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Railfan Technology > What Scanner Do You Use?

Date: 10/08/16 13:41
What Scanner Do You Use?
Author: MartyBernard

I'm often asked that question.  Here's my answer.  I am posting it here in the hope that some of you might add comments that will help me improve my answer.  So I'm looking for comments.

Marty Bernard

Since you probably spent thousands of dollars in film, processing, camera's, gasoline, and even motel rooms to get your photos, don't buy a cheap scanner and get poor results.  I have used several scanners and settled on a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED. I have only used it for slides.  I run it with VueScan ( https://www.hamrick.com/ ) because it is so much better than the software that comes with scanners.

VueScan has lots of scanning options and the documentation is very good.  The support is excellent.  The website tells you how to submit an email which is always answered within 24 hours by the VueScan developer (not somebody else).

And while the Coolscan/VueScan gives excellent results you still have to photo edit. And if the slide was not taken under perfect lighting conditions or has deteriorated, you will have to do much photo editing.

Learning how to use the scanner and VueScan for the best results and learning how to do good photo editing is a long learning process of trial and error.  I'm rescanning slides I scanned 10 years ago before I was very far up the learning curve.


Date: 10/08/16 18:17
Re: What Scanner Do You Use?
Author: E25

Hi Marty --

I have used the Nikon "Super Cool Scan 9000" for about 4 years with Vuescan and am generally pleased with the results, both with Kodachrome and Ektachrome films.

While it is possible to automate the color processing in Vuescan somewhat, I generally like to keep the original scanned images in their "raw" form for the very reason that you noted, that your post-scanning software skills improve with practice and software advances over time.  I use PS6 for post-scanning processing.  I particularly like the ability to bring out the shadow detail, smooth out the light and dark areas and work with hue, exposure and saturation.

With Vuescan, I find that running 2 samples in "fine mode" with "multi exposure" and 64 bit RGBI saved in TIFF format (...as opposed to JPEG) creates noticeably better scans.  Unfortunately, it also results in noticeably longer scan times.  But for serious archiving, it is the best way to go.

Thorough cleaning of the slide with a can of pressurized air and / or bulb-brush is also vitally important.  Use a lupe to examine each slide before you put it the scanner.  Except for individualized "spot healing" techniques, if you rely on your software to eliminate the dust and spots, it usually makes "mush" of the image.

Keep up the good work.

Best regards,

-- Greg

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/16 09:45 by E25.

Date: 10/09/16 07:09
Re: What Scanner Do You Use?
Author: Frisco1522

I've been using an Epson V700 for several years now and am pleased with the results.  I know a lot of people don't like flatbeds, but for me it does a good job.

Date: 10/09/16 15:29
Re: What Scanner Do You Use?
Author: CCMF

I also have a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED but have found it so good it's actually overkill.  My Epson V750 gets most of the work now and I think it is just as good for my needs.

Bill Miller
Galt, ON

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/16 15:30 by CCMF.

Date: 10/21/16 02:11
Re: What Scanner Do You Use?
Author: Amtrak288

I use a PlusTek OpticFilm 8200 SE that I bought a few years back on Amazon.  Good scanner, does a decent job, but buy the VueScan software, worth every penny! 

Date: 10/23/16 17:06
Re: What Scanner Do You Use?
Author: jbwest

CCMF Wrote: 
> I also have a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED but 
> have found it so good it's actually overkill.  My 
> Epson V750 gets most of the work now and I think 
> it is just as good for my needs. 

The above is an important point unless you have money to throw away.  What best fits your needs depends on what you will use the scans for.  I have both a Nikon Super Coolscan 2000ED and an Epson V500 flatbed.  No question the Coolscan is far superior for 35mm, but it your purpose is simply to scan slides and post the results on the (low rez) internet or make 8x10 prints, the V500 is arguably  just as good at that level of resolution. And in today's market the Epson is $2-4K cheaper.  And if you are scanning larger format film, like 120 negs, the Epson unit is first class.  All that said I am happy as a clam that I bought the Coolscan when they were still manufactured, and it is my go to machine for slide scanning.  I use both with Vuescan software, which I highly recommend.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/23/16 17:08 by jbwest.

Date: 10/25/16 13:54
Re: What Scanner Do You Use?
Author: Rathole

I use an Epson V550 and any slides that need editing get it done thru Photoshop Elements 13.   I am very pleased with the results but I am only scanning for pleasure in order to post here, Facebook groups, etc.  I have no intention of EVER doing away with my slide collection so the V550 suits all my needs.   

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