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I participated in side by side tests of a Nikon LS 8000 scanner, Tango drum scanner, Imacon, Epson V800, and a Nikon 36 MP camera with macro lens on a copy stand.

There was a mix of 35mm, 6X7, 4X5, B&W, Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Fujichrome. It was a kind of challenge, beat this quality, amongst very experienced professional scanners and photographers. Operators knew they were being tested, and were given 3 tries to beat the best one of each round.
The Nikon 36 MP camera won by a long shot on all counts, and it was quicker. Scanner technology has been moribund for years. In addition a lot of scanner technology has been directed towards fast throughput and ease of operation. Not quality.
Here is a new hi rez camera solution worth investigating for 35mm to 4X5. Read the sales pitch if you want to know why a hi rez 35mm camera is better than a any scanner.
I have a Nikon LS 8000 scanner that I am about to stop using as a doorstop, and put in the garbage. I would not inflict it on anyone.

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That's very interesting and helpful information, Bill. More so, because I consider you to be one of the best pro photographers contributing to this forum. 


I still have a Honeywell Reponar hiding somewhere in my scary back room, but I doubt that the flash is still alive and well, or that I could get a replacement bulb. I did a big job once in London that involved doing copy-stand work. Once you're setup it's easy to do.


Don't toss your LS 8000 in the garbage--recycle it. They'll make plastic cups and then we can recycle those. 



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For digitising colour 35mm transparencies, I'm not sure it's worth doing anything more than the DSLR copy route. A decent DSLR and good lens has enough resolution to resolve the film grain. It's not worth going further. If you need to increase the dynamic range take a couple of different exposures and combine in PS. I've recently digitised over 1,000 35mm transparencies taken in late 90's and early 2000's on Kodachrome 64, Velvia and Sensia. I'm using a Lumix G5 and 45mm macro lens that I also use for regular stock photography (so no additional expense) . The resolving power of this setup easily captures the film grain and also (unfortunately) reveals all the weaknesses in the kit I was using at the time. (Contax RTS body and Tamron SP lenses). I could have spent lots more on the scanning/digitising but the end result would have been limited by the quality of my originals and the film grain. 


For very fine grain B/W film or larger format originals, the balance may shift back to a decent scanner. 

Edited by M.Chapman

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