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RE: filmscanners: Primefilm 1800i



I have a 1800.  It is made by a company called Pacific Image whose website is 
at:

www.scanace.com

I have a folder of images I produced using this scanner at:

http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=124018

Overall I came to like this scanner - though my first few scans made me howl 
in disappointment.  I bought it at Jessops (in the UK) and found that its 
driver was well out of date.  When I downloaded the latest driver from the 
webby, the images improved dramatically - so I suggest the download is 
essential.

I turned-off the auto-exposure, auto-gamma features of the scanning software.  
I did "flat" scans, for which I turned down the gamma control by two notches 
and reduced the contrast, I think.  The aim of this was to ensure that the 
histogram fell well within 0 and 255.  Otherwise the scanner, by default, 
clips black and white.  Also I didn't like the auto-exposure because every 
scan I did (of a single image) the colour/tonality seemed different.

I scanned in 12-bit mode (16-bit output files - 24MB per frame) and 
manipulated in PS.  I got what I consider to be pretty good results - but I'm 
not a detail/colour/tonality fascist (well I wasn't...) so I wouldn't 
recommend this scanner to anyone who considers themself a perfectionist.

The scanner can only take bare strips of film - it won't accept mounted 
slides.  You position the film by hand per frame.  I found that left-right 
centring was problematic as there are no guides - and the scanner cannot 
capture a full 36x24mm frame (it crops width by about 3-4mm and height by 
about 1mm - these are guesses).  I ended-up being pretty good at achieving the 
centring I required, judging by eye.

I was amazed to discover that this scanner performs flawlessly-aligned 
multiple scans.  A friend took some night shot brackets and with my scanner we 
were able to scan each image and line them up *perfectly* (accurate to the 
pixel) in PS.  It still amazes me...  See the following image for an example:

http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=240571

Overall the images are a bit "grainy" and "noisy", but most people you show 
these images to see no problems at all.  I have found that my learning curve 
with PS has demonstrated more difference in final images between my first 1800 
scans and my last ones, than in the 1800 scans compared with the LS40 scans - 
but that is because the "flat-scan" technique relies upon you being skilled 
with PS to pull the "image" out of the "data".  I don't think the auto-images 
the 1800 produces are so great - so you will have to do more work than with an 
LS40.  Also, since the scanner is not supported by Vuescan, you won't be able 
to benefit from the wonders of Vuescan.

I recommend this scanner to anyone on a seriously tight budget.  I also 
recommend it to anyone who is interested in getting a feel for this whole 
"film scanning" game at low cost.  You need a PC or Mac with USB.  Sell it if 
you decide you need something more serious.

Unfortunately after scanning and editing about five rolls of film, I got so 
cheesed-off dealing with scratch damage in my negs that once I discovered the 
LS40 I just knew I had to have one.  I didn't buy the LS40 for its superior 
image - but for ICE...  Yes the Nikon is superior in every way (my friend with 
the HP S20 is also rather envious of the Nikon) but as a way to try-out DIY 
film-scanning, the 1800 is good.

Of course, if you're a bit uncertain about filmscanning, then it is prolly 
worth sending in your films to get them scanned onto Kodak Photo CD.  I 
decided against this approach on the basis that I wanted control over 
cropping/exposure and also because being a bit of a geek, I wanted to get 
involved in the scanning process.  Scratch removal was just a bit too much 
like hard work though!

I will be selling my 1800, soon, now that I'm settled with the LS40.

Jawed




 




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