Question for Imacon users...
Old 01-15-2017   #1
andrewnelles
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Question for Imacon users...

I'm currently scanning with a Nikon CS 5000ED. It's fine, but when I look back at scans I did when I was in college with an Imacon, they just don't compare. So I've been considering picking up an old Flextight Precision II, which is what I was using 15 years ago or so.

However, I'm not sure if I'm embarking on something that will just be a continual headache, so I've got some questions for anyone currently using the older Imacons...

Obviously it's SCSI, is there anyway to adapt it to run with a modern Mac? I'm not opposed to just building a cheap PC to run one, but it's not ideal. Are lamps still in production for these, or will that be a major issue down the road? Does Hasselblad offer service on the older Imacons if something needs repair? Is there any software to drive them that runs on the latest OSX?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-16-2017   #2
SaveKodak
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In what area are you finding your Nikon scans lacking? From what I've read and seen, the Imacons do offer an improvement but it's usually described as slight. Given what they cost even used, I'm not sure I would call it worth it. My CS scans from 35mm were always very detailed, with great density and color. The 33 megapixel scans printed beautifully, as far as 35mm goes anyway. For a quality improvement on that I always just go to 120 film.
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Old 01-16-2017   #3
andrewnelles
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In what area are you finding your Nikon scans lacking? From what I've read and seen, the Imacons do offer an improvement but it's usually described as slight. Given what they cost even used, I'm not sure I would call it worth it. My CS scans from 35mm were always very detailed, with great density and color. The 33 megapixel scans printed beautifully, as far as 35mm goes anyway. For a quality improvement on that I always just go to 120 film.
Just the limitations of the smaller light source. I find my Nikon scans greatly amplify any imperfections on the negative, grain as well. My old Imacon scans clearly resolve a bit more detail, with the grain appearing smoother.

The second issue, is I have a have a lot of MF film that I'm just not scanning because I hate my Epson flatbed even more.

So it comes down to buying a CS 9000, which is roughly in the old used Imacon range, or going the Imacon route. Investing in aging technology either way.
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Old 01-16-2017   #4
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Interesting topic.
When comparing scanners I found my old 4000 coolscan did a great job matching image quality from a Felxtight X1 scanner.

https://benmacphotos.com/a-photograp...ing-35mm-film/

I put up examples here.

And I've used the Flextight X1 for medium format and loved it.
I would probably prefer it over a 9000 slightly when it comes image quality.
But the Nikons have a big plus when it comes to scan time and ease of use.
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Old 01-16-2017   #5
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Originally Posted by andrewnelles View Post
Just the limitations of the smaller light source. I find my Nikon scans greatly amplify any imperfections on the negative, grain as well. My old Imacon scans clearly resolve a bit more detail, with the grain appearing smoother.

The second issue, is I have a have a lot of MF film that I'm just not scanning because I hate my Epson flatbed even more.

So it comes down to buying a CS 9000, which is roughly in the old used Imacon range, or going the Imacon route. Investing in aging technology either way.
Yeah, the CSs can really accentuate the grain. Its sort of like the difference between a cold head and a point source enlarger.

I use a Pacific Image PF120 and I am quite pleased with the 6x6 and 6x7 scans I get from it. They compare favorably to the CS9k I used to use. I think they go for about $1300 bucks new now.

If I had my druthers I'd get an Imacon too, but I personally wouldn't consder all the caveats worth it unless I was printing BIG. Keep in mind that for those few true gallery images where you will be printing big you can always order a drum scan. As long as my scanners can make a great 16x20/17x22/13x19 (So, Epson P800 sized), I'm happy. If somebody orders bigger than that I'll order a drum scan.
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Old 01-17-2017   #6
andrewnelles
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Originally Posted by benmacphoto View Post
Interesting topic.
When comparing scanners I found my old 4000 coolscan did a great job matching image quality from a Felxtight X1 scanner.

https://benmacphotos.com/a-photograp...ing-35mm-film/

I put up examples here.

And I've used the Flextight X1 for medium format and loved it.
I would probably prefer it over a 9000 slightly when it comes image quality.
But the Nikons have a big plus when it comes to scan time and ease of use.
My experience was a bit different, even with 3200dpi scans on the Imacon 343, I was seeing more detail in prints when directly compared to the 5000ED. It wasn't major, but noticeable.

The other issue here is I'm looking to scan more 120, so that makes my options complicated. It's come down to venturing towards an old used Imacon of some sort, which will give great results, but might be a tech nightmare. Or buying new and getting a Plustek opticfilm 120, which I understand won't be as good as the 5000ED for 35mm.
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Old 01-17-2017   #7
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Originally Posted by andrewnelles View Post
My experience was a bit different, even with 3200dpi scans on the Imacon 343, I was seeing more detail in prints when directly compared to the 5000ED. It wasn't major, but noticeable.

The other issue here is I'm looking to scan more 120, so that makes my options complicated. It's come down to venturing towards an old used Imacon of some sort, which will give great results, but might be a tech nightmare. Or buying new and getting a Plustek opticfilm 120, which I understand won't be as good as the 5000ED for 35mm.
Had a Plustek 120. In addition to be ludicrously slow, my unit had terrible banding on all 120 scans. Seriously, look into the Pacific Image PF120, AKA Reflecta MF5000. It's a better unit IMO, and costs less to boot.

Outside of that, The CS 8000 can often be found a very reasonable prices. I hear about a few people who can still take them apart and work on them. Slower than a 9k, which wasn't fast, but same quality from what I hear. Then the 343 isn't too bad from what I hear cost-wise. I think that Hasselblad does still service them.

If you wanna be REALLY cool (I might have a different definition of cool than most), you can pick up old Drum scanners for pretty reasonable prices. You just gotta work a little to maintain them, and work with them. If you're dedicated, that's the way to go. Personally I'm just happy knowing I can pay someone at any time to drum scan for me. I think my PF120 outputs 90% of a CS9k, and that's as good as I need for 17x22 printers.
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Old 01-17-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewnelles View Post
I'm currently scanning with a Nikon CS 5000ED. It's fine, but when I look back at scans I did when I was in college with an Imacon, they just don't compare. So I've been considering picking up an old Flextight Precision II, which is what I was using 15 years ago or so.

However, I'm not sure if I'm embarking on something that will just be a continual headache, so I've got some questions for anyone currently using the older Imacons...

Obviously it's SCSI, is there anyway to adapt it to run with a modern Mac? I'm not opposed to just building a cheap PC to run one, but it's not ideal. Are lamps still in production for these, or will that be a major issue down the road? Does Hasselblad offer service on the older Imacons if something needs repair? Is there any software to drive them that runs on the latest OSX?
I have a "been there, done that" answer to your questions, but first here is a website with some tutorials. There is also a yahoo forum with some knowledgeable people on Imacon scanners.

I have an Imacon Precision III that I hadn’t used for ten years and gave it to a friend in December 2015, when I was “sure” that I would never do film again, but he couldn't get it going — it has a SCSI interface — and returned it to me. Last February, in three 10-hour days, I managed to get the old OS X 10.6.8 installed on an old Mac PowerBook to run the (legacy) Imacon ColorFlex 4.04 software and got the SCSI-to-FireWire Orange Converter and Granite (power) SCSI Terminator going so that all this works — only to learn, on the third full day of my effort, that this scanner, which does true optical resolution of 6300dpi with a dMax of 4.2 loses sharpness at the trailing end of the 35mm frame (as the negative is fed into the scanner in portrait orientation). Further research showed that Imacon scanners require periodic maintenance fairly often. After some hours of searching the web, I found out that the cause of the sharpness loss is slippage of the drive belts the feed the holder mechanism.

I have to replace these belts. Although, apparently, I can buy the belts in the US or the UK at about US$5 each, I'm likely to give up because these scanners usually require belt replacement every six months or so, or have other drive problems. The belt drive problem also makes the film frame shift in the holder as it goes into the scanner, so that a small portion of the scan is often cut off, or the holder “buckles” somewhat. I now remember even when the Imacon was new, some 18 years ago, I often had this buckling problem, but didn't know there was a solution. By the way, there is no batch feed solution for this scanner — and one full res (6300dpi) 35mm scan takes 15 minutes.

As I don't want to make a career out of the care and feeding of this Imacon scanner, I'm likely to just dump it. I couldn't sell it with a good conscience. Basically, even if I was prepared spent $14,000 on a new Hasselblad X1 — same 6300dpi resolution as my Imacon but twice the speed — I don’t think it would make sense because I don’t think the the drive mechanism on the new scanner has changed. That means, to me, that these Hasselblad scanners only make sense (beyond the price issue) in a photo lab environment, if they can be serviced and maintained regularly.

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Old 01-18-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewnelles View Post
My experience was a bit different, even with 3200dpi scans on the Imacon 343, I was seeing more detail in prints when directly compared to the 5000ED. It wasn't major, but noticeable.

The other issue here is I'm looking to scan more 120, so that makes my options complicated. It's come down to venturing towards an old used Imacon of some sort, which will give great results, but might be a tech nightmare. Or buying new and getting a Plustek opticfilm 120, which I understand won't be as good as the 5000ED for 35mm.
I would look at getting a CoolScan 9000 for 120 scans.
Usedphotopro had a great deal on one not to long ago with holders.
Optically they will beat the Plustek.
I've never used an older Imacon, but based on my experience with the X1 I'd go Nikon.
Easier system to work with computer and tech wise.
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Old 01-18-2017   #10
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Originally Posted by andrewnelles View Post
I'm currently scanning with a Nikon CS 5000ED. It's fine, but when I look back at scans I did when I was in college with an Imacon, they just don't compare. So I've been considering picking up an old Flextight Precision II, which is what I was using 15 years ago or so.

However, I'm not sure if I'm embarking on something that will just be a continual headache, so I've got some questions for anyone currently using the older Imacons...

Obviously it's SCSI, is there anyway to adapt it to run with a modern Mac? I'm not opposed to just building a cheap PC to run one, but it's not ideal. Are lamps still in production for these, or will that be a major issue down the road? Does Hasselblad offer service on the older Imacons if something needs repair? Is there any software to drive them that runs on the latest OSX?

Thanks in advance.
I have that scanner now for some time and tried everything to use it with a modern mac. Apple left scsi a long time ago and that just does not work. Cost me a lot of money. I ended up with an Imac G5 and a Ratoc scsi to firewire converter, not cheap either, but imo the only thing that really works.
I'm really happy with the scanner now.
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Old 01-18-2017   #11
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Well, I got a Plustek 120 and a drum scanner. My Plustek 120 does not exhibit any kind of banding nor is it slow. Silverfast had a memory problem at some point, which made scanning very slow, but it was never the hardware that was at fault, and SF has since fixed the bug. Scan times are much faster than a Coolscan, and the resolution a bit better too. I know some people have got bad units which points towards bad QC, but if you do get a working unit you won't be disappointed.
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Old 01-18-2017   #12
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Oh, and Nowhereman please don't dump your scanner! If it's only a matter of changing the belt why not do it?

I would be glad to take it off your hands if you decide to dump it
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Old 02-06-2017   #13
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I don't own an older Imacon, so can't comment on that. But I do own the Flextight X1 and the Nikon Coolscan 9000. I owned the CS 5000 some years back.

Yes, the CS 9000 produces excellent scans. But between the old SCSI interface, Nikon's abandonment of Nikon Scan many years ago, and the pretty awful film holders, it's not much fun to use. Yes, I can make it work with VueScan on my modern Mac, but the whole arrangement still leaves much to be desired.

The Flextight X1 is like a breath of fresh air. It was stupid expensive (I had to sell a couple decades worth of old Nikon gear to fund it). But it's the only scanner I've ever used that I don't begrudge using. The only scanner that I actually enjoy sitting in front of.

And, yes, there is a clear, qualitative edge to the scans from Imacon/Hasselblad. Sometimes it's a little. Sometimes it's a lot. But it's always there.

Pretty much everyone who tells you there's not... doesn't own one.
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Old 03-19-2017   #14
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Imacons definitely do NOT need belts replaced very often. If they are used in heavy, daily commercial service, maybe once a year. I've owned a 949 for personal use for about 5 years and haven't needed to replace them yet. Also, the Imacon/Hasselblad software is very good, and miles ahead of the now obsolete Nikon Scan and, of course, the competent but interface-challenged Vuescan.

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Old 03-19-2017   #15
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Before you buy an Imacon, you might look at a Creo IQ2 or IQ3. Much better than an Imacon and flat bed.. so wet scans can be done. Do a little research before you buy. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 03-19-2017   #16
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Before you buy an Imacon, you might look at a Creo IQ2 or IQ3. Much better than an Imacon and flat bed.. so wet scans can be done. Do a little research before you buy. Just my 2 cents.
Those are good scanners, but is there any support available any longer?

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Old 03-19-2017   #17
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Imacons definitely do NOT need belts replaced very often. If they are used in heavy, daily commercial service, maybe once a year. I've owned a 949 for personal use for about 5 years and haven't needed to replace them yet. Also, the Imacon/Hasselblad software is very good, and miles ahead of the now obsolete Nikon Scan and, of course, the competent but interface-challenged Vuescan.

Rolfe
While I agree with your opinion on the Imacon software, I disagree with the VueScan statement. It wasn't even interface-challenged to begin with, b ut the software recently has been updated (free download for registered users) and the interface has improved even more.

Happy scanning!

To the OP, I own an Imacon Photo (the original SCSI model, hooked up to an under EUR 200 Mac Pro G4 with max specs) and it k!cks 4ss, especially with the 6x6, 6x7, 6x9 and 6x10 scans I do!
I have it linked to the network and share its drives, so I can edit the images on the beefed-up Mac Mini and large screen. It's really no hassle, just a bigger desk with another work space (makes me look very professional)
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