Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/12/09

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Subject: [Leica] scanner recommendation
From: "Rod Fleming" <>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 1999 12:36:18 -0000


I have been using film scanners for several years, and in that time I have
tried most all of the well-known makers' products, though not all of their
models. My company is a small media agency and amongst other things we
supply pictures to the press etc in digital form, always originating from a
film base.

The best table-top dedicated 35mm film scanner is without any doubt the
Kodak. This machine is incredibly fast and has massive resolution, certainly
when compared to other 35mm machines. It and is able to produce 70Mb files
from a 35mm negative. (The best of the rest- Nikon, Polaroid, Canon,
Minolta, top out at around 27Mb for a full frame scan- only just enough for
a full bleed cover-and .........well, the others, less. Much less.) However,
the Kodak machine is very expensive- about 7000 GBP last time I checked,
and hard to find on the s/h market.

The nod for best budget film scanner has to go to either Nikon or Polaroid,
and of the two, I prefer Nikon, who also have a wider range of models. The
LS-30 is now under 500 GBP and the top-of the range model, which has
automated batch scanning built in, is around 1200 GBP. Nowadays you can
pick up a used LS-20, which is still excellent, for under 200 GBP. The
LS-1000, a great machine and for years the standard by which pro machines
were measured, and still a good performer (and the most portable in this
category) can be found for around 400 GBP used. Why look elsewhere?

I am sure these prices would translate directly to the US market.

These scanners are excellent, with great rendition of both negs and
trannies, fast, robust, reliable, and designed to be easily portable.
Furthermore they are made with photographers in mind, and the TWAIN
interface is photographer-friendly, much more so than the competition, in my

Quite honestly, guys, if you want a 35mm scanner at reasonable money, go out
and get a Nikon, or  a Polaroid Sprintscan, which is also a very capable
performer, though not my personal favourite. In my view, forget the Canon
and the Minolta, which are good but not as good and not noticeably cheaper,
and as for the others............Don't buy yourself heartache and
frustration. Buying a cheap consumer scanner is definitely a false economy
in my view. Hell, this is a Leica list fer goodness sakes!- spend all that
money on lenses and bodies and then cheapskate on scanners?

I should add that I am not connected with the Nikon organisation in any way
at all- just a very satisfied user of this range of product.

As for software- well, anyone who discounts Photoshop without trying it is
just being perverse. It's easy, quick, very powerful and has a lot of
features not found on other programs which are very useful to the
photographer. We have several image programs, and Photoshop is the most
versatile by a long way. It's expensive, though less so now, but Lite or
older versions are perfectly good for what most photogs want to do and are
well priced.  The best of the rest is Paintshop Pro. Use Imager or low-end
shareware if you must, but don't complain to me when your hair falls

The contents of this note represent my honestly held opinion based on my own
experience actually using the equipment mentioned.