Old 06-29-2021, 11:34 PM   #1
ShortlinesUSA
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Default Film scanner and computer questions

Good evening.

I really need to get my scanning resumed and have decided I'm just going all new. I used a Nikon Coolscan V-ED with really great results. Nikon stopped supporting the software and I was using Vuescan. No real complaints there, but it would be nice to use something with integrated software supporting current hardware platforms. My Nikon still works, but was getting quirky, at times requiring multiple restarts to get it working properly or talking to Vuescan. That is what is pushing me to just outright renew my platform.

It seems the Epson scanners get a lot of recommendations. I am looking for something at least as good as my old Nikon (that was 4000 dpi) and am willing to spend up to about $1000 for a good quality machine. What would fit the bill here? I'm not wed to any particular brand; but integrated software would be a plus.

I'll also need to get a new computer to run the scanner and house my photo editing software. I will likely use Adobe Photoshop and/or Lightroom (believe those are sold as a single subscription now, correct?). This is really about as much as I'll use a computer for. Question is, how much of a computer do I need to accomplish this? Full-on laptop, or will something smaller like a Chromebook be enough?

I appreciate any insights offered.
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Old 06-30-2021, 02:49 AM   #2
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So what do you have for a digital camera and lens? I have been experimenting with using my Nikon D7500 with a 50mm lens and some macro tubes to photograph the slides. I made a simple holder and place the slide on a light board for illumination. I can shoot RAW or Jpeg. Results are much better than my Epson V500. Nikon sells a slide adapter to use with a macro lens if you want to spend the money. Scanning is obviously very fast. I've seen more and more people doing this with good results.

Otherwise, I see people getting good results with the Plustek 8200i.
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Old 07-01-2021, 11:26 AM   #3
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Digital camera? Nada! Still a Nikon F3 and Provia 100F. I am seeing more and more people say they are using a DSLR in the fashion you mention for scanning. Almost sounds like how people made duplicate slides way back when. Very interesting modernization of that method.
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Old 07-03-2021, 12:57 AM   #4
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Digital camera? Nada! Still a Nikon F3 and Provia 100F. I am seeing more and more people say they are using a DSLR in the fashion you mention for scanning. Almost sounds like how people made duplicate slides way back when. Very interesting modernization of that method.
And I thought that I was the last dinosaur on this site to give up film!

I have seen some of the DSLR results and they look good, but the costs of the lens, macro tubes, and adaptor, along with a calibrated light source, seem to add up to at least the cost of a dedicated film scanner. Add to that the additional shutter operations on a camera that cost me more than all of the 35mm equipment that I've ever owned, and I've concluded that it's not for me.

I got into film scanning after Nikon had dropped scanners, and I was advised against pursuing a used one due to support issues. I don't know the Nikon models, but if yours supports high resolution (at least 3600 dpi), I can't see a need for you to replace it. If you're hell-bent on a new one, I recommend the Plustek 8200i. Get the most inexpensive bundle offered. I found the added stuff in the upgraded bundle to be worthless - you're just after the hardware. Stick with Vuescan for software - it is as good if not better than any native scanner software I've used. I scan as a TIFF for editing in Lightroom. Vuescan can scan to RAW, but I'm not sure that there is a big upside from TIFF for scans.

For a long time, I have been relying on manually picking a neutral color on my scan within Vuescan, placing the cursor on it, and right clicking to define a white balance. After joining Facebook to check out the Scans of the Day page that Greg recommended, I found some posts that Rich Jahn from the ARHS made to help some people. I've used some of Rich's methods, and my time in Lightroom to correct or guess at correcting color has been greatly reduced with better end results. Here's a link to one of Rich's posts, but you will need to join the group to see it:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1770...88797424805991
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Old 07-03-2021, 03:14 AM   #5
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FWIW, I had a Nikon D7500 and a 50 mm lens. Also had some extension tubes. I bought a LED light board for $25 and made my own slide stand. If you have a camera and lens, you can easily get away for under $100. If you don't, you can probably buy a used camera and lens for $700. Expensive if that is all you will use it for.
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Old 07-03-2021, 11:01 AM   #6
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FWIW, I had a Nikon D7500 and a 50 mm lens. Also had some extension tubes. I bought a LED light board for $25 and made my own slide stand. If you have a camera and lens, you can easily get away for under $100. If you don't, you can probably buy a used camera and lens for $700. Expensive if that is all you will use it for.
For me, I would need an FX prime lens. That would add quite a bit to the overall price tag. As I said, I've seen good results from the DSLR method, but a device dedicated to the task works best for me. In Mike's case, it looks like he isn't entertaining the thought of a DSLR, or a mirrorless, which now seems to be the way to go.
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Old 07-04-2021, 12:37 PM   #7
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Thanks for the great input, Doug. I have decided for the meantime, I'm going to start by getting a new laptop (that's a must, I can't install software on my work laptop and my wife needs our "home" laptop constantly now that she's working from home) and give the Nikon a second chance (4000 dpi).
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Old 07-04-2021, 03:03 PM   #8
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Doug, you don't have a plain 50mm for your film camera? Just for kicks, I looked up some used equip. You can get a Nikon D7000 and a AF 50mm lens for $300-350. The good thing is D7000 is actually a pretty decent camera for digital images.
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Old 07-04-2021, 03:05 PM   #9
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Mike, I would not hesitate to get the Plustek 8200 if the Nikon is giving you issues. As Doug said, Richard Jahn gets some really good results with his.
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Old 07-04-2021, 03:20 PM   #10
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Doug, you don't have a plain 50mm for your film camera? Just for kicks, I looked up some used equip. You can get a Nikon D7000 and a AF 50mm lens for $300-350. The good thing is D7000 is actually a pretty decent camera for digital images.
I think you meant digital camera, Greg. I have a D750 with a 24-120 zoom and a 150-600 zoom. I would need to buy a prime lens with the correct size filter adapter for the slide adapter, and the FX ones are somewhat pricier than the DX ones. I would also have to set up equipment every time that I wanted to digitize slides. The scanner takes up about one square foot on my office desk and is always ready to go.

I am looking for another camera to minimize lens swapping when I want to use the long zoom. I'm seriously considering a Nikon Z6 based on some of the results that Kevin has posted.
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Old 07-05-2021, 02:49 AM   #11
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Gotcha. A FX 50mm f1.8 is under $100 used. I have a couple and they are great. I use the same lens on my DX with an extension tube for my slide work. I've seen the actual Nikon slide adapter. I want to say it works best with a 90mm macro lens? I was able to put my system together for under $30.
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Old 07-06-2021, 01:51 AM   #12
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I'll also need to get a new computer to run the scanner and house my photo editing software. I will likely use Adobe Photoshop and/or Lightroom (believe those are sold as a single subscription now, correct?). This is really about as much as I'll use a computer for. Question is, how much of a computer do I need to accomplish this? Full-on laptop, or will something smaller like a Chromebook be enough?
Mike, I noticed that none of your laptop questions have been answered. I have no experience with Chromebooks, but my understanding of them is that they are very stripped-down PC's mainly targeting people who want to browse the web. The consulting company that I work for has a BYOD (bring your own device) policy, and my old laptop was nearing end-of-life about a year and a half ago. I also was scanning/processing slides on a desktop that was equally long in the tooth. It had 4 GB of memory and a 100GB disk that just wasn't enough.

I made the decision to consolidate all of my needs into one machine, I chose an HP Envy laptop with 16 GB memory and a 1TB disk. I have not been disappointed. Choose whatever laptop fits your needs and budget, but don't skimp on memory and disk space. I also recommend a decent external monitor for photo work.
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Old 07-06-2021, 02:14 AM   #13
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Thank you for the follow up, Doug!
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