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Thread: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

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    Senior Member dave.gt's Avatar
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    Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    It seems there are more things hidden in the shadows of Hasselblad. It is discouraging to hear nothing about future plans while products like the excellent X3 and X5 film scanners are now being discussed on forums as being discontinued.

    I can find nothing about those film scanners being discontinued. Is it true? Has there been an official announcement by Hasselblad?

    Btw, who is the US Hasselblad rep now?

    And please do not let this fact-finding post degenerate into a Hasselblad bashing thread... not helpful.

    Edit: There are a few of us who use Hasselblad H cameras with film backs. The fact that 120 film needs quality scanning is important when virtual drum scans are required. Hasselblad has covered that market very well. But now, with an alleged report that HB has discontinued these scanners, what does it mean for us?

    What does it mean for document archival?
    Last edited by dave.gt; 4 Weeks Ago at 03:48.
    Best regards,
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    I'm not active on any of "those forums" that you speak of regarding the alleged demise of the X3 and X5. That would be news to me. I have a Hasselblad Flextight X5----and as far as I know they are still actively supported. Maybe what is being spread about is because Hasselblad in general has been downsized, quiet with its offerings---maybe beat down by DJI from being the popular kid into the red-headed step-child. Hope not. Hasselblad stands alone with their scanners and I think it is a viable option in the market for them to exploit. And yes, I know of Phase One's Cultural Heritage efforts with DT at the helm offering a "superior result"----but for smaller operations and users, nothing beats the simplicity of the X3/X5 solutions.

    I recently took part in an online Hasselblad Flextight seminar a few months back on March 21, 2019----nothing mentioned about their demise. Flextight Scanners and OS compatibility. This is a cut and paste from my email invite: "In this webinar Eric Peterson and Shar Taylor, Hasselblad Specialists, will discuss the Flextight scanners and their compatibility with current operating systems. They will also share maintenance and service information pertaining to the scanners along with best practices and usage with FlexColor, Hasselblad’s free scanning software.

    Please send your questions, comments and feedback to: [email protected] "


    Seems counter-intuitive to me to hold an online support seminar if venerable H is discontinuing the line. Maybe an inquiry directly to their email would provide some answers or dispel the rumors.

    Ken

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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    I'm not active on any of "those forums" that you speak of regarding the alleged demise of the X3 and X5. That would be news to me. I have a Hasselblad Flextight X5----and as far as I know they are still actively supported. Maybe what is being spread about is because Hasselblad in general has been downsized, quiet with its offerings---maybe beat down by DJI from being the popular kid into the red-headed step-child. Hope not. Hasselblad stands alone with their scanners and I think it is a viable option in the market for them to exploit. And yes, I know of Phase One's Cultural Heritage efforts with DT at the helm offering a "superior result"----but for smaller operations and users, nothing beats the simplicity of the X3/X5 solutions.

    I recently took part in an online Hasselblad Flextight seminar a few months back on March 21, 2019----nothing mentioned about their demise. Flextight Scanners and OS compatibility. This is a cut and paste from my email invite: "In this webinar Eric Peterson and Shar Taylor, Hasselblad Specialists, will discuss the Flextight scanners and their compatibility with current operating systems. They will also share maintenance and service information pertaining to the scanners along with best practices and usage with FlexColor, Hasselblad’s free scanning software.

    Please send your questions, comments and feedback to: [email protected] "


    Seems counter-intuitive to me to hold an online support seminar if venerable H is discontinuing the line. Maybe an inquiry directly to their email would provide some answers or dispel the rumors.

    Ken



    Flextight - both are discontinued. Hasselblad will support and service those as per now.

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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Quote Originally Posted by PedroL View Post
    Flextight - both are discontinued. Hasselblad will support and service those as per now.
    Sad day
    "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here."

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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    And yes, I know of Phase One's Cultural Heritage efforts with DT at the helm offering a "superior result"----but for smaller operations and users, nothing beats the simplicity of the X3/X5 solutions.
    No need to put "superior result" in quotes. The results of the DT Film Scanning System have been evaluated by numerous expert institutions including the Library of Congress (who write the standards that everyone else follows). It is both visually better and numerically better (mathematical evaluation of targets). It's also faster, safer for the material, more flexible (e.g. can do glass plates, unusual film sizes, reflective+transmissive illumination, and the core components can be used for art reproduction, object photography, or even landscape photography or portraiture), has fewer maintenance and OS-support and connection-protocol issues, and uses a modern raw-workflow in modern software.

    The situation is basically what you'd expect given that scanners stopped meaningfully improving nearly 20 years ago. They were, at that point, probably 10 years ahead of their time. But time marches on.
    Last edited by dougpeterson; 4 Weeks Ago at 07:35.
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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Hi,

    I checked on Hasselblad's site and scanners were not mentioned. Maintenance may be available.

    But, we are living in a changing world and film scanners are no great business, it seems. That means that you can find great offerings, but support may be hanging on parts availability and trained personnel.

    The upside is that shooting repro is a great option. Modern CMOS based cameras can probably deliver as good or better results than older scanners and do it very fast.

    That said, building a good setup for shooting slide repro with precision takes some effort.

    Best regards
    Erik


    Quote Originally Posted by dave.gt View Post
    It seems there are more things hidden in the shadows of Hasselblad. It is discouraging to hear nothing about future plans while products like the excellent X3 and X5 film scanners are now being discussed on forums as being discontinued.

    I can find nothing about those film scanners being discontinued. Is it true? Has there been an official announcement by Hasselblad?

    Btw, who is the US Hasselblad rep now?

    And please do not let this fact-finding post degenerate into a Hasselblad bashing thread... not helpful.

    Edit: There are a few of us who use Hasselblad H cameras with film backs. The fact that 120 film needs quality scanning is important when virtual drum scans are required. Hasselblad has covered that market very well. But now, with an alleged report that HB has discontinued these scanners, what does it mean for us?

    What does it mean for document archival?

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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Quote Originally Posted by dave.gt View Post
    What does it mean for document archival?
    In the context of museums, libraries, archives, schools, and other institutions: Very little.

    Percentage-wise almost all current cultural heritage digitization (the fancy word for the digital preservation of historical documents/film/objects) has been done by "instant capture" (camera-based technology) rather than scanning. And almost all of the work being done using the legacy scanning approach is done on scanners that were bought many years ago. We have a guide we've written a guide to instant capture and an upcoming webinar on the same.

    I also don't think it will have much impact on individuals; most of the limited number of X3 and X5 scanners I've seen purchased in the last few years were purchased all second-hand.
    Last edited by dougpeterson; 4 Weeks Ago at 07:41.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Thanks for the discussion!!!

    Lots to think about now!

    And...

    Anticipate!

    https://www.hasselblad.com/
    Best regards,
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    I have no doubt that the Phase One option provides "superior results"---hence the emphasis with quote marks. But I'd also expect as much with a more substantial investment.

    The X5 option is simply easier and more accessible for individuals. It produces excellent scans and fills a niche. The advent of the Phase One approach, albeit superior, doesn't take anything away from the Flextight approach. In the same vein, the advent of the IQ4 150 doesn't mean that the IQ3 series is now an unacceptable platform. I'd love to see Phase One step it up and offer a scanning option at the lower end (read: more financially accessible) and fill in the void that apparently Hasselblad is leaving. As far as I can tell, Hasselblad support of the X3 and X5 will "continue for years" (quote from H support) but I think the writing is on the wall.

    Get DT to offer an accessible package for individual photographer/consumers, Doug. You know it would be Dante-approved.


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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    I have no doubt that the Phase One option provides "superior results"---hence the emphasis with quote marks. But I'd also expect as much with a more substantial investment.

    The X5 option is simply easier and more accessible for individuals. It produces excellent scans and fills a niche. The advent of the Phase One approach, albeit superior, doesn't take anything away from the Flextight approach. In the same vein, the advent of the IQ4 150 doesn't mean that the IQ3 series is now an unacceptable platform. I'd love to see Phase One step it up and offer a scanning option at the lower end (read: more financially accessible) and fill in the void that apparently Hasselblad is leaving.
    Maybe it's just my sleep deprivation making me ornery, but the solution you're referring to is not a "Phase One option" - The DT Film Scanning Kit is a product conceived of, designed, manufactured, marketed, sold, and supported by Digital Transitions; I was lead designer and wrote the book on using it.

    I don't think the IQ4 vs IQ3 is a remotely relevant comparison. It's more like an IQ4 vs a Betterlight. Both produced high quality results, and the Betterlight was many years ahead of its time, and yes, you can still get great results from a Betterlight today (assuming it's still working, you have a computer with the appropriate legacy connectors/software and its in good calibration) but you just don't see many people investing in a Betterlight nowadays, for the good reason that the underlying technology was long ago superseded.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    I know it's a "DT" solution (using Phase One products behind it). I know you're deeply involved. And I know there "other" camera-based digitization solutions.

    We just want a Doug Peterson/DT/Phase One solution for less.

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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    We just want a Doug Peterson/DT/Phase One solution for less.
    Noted. I appreciate the feedback.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    @Dougpeterson - are there any scanning service companies that use the DT/DougPeterson system?

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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Quote Originally Posted by richardman View Post
    @Dougpeterson - are there any scanning service companies that use the DT/DougPeterson system?
    Yes, shoot me an email with your location.
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    Shooting dupes... keeping flat...

    Hi,

    It is quite possible to reproduce slides shooting dupes.

    But, there is a limitation and that is keeping the slide flat. It would be best handled by wet mounting the slide to a plane transparent surface. Not using wet mounting DoF will be a challenge. Somewhat realistically, film flatness in a slide mount may be around 0.5 mm. Shooting at f/11, that would correspond to a 0.5 / 11 -> 0.045 mm spot size which corresponds to 22 lp/mm.

    That figure is neither terribly good or terribly bad. I would say that it is reasonable to expect low speed slide film to yield 50 lp/mm resolution at medium apertures and exact focus, so 22 lp/mm would be a significant loss.

    But, doing dupes, you may focus on the subject in the slide. That would give you full, but diffraction limited, resolution in that part of the image. Shooting with a macro lens, effective aperture may vary. If focusing is done with extension, f/11 at 1:1 would yield an effective aperture of f/22, thus severely limiting resolution. But may macro lenses use internal focusing which probably means that effective aperture is closer to nominal.

    So, what is my take?

    • You probably need wet mounting for best results.
    • For the best results you probably need a drum scan, using a wet mounting and very slow scan speeds.
    • Using a high resolution camera, you can get very good results, but alignment and film curvature will cause major problems.


    I have been cheating a lot, duping 55x69 mm slides in GP slide mounts on my Sony A7rII. The results are pretty good. Also, if you have a good setup, duping can be very fast.


    For best results you probably need:
    • Wet mounting
    • A repro lens with nominal aperture of f/5.6 or so
    • An image plane very well aligned with the film plane
    • Proper shielding of all external or reflected light

    Achieving that is not exactly easy. But it will yield very good images, with minimum efforts.

    Best regards
    Erik

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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    You can get the benefit of an X5 without owning one. Just send your film to Mike at http://www.agximaging.com/ and get great scans done for a mere 12.50 each. I've used them several times with very good results

    You'd have to shoot an awful lot of film to make owning one a better deal
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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    You can get the benefit of an X5 without owning one. Just send your film to Mike at http://www.agximaging.com/ and get great scans done for a mere 12.50 each. I've used them several times with very good results

    You'd have to shoot an awful lot of film to make owning one a better deal
    That is a good price! I was quoted by a local business here in Atlanta something on the order of $24/scan!

    Thanks for the link!
    Best regards,
    Dave (GT)

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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    I own a Flextight 848 and charge $10 for a MF scan and $15 for 4x5.
    https://richardman.photo/scanning-developing-services/

    I am doing several personal projects where I have shot close to 1000 sheets of 4x5 so owning a FT is really the only way to go for me.

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    Re: Shooting dupes... keeping flat...

    Quote Originally Posted by ErikKaffehr View Post
    Hi,

    It is quite possible to reproduce slides shooting dupes.

    But, there is a limitation and that is keeping the slide flat. It would be best handled by wet mounting the slide to a plane transparent surface. Not using wet mounting DoF will be a challenge. Somewhat realistically, film flatness in a slide mount may be around 0.5 mm. Shooting at f/11, that would correspond to a 0.5 / 11 -> 0.045 mm spot size which corresponds to 22 lp/mm.

    That figure is neither terribly good or terribly bad. I would say that it is reasonable to expect low speed slide film to yield 50 lp/mm resolution at medium apertures and exact focus, so 22 lp/mm would be a significant loss.

    But, doing dupes, you may focus on the subject in the slide. That would give you full, but diffraction limited, resolution in that part of the image. Shooting with a macro lens, effective aperture may vary. If focusing is done with extension, f/11 at 1:1 would yield an effective aperture of f/22, thus severely limiting resolution. But may macro lenses use internal focusing which probably means that effective aperture is closer to nominal.

    So, what is my take?

    • You probably need wet mounting for best results.
    • For the best results you probably need a drum scan, using a wet mounting and very slow scan speeds.
    • Using a high resolution camera, you can get very good results, but alignment and film curvature will cause major problems.


    I have been cheating a lot, duping 55x69 mm slides in GP slide mounts on my Sony A7rII. The results are pretty good. Also, if you have a good setup, duping can be very fast.


    For best results you probably need:
    • Wet mounting
    • A repro lens with nominal aperture of f/5.6 or so
    • An image plane very well aligned with the film plane
    • Proper shielding of all external or reflected light

    Achieving that is not exactly easy. But it will yield very good images, with minimum efforts.

    Best regards
    Erik
    I appreciate how much effort you've put trying to work this out by pure theory. But some of it, in practice, is just flat out wrong (pun intended).

    Corrections I'd offer based on real world experience of designing and deploying such systems to institutions who then rigorously test them and refuse to pay if you don't meet objective measurements:
    - A Drum Scanner no longer produces the best results; we've surpassed that legacy standard bearer.
    - Wet mounting is no longer preferred; in addition to the productivity and conservation concerns the fundamental advantages are not what they were with the underlying technology used in a drum scanner. When inbound illumination is direct rather than angled and diffuse rather than collated the topography of dust and scratches is not nearly as problematic. Instead our system uses a proprietary high-resolution (fine grain) anti-newton ring glass that has a far higher resolution than the ANR glass of the film era. This ensures complete flatness without the downsides of wet mounting or legacy low-resolution ANR glass.

    You are absolutely right though about flare, and planarity/alignment. We manufacturer our system in the USA using metal cut and tested to extremely tight tolerances, and then use a laser system for the final alignment calibration of the system. Our carriers are likewise made of metal (solid plate metal, not flexible sheets) and each is carefully checked for flatness. Even a slight misalignment causes measurable loss of quality across the frame. In fact though that is not a problem limited to camera-based scanners; we've had several clients whose legacy film scanners exhibited intra-frame sharpness loss, including two separate clients who sent their film scanners in for pro service only to wait several months to have them returned with the same issue (along new axis). If anyone is interested in testing their scanners homogeneity of resolution, I suggest an ISA target along with Golden Thread software or the free variant of that software produced by the Library of Congress. Just be prepared to be disappointed; I've yet to see a single legacy scanner test that didn't exhibit some measurable misalignment.

    You also missed out on several other factors such as focusing accuracy, external vibration mitigation, camera-generated vibration mitigation, focus stability on cameras designed to point outward rather than downward, flatness of field (even on repro lenses; there are no 100.00% flat-field lenses, only lenses designed with varying levels of rigor on this spec), thermal output of lighting, the spectral quality of the lighting and the generation of a matching profile, uniformity of illumination, the metameric error from specific emulsions, dust mitigation, eliminating carrier-based bend or displacement during handling, and assuming the volume of scanning is high the topics of automatic cropping, film negative tone inversion, multiple-derivative output, and naming / file organization. I'm probably missing a few.

    Of course, how much any of the above raised issues matters to you depends on what level of quality you want/need to achieve and what volume you're scanning. If you just want to make some pretty 8x10s or 11x14s of a few dozen (or even a few hundred) slides then you don't need anything fancy to have a great experience. If you're looking at thousands or tens/hundreds of thousands of pieces of film from which you want to make archival-grade never-scan-again files that would beat a drum scanner, then, frankly, you do.

    If I come off sounding a bit drum-beating about our system its because we've spend the last several years systematically solving these problems and I'm darn proud of what we've accomplished in doing so.
    Last edited by dougpeterson; 4 Weeks Ago at 17:27.
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    Re: Shooting dupes... keeping flat...

    Hi Doug,

    The reason I suggest wet mounting was twofold.

    • Slides are not flat. So you need a mounting that keeps them absolutely flat.
    • It has been suggested by a guy doing slide scans, now by duping.


    I have no doubt the gear Digital Transitions offers works great. But I am not sure folks interested in Hasselblad scanners are into high volume repro.

    The way I described to scan slides is not pure theory, as I have done on hundreds of slides.

    Adding to that, there is nothing wrong with theory. What usually goes wrong is implementation.

    Totally irrelevant to the dupes, congratulations to your new baby! I hope she (or he) is doing fine!

    Best regards
    Erik



    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    I appreciate how much effort you've put trying to work this out by pure theory. But some of it, in practice, is just flat out wrong (pun intended).

    Corrections I'd offer based on real world experience of designing and deploying such systems to institutions who then rigorously test them and refuse to pay if you don't meet objective measurements:
    - A Drum Scanner no longer produces the best results; we've surpassed that legacy standard bearer.
    - Wet mounting is no longer preferred; in addition to the productivity and conservation concerns the fundamental advantages are not what they were with the underlying technology used in a drum scanner. When inbound illumination is direct rather than angled and diffuse rather than collated the topography of dust and scratches is not nearly as problematic. Instead our system uses a proprietary high-resolution (fine grain) anti-newton ring glass that has a far higher resolution than the ANR glass of the film era. This ensures complete flatness without the downsides of wet mounting or legacy low-resolution ANR glass.

    You are absolutely right though about flare, and planarity/alignment. We manufacturer our system in the USA using metal cut and tested to extremely tight tolerances, and then use a laser system for the final alignment calibration of the system. Our carriers are likewise made of metal (solid plate metal, not flexible sheets) and each is carefully checked for flatness. Even a slight misalignment causes measurable loss of quality across the frame. In fact though that is not a problem limited to camera-based scanners; we've had several clients whose legacy film scanners exhibited intra-frame sharpness loss, including two separate clients who sent their film scanners in for pro service only to wait several months to have them returned with the same issue (along new axis). If anyone is interested in testing their scanners homogeneity of resolution, I suggest an ISA target along with Golden Thread software or the free variant of that software produced by the Library of Congress. Just be prepared to be disappointed; I've yet to see a single legacy scanner test that didn't exhibit some measurable misalignment.

    You also missed out on several other factors such as focusing accuracy, external vibration mitigation, camera-generated vibration mitigation, focus stability on cameras designed to point outward rather than downward, flatness of field (even on repro lenses; there are no 100.00% flat-field lenses, only lenses designed with varying levels of rigor on this spec), thermal output of lighting, the spectral quality of the lighting and the generation of a matching profile, uniformity of illumination, the metameric error from specific emulsions, dust mitigation, eliminating carrier-based bend or displacement during handling, and assuming the volume of scanning is high the topics of automatic cropping, film negative tone inversion, multiple-derivative output, and naming / file organization. I'm probably missing a few.

    Of course, how much any of the above raised issues matters to you depends on what level of quality you want/need to achieve and what volume you're scanning. If you just want to make some pretty 8x10s or 11x14s of a few dozen (or even a few hundred) slides then you don't need anything fancy to have a great experience. If you're looking at thousands or tens/hundreds of thousands of pieces of film from which you want to make archival-grade never-scan-again files that would beat a drum scanner, then, frankly, you do.

    If I come off sounding a bit drum-beating about our system its because we've spend the last several years systematically solving these problems and I'm darn proud of what we've accomplished in doing so.

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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Personally I just looked at the DT solution and said, ok how can a mere mortal learn from this?

    The result I came up with:

    A decent copy stand.
    A high CRI LED panel from Kaiser.
    Different film holder solutions that range from wet capable to full roll transportable.
    A great capture camera and a great macro lens.

    Now I started with a D810 which did well, but I really wanted something slightly better. I have two solutions now. The first is my Hy6 Mod 2 with the 80/2.8 Xenotar on a bellows focusing rig, with a Leaf Aptus back. This makes some really nice scans! But it's also a ton of work.

    The 2nd which I've just started playing with is the Pentax K-1 II and the 100/2.8 Macro. The K-1 has a fantastic Pixel Shift (aka multishot) implementation so I've been able to get non-bayer interpolated scans. I'm doing all of this at low ISO but still I see less noise and more detail, especially after sharpening.

    My results are easily within Flextight capability to my eye. Especially when you consider stitching techniques to add resolutions.

    Color negative conversion has seen an industry game changer recently with the release of Negative Lab Pro. Seriously if you shoot C41 check this program out.

    To bring things back down to earth a bit too. Lets be honest better is better and I appreciate that. But gallery shows have been made with scans from Nikon Coolscans or Minolta CCD line scanners...even old Microtek flatbeds. I scan thousands of rolls of film every year nearly every day of the week. You can make beautiful scans with a wide variety of equipment choices if you use them effectively. Drum scans are better than Coolscans unless a particular image does not require the benefits the drum scan brings to the table! It's an art and and science.

    To bring it back to the OP. I am not surprised the Flextight/X scanners are discontinued. They're well past a decade old in design and IMO it was shameful that Hasselblad never updated them or lowered the price to reflect the changing times. Digital ICE might have been a good addition too!

    I wouldn't worry too much about this. Camera scanning gets better every year while Flextights only get older.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedgraphic View Post
    Personally I just looked at the DT solution and said, ok how can a mere mortal learn from this?

    The result I came up with:

    A decent copy stand.
    A high CRI LED panel from Kaiser.
    Different film holder solutions that range from wet capable to full roll transportable.
    A great capture camera and a great macro lens.
    Yes! I use:
    ALPA TC + SK 120 macro lens + Hassy CFV50c back
    Beseler CS Digital/Photo-Video Copy Stand
    Film holders from my Microtek Aritian scanner and a 4x5" film holder from a Beseler 4x5 enlarger
    LED lightbox

    Granted my LED lightbox is no match to the LED panel you mention, but it works for me.
    The largest prints I have sold are printed on 17x22" paper and then framed. I have sold quite a few with no complaints.

    I have owned a few film scanners over the many years I have been in this game, and what I am using today fits with the technology of the day.
    I would not invest in a Hasselblad scanner or the like. Invest in items found in Speedpraphic's checklist. My 2 cents!

    Darr
    Website: photoscapes.com
    Photo Blog: darrlene.com

  23. #23
    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Re: Hasselblad Film Scanners Discontinued?

    I use a strip of AN glass, 2.25" wide and about 8" long, to lay on the film to keep it flat. Anti static brushes help to keep dust out as well.

    Joel

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