Coolscan 9000 or Digital Camera for MF?

Discussion in 'Scanning and Scanners' started by kruiwagen, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. kruiwagen

    kruiwagen Member

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    Hi all,

    I have a few rolls of medium format negatives and slides lying around that I want to scan. I already have a dedicated filmscanner for 35mm (Pacific Image PrimeFilmXA), but this one doesn't do MF.

    Now I was looking into either buying a used Coolscan 9000. I've seen the results and I'm very impressed. Also the possibility to have ICE is a nice to have.

    The other possibility was buying a Sony A7rIII and have a macro lens to digitize my MF. What option would give me the best results? Can I shoot the MF film in one shot or should I use stichting? The price for a used Coolscan 9000 is almost the same as a new A7riii, but can it provide the same quality for MF?

    Edit: I guess with stichting techniques, a higher resolution would be possible with a digital camera. Another thing in favor of the camera is the ability to use my old Canon FD lenses with it. (I haven't previously owned a digital camera so its a nice thing to go hybrid)
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  2. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    I posted the thread Real scanning details -> https://www.photrio.com/forum/threads/real-scanning-details.157879/ and show the level of detail achievable by Coolscan on 35mm compared to D800. Of course an MF can have more than 4X more surface area and increasing real detail commensurately.
    The Coolscan 9000 also has the best implementation of ICE and color negative conversion.
    If you are using color negatives, Coolscan+Nikonscan is best.
    If you are only using slides and true b&w, DSLR copying with the right equipment and post work has advantages.

    If you only have a few rolls to scan and don't intend to continue shooting MF, then maybe you'r better off sending them out to scan?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  3. OP
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    kruiwagen

    kruiwagen Member

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    Thank you for your reply Les Sarile,

    It appears the Nikon performs a little bit better then the D800 for B/W in 35mm. I take it that the picture you took with the D800 was a single picture and not stiched?
    I would expect the same result for a MF comparison if one were to take a single picutre of the piece of film.

    I am planning to increase my use of MF, so sending them out to scan is not going to be cheap in the longterm.
     
  4. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    Yes that was one frame of D800 across a frame of 35mm film. This of course means at least >4 frames of D800 - plus overlaps, to stitch in order to match the Coolscan 9000 scan of MF.
     
  5. Ed Sawyer

    Ed Sawyer Member

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    Go with the 9000
     
  6. nbagno

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    I would use a dedicated scanner, but I'm biased since I use multiple scanners. ICE is a big benefit. Some people won't use ICE because it removes data, however I'm not pixel peeping and for me it's the only way to go. But the Coolscan IMO is over priced. You might consider the Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro. The only downside to the minolta is they develop issues with the firewire port which can stop working. Mine never has, however you can still run them using SCSI which I do via Vuescan and a moden PC under Windows 10.
     
  7. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    Yeah it's removing the dust and scratches . . . :wink:

    In terms of speed and quality, Coolscan 9000 + Nikonscan ICE has no equal when it comes to it's magical ability to remove dust and scratches. Here is an example of a particularly dusty and scratched 35mm Kodak 160VC film scanned using a DSLR and the Coolscan with and without ICE.

    [​IMG]

    Coolscan setup has normal and fine ICE modes, takes about 30 seconds to scan with ICE off and about 50 seconds with ICE. For 35mm, I have autobellows for my DSLR and once setup I can take a copy in seconds - but of course it has no ICE and color negatives will require inversion. The post process it would take to render a positive alone would already take far longer then a scan and still not be as good. I didn't bother cleaning it up because I highly doubt I could match ICE regardless of how long I worked on it.
    However, if you only shot true b&w or slides, the post work would be much easier but stitching - shooting and post work, would be tedious and add quite a bit of time.
     
  8. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    Plustek OpticFilm 120.
     
  9. brent8927

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    I did not like the Coolscan. It was big, slow, and noisy. And I achieve the same end results with my Epson V700 as with the Coolscan (both with good/proper technique). The Coolscan (which had recently been cleaned/CLA'd) resulted in a much easier scan to work with (no sharpening needed, minimal adjustments), which saved time in processing, but the Epson was far simpler and quicker. You'll see a lot of online comparisons out there saying the Coolscan is better, but there are a few in depth ones that showed minimal difference between the two after processing the negative. Unfortunately I did that research a long time ago and don't remember the websites.

    The Coolscan is also old, with mechanical parts that can/do break down, and is very difficult to service. I agree it's quite overpriced as well.

    I never tried the other 120 film scanners, as everyone kept telling me the Coolscan was the best. All of the 120 scanners you can buy new currently have very mixed reviews, so I didn't think they'd be worth trying.

    I also looked into scanning with a DSLR (using my CFV back), but it sounded like the results weren't going to be better than the V700 so I didn't feel it was worth buying the equipment to test it out. I didn't want to buy a 35mm DSLR, but I've seen plenty of reviews by people saying they get good results.

    The plus side of the Coolscan--if you only want to scan a few rolls (in which case honestly it makes more sense to pay someone to scan), then you could probably get almost what you pay for it if you resell it.
     
  10. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    Of course all the reasons you list have nothing to do with the quality of the results from a Coolscan.

    Certainly there are many reasons why one can't tell the difference between a scan from a Coolscan and an Epson. One is that the detail was not captured on the frame of film or perhaps the end use does not require the full res files.

    This is how much detail can be achieved by a Coolscan compared to an Epson V700 with Fuji Velvia.
    [​IMG]
    Coolscan full res version -> http://www.fototime.com/02BB797801DCA89/orig.jpg


    [​IMG]
    Epson V700 full res version -> http://www.fototime.com/11F59FA46FF9497/orig.jpg

    If the end results are for smallish web/smartphone use, then certainly an Epson file can be processed enough to show well. However, sharpening cannot add detail that was missed in the scan.

    I don't understand what you mean that the Epson is faster by any means. If you lower the res, the Epson scans faster then at full res. If you enable ICE, the Epsons more then double the scan times. The Epson V800 takes less time to warm up as the V7XX due to LEDs but the scan times are the same. The Coolscan will scan a frame of 35mm film in about 30 seconds - 50 with ICE, and these are more then twice as fast as the Epsons. The Coolscan 5000 can scan whole rolls of film and up to 50 slides with the appropriate adapters. Coolscan + Nikonscan ICE is not only the best in quality, it is also the fastest.

    And more importantly then the detail and speed advantages of the Coolscans is that it scans color and contrast more dependably then any other scanner/software combination that I have tried. Post work of poor scans add considerable time per frame.

    This is the same frame of Kodak Ektar 100 scanned with the Coolscan and Epson and you would almost think they were two different frames of film.
    [​IMG]

    Don't get me wrong, I like the Epsons for what it can do that the Coolscans cannot.

    It can scan a whole roll of film this way.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A colleague of mine -whose dad was a combat photographer in WWII, asked me to scan some of his 4X5 film which he thought came out great.

    [​IMG]

    It is really unfortunate that the Coolscans are no longer in production. Hopefully there will be another that can at least be it's equal.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
  11. gorbas

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    Hi Les, what software you are using for Coolscan? It's very important. I have Nikon 8000 and my favourite software is Nikon Scan 4 on Mac 10.6.8 (the latest MacOS able to run it). I also bought Vuescan but could not stand it. My older Epson 4870 is Ok for medium and LF but so-so for 35mm.
     
  12. jim10219

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    Medium format lies in the no-man’s zone. For 35mm, I use a DSLR, no question. It’s faster and produces better results than a dedicated film scanner or flat bed. For me, it’s also cheaper, since I didn’t have to buy anything but a light table. For large format, I use a flat bed scanner. There’s enough detail there that you don’t need to capture ever pixel to have something worth printing. If, on the off chance, I need to make a huge print and wet printing isn’t an option, I can send the negative (or slide) out for a drum scan. But that’s rare.

    Medium format is in the middle. The reason for using medium format is to get more resolution than you would from 35mm. That means single shot DSLR scanning is out. It’s big enough to scan on a flat bed, but you’ll still lose a lot of precious detail doing that, making that no better of an option than a single DSLR shot. Both methods work fine for small prints and web posts, however. A dedicated medium format film scanner is a better option, but it still won’t provide you the detail of a stitched together DSLR scan composed from multiple shots. However, the stitching process can go awry and make things more difficult and time consuming than they should be. No matter which option you chose, they all have their downsides.

    In any case, I never use ICE or auto color correction software. The ICE saps detail and the auto color correction and sharpening programs don’t do a good enough job for me. I like good old Photoshop. I use the curves tool and clone stamp/healing brush to get my negatives looking their best. I also always clean the negative before scanning so I’m not spending hours cleaning the thing in the computer. Once you get used to the curves tool, you’ll find it’s not so hard to use, and can be much more accurate than letting a computer decide how it’s supposed to look for you. I also created presets for each type of film and scanning process so I can scan and invert a bunch of shots quickly and get a good feel for which ones deserve my attention and which ones aren’t worth messing with. It’s all about workflow. You have to find a method that gives you the results you need within the time you’re willing to apply.
     
  13. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    I continue to use Nikonscan with my Coolscans. I've scanned over 45,000 frames of various films to date and it has been uneventful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
  14. brent8927

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    I have never used ICE with my Epson (or tried it when I used the Coolscan). I also did not compare color scans--only B&W, so I can't comment on my personal experience with color. Just that with reasonably large scans of sharp B&W negatives, I saw minimal differences after running the V700 scan through Photoshop. I also really like how I can get a digital contact sheet from the Epson, which I can't get from the Coolscan.

    If I ever have the money I'd love to have a Coolscan--it's nice not having to do as much work in Photoshop. But since money was tight and I didn't see a meaningful differences, I did not hold onto the scanner. In hindsight, I should have tested color negatives--that was a mistake on my part. While I have been happy with my color scans from the V700, the few color negatives I was able to print in a darkroom clearly came out with better color/tonality/contrast then with the V700. On the other hand, I feel my B&W prints are quite a bit better than what I created in the darkroom.

    For 4x5 film, The V700 really shines. I made the mistake of using the same settings as I did for 6x6--I ended up with ridiculous file sizes. But they sure look good even when zoomed in! I do find my 35mm scans are acceptable as well, but if I had more than a few rolls of 35mm to scan I'd get a dedicated film scanner.
     
  15. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    The first thing I did when I got a Coolscan 5000 was to compare poster sized optical enlargements of the various color negatives I had with the scans. I found the scans to outresolve the 20" X 30" prints and the colors/contrast a match. Interestingly they used to make internegs of the slides I sent which they used for their optical enlargments. The posters looked good but clearly the interneg captured even less of the detail and therefore the prints resolutions were even less. This was early 2000 and Fuji Professional lab in Arizona used to do optical prints then but I haven't found a shop that does this today.

    It is unfortunate that more - if not everybody these days, use scanners or mini labs (Noritsu or Frontier systems) that more often then not mischaracterizes color negatives. For instance these are the results from the same frame of Kodak Color Gold 100. The colors are so different that you might think they were from different frames of film.

    [​IMG]

    The other more common mistake is to show blown out highlights when in fact it is nearly impossible to do so with most color negatvies.

    [​IMG]

    Nikon introduced a color negative conversion in their latest DSLR - D850. I've been meaning to try this since I have the autobellows for the Nikons. I would surely miss ICE, but I am hoping the color negative inversion would work as well as their Nikonscan.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
  16. gorbas

    gorbas Subscriber
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    Thank you Les! How did you count how many negatives you scared? I did scan a lot and lots of them but no idea how many without doing inventory of my folders. The best thing about Nikon scan is ability to get BW scans in NEF (RAW) format.
    Nikon D850 colour negative conversion is JPEG only (at least @time of it's introduction) so it's just bad joke, at least, for me.
     
  17. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    I've cataloged my scans over the years.
    Of course DSLR scanning of b&w will not require the color negative conversion of the D850 so you can use their RAW files. I am more interested to see if the color inversion negative is as competent as Nikonscan. With all color controls off, it provides even better results then scan software with built-in profiles. Below I used Vuescan with the Kodak 160VC profile and the various settings. It is a very old version and may have been updated since so results now may be different.
    [​IMG]
    I also have scan comparisons of reference slides from various scanners and software with that profile and still Coolscan+Nikonscan with no profile rendered a much more accurate default/neutral scan.

    I tried NEF but quickly found it was not readable by a lot of the tools I use so I would use TIFs instead. I understand what you mean about JPEGs but fortunately Nikonscan allows very low compression JPEG files. It's been my experience that if I need to recover a badly exposed frame of film, then scanning over/under - ala HDR, and saving as TIFs gives me the best possibility for success. Otherwise, a perfectly exposed frame of film scanned to lowest compression JPEGs are more than good enough.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
  18. gorbas

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    Les, If you purchased Vuescan you have free lifetime updates. I used it with Minolta scan 5400 and Vuescan gives you it's own interpretation of the negative. I found it very weird and counter productive.
    Nikon scan gives me what is on the negative. No more or less.
    I'm using just NEF (Nikonscan 8000 or DSLR).
    I tried to find "mileage" of my scanner but it's not recorded in any of it's exif notes at least not on the same place where you can find number of camera actuations.
     
  19. jlbruyelle

    jlbruyelle Member

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    Although I fully understand the convenience of the Coolscan 9000 for dust and scratch correction, I need to make a few remarks here.

    First off, the 9000's ICE certainly has merits, but it also has visible effects on the image rendition, in particular on sharpness and smoothing, which make it more useful as a productivity tool to get adequate quality in a comparatively short time, than as a tool to get great images - which is perfectly normal, since the dust specks and the scratches remove information that cannot really be recovered. All the software can do is try to fill the missing parts of the image in an unconspicuous way, but it does not magically make them come back. It also needs to avoid spoiling the parts of the image where there is no defect. According to this example you gave in another thread, even the 9000 does not completely succeed there, especially in the fine setting. In other words, I strongly disagree that ICE does not do anything else than removing dust and scratches, that would be too good to be true and the signal theory says otherwise. Whether or not you can live with these artefacts for the sake of saved cleaning time, is entirely a matter of taste. Personally I don't like this look and I'm willing to spend a few seconds on each image to avoid it, but to each his own.

    A big advantage of the DSLR approach is that it (usually) uses diffuse light which, unlike the pointlight used in scanners, does not emphasize the grain, dust and scratches. This makes software removal easier and less destructive.

    As for the presence of defects on the film, there is no alternative to carefully cleaning it. Use an air blower as a first attempt. If not sufficient, use a fine brush, antistatic if possible: it only takes a few seconds, less than ICE processing time, and it is more effective at cleaning the image - read what I said above. If still dirty, you can also resort to wet cleaning with PEC12 or pure alcohol - but NOT water as I've seen: water makes gelatin swell and get sticky, which is a great way to cause mechanical damage, attract more dust and make it very difficult to remove. There are solutions for scratches, such as fluid mounting (works for both DSLR and scanning) but they are not very convenient and certainly reduce productivity if it is a priority for you.

    As regards negative to positive conversion, I don't do much colour negative myself but I have had good success (and good colours) with the Photoshop curves approach as long as there are white and black parts, even tiny ones, in the image. It takes a little time, but no more than scanning it in good quality. You can also do it with Vuescan, by just importing the raw file from a DSLR and processing it as if it was a scanned image. These are just two solutions that work, among others.

    Finally, and although it is probably stretching a bit the topic of the discussion, it is probably good to point out here that it is only the Coolscan 9000 that can do ICE on any kind of film. Any other scanner (including other Coolscans) will not be able to do ICE on non-chromogenic film, aka B&W and Kodachrome. I find this reminder particularly useful given the scarce supply of Coolscan 9000's, their cost on the used market, and the fact that they are virtually unserviceable now. I wouldn't want anyone reading this thread to believe that this is a "scanner vs. DSLR" instead of a "Coolscan 9000 vs. DSLR" discussion, and be disppointed becaused they bought another scanner due of a misunderstanding. [Edit: oh, I hadn't seen you had said it before. Sorry, I'm being redundant on this one]

    Incidentally, in this example of yours, that I linked to above, I notice that even without ICE your D800 is very noticeably sharper than your 9000 (granted, in 135). It would be interesting, since you seem to have tested the resolution of all the configurations you have used, to show the comparison between the 9000 and the D800.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  20. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    Do you use a scanner and/or DSLR to digitize your film? If so, which scanners and cameras? What films do you digitize - brand and format?
     
  21. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    Also, for the purposes of full disclosure and this discussion, perhaps you would consider posting results that support your remarks.
     
  22. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    I actually posted this example of how well Coolscan 9000 + Nikonscan ICE works on Kodachrome in my other post that you referenced.

    [​IMG]

    Here is another that shows the artifacting created by Epson V500 + Epsonscan ICE. Most prominent in dark to light transitions.

    [​IMG]

    In another forum, someone had been using the Canon FS4000 and he primarily shot Kodachrome. I wished he would have provided to me a bigger image because it was a perfect example of the worst implementation of dust and scratch removal I have ever seen. Canon calls it FARE.
     
  23. jlbruyelle

    jlbruyelle Member

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    OK, I see that you mistook my post for a disdainful criticism of your skills. I'm deeply sorry that you might think that, it is not at all the case.

    To answer your question, I worked with scanners for years but have now switched to DSLR because it clearly offers me a better productivity/quality/convenience compromise, and in particular diffuse light alleviates many issues while avoiding as much as possible the artefacts caused by dust/scratch removal algorithms - not saying I never use them, I just avoid them as much as possible because I don't rely on inpainting to conceal problems that I can easily avoid creating in the first place, and I want to keep the quality as high as I reasonably can - besides it is best to take good care of archives, and keeping them clean (without taking chances, of course) is clearly part of it.

    My setup is a Nikon D610, PB6 bellows and Rodagon 5.6/80 at f/11, mounted on a Kaiser enlarger base via the Kaiser RC1 camera holder. The light source is a 40-odd years old lightbox that I like because of its evenness and its 98 CRI. The film is mounted in the negative holder of an Ahel 12 enlarger if it is negative, or in the slide holder of a Minolta film scanner if it is slide, on a plate that serves both as a holder and as a shade to avoid lateral lighting that would cause flare in the lens. I scan 35 mm slides, 35 mm to 6x9 cm negatives and I still have a few 9x12 cm glass plates to do. Since I work on archives dating all the way from the '40s to the 21st century, I've seen all kinds of B&W films including Technical Pan, Tri-X, Agfa, 1960's Adox and even pre-WWII DuPont nitrate film! For colour, it's mostly Kodachrome until the '90s, then gradually replaced by Fujichrome. And of course, colour negatives too. I shoot RAW files that I import into Lightroom, not so much because of its qualities as a RAW processor (it does the job, but DxO is better and colour negatices require Photoshop) but because of its capabilities in the field of document research: I don't know of any other imaging software that offers standard IPTC metadata and an easy tool to enter the location of a photo, both of which are very useful in my work.

    My setup has a quite sufficient dynamic range even on difficult slides (I can't say this of all the scanners I used, far from it) and quite enough resolution to show the grain of any 35 mm film I've had to work on so far. On 120 it is still great on HP5, but the D610 begins to show its limits on more modern films in this format, namely Kodak TMax / Ilford Delta which seem to lie just at the limit of its resolution. This is why I'he been intrigued by the baby slide you showed, in which the D800 clearly outperforms the Coolscan 9000, and asked whether you had made a resolution comparison between them, using the ISO chart like you did with other machines. I'd really be interested in seeing one.

    Canon's infrared dust removal on Kodachrome? Oh yes, that must be an interesting sight... :sick: :smile:
     
  24. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member
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    I apologize if I may have seemed that way. It is an international forum and there is no way to account for interpretations and that is why I prefer to show evidence of what I know for a fact - tests I've actually done myself, as opposed to observations/opinions. The proverbial picture worth a thousand words and all. Since it sounds like you have some background on the topic, it would be helpful to this discussion if you would share evidence of your observations. Having been a test engineer for decades, it's just second nature that I verify my results and document them.
     
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