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RE: filmscanners: Request for "unbiased review" of Polaroid 120

Ian Lyons posted a review through Tony a couple of weeks ago. It should be
in the archive


 -----Original Message-----
From:   Victor Landweber [mailto:victor@landweber.com] 
Sent:   Tuesday, June 26, 2001 1:50 PM
To:     filmscanners@halftone.co.uk
Subject:        filmscanners: Request for "unbiased review" of Polaroid 120

Polaroid 120 Users --

Rafe B. wrote a marvelous review of his experience with the Nikon 8000 
(posted to FILMSCANNERS on 6/26/01). Can someone with a Polaroid 120 post 
something comparable?

-- Victor Landweber

>Lest I come off as a shill for Nikon, here's my
>summary on the Nikon 8000 ED, after three weeks
>of fairly intense usage.  There's a little bit
>of ammo for Mr. Hemingway here, but also some
>stuff that ought to concern him.
>The Good:
>* overall, excellent scans, especially on 645
>   negatives.  Quality on par with the Leaf 45,
>   maybe even marginally better.  (Sorry, Austin.)
>* ICE really works.  I'm very impressed.
>* Fast.  645 scans w/o ICE in about 5 minutes.
>   (on Athlon 700 MHz machine with 512 MB RAM)
>   Add about 50% more time for ICE.  [But one other
>   user has emailed me about very slow scans...]
>* surprisingly good auto-exposure, at least on
>   most negatives.  I use it often -- and I'm
>   usually very fussy about scanner settings.
>* no film-type "profiles" to choose from --
>   scanner is uncannily accurate at properly
>   "inverting" different types of C41 film
>* good software (NikonScan 3.1) despite some
>   conflicts and issues with installation.  It
>   has all the essential controls I want,
>   including histograms and a good curves tool.
>   All in all, one of the best vendor-supplied
>   scanner drivers that I've worked with.
>* clever, sturdy film holders (but not without
>   some problems -- see below)
>* good 24/7 tech support by phone, very little
>   waiting.  Rapid escalation to "2nd Level"
>   support if need be, but 2nd-Level is only
>   available during "normal working hours."
>The Bad:
>* large, noisy machine.  Scanning mechanism
>   has a suprisingly coarse sound.  Offhand, I
>   don't see why the machine needs to be this large.
>* Film holders sometimes seem to wiggle as
>   they're being moved about by the scanner
>   (during thumbnail and preview acquisition, when
>   the carrier reverses direction.) This does not
>   inspire confidence in the mechanics.
>* 35 mm film holder:  very flat negatives can
>   slide around.  I find I need a tiny piece of
>   tape at the edge of the filmstrip to prevent
>   this.
>* 35 mm slide holder: possible auto-focus
>   issue (but I need to investigate this further.)
>* 645 film holder (glassless): occasionally a
>   negative at the end of a strip can't be made
>   to lie flat.  When this happens, focus goes
>   to hell.  (Apparently not much depth-of-field.)
>* 645 holder:  4 images (max) per film strip.
>* 645 holder:  the method used by NikonScan to
>   locate the images is ridiculous and error-
>   prone.  It can be worked around but that adds
>   some time, as one needs to iterate between
>   an "offset" setting and another thumbnail/
>   preview.
>* I long for a "non-batch" film-loading mechanism
>   like with my earlier film scanners.  The movable
>   film-holder slows everything down.  Each time you
>   enter the TWAIN driver you need to re-acquire
>   thumbnails and the preview of the image you want
>   to scan.  Slows things down a lot.
>   This could be avoided by using NikonScan "stand-
>   alone" but the problem there is that its TIFF
>   file "save" operation is so dreadfully slow, it
>   would negate any time savings.  (Takes as long
>   to save a 170 MB TIFF file as it took to make
>   the scan in the first place.)
>* Banding issues on dense slides/negatives.  The
>   workaround is to use "SuperFine" scan mode but
>   that slows down scanning by a factor of three.
>In summary:  it does the essential functions very
>well, but with a number of quirks and bothersome
>user-interface headaches.  The banding issue is the
>most worrisome; I've only seen this in the last
>24 hours or so.  The "Super Fine Scan" fix seems to
>work so far, but I'll feel better about this after
>I've tested it some more.

V. Landweber
phone (510)841-7217


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