Reply To: scanner, scanner, wherefore art thou scanner?

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I have the 1st gen Konica-Minolta 5400. I’m quite happy with it; it scans all the flaws in my images from either slide or negative film. I’ve heard very nice things about the Nikon Coolscans as well. The Nikon resolves 4000 dpi, while the K-M goes to 5400 dpi. This means that a 35mm image can go to 5400 x 7800 pixels, at 16-bit color depth. Using the 300 dpi output “rule” for prints, you’re talking a 18×26 image, and 300 dpi is on the high-side for large images.

Some trade-offs for larger resolution is larger files (200Mb per image from the K-M) and longer scan times (for full resolution). I find the K-M software confusing, but there are alternative such as VueScan, which is supposed to be very nice. The K-M’s autofocus does not always work, but for my “important” scans, I tend to manually focus the scanner anyway. I’ve heard that the Nikon’s autofocusing is very nice.

I reiterate the recommendation of making sure you get Digital ICE, which is a pretty nifty hardware/software mechanism for suppressing physical faults in the film (scratches, dust, &c.). It works much better than trying to fix those sort of things in an image editor. Both the Konica-Minolta and the Nikons have ICE.

One thing, however, those scanners are strictly for 35mm. You have something else to scan and you’ll need a different scanner (much more $$$).