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[filmscanners] Re: What can you advise?

Geoff Clack wrote:

> "Paul D. DeRocco" <pderocco@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>>How would you rank the following criteria: speed; dust and scratch
>>suppression; color accuracy; wide density range; absence of grain aliasing;
>>easy negative handling; automatic feeding?
> Thanks Paul, and all the others who've offered advice. I've
> revised/improved my spec to read:
> 35mm; 4000-ppi; Firewire; speed; dust and scratch suppression; colour
> (I'm a Brit) accuracy; wide density range; absence of grain aliasing;
> easy negative handling; automatic feeding; small footprint and value
> for money. Does that narrow the field?
> Alex mentioned Polaroid's "SS4000 (or his newer update SS4000+)". So
> far I can't find the SS4000+ on this side of the pond, not even on
> the UK distributor's Website. Does anybody know if it's on its way?

The same hardware is available as the Mictotek 4000 TF (as the
SS4000plus model) or the Microtek 4000T (as the SS4000).  It will come
with Silverfast 5.5 and Microtek's driver software, rather than Insight.
Both also work with Vuescan, a generic scanner software which works with
a wide variety of film and flatbed scanners.  It costs $40 US from a
download site, and you can download a demo version which has all the
features but leaves a crosshatching over the image.  Once you buy it and
register the cross hatching goes away and you get unlimited updates.

The SS4000 or Microtek 4000T is not firewire.  It is one of the (if not
the) fastest SCSI scanners on the market, however. The main difference
is that the A/D is 12 bit rather than 14 (as in the SS4000+/4000TF)

There is a slight improvement in shadow noise with the 4000+(TF) versus
the 4000/T, but the earlier model was such a digitally "quiet" scanner
that the difference is not extreme, by an means.  The 4000+/TF is
probably the digitally quietest (in terms of shadow noise) scanner in
the desktop market.  It also seems to have the lowest grain aliasing of
any 35mm desktop scanner I have seen.

> But the SS4000 is approx half the price of the Nikon LS4000ED, which
> makes it attractive - until I read of Thomas' slide holder purchase
> problems and Arthur's DIY 'sandpaper the SS120 slideholder and stick
> in bits of cardboard' advice (he's not joking?). I'd need convincing
> that Polaroid can provide the answer to my 'I'm in the market for a
> film scanner' quest. Unless, that is, someone knows better.

I'm not joking.  Almost every medium format scanners on the market have
required some type of user tweaking of the machinery.  So has Nikon's.
For the LS 8000 some people have taken to make their own carriers nearly
from scratch because the glass carrier is hundreds of dollars for it.
Ask about Nikon's earlier slide autofeeder, which everyone who bought
had to use pieces of credit card to make it work.

The point is the SS120 (if you are seeking a medium format model) is
worth the 10 minutes of manual labor because it is one of the best
medium format scanner out there, IMHO.  Both the Nikon LS-8000 and the
Minolta MultiScan Pro have bigger fish to fry than a bit of work on the
film carrier.

The 35mm versions (SS4000/+ or Microtek 4000t/tf) don't have those
problems.  There was a bad batch of slide carriers which prematurely
failed from fatigue.  The problem is resolved now, and any older ones
are replaced free of charge under warranty.

The only known problem with the SS4000/+ series scanners are that they
can build up dust on the location sensor if you leave the unit
unprotected in a dusty environment.  It should be left with a dust cover
when not in use.  Also, a small brush is supplied that attaches to the
film carrier and can be run through one a week to a month, and this
assures the location sensor doesn't become dust covered.

Other than that, the scanners have a great reputation for reliability.

> Put another way, my question is: "If, after a lightning strike which
> ruined all your equipment (been there, done that) you had to buy a
> new film scanner, what would you buy. And why?

If I had to start over, no doubt, I would buy a SS4000+, or Microtek 4000TF.


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