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[filmscanners] Re: Where can I actually *buy* an Nikon 8000ED?




Your observations about the film holders on the SS120 are, or at least
were, valid. I know Polaroid has acknowledge the need to redesign the
holder for the SS120.  I don't know how far along they are in this.
There were some suggestions made about dulling the finish with mildly
abrasive "sand paper" to overcome the reflection problem, and I believe
some people did enlarge the holes somewhat in the meantime.  Perhaps
someone using one can comment further about those issues.

Moreno Polloni wrote:
   > You have a definite bias against Nikon, which is fine by me. At least
you're
   > open about it. However, you should be more forthcoming about the fact
that
   > Polaroid has been providing you with a scanner, and that this may
bias your
   > opinion towards their products.



My bias against Nikon is based on several criteria.  My own personal
experiences with some of their more recent (last 5 years or so) camera
products (bodies and lenses) and dealings with their service people (I
own thousands of dollars worth of Nikon camera bodies and lenses, BTW),
and that, compounded on top of dozens of complaints both in public
forums like this one and private email with Nikon scanner owners and users.

If you wish, you can check the archives of this and other scanner lists
as "proof" that at the time I began my "bias" regarding Nikon Scanners,
I had absolutely no involvement with Polaroid.  And to be clear, my
only affiliation with Polaroid is that I was asked to beta test their
scanner, and some related software.  Until about 5 months ago, my only
dealings with Polaroid was as a customer of some of their video products.

Further, I think I was as clear as possible about the fact that I
was beta testing for Polaroid, as soon as I was released from
nondisclosure.  And, I also want to make it clear that once the
SS4000+ was officially released it was I who asked Polaroid if I could
speak about it publicly.  They gave me permission, with no strings
attached.  They never told me what to write.  In fact, they never even
asked me to review it, that was my own motivation.  I suspect I wouldn't
be their first choice to review it, since I'm known to be hard on
scanner manufacturers.  I did not, nor would I have, shown anyone at
Polaroid what I wrote before I posted it. If they have seen it, they saw
it the same time you did. It's the first film scanner I've been truly
happy with, and that's what I wrote.

My bias "toward" Polaroid scanners is based upon the same issues as my
bias against Nikon.  I read public comments and private ones, and I saw
how Polaroid's representative replied, and the results.  Since I still
own a ton of Nikon goods, I probably have a better reason to hype Nikon,
if that was my motivation.

Is Polaroid perfect. No. Like I said, I do read these groups, and I get
private mail. They had some problems some the earlier SS35 scanners,
(the main ones I was aware of was with keeping the slides going in
straight) although at the time those scanners were still reviewed
highly for their price group otherwise.

They had a problem with a cable harness pulling loose on the first
SS4000 scanners, which I recall them correcting very rapidly, including
previous owners.  They had a problem with dust build up on a location
sensor on some SS4000 scanners, which they provided a small brush that
attached to the film carrier free of charge, and I believe they also
covered all warranty issues related to that difficulty.

They appear to have corrected these issues in future models, and no one
was left with a defective earlier SS4000 that I'm aware of.  I call that
a pretty good record.

My recent experience as a beta tester leaves me with more respect for
the company.  They communicate regularly with us, they listen to their
beta testers, and keep us in touch with the right people within the
organization, and they don't appear to be rushing product out until they
are ready.  Like I said, I had a SS4000+ in October, and it is just
hitting the shelves now, while firmware was adjusted and software was
debugged and improved (it was pretty much bug-free by the time I got it,
to be honest).

No, I have never beta tested for Nikon, so I have no comparison there.
I have done some beta testing for other companies, including some pretty
large ones, and I never felt the same type of direct feedback ability
that I have with Polaroid. So, yes, I am currently biased toward
Polaroid, because so far, they deserve it.

Regarding the Minolta Pro, I don't know if Minolta is doing the same
thing with their medium format scanner as they seem to have done with
their 35mm version or not (I do own a Minolta Dual Dimage II).  After
working with the Polaroid, I realized something seemed a bit strange.
The Minolta appears to be sharper at first look than the Polaroid... but
its an illusion.  The grain is more pronounced, and dirt and scratches
are more evident. At first, I thought it was due to the lighting source
(although it is a cold cathode system from the best I can figure) but
something I read recently, and some tests I did leave me wondering.

Why was I so limited in my ability to sharpen the Minolta Scan in
unsharp masking before considerable artifacts started to appear, while
the Polaroid scan could be sharpened so much further, going beyond the
Minolta's with minimal artifacting?

Well, as everyone knows by now, I am not an engineer, so I'm working on
gut intuition here.  It seems to me something is going on within the
firmware or electronic filtering of the signal that's different.  I'm
guessing that the Minolta might be using electronic sharpening before it
spits out the image.  If that is true, well, its probably not all that
different from unsharp masking, and therefore it may not be the optical
scan that's coming out of the scanner with the Minolta.

I suspect the image coming out of the Polaroid is an optical scan,
without any sharpening processing, which might explain why I have so
much more ability to sharpen it up with unsharp masking without adding
unpleasant artifacting. (Polaroid does have a sharpening feature built
into their Insight software, but I always leave it off).

Now, due to a possible "slip of the keyboard" by someone on this list,
there was an implication made that at least older Nikon scanners (prior
to the last generation) might have used an electronic sharpening method
in certain modes.

I don't know if their current crop does or not, but perhaps that, in
part, explains the perceived increased sharpness with their scanners, as
well as the known lighting issue which would be expected to increase
grain, dirt, dust, etc.

Perhaps someone who has owned both the Polaroid SS120 and the Nikon 8000
who might have the same file scanned on both, might wish to try an
experiment of using unsharp masking with both, and see, after doing so,
which looks the best, after using the "best setting" of unsharp masking
for each image.  I am now convinced that simply looking at the scan
coming out of the scanner prior to unsharp masking doesn't tell the
whole story.  However, this is an empirical observation with the Minolta
Dual II and the Polaroid SS4000+, and I'd be very interested in other's
experiences.

Anyone up for the challenge?

Art




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