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Thread: Imacon 848?

  1. #1
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    Imacon 848?

    Hey all,
    I have a line on buying a great condition Imacon 848 scanner. What do people out there think a realistic price for one of these is?
    It's got all the bits and pieces, holders, etc, and has just had a service if that makes a difference?
    Thanks!
    TJV

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    Re: Imacon 848?

    Great scanner. I used a demo one for a few months prior to actually purchasing a 949.

    The scans were so good that I ended up re-scanning a lot of work I had already scanned with a Minolta MF scanner and a Polaroid scanner I had before that.

    I don't have a clue what these are worth these days ... Probably $6K to 8K depending on condition (based on the 949 being worth about $10K) ... I think they were about $14 or 15K new. But, again, I'm just guessing.

    The service is pretty simple, just lubing the right parts from time to time.

    -Marc

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    Re: Imacon 848?

    Great, thanks Marc. That's what I expected but it's hard to find this information printed on websites that sell these things. I've been getting my scanning done locally by a place that uses an X5. They output to FFF for me and I take it from there. I hear many things about the X5 being better than the X1 / 848 but have not really heard why except the X5's diffuser give a softer, more gental grain structure and is less inclined to show dust and pepper grain. Would this be true? Either way, an 848 is all I'd ever want or need. Plus it would help keep me away from buying a MF digital camera, which at the moment the cost of my film workflow is forcing me towards. In an ideal world, I'd rather stick with film for the time being.

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    Re: Imacon 848?

    Yes, the only real differences between the 848 and 949/X5 are scanning speed, and the diffused light source. The build quality, CCD, lens, and mechanics are the same as far as I know. I think the 949/X5 will also accept the multi-rack for batch scanning on a production level ... I'm not sure the 848 will (if you'd even need such a thing).

    The diffused light source of the 949 and X5 is an advantage ... it is similar to the modifications that many made to their Minolta MF scanners and installed a new diffused light source. The effect is to soften the edges of the grain and mask some surface marks on the film ... producing results that are very similar to enlarger made prints.

    Still, the 848 blew away every thing I had used before it, and the 949 only improved on that a bit.

    -Marc

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    Re: Imacon 848?

    Thanks Marc,
    Very helpful.
    TJV

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    Re: Imacon 848?

    For 8-9K i would personally look at a used/refurb Creo/Kodak IQ3 Smart scanner. Does 5500 true DPI over the entire 13x18" bed, has superior dynamic range and depth of field, can scan 3D objects and can wet or dry mount. You can scan any combination of negative sizes, can scan 40 mounted slides in in a slide tray. Very powerful software.

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    Re: Imacon 848?

    Good to see these scanners are highly recommended.
    Do you have any instructions on what the annual service is, and how to reset the counter?

    Not trying to hijack this thread, but was wondering if someone out there using a flextight could explain how it deals with images if you are using a holder that scans more than a single frame at a time. As I see they have holders that can do strips of 6 24x35mm and ones that can do strips of 3 6x6. Does thesoftwarescanas one file you then have to split into separate images, or is it clever enoughtoscan each one as a separate image?
    Thanks for any help.

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    Re: Imacon 848?

    I sold my 848 a couple of years ago after I sold my Roundshot & Noblex. As far as I know, the software did not split images -- you had to do that manually.

    Call Imacon in Washington to get the latest service price. Frankly, unless you use the scanner commercially (large volume of scans) I see no reason the have it serviced annually. A year after your last service, you'll get a pop-up message on your computer every time you launch the scanning software letting you know it's time for service. Fortunately, you can just ignore it & proceed to scan.

    The 848 is a great machine. I think I sold mine for $6750. It was in "need" of service but was in great condition. I always kept a dust cover over the scanner when not in use, and would recommend everyone do the same.

    Previous to the 848 I had a PII, which I made Imacon take back for the 848 when it came out. I can't recommend the PI, PII, or PIII because the light source isn't too even. When adding contrast to blue skys, I got banding in the direction of the scan. Imacon replaced my PII twice, plus I tried scanning on several other PII's & PIII's & they all did it!

    Best of luck!

    --Alan

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    Re: Imacon 848?

    FrostG -- if you are scanning in 3F, the software can semi-intelligently make separate scans. It does not do this through any optical detection, it does it by scanning a certain length of the holder and designating it a single image. So when you use the six frame holder you need to make sure that the first image is lined up to the top edge of the holder. It will scan so that the images are a bit longer than a normal 35mm frame, so that it gets all the image. Then the auto-frame detection will crop the excess so that the selection just goes around the image. This works well with cameras in good shape that have regular image spacing and well-exposed frames. It does not work well if spacing is uneven, or if frames are too dark (the auto-cropping will crop out the dark edge, if for example the bottom or top of your frame is very dark from some reason...a dark foreground or a dark sky in a night photo etc).
    Since the system is not based on optical detection, it also does not work for non-standard sizes, unless you go and create your own frame sizing standards (which you can do in FlexColor). So your 6x6x3 holder will not automatically scan 6x7 or 645 frames unless you make a new holder measurement for it, and tell FlexColor to use that one. The good news is that if you are using standard 6x6 or 35mm with good spacing, these holders will save you a lot of time. I do it a lot. I can scan six frames at a time for 35mm, with just one press of a button (on the X5). Since it is 3F, you can just go back to it when it is done, and slightly tweak things and resave the final Tiff if you need to change something.

    As for service, I agree that once a year is overkill, particularly in a non-production environment. Service is expensive. I would say don't bother unless there is a problem, or maybe every 3-5 years. If the service dialog is bothering you, I think you can turn it off in the debugging feature of the scanner.
    If you open flexcolor with the scanner on, type "debg" all in a row, it will give you access to the service tech's menu options. In the maintenance section, I think there is an option to turn off the warning. Another very useful feature is the monitor window...that will give you a live readout of the light hitting the CCD. If there are any large valleys in the readout, it is indicative of a piece of dust or something in the way of the light path. This will manifest itself as a dark bar running through your scan. Try blowing air in there until it goes away. Hopefully it will take care of it and save you a trip to service! You can also do a CCD calibration in that debugging menu. Don't mess with it unless you have to, but it can also be a life-saving tool if you need it, again, saving you a few hundred bucks in service/shipping etc.
    While they are not perfect, I have found these scanners to be the best option on the market. For me, their combination of speed, performance, lack of need for glass or oil mounting and compatibility with currently available computers and operating systems makes them a much more attractive option than anything else out there.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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    Re: Imacon 848?

    Stuart and Alan, thank you both for your insight and taking the time to note these things. I have taken the plunge and now have a 949 on its way. So I can now try and put your useful info into practice.
    Thanks again for sharing.

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    Re: Imacon 848?

    Short of some obsolete (with no support), messy drum scanner, you'll find your 949 will give you the best scans available. If I was still shooting film, I would have kept my 848.

    Enjoy your new toy!

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