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I wrote a review of the Pacific Image XA for 35mmC
Old 03-15-2017   #1
SaveKodak
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I wrote a review of the Pacific Image XA for 35mmC

http://www.35mmc.com/20/02/2017/pacific-image-xa/

Let me know your thoughts!
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Old 03-15-2017   #2
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Old 03-15-2017   #3
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good write up........would be interested in your opinion of the 2 1/4 scanner..thanks,Bill
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Old 03-15-2017   #4
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good write up........would be interested in your opinion of the 2 1/4 scanner..thanks,Bill
I'm not sure I want to write a full review because of the time consuming nature of doing so, but I can tell you I really like the PF120. It's fast, easy, and produces great results with Vuescan. If you look at my website, many of the images were scanned that way, particularly in my portraits gallery: www.sperryphoto.com.

I use the same approach I outlined in my review of the PIXA. It's my 'enlarger', and when you work thoughtfully and with care, you get excellent results. More than a match for something like an Epson P800 anyway, and that's good enough for the price and most home users.
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Old 03-15-2017   #5
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For the readers in Europe: This scanner is called Reflecta RPS 10 M here.
It's 100% the exact same scanner, just different branding, and a lot more expensive.
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Old 03-15-2017   #6
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A "review" is underselling it! It's a really insightful post! Thanks again Mark!!
Do you mind if I add a line about the reflector being the same scanner - you've had comments on the post, on here and I've even had 2 emails telling me so
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Old 03-15-2017   #7
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nice review. Looks like a very good scanner and a viable replacement for the coolscans
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Old 03-15-2017   #8
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Originally Posted by hamish_gill View Post
A "review" is underselling it! It's a really insightful post! Thanks again Mark!!
Do you mind if I add a line about the reflector being the same scanner - you've had comments on the post, on here and I've even had 2 emails telling me so
Please do!
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Old 03-15-2017   #9
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Whenever I see these things get good results, they look good. That being said, I had two of them and they both had frame alignment issues. Literally on the phone with customer service for 8 hours over two scanners and nothing could be done for it. I just decided to get a refund and get the hell outta dodge.
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Old 03-15-2017   #10
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Originally Posted by DrMcCoy View Post
Whenever I see these things get good results, they look good. That being said, I had two of them and they both had frame alignment issues. Literally on the phone with customer service for 8 hours over two scanners and nothing could be done for it. I just decided to get a refund and get the hell outta dodge.
If you read my review you'd see that I specifically argued against relying on automation with this scanner. Treat it like an enlarger and you can set your own alignment every time, and get very high quality results. If you want perfect automation get a Nortisu or Frontier.
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Old 03-15-2017   #11
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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
If you read my review you'd see that I specifically argued against relying on automation with this scanner. Treat it like an enlarger and you can set your own alignment every time, and get very high quality results. If you want perfect automation get a Nortisu or Frontier.
Two thumbs up on your enlarger analogy for work flow. - That's pretty much how I use my, knock on wood, Minolta Elite 5400.
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Old 03-15-2017   #12
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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
If you read my review you'd see that I specifically argued against relying on automation with this scanner. Treat it like an enlarger and you can set your own alignment every time, and get very high quality results. If you want perfect automation get a Nortisu or Frontier.
No I read it.

I also owned two units.

And the manual alignment was ****y as well.
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Old 03-15-2017   #13
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Nice review.
But I just don't have the time and patience to deal w/ scanning. I prefer to pay the $$ for dev and scans at the same time. No matter how hard I squint these consumer scans do not match the pro scanners.
And I have seen too many horror stories like the good Dr's above to make me want to reconsider.
Frankly I find it bizarre that new machines on the market cannot match up to discontinued ones from a decade ago.
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Old 03-15-2017   #14
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No I read it.

I also owned two units.

And the manual alignment was ****y as well.
I'm not sure how manual alignment could be "****y" when all you do is quite literally look though a window at the film and use left/right buttons to center the frame. Are you wearing a blind fold?
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Old 03-15-2017   #15
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Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Nice review.
But I just don't have the time and patience to deal w/ scanning. I prefer to pay the $$ for dev and scans at the same time. No matter how hard I squint these consumer scans do not match the pro scanners.
And I have seen too many horror stories like the good Dr's above to make me want to reconsider.
Frankly I find it bizarre that new machines on the market cannot match up to discontinued ones from a decade ago.
Well obviously scanning is for people that have the time and patience. I would still refer back to my analogy about enlargers. They are quite difficult to use and require a lot of time and expertise to make sing. What you put into scanning relates directly to what you get out of it. I'm not sure what "pro" scanners you're referring to. I think I illustrated quite clearly that the XA outputs "pro" level results. Is there a specific problem with an image you could describe that a "pro" scanner would improve?
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Old 03-15-2017   #16
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Just get a Nikon 4000. Ain't even close.
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Old 03-15-2017   #17
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Nice write up/review.
An image of the actual device would be a good addition.
Seems odd to not include one... just sayin
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Old 03-15-2017   #18
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Originally Posted by Mr. Fizzlesticks View Post
Just get a Nikon 4000. Ain't even close.
As someone who has used the Coolscan V, 5000, & 9000 extensively, I can tell you that my scans are essentially indistinguishable when it comes to a finished product. Can you point out something specific that would be improved when it comes to the images I posted? I'll wait.
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Old 03-15-2017   #19
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Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
Nice write up/review.
An image of the actual device would be a good addition.
Seems odd to not include one... just sayin
My office is just messy. It's something I'm working on.
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Old 03-15-2017   #20
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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
Well obviously scanning is for people that have the time and patience. I would still refer back to my analogy about enlargers. They are quite difficult to use and require a lot of time and expertise to make sing. What you put into scanning relates directly to what you get out of it. I'm not sure what "pro" scanners you're referring to. I think I illustrated quite clearly that the XA outputs "pro" level results. Is there a specific problem with an image you could describe that a "pro" scanner would improve?
The images in the review seem so flat and almost hazy. Even the ones taken in bright sunlight. I know it's not the gear you are using - the Zeiss and Nikon lenses or the Fuji Superia film because I use that too. So the only thing it could be is the scanner.
I use, pay someone else to use actually!, the Noritsu and Frontier scanners and the results are knock out. It's worth every penny to me as I sell those images. One sale pays for an awful lot of pro dev and scanning!

It's not really a matter of patience for me, but time. I don't have time to photograph, try to get a worthwhile scan, then process and print. And everything I've seen suggests that the weak link - in time and results - are these consumer scanners.
As you have said, it requires a lot of time and expertise to make it sing. In this day and age frankly that is not acceptable. There is no reason whatsoever that a killer state of the art scanner cannot be made that is plug and play. The only reason we don't see it is because 'we' accept the limitations in frankly ancient hardware and software.
With film use and interest taking off again, perhaps someone like Nikon will step up to the plate and make a current version of the Coolscan. Or even a modern Pakon. If it was that capable back then, with film profiles built in that worked and that speed, imagine if that had modern computing power and bumped up resolution.
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Old 03-15-2017   #21
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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
As someone who has used the Coolscan V, 5000, & 9000 extensively, I can tell you that my scans are essentially indistinguishable when it comes to a finished product. Can you point out something specific that would be improved when it comes to the images I posted? I'll wait.
They say a scanner is only as good as the person operating it. So that explains a lot, since you got snooty.... Of course, the scanner could just have sucky color. Which is it? you or the scanner?
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Old 03-15-2017   #22
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Well, what the ****. Thanks for the review. Not sure why everybody has such a sandy vagina.
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Old 03-15-2017   #23
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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
I'm not sure how manual alignment could be "****y" when all you do is quite literally look though a window at the film and use left/right buttons to center the frame. Are you wearing a blind fold?
No, it was cockeyed and, when I could straighten it out by wrenching it around in the feed, it would chop off the bottom or the top.
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Old 03-16-2017   #24
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Originally Posted by Huss View Post
The images in the review seem so flat and almost hazy. Even the ones taken in bright sunlight. I know it's not the gear you are using - the Zeiss and Nikon lenses or the Fuji Superia film because I use that too. So the only thing it could be is the scanner.
I use, pay someone else to use actually!, the Noritsu and Frontier scanners and the results are knock out. It's worth every penny to me as I sell those images. One sale pays for an awful lot of pro dev and scanning!

It's not really a matter of patience for me, but time. I don't have time to photograph, try to get a worthwhile scan, then process and print. And everything I've seen suggests that the weak link - in time and results - are these consumer scanners.
As you have said, it requires a lot of time and expertise to make it sing. In this day and age frankly that is not acceptable. There is no reason whatsoever that a killer state of the art scanner cannot be made that is plug and play. The only reason we don't see it is because 'we' accept the limitations in frankly ancient hardware and software.
With film use and interest taking off again, perhaps someone like Nikon will step up to the plate and make a current version of the Coolscan. Or even a modern Pakon. If it was that capable back then, with film profiles built in that worked and that speed, imagine if that had modern computing power and bumped up resolution.
This is funny to me because I used the original chrome on a light table when I was color correcting the scan to match. These scans are very representative of the original and in some cases an improvement of a slightly off exposure due to multi-exposure. I have scanned film that was previously scanned by a Frontier and I can do a better job every time.
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Old 03-16-2017   #25
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Originally Posted by DrMcCoy View Post
No, it was cockeyed and, when I could straighten it out by wrenching it around in the feed, it would chop off the bottom or the top.
You know that lab scanners cut off those parts of the frame anyways, right?
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Old 03-16-2017   #26
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Originally Posted by brennanphotoguy View Post
You know that lab scanners cut off those parts of the frame anyways, right?
He's just proving my point about the people who write bad reviews of this scanner, they don't know what they're doing. That explanation is completely baffling...it does not even deserve a response.
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Old 03-16-2017   #27
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Well, what the ****. Thanks for the review. Not sure why everybody has such a sandy vagina.
Thanks! I had a great time writing it and shooting for it! It got me to buy an F6 so I think I love this thing.
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Old 03-16-2017   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
The images in the review seem so flat and almost hazy. Even the ones taken in bright sunlight. I know it's not the gear you are using - the Zeiss and Nikon lenses or the Fuji Superia film because I use that too. So the only thing it could be is the scanner.
I use, pay someone else to use actually!, the Noritsu and Frontier scanners and the results are knock out. It's worth every penny to me as I sell those images. One sale pays for an awful lot of pro dev and scanning!

It's not really a matter of patience for me, but time. I don't have time to photograph, try to get a worthwhile scan, then process and print. And everything I've seen suggests that the weak link - in time and results - are these consumer scanners.
As you have said, it requires a lot of time and expertise to make it sing. In this day and age frankly that is not acceptable. There is no reason whatsoever that a killer state of the art scanner cannot be made that is plug and play. The only reason we don't see it is because 'we' accept the limitations in frankly ancient hardware and software.
With film use and interest taking off again, perhaps someone like Nikon will step up to the plate and make a current version of the Coolscan. Or even a modern Pakon. If it was that capable back then, with film profiles built in that worked and that speed, imagine if that had modern computing power and bumped up resolution.
Had it occurred to you that sometimes people scan images based on their own personal preferences? He scans his stuff "flat and hazy" and I use the same scanner and mine are pretty much the opposite. Speaking from a workflow standpoint yeah, it makes more sense to send stuff off if you're constantly working or shoot more than 10-15 rolls per job and don't have time but I would still consider the output of these scanners "high quality" or "professional." The speed is something that is lacking but not the quality. I do agree that it would be great if someone came out with a new scanner that would compete with the Noritsu on price but much smaller.
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Old 03-16-2017   #29
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thanks for the review - very detailed, and I thought the rendition of the chromes looked great.

You asked for feedback, so:
1: There's an instruction for writers known as 'kill your babies.' As in, kill that detailed, long introduction to the background of a review. Which you can strike out, and get straight to the meat, without anything being lost. That applies here.
2: "It's" means "it is." Otherwise, use "its".

Once again, thanks for the review, especially the details on manual focusing etc, serious food for thought.
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Old 03-16-2017   #30
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thanks for the review - very detailed, and I thought the rendition of the chromes looked great.

You asked for feedback, so:
1: There's an instruction for writers known as 'kill your babies.' As in, kill that detailed, long introduction to the background of a review. Which you can strike out, and get straight to the meat, without anything being lost. That applies here.
2: "It's" means "it is." Otherwise, use "its".

Once again, thanks for the review, especially the details on manual focusing etc, serious food for thought.
My whole website is filled with verbose posts with loads of background and waffle. It's the way I write, so I always encourage contributors to do the same.
The extra meat on the bones isn't for everyone, but ta what my readers often comment upon as being the reason they keep coming back
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Old 03-16-2017   #31
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Originally Posted by Ranchu View Post
Well, what the ****. Thanks for the review. Not sure why everybody has such a sandy vagina.
I'm one of those idiots who reads there phone walking down the road ... I just got a funny look from laughing out loud at this in the street
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Old 03-16-2017   #32
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Originally Posted by hamish_gill View Post
My whole website is filled with verbose posts with loads of background and waffle. It's the way I write, so I always encourage contributors to do the same.
The extra meat on the bones isn't for everyone, but ta what my readers often comment upon as being the reason they keep coming back
Sure. Your site, your rules. But the folks who start reading and leave after the first 300 words of throat-clearing are unlikely to comment on the reasons for doing do. And that's a shame if they miss out on the good stuff.
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Old 03-16-2017   #33
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I'll be the first to admit that waiting for a multi-pass scan to finish can be like watching paint dry. On my laptop, we're talking about 9 or 10 minutes tops.

Provided that someone doesn't shoot a roll of film every day, only scans selected frames from each roll of film and is comfortable using Vuescan - this current crop of affordable 35mm film scanners are a bargain for the advanced amateur. The Plustek 8200i SE for example is just $300 at B&H photo.

Granted there are better 35mm scanners -but not at this price range. For web work or up to an 8 by 12 print - you'll be good to go with one these bargain basement 35mm scanners.

One other tid bit, if you still have a flat bed scanner. You can use the flat bed at low resolution to provide you contact sheet image.
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Old 03-16-2017   #34
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One other tid bit, if you still have a flat bed scanner. You can use the flat bed at low resolution to provide you contact sheet image.
This is the only reason I want a flat bed. Well and to do more medium format.
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Old 03-16-2017   #35
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I'd never heard of the scanner before, and your review makes it look desirable. Of course, it's still too expensive for my budget or needs, but would be something I'd recommend to others. I'm just happy to see any newly released film scanner of any kind. Even better that it's actually pretty good.

I would however like to see some full-resolution scans. 100% crops and down-sampled images for the web only tell you so much.
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Old 03-16-2017   #36
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Good review. I like the way the Chrome scans resulted, quite authentic. Chrome is easy and hard to scan: Have a color reference but the scanner can struggle with density.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I use, pay someone else to use actually!, the Noritsu and Frontier scanners and the results are knock out. It's worth every penny to me as I sell those images. One sale pays for an awful lot of pro dev and scanning!
I currently segregate my 35mm and 120. The former goes to a lab who does Frontier scans nicely (and with a longer lead time/turnaround), the latter to a Pro lab for Dev Only; Also in 120 I tend to mix some E6.
I have quite a methodical and certain way of shooting 35mm so I like whole rolls scanned (although I'm becoming looser with time)

I should take a look at selling images. It would indeed cover up a lot of the costs.

It'd be a dream to have a quick HiRes TIFF service! A part I dislike of lab scans is when they come a bit too contrasty or bright and (maybe I'm a bit of a purist) I don't like having to touch JPEGs. It's also why when I scan myself (120) I tend to have flatter and less contrasty scans.

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This is the only reason I want a flat bed. Well and to do more medium format.
Having to go all the way to a v800 or the like. There was an extensive review (LL) that gave it quite an accolade. My v550 isn't that excellent though, and only single strips of medium format.
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Old 03-16-2017   #37
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Sure. Your site, your rules. But the folks who start reading and leave after the first 300 words of throat-clearing are unlikely to comment on the reasons for doing do. And that's a shame if they miss out on the good stuff.
You'd hate my Zeiss ZM Sonnar Review
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Old 03-16-2017   #38
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Originally Posted by brennanphotoguy View Post
You know that lab scanners cut off those parts of the frame anyways, right?
Yeah, that's actually one of the two reasons I went down the path of scanning at home.

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Originally Posted by SaveKodak View Post
He's just proving my point about the people who write bad reviews of this scanner, they don't know what they're doing. That explanation is completely baffling...it does not even deserve a response.
https://media.giphy.com/media/TlK63E...04uc/giphy.gif

As I stated previously, I actually called and confirmed with Pacific Imaging that this was abnormal behavior for the scanner. They gave me over-the-phone instruction on usage, and confirmed that it should be able to scan all the way out to the film rebate. Both scanners were slightly different, but they both lost 7-10% of the image in one way or another. They were both from the same lot no so the PI service tech had me ask B&H to send them to the service center - I never followed up because I didn't care.
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Old 03-16-2017   #39
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So you had two defective scanners and want to bash the entire company? Salty salty....

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Yeah, that's actually one of the two reasons I went down the path of scanning at home.



https://media.giphy.com/media/TlK63E...04uc/giphy.gif

As I stated previously, I actually called and confirmed with Pacific Imaging that this was abnormal behavior for the scanner. They gave me over-the-phone instruction on usage, and confirmed that it should be able to scan all the way out to the film rebate. Both scanners were slightly different, but they both lost 7-10% of the image in one way or another. They were both from the same lot no so the PI service tech had me ask B&H to send them to the service center - I never followed up because I didn't care.
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Old 03-16-2017   #40
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So you had two defective scanners and want to bash the entire company? Salty salty....
I guess that "bashing" of the "entire company" must have happened somewhere between me saying 'good results when you can get it' and a description of very good customer service? Shame I missed that when I was typing it out.
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