Microtek ArtixScan 120tf driving me crazy!
Old 09-26-2007   #1
borrel
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Microtek ArtixScan 120tf driving me crazy!

Does any one on this list use a Microtek ArtixScan 120tf? Barring the noise it makes, the final results are excellent - when I manage to make it work. However, the user interface is driving me nuts! The native Microtek software is incomprehensible. VueScan which is normally quite good always starts halfways into the first 6x6 frame. Silverfast does a prescan no matter which button is clicked, it makes odd offsets between 6x6 frames, it's impossible to understand how to udjust frames start and ends, there seems to be no provision for 6x8 frames. I also have an Epson 4990. Its software allows me to do a prescan of whatever is on the scanning table and then select the frames I want scanned one by one. Is there no way I can do this with the Microtek? Right now I'm trying to scan Minox 8x11mm frames. I've given up the Microtek in favor of the 4990, but it has the Newto ring problem as the film touches the glass bed. Is there anyone on this list who has tamed this beast?

- Børre
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Old 09-26-2007   #2
BillBingham2
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I never was impressed with the company, but no first hand experience with thier products, just people high up who worked there.

Good luck.

B2
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Old 04-04-2010   #3
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Has anyone figured this software out? I am having the same problem. Why can't things just be simple?!
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Old 04-04-2010   #4
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I have the micro tek and compared it to the scan of the nikon 9000. I meets or exceeds it, but the software can be a pain. Forget the microtek software and use vuescan 1st the try silverfast. I have the glass holder for my 120 film. I do prescan in Vuescan and if the picture is off you can use the frame offset to adjust.

In silverfast it is done by using a button and then clicking on the edge of the prescanned image.
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Old 04-04-2010   #5
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I couldn't get the Microtek scanning software to work either, but the scanner (M1) came with Silverfast and it works very nicely. As noted above, do a prescan, then it is possible to click the corner of images and drag a scanning frame over it. Multiple frames can be set up for batch scanning. In order to view the frames, you need to select scan type (reflective or transparency), film type, and scan type (color, gray) to see the image preview correctly.


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Old 04-04-2010   #6
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I don't know how you can tolerate the noise... it sounded like chainsaw to me.
The scanning quality however was excellent. The scanner weighs a ton...

back to the topic, I never used the microtek software. I always use vuescan and it worked very well for me.
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Old 04-05-2010   #7
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I'm still struggling with this scanner, but I have done some things which have increased my tolerance for it, its reliability (to some degree) and the image quality it produces (which when successful, is excellent). Here are some of my remedies:

- First of all, allow the scanner to start up properly. The filmholders are slotted at the leading edge as a means of identifying the film format they carry. It appears that the leading edge (or some other indexing mark on the holder) is used to index the positions of each film frame. This means that when correctly positioned, film frames will always be in the same position.

- Turn the scanner on. (Always eject film holders before turning the scanner off.) Let it go through its startup motions and settle down to wait for the film holder. When it's ready, insert the film holder and give it enough of a careful nudge for the scanner to start pulling it into the correct start position. Allow the scanner to go through its indexing motions completely and to settle down BEFORE starting the scanning software.

- I have placed the scanner in a separate room away from the rest of the family and bought a noise cancelling head set. They must have designed this scanner in an extremely noisy environment not to notice that it's an instrument of audio torture. I use an older laptop with a firewire port for the scanning. My laptop runs Mac OS X 10.6.

- Make sure the right software is installed on the computer. This applies to drivers (the Microtek Scanwizard software HAS to be installed even though you don't use it for the correct drivers to be installed) and scanning software. Either SilverFast or Vuescan work although both have miserable interfaces. Not having the correct versions of software (for your operating system) results in very erratic behaviour.

- Finding the latest software for the 120tf at Microtek's site is feat of great courage and patience. I have found no newer firmware for the 120tf than 1.6, but the firmware installed on my 120tf is 1.8. I have the feeling we are struggling with an orphan although Mac OS X 10.4 is mentioned on their site. Neither is SilverFast's use manual very forthcoming about the 120tf.

- Taming the software: READ AND UNDERSTAND the user manual. Bear in mind that the machine is made in Japan and SilverFast (SF) in Germany. (SF is often a bit too general, referring to functionality present in one type of scanner and not in the 120tf.) My scanning sequence for a filmstrip is: Set film type, run the image overview, Prescan one of the images by selecting it and clicking OK, run the Job manager, select the images to be scanned, add them to the batch, select the first one, click the pencil, set the scanning parameters (film type, resolution, Negafix, etc.), SAVE the settings, select the frames to be scanned, click the Copy button, approve the settings to be copied, unselect the pencil, and hit Start. (Don't expect the file naming convention chosen to work. If you find out how, please tell me.)

- The crucial element in scanning with the 120tf is focus. Keeping the film flat helps, but getting the beast to focus properly is another matter altogether. While SF mentions several modes of focussing, the 120tf accepts either autofocus or none. i have noticed that turning autofocus off, doing a (small) prescan, and then going back to autofocus helps forcing the thing to focus properly. It is somewhere mentioned that the 120tf uses contrast in the negative for focusing, but the focus point is always in the center of the crop frame. If that is an area with no contrast edges, focus will presumably be hit-and-miss. (There's probably something I've missed here.) Use the optional glass film holder for MF. It also works for other, smaller formats, but takes a lot of coaxing and frame adjusting as it has indexing slots only for MF, not 135. Try mounting cross-curled 135 film emulsion side up in the glassless holder where the cross bars help hold the film flat. (I'm just now experimenting with this method, so no conclusions yet.)

- "Adjustment of film strip position" can be used to position 135 frames properly in the MF glass holder. However, it might appear that the scanner needs to be turned completely off and then back on for it to forget the indexing position induced with that function.

Considering the hours I've spent struggling with this machine and the arcane software that works with it - why on earth can't it work like the software for my Epson 4990? (Do and overview, chose the frame to be scanned [or let it do it for you], chose your settings, and scan!) - I would probably have saved myself, everyone around me and the environment a lot of pain, frustration, and money by buying a super expensive Imacon in the first place. Then I'd be left with a real orphan hooked up to an old G3 machine at best, nursing and nudging it along on SCSI connectors. At least the 120tf has Firewire and when I set aside time and patience enough, the results are terrific.

The odd thing is that somehow I like the thing, because I still feel I haven't given it its due attention and because comments on the Nikon MF scanner don't appear to be very much more encouraging.

- Børre

Last edited by borrel : 04-05-2010 at 03:13. Reason: Corrections
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Old 04-05-2010   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borrel View Post

I would probably have saved myself, everyone around me and the environment a lot of pain, frustration, and money by buying a super expensive Imacon in the first place. Then I'd be left with a real orphan hooked up to an old G3 machine at best, nursing and nudging it along on SCSI connectors. At least the 120tf has Firewire and when I set aside time and patience enough, the results are terrific.



- Børre
Börre, are you familiar with the Scanmate drum scanners? Plenty of those pop up on the used market in Scandinavia and they produce better scans than the Imacons at a fraction of the price. There are also some pre press flatbed scanners on the market from time to time.
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Old 04-05-2010   #9
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Borrel,

I can't thank you enough. I really appreciate all of your time and info -- you have saved me weeks of heartache. It is so frustrating trying to tame these beasts alone. Once I get some good scans, I promise to post what I have learned.

bclayt
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Old 04-05-2010   #10
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I just gave my Microtek i700 flatbed away to a family member because it is regarded as 'obsolete' by the manufacturers and there is no software that drives it now in Snow Leopard (MacOSX). And they don't intend to provide a patch or upgrade.
I've bought an Epson v700 which I'm still learning to use but it is simple to operate. If you're running Snow Leopard v10.6.x then I think you have an insoluble problem with the Microtek scanner.
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Old 04-05-2010   #11
borrel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bagdadchild View Post
Börre, are you familiar with the Scanmate drum scanners? Plenty of those pop up on the used market in Scandinavia and they produce better scans than the Imacons at a fraction of the price. There are also some pre press flatbed scanners on the market from time to time.
No, I'm not, but I would certainly like to know if that "used market" is anything other than fleeBay. Any suggestions?

I have an Epson 4990 flatbed with all the BetterScanning bells and whistle holders and ANR glass. It just doesn't scan precisely enough to show real grain. It just shows up as elongated noise.

- Børre

Last edited by borrel : 04-05-2010 at 11:13. Reason: correction
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Old 04-05-2010   #12
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Here's an update on the Microtek 120tf now that I've finally been able to set aside a day to figure out how to solve the main problems of focusing and positioning.

After trying to figure out how to focus manually with SilverFast, I gave up on it. SF has either autofocus on or off and that's it. The latest version of Microtek's own Scanwizard no longer supports their own scanner, so the only alternative is VueScan.

I turned Vuescan's manual focus feature on, chose a very small scan area and tested a series of five focus distances (-1 to +1 mm) on various film holders and noted the best focus distance for each. As little as 0.10mm difference is quite noticeable. VueScan's manual focus actually over rides the scanner's autofocus (which is touted as "excellent" in various reviews).

Keeping film flat is a problem which can be solved in various ways. With 135 film which usually curls with the emulsion on the convex side, the film strip can be mounted with the emulsion side up which allows the struts in the lower part of the holder to keep the film flat. The other alternative, which also applies to 120 film, is to use the ANR glass film holder which I ordered from Adorama. That option has the "advantage" of placing 4 surfaces of dust collectors between the light and sensors and one layer of glass between the film and sensors.

Positioning frames with VueScan is not as easy as with SF, but not as hopeless as I first thought. Y-offset in the Crop menu does it provided you have chosen the right film format for the particular film holder. The 120tf seems very sensitive to the way it's started up. Start it up BEFORE the scanning software, let it go through its startup motions, insert the film holder with film in place, allow the scanner to go through its indexing motions and finally start VueScan. Note that the upper cover part of the holder has small teeth that fit into the sprocket holes of 135 film. These pull the film along into position where the gaps between frames are supposed to fit over the struts in the lower part of the holder. The manual for the 120tf states that the upper cover needs only be pulled far enough for the gaps to cover the struts.

When VueScan finally was giving me the scans I wanted with sharp, clear and well focussed grain, horizontal bands (in portrait mode) started turning up as 1 pixel thick lines. The scanner had been going for 6 hours by then. Turned off for a few minutes and changed the thick, shielded Firewire cable with a thinner one with several turns around a ferrite choke. When it was turned back on, the lines were gone.

The only problem that remains are almost imperceptible, horizontal bands where the grain appears slightly out of focus. The same artifacts have previously showed up on scans made from SF, so I'm assuming it's a characteristic of the mechanics of the scanner. Maybe my scanner needs oil.

- Børre
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Old 04-07-2010   #13
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I've had a chance to make a bunch of scans, and the results are amazing. I followed the advice from above and everything actually worked!! Thanks again. I figured out a trick for anyone scanning 645.

I have a bunch of mounted 645 chromes (glassless gepe) and used to scan them, in their mounts, in my old scanner. I really like doing it that way because I don't have to worry about all of the dust that comes with glass holders. The film stays nice and flat and it's much easier to handle.
Carefully take the glass off the holder (be careful not to break them -- hard to replace) and simply place the mounted slide right in the holder (it fits perfectly!). The autofcus works fine -- I'm sure the manual focus will work too.

I used tape to keep the mount from moving, but I don't want to do that for much longer. I am trying to come up with a more permanent solution. Maybe someone has a suggestion.
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Old 04-07-2010   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borrel View Post
Here's an update on the Microtek 120tf now that I've finally been able to set aside a day to figure out how to solve the main problems of focusing and positioning.

After trying to figure out how to focus manually with SilverFast, I gave up on it. SF has either autofocus on or off and that's it. The latest version of Microtek's own Scanwizard no longer supports their own scanner, so the only alternative is VueScan.

I turned Vuescan's manual focus feature on, chose a very small scan area and tested a series of five focus distances (-1 to +1 mm) on various film holders and noted the best focus distance for each. As little as 0.10mm difference is quite noticeable. VueScan's manual focus actually over rides the scanner's autofocus (which is touted as "excellent" in various reviews).

Keeping film flat is a problem which can be solved in various ways. With 135 film which usually curls with the emulsion on the convex side, the film strip can be mounted with the emulsion side up which allows the struts in the lower part of the holder to keep the film flat. The other alternative, which also applies to 120 film, is to use the ANR glass film holder which I ordered from Adorama. That option has the "advantage" of placing 4 surfaces of dust collectors between the light and sensors and one layer of glass between the film and sensors.

Positioning frames with VueScan is not as easy as with SF, but not as hopeless as I first thought. Y-offset in the Crop menu does it provided you have chosen the right film format for the particular film holder. The 120tf seems very sensitive to the way it's started up. Start it up BEFORE the scanning software, let it go through its startup motions, insert the film holder with film in place, allow the scanner to go through its indexing motions and finally start VueScan. Note that the upper cover part of the holder has small teeth that fit into the sprocket holes of 135 film. These pull the film along into position where the gaps between frames are supposed to fit over the struts in the lower part of the holder. The manual for the 120tf states that the upper cover needs only be pulled far enough for the gaps to cover the struts.

When VueScan finally was giving me the scans I wanted with sharp, clear and well focussed grain, horizontal bands (in portrait mode) started turning up as 1 pixel thick lines. The scanner had been going for 6 hours by then. Turned off for a few minutes and changed the thick, shielded Firewire cable with a thinner one with several turns around a ferrite choke. When it was turned back on, the lines were gone.

The only problem that remains are almost imperceptible, horizontal bands where the grain appears slightly out of focus. The same artifacts have previously showed up on scans made from SF, so I'm assuming it's a characteristic of the mechanics of the scanner. Maybe my scanner needs oil.

- Børre
Do you notice the bands when you zoom up to actual pixels in photoshop? I noticed them also. It looks like a small band is in focus then the next is out of focus?
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Old 04-08-2010   #15
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They look like the images below. I'm hoping that changing the firewire cable to one with a choke on helps, but I haven't had the chance to do a lot of scanning to check yet. Can't remember if those artifacts are peculiar to VueScan or if they also showed up with SilverFast when the scanner had been going for several hours.

- Børre

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Old 04-08-2010   #16
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No I don't get those lines.
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Old 04-08-2010   #17
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"Good". All the more reason for it to be the cable between the scanner and computer catching noise. Try a different cable, or wrap a few turns of your cable through a ferrite choke.

- Børre

Last edited by borrel : 04-08-2010 at 12:11. Reason: misspelling
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Old 05-16-2010   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyb70 View Post
Do you notice the bands when you zoom up to actual pixels in photoshop? I noticed them also. It looks like a small band is in focus then the next is out of focus?
Sorry! I didn't notice that you were referring to the out-of-focus banding. At the time the lines were my biggest problem. It turns out that all my problems with artifacts can be put down to incompatible software. I was scanning on a Powerbook G4. After switching to a MacBook Pro (Intel) those problems are gone.

And yes indeed! I do also have the out-of-focus banding. It's only really obvious at 100% magnification, but then it really shows up and is very irritating as in this 4000dpi scan of a frame of FP4:



The bands are horizontal by the arrows. Some not as pronounced at others. Here is the original:



Could it be lubrication, variations in power supply, ... ? It's very sad now that I have the scanner under reasonable control with VueScan.

- Børre
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Old 07-07-2010   #19
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Here is the latest on the "out of focus banding" problem (which is also discussed here: 120TF Banding Issue on the LaserSoft forum). There is a suggestion from Ed Hamrick (VueScan) who has had a report of a similar problem, that "the source of the problem was interference on the power line. Try using a small battery powered UPS or plugging it into a different power source." When I get back from the Middle East, I'll try regulating the power supply to the scanner and report on the results.

- Børre
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Old 07-17-2010   #20
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There is now a line noise suppressing isolator between the wall socket and the scanner. With VueScan (running under Mac OS X 10.5.8) there is still out of focus banding. So I'm now running Microtek's own Scanwizard Pro TX 7.51. NO BANDING, it detects frames nicely and there's a decent job handler. I haven't figured out profiles for B&W negatives yet, and the scans take forever - in the order of 14 minutes (!) for a 6x7 negative at 4000dpi, but the results are EXCELLENT. There is a sample at full size and smaller here: http://abdallah.hiof.no/photography/artixscan120tf/ The largest one is untouched except for conversion from TIFF to JPEG. Example of full resolution detail below.

- Børre


Last edited by borrel : 07-17-2010 at 07:19. Reason: Added sample and corrected version nr. of software
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Old 07-17-2010   #21
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Du er tålmodig du Børre. Men så har det også gitt resultater. Bra gjort.
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Old 07-18-2010   #22
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Not so much patient ("tålmodig") as stubborn mixed with a good measure of stupidity. Film scanners work differently from flat beds and as with most hardware, the way to do it is use the the manufacturer's software first, READ THE MANUAL, and then go on to experiment with "recommended" 3rd party software. What seems to have confused first time users of this scanner is Adorama's insistence on bundling SilverFast with it without actually ascertaining that SF worked well. Add to that incompatibilities in operating systems and program versions and you have the correct formula for complete frustration. My experience is that both SilverFast and VueScan produce banding of various kinds under the "right" circumstances for THIS scanner and with my combination of harware, OS and software, ScanWizard produces the best results with the easiest interface. The recommended way above of starting up and getting the thing working still applies, but ScanWizard is much more tolerant of the order in which it's done.

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Old 12-17-2010   #23
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Latest on the ArtixScan 120tf.

After solving the banding problems by using Microtek's own Scanwizard Pro V7.51 (which runs only under OS X 10.4), the scanner has now developed a film holder transport problem where the filmholder is pulled into the scanner erratically. This causes scans to start at wrong places with respect to the image frames.

My negotiations with Microtek Taiawan and Evestar Germany (their European dealer and service center) are not encouraging. Taiwan report that the costs of shipping and repair will be prohibitive compared to buying an ArtixScan F1. Germany report that they no longer have a complete range of spare parts, nor can they order any.

I'm going to try some simple lubrication of moving parts and start looking for a replacement scanner. The F1 is reportedly not significantly better than my V750, so it's going to have to be another 120tf or a 9000ED?

- Børre
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Old 12-17-2010   #24
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Quote:
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Latest on the ArtixScan 120tf.

After solving the banding problems by using Microtek's own Scanwizard Pro V7.51 (which runs only under OS X 10.4), the scanner has now developed a film holder transport problem where the filmholder is pulled into the scanner erratically. This causes scans to start at wrong places with respect to the image frames.

My negotiations with Microtek Taiawan and Evestar Germany (their European dealer and service center) are not encouraging. Taiwan report that the costs of shipping and repair will be prohibitive compared to buying an ArtixScan F1. Germany report that they no longer have a complete range of spare parts, nor can they order any.

I'm going to try some simple lubrication of moving parts and start looking for a replacement scanner. The F1 is reportedly not significantly better than my V750, so it's going to have to be another 120tf or a 9000ED?

- Børre
I am sorry to hear about your problems. Since you're located in Scandinavia, have you considered the possibilty to purchase a Scanmate drum scanner? There seem to be quite a few of them for sale from time to time. You should pay no more than €1000 for a Scanmate 5000 with Mac and software in good shape or even less. I was fortunate enough to find a used Scanmate 11000 for €100, a true bargain. I also have a Scanmate F10 flatbed sitting here in need of service, possibly it's a DIY thing, but I haven't been scanning for a long while now so it will likely keep on sitting here.
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Old 12-17-2010   #25
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Sounds very interesting. Where on the net would I find such a scanner for sale? I see that the interface for the 5000 is SCSI, so I must admit that maintaining yet another ageing computer platform with a working SCSI port and slow CPU is not a very attractive proposition. Unless of course there is a workable USB (or FireWire) to SCSI adapter that could be used on one of my present machines.

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Old 12-17-2010   #26
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Filmholder advance problem solved! Upon taking the scanner apart, I discovered that the cog wheel that transports the film holder (the largest one in the center of the image below) was pushed up and at an angle, barely engaging with its train drive. The vibrating movement when lifting the whole film holder assembly had apparently lifted the shaft of the cog wheel out of its seating. It's been like this for some time while still working after a fashion, because slightly pulling the film holder would allow the wheel to drop slightly back into a very loose position. All of this explains the erratic behaviour in positioning of the film holder and now recently, the uneven transport of the holder when scanning. On close examination there was nothing but friction holding the shaft in its hole, so I removed the wheel, cleaned the shaft completely, put a drop of Locktite in the seating hole and pressed the shaft back in. Put the cog wheel back on after the cement had set and now I have a beautifully working ArtixScan 120tf again! (Also took the opportunity to clean the lamp and mirror of dust and lubricate the transport drive train with Vaseline.)

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Old 12-19-2010   #27
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Sounds very interesting. Where on the net would I find such a scanner for sale? I see that the interface for the 5000 is SCSI, so I must admit that maintaining yet another ageing computer platform with a working SCSI port and slow CPU is not a very attractive proposition. Unless of course there is a workable USB (or FireWire) to SCSI adapter that could be used on one of my present machines.
It's indeed SCSI. I am using the same old 1GB Ram G3 for various old SCSI connected scanners. While the processing of the fresh scans is not lightning fast, it's not too bad either. In the meantime you will have plenty of time to edit your scans on another computer. The quality of the scans more than enough make up for the hassle, and in use professional scanners are much more convenient to work with than consumer scanners or semi-professional scanners, especially if you use a pro CCD "flatbed" scanner, which can be quickly loaded with dozens of negatives and then left to scan for hours while you can do something else.
There are a range of CCD scanners, which in practice are equally good as a drum scanner, if they are clean and in good shape. People engage in bidding wars for Nikon scanners, while the best scanners often don't find buyers although they are lower priced. Of course you would need a car and be prepared to drive hundreds of miles or more on a short notice since the scanners don't show up every day. I searched for about a year until I was successful.
There are good chances on ebay.de, but also in the local internet classifieds, sites like dba.dk, blocket.se and also look for photo labs and print shops which go out of business, which is perhaps the best possibilty for bargain hunting.
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Old 12-19-2010   #28
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Filmholder advance problem solved! Upon taking the scanner apart, I discovered that the cog wheel that transports the film holder (the largest one in the center of the image below) was pushed up and at an angle, barely engaging with its train drive. The vibrating movement when lifting the whole film holder assembly had apparently lifted the shaft of the cog wheel out of its seating. It's been like this for some time while still working after a fashion, because slightly pulling the film holder would allow the wheel to drop slightly back into a very loose position. All of this explains the erratic behaviour in positioning of the film holder and now recently, the uneven transport of the holder when scanning. On close examination there was nothing but friction holding the shaft in its hole, so I removed the wheel, cleaned the shaft completely, put a drop of Locktite in the seating hole and pressed the shaft back in. Put the cog wheel back on after the cement had set and now I have a beautifully working ArtixScan 120tf again! (Also took the opportunity to clean the lamp and mirror of dust and lubricate the transport drive train with Vaseline.)

- Børre

That is great news! Searching the market for old scanners is no fun. I hope yor scanner keeps going for a long time!
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Old 02-26-2011   #29
srtiwari
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I have acquired this scanner now, and find the software will not work on Mac OS X 10.6, where Vuescan works just fine. Actually, I lkike its scans as well as the Nikon 9000ED.
Unfortunately, it could do with a bit of cleaning. Anyone know how to clean the glass inside ? Have not had much luck on the Internet.
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Old 02-26-2011   #30
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I never took mine apart but you could download the Polaroid software, it helps eliminate the dust. The Microtek is very underestimated. I compared it with the Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 and couldn't even tell the difference in the scans. The only problem is the dust removal software is subpar.
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Nikon 9000ED vs Microtek 120TF
Old 02-26-2011   #31
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Nikon 9000ED vs Microtek 120TF

What I see are white "spots" on the pictures that look like dust. Immediately doing a scan on the 9000 beside it- without dusting the negs- provides a clean scan. The spots are form the scanner ! See the scans below...


NIKON 9000ED 100% crop.



Microtek 120TF 100% crop.
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Old 03-11-2012   #32
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I have an Artixscan 120TF. As with everyone else I know who has this scanner (or the Polaroid Sprintscan 120), it's been a pain in the ass. That said, the results are fantastic for the price compared to the Nikon 9000.

My biggest problem was always getting it initially recognized by the computer and Silverfast, and some of those line artifacts you posted on the previous page. Nowadays if I leave it sitting for a long period of time (off, of course), I come back to it and it's difficult to turn back on or have the PC recognize it. I think I'm going to start unplugging it completely because it always seems I have to unplug it and plug it back in several times to get it to turn on and stay on.

Still working for the moment...
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Old 03-16-2012   #33
borrel
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I have found that the only reliable software for the 120tf is the last version of Microtek's own ScanWizard.

It's also very important to start the system in the correct sequence. I always leave the scanner turned off and unplugged when not in use.

Make sure to load the film holder with the film strip in the correct position in order to hit the frames correctly.

Load and insert the filmholder before booting the computer. Let the scanner transport the holder to its initial position and to settle down before starting the computer. Let the computer boot up competely before starting the ScanWizard software.

Always cover the scanner with its original dustcover when not in use.

This routine has worked well for me for well over a year and the results are very good. Here are some recent examples: http://abdallah.hiof.no/iddesletta/
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Old 03-16-2012   #34
borrel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srtiwari View Post
I have acquired this scanner now, and find the software will not work on Mac OS X 10.6, where Vuescan works just fine. Actually, I lkike its scans as well as the Nikon 9000ED.
Unfortunately, it could do with a bit of cleaning. Anyone know how to clean the glass inside ? Have not had much luck on the Internet.
The body of the scanner is basically two extruded sections of aluminum with plastic end caps. Remove visible screws on the back cap and bottom, carefully remove the front cap (there is a ribbon cable to the front switches that needs to be unplugged), then slide and lift the top section off. The light is located right on top. (See the picture of the open scanner above.) Therefore the sensor and its reflecting mirror is vertically below and rather inaccessible. You might first try to get rid of dust by carefully applying a stream of air, from blower or can. Try to position some sort of vacuum close by so that the loosened dust doesn't just settle back in. Other than that, it appears to be a major disassembly job. An important point with this (as with most) scanner, is always to use the very good original dust cover when not in use.

And while you have the scanner open, check that the cog wheel that engages with and transports the film holder is properly seated. See the discussion above.

- Børre
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Old 05-21-2012   #35
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I recently bought a used Microtek 120tf and I'm experiencing same things. No matter what I do, I get defocused bands in scans and also color fringing in color negative/positive scans. Both are limited to Vuescan (regardless of Vuescan version , OS...) and no such problems in Microtek's Scanwizard Pro TX. Scanner's firmware is 1.80.

I asked the original owner about this and he said that he didn't get (or noticed?) those problems in any of the scanning software, said he used Vuescan for his scanning.

Hmm... Not really sure what is going on. Since scans with this scanner when scanned in Scanwizard are really really good, the plan is to buy a dedicated machine (an old PowerPC Mac with OSX 10.4. - last officially supported version by Scanwizard) to drive the scanner. I compared the scans of Microtek to those made with my Minolta 5400 mkI and it comes pretty close. Minolta is still a bit better in terms of resolution (and has grain dissolver), but I think Microtek might be even better in DMax department and film flatness seems not that crucial as with Minolta.

But still, this really is a strange problem. If this is a hardware problem then Scanwizard obviously can somehow run around it. Is this a case of problem with specific firmware version? If this is a software problem then everyone using this scanner with Vuescan/Silverfast would have this problem and I guess this is not the case... I just read a great review of Epson V700 where a RFF member XFer also compares V700 with Microtek 120tf and it would seem that he is using Vuescan. Maybe he'll be able to share details of his setup...
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Old 05-21-2012   #36
borrel
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There is a comparison of the ArtixScan 120tf and Epson 4990 here: http://abdallah.hiof.no/photography/4990-artixscan/ I can see no significant difference between the 4990 and the V700 I have now and the 120tf is definitely better.
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Another fix for the Microtek 120TF
Old 08-01-2013   #37
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Another fix for the Microtek 120TF

Thanks for all the tips everyone!

I have a Microtek 120TF which hasn't been working since about 2007, which I was inspired to try to fix because of this thread... The problem was that the mechanism which moves the film holder became loose after a year or so - I could push and pull the holder without any resistance - and the scanner-motor could not move it.

After I opened the scanner I didn't find any problem with the cogwheel which Børre pointed out. After taking the scanner apart, however, I noticed the cogwheel at the end of the main threaded rod driving the mechanism for moving the film holder was loose (first picture, the motor worked but moved the wheel, and not the rod itself). Getting access to the rod/cogwheel was the most "difficult" part... On the cogwheel there is a small umbraco-screw (black, see first picture) for tightening it to the rod. After doing this, it couldn't "freewheel" anymore, and the motor moved the whole mechanism again... finally

I wonder though - it seems I always have had to push the film holder firmly into the scanner (the motor doesn't allow you to move the holder, but if you push hard enough it will) before the motor will engage and pick it up... I guess this is the reason the wheel came loose in the first place... Does anyone else have this problem, or can you just put the holder "loose" in the scanner, and get it to pick it up using the software or similar?

In any event - if you have the same problem like me, don't throw this great scanner away - it's an easy fix (check the pictures)


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Old 08-02-2013   #38
borrel
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I was in contact with Ed Hamrick (VueScan) some time ago about the "out-of-focus banding" problem of the 120tf. As I recall, a new version of VueScan at the time eliminated the problem with 135 film, but was still present in medium format. The other problem with VueScan was that it didn't register MF film carriers correctly either. So as long as I have an old Power PC Mac that runs ScanWizard, that appears to be the only reliable way of getting good results.

Another recommendation though, is to get an original spare lamp from the German Microtech agents while they still have some. Apart from electronics, that would be the first part that would need replacement with age.
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Old 08-02-2013   #39
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I wonder though - it seems I always have had to push the film holder firmly into the scanner (the motor doesn't allow you to move the holder, but if you push hard enough it will) before the motor will engage and pick it up... I guess this is the reason the wheel came loose in the first place... Does anyone else have this problem, or can you just put the holder "loose" in the scanner, and get it to pick it up using the software or similar?
That is normal (or better, my 120tf is the same). You have to push the holder and there is quite a bit of resistance while you're pushing the holder to the point where motor takes over the transport.
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Old 08-02-2013   #40
borrel
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Another recommendation though, is to get an original spare lamp from the German Microtech agents while they still have some. Apart from electronics, that would be the first part that would need replacement with age.
The German agents for Microtek is Evestar (http://www.evestar.de). However, clicking the link to Microtek takes us to Microtek Taiwan, so it's probably best to send an email to something like <[email protected]> and asking for the repair section. In 2011, they still had some spare parts for the ArtixScan 120tf.
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