BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Digital Cameras and Accessories : Digital Image Management Software

Photography Question 
Jim Sutton

Choosing a film scanner


I'm a serious amateur (expensive equipment-limited training and experience) who has no experience with digital imaging. I am still interested in shooting film, however, I'm beginning to appreciate the value and potential of digital editing. I would like to be able to edit my 35mm slides and output the images to photo quality printer. I have been told that flatbed scanners do not produce very good images from film. If that's true, I need to find a good film scanner at a reasonable price. I have looked at the Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 ED, Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite II, and Canon's CanoScan FS4000US, but I have gotten bogged down in the highly technical descriptions and features of these three scanners. I also note that Pacific Image Electronics a very inexpensive film scanner called the Prime Film 3600 Pro (?)which seems to be capable of producing images comparable to the scanners mentioned above. However, this scanner does not have ICE technology. I need some heavy guidance before making this leap. Please give me your thoughts and experience. I don't want to screw this up.

Thank you,
Jim S.

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8/27/2002 3:08:04 AM

doug Nelson   I think you're looking in exactly the right places. At the time I bought I chose Nikon, because of Digital ICE and because I expected good customer care. I have not been disappointed in either regard. The Canon, however, got a good review in Popular.
See for Steve's comments on the Nikons. Since you will be scanning slides, you'll need a fairly high end scanner, over a grand. The higher than 8 color bit depth is useful, as is the multiple passes in the scan, essential for dense slides.
I can't comment on the Pacific Imaging scanner, as I know nothing about it.

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8/27/2002 8:23:18 AM

Jim Sutton   Thanks for the advice, Doug, and I will check for Steve's comments as you suggested.
Jim S.

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8/28/2002 3:55:32 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy   I chose the Canon FS4000US. I chose it primarily because it is the best value in 4000dpi scanners and most of the reviews I read were positive. Now that I've got it I'm very happy with it. The FARE (Canon's version of ICE) works very well. The 42 bit color depth works very well with dense slides.

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8/29/2002 12:20:23 AM

Jim Sutton   Hi Jeff,
I appreciate the recommendation and the benefit of your experience. I'll check out the specs on the Canon. It looks like I'm gonna wind up paying as much for a scanner as I did for my F100. Jim S.

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8/30/2002 12:23:37 AM

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