Monday, May 03, 2004 Camera & Photo: Nikon CoolScan V ED Film Scanner Camera & Photo: Nikon CoolScan V ED Film Scanner

I have 1500 or so unfiled prints from post-childOne until 'saved by digital'. I'll never get around to filing them.

On the other hand, I could pay someone to run the negatives through this scanner and attach date information to JPEG output. Then dump the results into iPhoto or Photoshop Album for sorting and analysis. I may end up dumping the prints once the negatives are imaged (but keeping the negatives offsite in a well protected environment).

I love the Amazon reviews. This one is extraordinary. Terse but packed with useful information:
Reviewer: Peter Jung from Greater Toronto Area, Canada
Decade's collection of fading film this COOLSCAN can handle. You can obtain detailed images that are truly vivid, sharp, and better than the original then technology.

Batch scanning can be done with one click on the Scan button in Nikon Scan 4's firmware. The maintenance free red, green, blue, and infrared LED light source is gentle to film. The 4000 ppi optical resolution is an ideal start for outputting A3+ prints on the new crop of large format bubblejet and inkjet printers.

Reading the Nikon Scan Reference Manual in the Nikon Scan Reference Manual/Easy Scanning Guide CD would be your best learning tool to get the most out of your scanner. For the most accurate results, the first thing to do before scanning is to set your preferences by clicking on the Prefs button in the Control Area of the Scan Window.

When enabled, the Digital ICE quad Advanced software works well with most film. The Manual will explain that ICE, ROC, GEM, and DEE will not operate with the optional FH-G1 Medical Holder.

ICE will not work on monochrome film unless the film has been developed in colour. ICE will not work properly on Kodachrome, but will work on other brands of slides. Noise may appear if ICE is used on overexposed or very vivid images. ICE will reduce the overall sharpness of the image. ICE is not not designed nor does ICE advertise itself to remove all dust and scratches from film. ICE will reduce most of the dust and scatches, however. You will have to use a third party application like Adobe Photoshop to remove the remaining dust and scratches. ICE alone will double the scanning time of 38 seconds.

ROC may add colour to monochrome or grayscale images. ROC alone will almost double the scanning time.

GEM alone will almost triple the scanning time.

DEE works best when the image is cropped to exclude other unexposed areas of the film. DEE alone will almost quadruple the scanning time.

When enabled, Scan Image Enhancer (SIE) will automatically adjust hue. It does not work with darker images. In fact, the scan produces darker images. You are better off using DEE to pull out hidden detail in the shaded areas.

ICE, ROC, GEM, DEE, and SIE together will almost quintuple the scanning time.

Unsharp Mask can be created to all colours, or individually to red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, or yellow colours in the image. Deselect blue if you do not want to emphasize the grain in an image with blue sky.

The SA-21 strip-film adaptor only works for 2 - 6 frames. To save money by not having to buy the optional 1 - 6 frame FH-3 film holder, place a 1 frame negative into an empty cardboard slide holder and insert into the MA-21 slide holder. Remember to select Neg (color), and Calibrated RGB in the Control Area before scanning.

Along with a short USB 2.0 cable, included in the package is a Nikon View 6 CD, which is an application, used to organize saved pictures in TIFF and JPEG file formats only. According to the Manual, large files created in Nikon Scan may not show on Nikon View slide shows.

Before clicking on the Scan button, press Ctrl (MS Windows) and the Autofocus button. Then left click on a focal point in the preview image to ensure accurate focusing at that point. You can always change the focus point using the same method, or by using the Focus Tool in the Layout Tools palette. The palette can also be customized to suit.

If you have to use the Analog Gain palette to correct or adjust the colour values for each of the elements in the scanner's light source, your LED's may require repair. The probability of repair to the LED's is not specifically discussed in the Manual.

If desktop or cubbyhole space is an issue, the scanner can be placed with either the top or side vents facing up. Remember to provide the minimum clearances to the scanner for ventilation. The dual wrap around band of rubber feet will ensure a cushioned slip resistant footing.

After using the transparency unit on an Epson Perfection 1670 Photo flatbed scanner for 2 months, this COOLSCAN is the only economical equipment to use to obtain satisfying scans. It is amazing how much the original analogue images have improved.

If you have at minimum several hundred frames to archive, and the time to spend in front of your monitor performing adjustments and scans to each frame, then you will not regret overspending on this scanner.

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