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filmscanners: SS120 first impressions and a few questions.

Title: SS120 first impressions and a few questions.

Hello All,

I received my SS120 yesterday and my first impressions are mostly quite favorable vs. the LS-8000.  I've not sure I had enough time with the LS8000 (or the SS120) to truly differentiate scan quality but both are very good.  Also, I've never owned a film scanner before so I'm not sure I'm experienced enough to really judge.  Both are plenty capable for my purposes (output to an Epson 1270). 

So far, I do see two distinct advantages of the Polaroid.  One is that the Insight software is more stable than NikonScan 3.1.  The machine I'm using is a dual PIII 866 with 512MB (need more) and a SCSI disk system running W2K server.  NikonScan used to regularly due weird things like disappear (not crash, it would just disappear with no error) and it wouldn't find the film holder unless everything was done in the correct order.  I'm also not having any problems with AF or banding or anything like that.

The other advantage is that I like the medium-format film holder much better.  I always found the Nikon's MF strip holder to be a bit clumsy to use and it was difficult to get the film flat.  I find the Polaroid's much better here.  I haven't used the Polaroid's mounted 35mm slide holder yet though it doesn't seem quite as good as the Nikon's.  This one is also plastic vs. cast metal for the MF and 35mm strip holders.  Why is this?

One disadvantage of the Polaroid is that it's LOUD.  The Nikon was much quieter and I liked that aspect of it.  I also wonder whether the Polaroid won't have problems with dust getting inside it as the film chamber (correct term?) is always open.  Also, I think I'm going to miss Digital ICE though I haven't really tried the Polaroid's automatic dust removal yet.  Finally, while the Insight software doesn't crash, it does lock up the PC pretty well even though Task Manager doesn't report ridiculous CPU or memory usage.  This seems strange since it's a dual processor machine.

My questions are these:

- Does anyone know how well the SS120 will run hooked to SCSI vs. Firewire?  I have a Firewire card in the machine now but it's not mine and I have to give it back.  I do have an appropriate SCSI port so I guess I can just test this on my own.

- Can anyone recommend a good book on Photoshop and/or scanning?  I need to learn quite a bit about histograms, levels, curves, etc.

- I seem to be getting some fine, faint banding on prints from my Epson 1270.  Any ideas?

- Does anyone have any paper recommendations for the 1270?

- Finally, does anyone know of any good info on scanning B&W negs?

Thanks and if anyone has any SS120 questions, feel free to email me and I'll try to answer them.

Paul Wilson


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