I just bought the Plustek 8200i transparency film scanner – and I couldn’t be more impressed with the quality.
Hundreds of 35mm images I captured more than 20 years ago are now likely to see the light of day.
Back then, as we moved into digital cameras, it just wasn’t practical to get my film scanned outside of what my clients wanted so, like most professional photographers, I moved on – glancing nostalgically towards the filing cabinets of film I’d collected over the years, but largely accepting they’d gone the way of the dinosaurs.
In a final deal, I entered an arrangement with a Canadian stock agency to scan and sell whatever they could salvage from my film library.
But that’s all changed.
As you can see, this AUD$800 transparency scanner is amazing. While it scans at up to 7200 ppi, I’ve only needed half of that to produce a high quality, 50 meg Tiff file for my commercial photo library.
And it’s easy to use. Not much bigger than a couple of external hard drives stood together, you clip four slides into a plastic tray, then draw them through the scanner one at a time. It does a preliminary scan, you make some adjustment in the scanning panels and then commit the Silverfast software to do the rest before tweaking it in Lightroom and Photoshop to finish it off (I’d say 10 minutes to scan the tranny and bring it up to scratch would be about right).
The first scan I did made the state of my film evident, with dust and hairline cracks gathered over the decades but, after a quick wipe with alcohol before loading, the intelligent software did the rest, eliminating most of the imperfections without a trace. And the sharpness and colour reproduction is exceptional. Velvia blues and greens and Kodachrome’s rich oranges and reds in tact. As my library manager said, “The result’s better than I could have done back in the days we used the dedicated drum scanner” (and that’s saying something). Back then, we were doing A5 scans to keep the price down. This scanner easily produces A3 scans, which is perfect for stock sales.
The only downside I found was that it doesn’t scan medium format film.
Anyway, here’s a couple of pics I’ve just scanned so you can judge the quality for yourself:
At this stage, I’ve stopped at about 100 pics from PNG as I’m in the middle of a move and most of my film library’s sitting in a container. But, once I’m settled, I’ll be back into it with re-scanned trannies from Australia, The South Pacific and South-east Asia.
To see the hundred or so pics I‘ve just scanned from a book I published more than 20 years ago, click the following link to a gallery of film images I’ve started building in my commercial photo library:
Film photographs from the archives