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Nikon Coolscan vs. Epson Perfection - comments?

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Old 11-29-2009, 11:26 AM
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Nikon Coolscan vs. Epson Perfection - comments?

I have two goals in mind. First, I want to scan a large collection of family slides. I will use this project to learn about how to scan slides.

Second, I am hoping eventually to offer a slide scanning service.

I'm trying to figure out what equipment to buy. I've been reading old threads on this board, some of which have been extremely helpful, but a lot of the advice pertains to obsolete equipment. It looks to me now that the choice comes to a dedicated slide/film scanner such as the Nikon Coolscan vs. the Epson Perfection V700 or V750-Pro, which are flatbeds that also scan slides and film.

The Epsons are a lot less money. The V700 lists at $600 and the V750-Pro at $850 and they are both currently on sale. Through Dec. 2 there is a rebate being offered of $120 on the former and $150 on the latter, bringing their prices down to much lower than the Nikon Coolscan 5000's $1200 or the Nikon Coolscan 9000's $2200.

But I can't figure out from reading the specs on the websites how quick these machines operate. This is going to be a major determining factor in productivity. I like the price of the Epson scanners as well as the fact that the attachment apparently allows you to scan 12 slides at a time. Does the Nikon have features that are worth so much more money?

If I do decide to go with Epson, does anyone have any comment on the V700 vs. the slightly more expensive 750-Pro? The speed looks a little quicker (10.8 msec/line for the 750-PRO vs. 12.3 msec/line for the 700) but I have no idea how this translates to real world productivity. The other difference seems to be that the 750-Pro comes with MonacoEZColor display calibration software, but I'm not certain that I need that.

If these questions have been answered recently, please don't yell; providing a link will be sufficient. Thank you for being kind to a clueless newbie.
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:41 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Nikon Coolscan vs. Epson Perfection - comments

While I can't provide any opinion for the Nikon (as I have no experience with it), here are my thoughts.

The Nikon and the Epson models are quite different. The Nikon being a non-flatbed and the Epson a flatbed. So, obviously the Nikon could be a bit limiting, but could offer some advantages for scanning certain formats. However, if you intend to scan a lot of slides or film, I would certainly look more at the actual process the Nikon uses. It could be a lot faster for scanning those media.

I have the V750M Pro. It is a great scanner. The optics are better on the 750 than the 700. That's the big price difference. For scanning slides or film, it's not really the scan speed that is the big slowdown. It's the procedure for detecting/setting the scan area. So, I would definitely compare process/procedures between the two types of scanners if you plan to go into business. You can use any scanning software with the V750, and it will make a difference. The 750 used to ship with two softwares - the Epson Scan and Silverfast Ai. Each has their advantage. Neither is super fast with slides or film.

The whole process bogs down with the step between the prescan and the scan. The prescan for slides then wants you to review the scan area for each slide, then scan. Very slow. There is an auto-detect feature which hits it right about 90% of the time. It would be nice (and faster) if it were better. Now we know why professional scanning services charge so much !

The actual scan is slow, depending on the density chosen. However, it is probably comparable to any scanner. The 750 does offer ICE for slides, which uses infra-red to detect dust. While nice, it is also slow... adding quite a bit of time to each scan. ICE is only available on the Epson software, not the Silverfast Ai, due to negotiated agreements between Epson and ICE.

Best of luck in your decision. Looking forward to other comments.
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:55 PM
vbrestorer vbrestorer is offline
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Re: Nikon Coolscan vs. Epson Perfection - comments

I, too, have a slide-to-digital image project in my future, but at present it is just at the "thinking about it" stage. I can see how scanning the slides will be very time-consuming. I'm thinking that taking a picture of a slide using a digital camera set to its highest resolution might be the way to go. Some experimenting would be involved; the slides would have to be backlit so it will be necessary to find the right kind and strength of light to use. In my mind I envision a DSLR camera mounted on a copy stand with a cylindrical floor light using a daylight fluorescent bulb pointed up at the camera. Between the light and the camera would be a sheet of translucent white plastic (like what is on a photographer's light box) mounted above the light to avoid heat buildup. You would place a slide on top of the translucent surface. Then just focus the camera so that the full view is filled with the slide and snap the picture. Once you've set everything up, it would just be a matter of placing a slide, snapping its picture, then placing the next slide. A DSLR camera with a remote control would make this even easier. This all sounds good in theory; maybe you could figure it all out, Local Girl, and let me know how you did it. Good luck!
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:38 PM
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Re: Nikon Coolscan vs. Epson Perfection - comments

One of the old threads I read on this board recommended this system. The thread recommended use of a device called a 35mm slide copier. You could search for the thread, I'm sure. I'm not really all that knowledgeable about digital photography and can't really picture how this would work, but I think I will do some more reading about it.
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Old 11-29-2009, 10:18 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Nikon Coolscan vs. Epson Perfection - comments

i have one of these (albeit one of the cheaper ones): and i will never go back to a flatbed for slides or negatives. get a dedicated. you'll save time and money in the long run.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:02 AM
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Re: Nikon Coolscan vs. Epson Perfection - comments

Originally Posted by Kraellin View Post
i have one of these (albeit one of the cheaper ones): and i will never go back to a flatbed for slides or negatives.
The link goes to a page advertising PrimeFilm Film scanners for prices ranging from $100 to $800. Some of their mid-level units (for as low as $250) offer Digital ICE, which I think is probably an essential feature.

This looks at first glance to be a much simpler and more efficient way of digitizing slides. My inner skeptic says "there has to be a catch" ... but maybe not!

Does anyone else have any experience with these units?

Last edited by Local Girl; 11-30-2009 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 12-27-2009, 09:22 AM
coolscan coolscan is offline
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Re: Nikon Coolscan vs. Epson Perfection - comments

I use the Coolscan 5000. Given you have thousands of slides to copy, this is the only realistic choice. The flatbed will never scan slides or filmstrip as well as the dedicated Nikon.

Together with the optional slide feeder, you will be able to get through 50 slides at a time. It takes about 2 minutes for a full scan running at 4,000 dpi. The TIFF image (you can choose other formats) takes 2 minutes with ICE processing alone. Add a few seconds (depending on how fast your computer is) to do more complex processing such as correcting for colour fading). Yesterday, I timed an 8 bit scan using ICE (dust removal, colour correction, and 4x multiscan to reduce CCD noise) and it took about 2 minutes 10 seconds. A basic scan ran 2 minutes. The resulting file size was 65 megs.

Most of my processing has been for slides from the 1940s through to the 1980s. The Coolscan has done a remarkable job of it.

The Nikon has a lot of built in post - processing features too, which are done at the time of the scan should you wish to use them. Alternatively, you could simply leave the post processing until later if you wish to use Lightroom or Photoshop Essentials to process each image.

I have used flatbeds in the past. Never again. The effort to scan a filmstrip drove me to distraction. It is very much a manual operation. The time needed basically drove me away from the effort. With the Coolscan, I can set it quickly, and walk away until the job is done. I have rarely had a slide jam either.

All in all, I would only use a flat bed for its design purpose - to scan in occasional positive prints etc. A flat bed is not really meant for the job you are looking for.

So, in my experience, the main differences between the flatbed and the dedicated scanner for slides or filmstrip are: the Nikon is far faster, requires far less effort, and has a far higher output quality. I am glad I chose a dedicated scanner.

Good luck.
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