9000 film scanner.
    If you are just shooting for the web or doing simple 4X enlargements then *most* folks will not see any benefit of a Nikon 9000.
    If you do larger prints greater than 4x then the flatbed is often the limit. ie you might as well sell that Hasselblad and use a 3 element Yashica TLR and your flatbed.
    Some of us use both Epson flatbeds and our Nikon 9000 too. The flatbed often is faster and "good enough" for many applications. For critical stuff here I use the Nikon 9000 and it clearly pulls out way more details.
    Like any tool you should do experimenting and see what YOU need and not another.
  9. Steve,
    Were any of the Epsons or Canons you owned a V700 or canoscan 9000F? I'm very concerned about color fidelity compared to the Nikon 9000. I don't think I need the resolution of the Nikon.
  10. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    --at least $50 anytime I needed / wanted a truly good scan​
    This is where myth takes over. I pay , nowadays, £7.50 for 8 bit or 16 bit high-res scans from medium format, hand cleaned in Photoshop. Thats about $12 not $50. And they're made on an Imacon, which despite using fewer pixels, makes IMO better scans.
  11. There's no way you will be happy scanning with any flatbed when you could have done it with a real film scanner. I've done both, and I use a flatbed now only because I have to. Even if the"image quality" were to be the same (yeah right), it's much less convenient to scan on a flatbed, dust settles on the glass, it can be more troublesome to properly align the negative in the holder, etc. It's a royal pain in the derrière.
    1. You'll deal with more dust. There's a glass that the adapter lays on, that collects dust. There's also glass between the light source and the film, that can and will collect dust as well. On either if the dust is on the inside you'll have to disassemble the scanner to clean it. Not sure about your Nikon scanner, but most film scanners eliminate as many dust collection areas as possible.
    2. The D-max may not be as good as you're used too. That translates into shadow and highlight detail. The resolution won't be nearly as good as the specs make them out to be.
    3. The DPI rating, while technically correct, usually doesn't resolve nearly as much as the specs say they will. Yes, there's still 4800 dots/pixels/lines per inch, but effective resolution is different from actual resolution. Basically you'd need to scan at much higher (native, not interpolated) resolutions than what you're used too to get the same quality.
    Here's a write up on your Nikon scanner http://www.filmscanner.info/en/NikonSuperCoolscan9000ED.html It states that the effective DPI for your Nikon is 3900 DPI. The actual specs on your scanner are 4000 DPI, so you're getting a lot of resolution from your scanner. Now the specs on an Epson v600 http://www.filmscanner.info/en/EpsonPerfectionV600Photo.html with an effective resolution of 1560 even though you scan at 3200 or 6400 dpi. Now, even if you dispute the actual numbers, it shows the scale of what you're going to get. Half the resolution that you currently get, which is perfectly fine for web use and smaller prints. But you'll also get less density resolution (D-max, shadow detail, whatever you want to call it), the website I linked too unfortunately doesn't actually put a number on that, but they do state that it's "not comparable to a good film scanner" much like your Nikon scanner. At any rate, if you're seriously considering this you should take a negative or slide that you've previously scanned with your Nikon and try it out on a scanner that you're thinking of. Epsons and Canon scanners are the two I suggest to consider. I don't own either but the comparative reviews and the following for the Epsons tell me that they are no slouch.
    I own an HP scanner (capable of scanning up to 8x10) and it's not fit for serious scanning use. I do use it simply because I don't have another scanner, but I'd tell anyone looking at buying a scanner to look at an Epson or Canon for the same amount of money. My HP's dust removal is useless and the much hyped "6 color scan" is total BS and a huge time waster.
  12. I "make do" with the V750 for everything larger than 35mm. The 35mm is done on an Coolscan V. I've even done some 35mm scanning on the V750 when I was looking for "proof" scans. Also, the V750 is color profiled with Ektachrome and Kodachrome (via SilverFast Ai), so I'll sometimes scan a Kodachrome on it to get the color straight with less fuss.
    It would be hard for me to justify a Nikon 9000, even at the original fair retail price, since I scan a lot of material (new and vintage) that's larger than 120.
    I bought the V750 instead of the V700 not for the multi-coated optics or wet mounting tray, but because I had come to like SilverFast on my prior Epson 2450, and the V750 comes with the full version of SilverFast.
    If you want to send me a negative, I'll be glad to scan it on my V750 on a Better Scanning variable height LF holder.
  13. Here are a few samples from an Epson V500 hope it helps.
  14. another...
  15. One from 35mm...
  16. here it is
  17. Benny's specs are a 8x10 " print maximum.
    This firmly boxes in the enlargement to say 5X.
    A modern flatbed reaches this goal and thus a Epson 9000 adds no extra details and thus is overkill, ie a waste of money. Since most here do not worry about the cost of tools this waste is acceptable.
    If this was a commercial tool for a professional application, the extra cost of a Nikon 9000 would radically drop the return on investment and might get one terminated for cause.
    The practical thing is to just buy a used 200 buck scanner and see if it works good enough and decide for oneself.
    A 4X to 5X enlargement is in the range of ease for a modern consumer flatbed, thus a Nikon 9000 adds no extra details but just ties up a few extra grand.
    A good used Nikon 9000 will fetch 2500 bucks
  18. I have a Nikon Coolscan 9000ED scanner ..., and usually not larger than 8 by 8 or 8 by 10. So my thinking is to sell the scanner and buy an under $200 flatbed, like the Epson V600 or Canoscan 9000F​
    You didn't say what film format you're using because it all depends on the amount of enlargement.
    I have a Nikon 9000 as well. So, you know that it's good to around 10X - at which point the film, lens, and the particular circumstances of the shot become dominant in determining usability.
    My experience with the 4490 and V500 is that it a 5X enlargement is reasonable. 8x10 prints from 6x7 film is quite good. The V600 is just a badge change from this lineage, so I wouldn't expect different outcomes. Fundamentally, it's the optics. It won't matter how you jiggle things or whose aftermarket film holder you use.
  19. @ David... If you can show me where in the US I can get a 16 bit 4000 ppi TIFF scan from a frame of medium format film, at a price point you mention, then I would be eternally grateful and might would sell my Nikon. I have found NO lab, or even a free lance owner, that will do a drum scan at those specs for anything under $50.
    @Benny .... the Epson I had was the V500. The Canon was an 8800. The newer models might be better, but the difference between what my Nikon does and what those flatbeds did is night and day.
    You are getting all kinds of responses on both sides of the fence on this issue, and that is not surprising. Scanners and scanning "quality" is almost always as heated a discussion as the whole "digital vs. film" thing.
    I would just hate for you to turn loose of such a fine piece of equipment as the Nikon, and then very possibly live to want to kick yourself over it later. I look at it this way. If you had NO scanner and were trying to decide to get one of the better flatbeds or spend $3000 for a used Nikon, then I would say, yeah, the price of the Nikon is probably not justified for you. But that is not the case. You already have the Nikon. I stand by my opinion in that, unless you REALLY DESPERATELY need the money, keep what you have and all is solved.
  20. If this issue was about car A versus car B one would actually drive both and see if the lessor car does the required job.Maybe you are just driving to work on a bogged freeway and the max speed one can go is 30 MPH.
    If this question was about selling the Blad and buying a yashica 124 tlr one could shoot with both and still make fine 8x10's too.
    Making a 8x10" print from MF is not such a massive requirement
    The Nikon 9000 allows a larger enlargement than a flatbed. The question mentions MF and the Blad and a 8x10 thus the enlargement is defined.
    A print only supports say 7 line pairs per mm maximum. Thus with a 4X enlargement one only needs 28 best case. Even a 10 year old Epson 2400 class flatbed reaches this.
    Thus the question is really do you sell the better tool, or use it if one needs enlargements beyond 4x, or do you farm out the few items that actually require a better scan?
  21. Consumer flatbeds with time cane have a lessor contrast. The scan glass gets dirty and fogged on the inside surface and thus contrast drops. Cleaning the glass can radically boost contrast.
  22. My V700 can make very nice 8x12's. No it can't dig in as deep as expensive scanners but it's better than a lot of folks will give it credit for. I also have a Plustek 7600i and this is a real sleeper for the money. If you are just scanning 35mm it's one of if not the best affordable option IMO.
  23. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Steve. You are not looking very hard. West Coast Imaging, a lab not as renowned for low prices as they are for quality, will sell you a 200MB 16 bit Tango drum scan from MF for $39.95. That took me two minutes. If I were seriously looking for a USA source for my own purposes I'm sure I could do better. It really isn't helpful to toss out these generalisations that may have been true ten years ago, but are easily disprovable now.
    It might also make the task a little easier if you remembered that the price I quoted was for an Imacon scan, not a drum scan.
  24. The answer is no. You won't be happy.
    Stuart this is the test you asked me to do on the Coolscan vs the V500. The V500 is downsized to 4,000 dpi to match the Coolscan 9000.
  25. And the Coolscan is the bottleneck.... There is even more detail on the negative than the scanner can capture.
    In order of resolving power:
    On a 6x7 frame, my Mamiya lenses project over 300 megapixels of true detail.
    On a 6x7 frame of TMAX there are more 150 megapixels of true detail.
    The Coolscan effectively captures 90 MP (3850 effective resolution).
    The V500 effectively captures 23 MP (1950 effective resolution).
    For comparison a 20MP DSLR effectively captures approximately 15MP.
  26. stp


    I had a Nikon 9000 scanner (again, one of the last ones sold in the country), and the only reason I gave it up is because I've gone all digital and have no film cameras left. If I had a film camera (especially the Hasselblad 501cm -- a wonderful camera with superb lenses) and if I used it with any regularity, I would definitely have kept the 9000 (I also have an Epson V750 scanner).
    But I hear what you're saying about limited scanning needs. If I seldom used a film camera, it would probably make economic sense to commercially scan the subset of that limited use that is suitable for relatively large printing -- for me, that would be a pretty small number. Given the significant decline in film, this may be the best time to be selling big-ticket items associated with film that you seldom use.
  27. For the sake of science (and the big heart that I have) I just spent the last 30 minutes toying with the height of the film on the V500 to find the sharpest and most detailed possible result and then applied optimal 3-layer sharpening. This is the best I could obtain (with very painful work) on the V500. An improvement but still not fair to the negative.
    Coolscan - left. V500 manually adjusted and sharpened - right.
  28. Wow! Thanks for all your responses. There is much for me to think about. Mr. John Shriver: Thanks for the offer to scan a negative. I think I'll take you up on that.
    Seth "Benny"
  29. But Mauro, what about the 8x10" print limitation? A 4000 PPI scan from a 56x56mm frame prints at about 30" on a side at 300 PPI. If you make a 4000 PPI scan from a Nikon and an Epson and view at 100% you're looking at more detail that you can see in an 8x10 print. If you do some sensible contrast adjustment and sharpening and print 8x10, how much difference is there?
  30. Andy, agree at just 8x10 the V500 will not be the limiting factor for resolution. Drange and tonality maybe a bit compromised at times but it can make a fantastic print. Even at 11x14 or 16x20 the V500 with 120-film would do very well.
  31. Benny, you're getting lots of good advice. I'll add mine. I like a print that's sharp enough inspect up close with the naked eye. With my V500, I get prints of this quality at 6x the linear dimension of the film. That is, I make 12x18" prints from my 120 file (6x9).
    I'm happy with the color.
    I agree with all the comments that a V500 or V600 will be about half the linear resolution of your Nikon 9000.
  32. Unless you know that you are really not going to be using it and if you think you might get more into MF film and really can get by without the extra cash, I would hold on to it. It's a really good scanner and it will be difficult to get them should you change your mind later. Also, it scans 35 mm really well, especially color film. So if you are into shooting film you might miss it later.
  33. Well, I suspect that in the future, I will shoot much more 120 format film than 35mm. I want to get use out of my Hasselblad. So maybe the V600 is good enough?
  34. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    agree at just 8x10 the V500 will not be the limiting factor for resolution. Drange and tonality maybe a bit compromised at times but it can make a fantastic print. Even at 11x14 or 16x20 the V500 with 120-film would do very well.​
    And isn't that exactly the point. I can't see anyone on this thread promoting a view that Epson flatbeds scan as well as a Coolscan. The question is, given that the OP quotes a rather undemanding range of applications, will a flatbed be good enough, as he is prepared to go to a lab when he wants anything more than a small print? In fact you are more generous to the flatbed than I'd be- and I use a supposedly superior V700.
  35. David, I agree that a real film scanner certainly gives more image quality, and 20" is stretching what I'd do from a flatbed, but given the parameters of the question I think the flatbed carries it. Ebay sellers are getting $3000 for a 9000 these days and a new Epson V500 sell for $150, and Benny says he doesn't use it a lot and asks about on-screen viewing and 8x10 prints.
  36. Thanks Mauro for uploading the V500 Coolscan comparison.
  37. No. If you like your scans now, you will not be able recreate them with an Epson. You will waste time trying. Sell the
    9000 if you need. But, send your film to a service to be scanned if you do.
  38. Unless finances are dire, I would not risk seller's remorse.
  39. I see 8000s for sale, how do they compare to 9000s?
  40. I have an 8000. My understanding is that there may be a slight difference in dynamic range for the 9000, but the biggest advantage is speed. Other than that I doubt you'll see a difference.
    I've compared prints from both my 8000 and an Epson v500. With judicious sharpening/contrast adjustments, it is difficult to tell the prints apart at 16x16. Above that, the Nikon pulls ahead.
    While it's true that the Epson can't pull out the tiniest details, whether those details will be missed is another matter. It all depends on the lens, technique, film, and subject matter. If you shoot fast film handheld of people and print 12x12, you don't need a Nikon. If you shoot slow film on a tripod with fine glass stopped down and print 26x26, you need a Nikon.
  41. Thanks, I think I will save for an 8000, a 9000 is well out of my price range, as even an 8000 is worth more than my car
  42. I have both the Epson 4870 (forerunner of the V700), and the Coolscan 9000. For 35mm, there is no comparison, 9000 blows it away. However, for 645 (and larger), the 4870 does an excellent, fantastic job. Plus, you can buy several film holders for peanuts, and bulk scan the preloaded holders. Doing that with the 9000 will cost $$$ for the holders.
    Anyways, for what you describe, the 4870 will be a fine replacement for the 9000 - for 8x10's and monitor viewing. Heck, even for larger sizes like 11x14 with a little sharpening. So if you really need the money, you could go this route.
    Note that I considered the same thing last year, when prices went cary high for the 9000, even used. I was scanning some Fall Colors 645 slides, and was impressed that the 4870 actually had more vibrant colors straight out of the scanner. I -preferred the scans to the 9000 scans - for this application. Dont know, maybe with portaits would be a drawback with the 4870. Plus, I had several 4870 film holders I could preload for "scan and walk away" scanning, simply swapping holders as scans finished. Less disruptive than changing out and reloading film after every scan.
    But, I use my 9000 for 35mm too, so I decided not to sell it. But again, if you really need the money, you would be happy with a 4870 for the purposes you state (and NOT 35mm). Plus, they can be had for peauts nowadays - a $600 (new) scanner for around $100.
  43. Why are you shooting medium format when you only ever make 8x10 prints? Just as a comparison I think a 17x20" print from 35mm B&W film scanned on the 5000ED look good. If you sell your scanner you should perhaps sell your camera as well and pick up a decent 35mm instead and have the film developed and scanned? An 8x10 print will look great if the scanning is not too bad and you'd free up some more cash.
    That said unless it was a must (and then you don't have an option) I would keep both the camera and the scanner and start making some big prints to justify having both a good scanner and shooting medium format.
  44. Why are you shooting medium format when you only ever make 8x10 prints?​
    1. Shallower DOF
    2. Prints with no visible grain
    3. Sharpness close to that of a contact print
    4. Retain the possibility of always printing larger
    I think a 17x20" print from 35mm B&W film scanned on the 5000ED look good.​
    To each his own. I have a 5000, and 9000 as well. For me, 6x9 prints from 135 Tri-X is about right, and maybe 11x14 from 400 TMAX or Acros.
  45. The reason why I went into medium format is that when I rekindled my interest in photography some 10 years ago, I put together a darkroom, with the belief that good optical prints from medium format would be easier to obtain than from 35mm. Of course, nowadays with scanners and almost grainless film like the new Portras and Ektar 100, it may not be so important to use medium format.
  46. Great responses all round. Thanks for those who posted outstanding quality examples. Having seen many of these threads. Yes, a dedicated film scanner is preferable. But, if I were using a flatbed, I would opt for what used to be the professional quality scanners, Linocolor Saphir2, UMax Powerlook series, Mircotek-Agfa, that have, I believe, superior optics to today's consumer models. With good technique as already outlined, and there are ways to combat Newton's rings, one can get excellent quality from at least 120 negatives. Some of the later models had Firewire and I retain SCSI capable computers to use older, but still excellent scanners.
  47. Would I be happy with flatbed in place of Nikon 9000 scanner?​

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