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Thread: high-end scanner question

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2009
    San Diego, CA
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    high-end scanner question

    I realize the answer is likely obvious, but I'm looking to make a smart decision in purchasing a high-quality scanner for my film activities. I'm looking in particular at the Nikon 9000 ED, the Minolta Multi Pro, the Imacon Flextight (X1), and something more exotic like a Creo Eversmart Pro II. I'm shooting a mix of 35mm and MF (6x6, 6x7), and eventually going to play with 4x5 LF. I'd like to have the ability to sell prints for any type of film, so I'm thinking at least 10x enlargement.

    Some salient points about each of those scanners:

    1. Nikon 9000 ED:
    + newer than the others
    + scans up to 6x9
    + 4000 DPI resolution in all formats
    + DMax 4.8
    ~ large-ish
    ~ pricey-ish ($2000)

    2. Minolta Dimage Multi PRO
    + 4800 DPI resolution for 35mm
    + scans up to 6x9
    + DMax 4.8
    + smallest
    + least expensive ($1500)
    - MF scans only 3200 DPI (48000 DPI interpolated)

    3. Imacon Flextight (X1)
    + 8000 DPI for 35mm
    + scans up to 4x5
    + DMax 4.6
    - MF scans only 3200 DPI
    - LF scans only 2040 DPI
    - very expensive ($5000)

    4. Creo Eversmart Pro II
    + scans all film sizes at full resolution
    + large batch scanning w/ XY stitching
    + DMax 4.0
    - 3175 optical resolution
    + 'lossless' 8000 DPI interpolated resolution
    - very large
    - expensive maintenance
    - very expensive

    I'm pretty sure I can get my hands on a Creo for about $3500-$4000, including a G3 Mac, software, calibration slide, holders, masks, manuals, etc. I think that's less than the price of the Imacon. The question I have is regarding the interpolated resolution on the Creo, particularly regarding 35mm negatives - how does an interpolated 8000 DPI scan on the Creo compare to a true 8000 DPI scan on the Imacon, for example?

    As expensive as the Creo is, it's alluring because it can scan the LF film at high resolutions, and because of the batching. That might allow me to offer scanning services for other film shooters without taking a whole lot of my time (I can scan an entire roll, perhaps two, at once).

    I appreciate any thoughts you all might have on this.

    Panasonic GH1/G1, Canon FTb(n)/F-1, Mamiya C330F/RB67 Pro SD, Chamonix 45N-2, Nikon F5 + Assorted Lenses

  2. #2
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Franklin, MI and Tampa, FL
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    Re: high-end scanner question

    Take care in choosing based on Scanner Specs only.

    Some D-Max claims and resolution numbers (especially interpolated ones) are inflated using complex mumbo-jumbo speak ... probably for marketing bragging rights.

    I can speak only to the scanners I've actually used on your list. The Minolta and an Imacon 848 and 949.

    The Minolta was quite good, especially ones that have the modified light source which produces more darkroom like scan results like a diffused condenser type enlarger does.
    I haven't kept up with the Minolta or any software issues it may have due to being discontinued quite a while ago. Be sure to check that before buying.

    I used the Minolta for years before my wily dealer loaned me an Imacon 848 ... I ended up scanning all my film stuff over again, and secured a 949.

    If the Imacon you are getting is $5,000. then it is probably not the equivalent of a current X1. It's probably a 646. If it is an 848, or especially a 949, for $5,000. IMO GRAB IT! The advantage of all Imacon/Flextights is film flatness without wet process or glass holders and all the fussiness involved with that. The 949 is the fastest scanner on the planet. I could hardly prep a piece of film before the other one was done scanning. Batch scanning is also possible using Flexcolor software with all Imacons/Flextights. They all use Rodenstock lenses.

    Trust me on this ... scanning 120+ films beyond 3200 dpi is basically scanning beyond grain detail. The same for 8000 dpi with the Imacon ... I saw zero advantage in doing 35mm films @ 8000 verses 4000. Maybe it's there for some special scientific films @ ISO 5 or something ... LOL!

    Check the time specs for each scanner ... it does get on your nerves waiting for an hour while the computer crunches the snail slow scans of some of these scanners.


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Re: high-end scanner question

    I have an Imacon 646 and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Marc is right, it's not all about specs but about quality of construction, speed, film flatness, the software, etc. The only regret with my Imacon is that I should have bought a 949 to begin with! I started with a 343, sold that and bought a refurb 646 (for about $7500 in 2005). My last published book, CYPHER on powerHouse, I scanned entirely on the Imacon. For most purposes it's that good, no reason to go with a finicky wet drum scanner. Anyway, good luck!

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