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filmscanners: Fw: the SS120 (from Ian Lyons)

Date: Wed, 06 Jun 2001 20:14:30 +0100
From: ILyons <ilyons@mac.com>
To: <TonySleep@halftone.co.uk>
Message-ID: <B7443FA6.22903%ilyons@mac.com>
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Subject: Posts to the Hlatone list and the SS120

To date I haven't seen much in the way of Q&A on the new Polaroid SS120 
scanner on this list. This I find surprising given that it has been
available for just over a month now. I've been using one since late 

The following is a extract from an email I sent to a friend in USA
who asked of my thoughts on the SS120 compared to the Imacon
Precission II. It might give you folk an indication of how highly I
rate the SS120. I also have a copy of the British Journal of
Photography's review and it is equally positive. It's in PDF format
so I have placed it on my web site at the following link

In the BJP review they refer to noise, note that this is scanner
noise as in mechanical/movement noise at the end of the the focusing
cycle. Actual shadow or dark area noise is barely visible, even in the 
dense chromes.

There has been some negative comments about the 35mm uncut film holder 
difficult to align and also some commentary on the 60mm carriers 
ability to
hold the 120/220 film flat. My own view is that the 35mm carrier is 
than ideal in its design. However, it is not impossible to make it 
work, but
it does require some twiddling :-) Any criticism of the 60mm holder is 
in my
view unwarranted. I have found that all my 120 film can be held 
flat that a sharp edge-to-edge can easily be obtained. I dare say that 
processed film will have a greater tendency to curl.

35mm chrome scans from the SS120 are superior to those from the SS4000. 
"few" colour negative scans that I have tried also produced good 
B&W scans from 35mm through 6 by 7 cm are excellent. To date I have 
SilverFast for all but a few scans. PolaColor Insight Pro (most will 
know it
as Insight V5) has a few added features, but none that would convince 
me to
use it over SilverFast.

In the UK and Europe SilverFast and Biuscan will be bundled as 
>From what I can tell the USA will have a with and without bundle 
The price differential a a few hundred $, but I really think the extra 
is worth paying to get SilverFast and Binuscan.

The email extract that I referred to:-

"I have just been to the local branch of Calumet, they have the
Precission II (10,000 UK) on demo. The guy at the store is a
friend and made a few scans at full 3200ppi to compare with the SS120. 
I had
brought the original 4000ppi and a SilverFast interpolated down to
3200ppi along on CD. BTW: This guy actually owns an Imacon and
is a VERY sucessful photographer in his own right.

The scans were from 645 FujiChrome 100 (the forerunner to Provia)
shot on my Mamiya 645 Super. Prior to going to the store I had been
VERY surprised to find that the SS120 3200ppi interpolated scan didn't
suffer compared to the 4000ppi scan. There was no sharpening of any
kind yet the 3200ppi image looked just as sharp as the 4000ppi scan.
My friend was equally surprised, and on first seeing them reckoned
the Imacon was in for a close run. He wasn't kidding.

We both reckoned the Imacon finished the winner (just) in terms of
sharpness, BUT the margin was such that 3 other pro photographers
reckoned we where splitting hairs. The 4000ppi scan isn't any sharper
than the others but does show subtly more detail, again close. Apply
a tad of sharpening to any of these scans and the differences are

The Imacon took 10 minutes to scan a 645 chrome, the SS120 2 mins 10
second when using SilverFast. I don't like Insight as it is slower and 
flexible than SilverFast."


Ian Lyons


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