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Thread: Drumscanner

  1. #1
    Eirik Berger's Avatar
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    Drumscanner

    Hello all

    My challenge: I need to find a way to scan my 4x5 and 8x10 transarencies. Most often I will need to scan 8x10 black/white negatives for digital printing in large sizes (40x50 - 80x100 cm)

    I have read through this forum to see if I could learn something from the users of this forum. I did, I realize that I am not alone trying to find descent ways to digitalize my precious negatives.

    A company wants to sell me an Optronics Colorgetter 3 pro (drumscanner) with Colorright Pro software. They want 1600 USD (converted from norwegian currency) for the scanner which includes several drums, mounting table and an old Mac 9600 with software installed.

    My experience with drumscanners is very limited, can someone tell me if this scanner is right for me or not? What are tho Pros and cons with this scanner?
    Best regards,
    Eirik Berger

  2. #2
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Drumscanner

    Elrik,

    The answer is quick and simple. There is only one downside ..... you will need to spend considerable time to learn to use the software properly. It is a great scanner at a bargain price assumoing all i sin good working order. Michael Mutmansky and I used the same scanner as our 'reference' scanner for the recent View Camera article on scanners and the subsequent presentations at the View Camera Conference. If you go to the scanning article athe the LF Home Page you will see the excellent results of this scanner. You will not do better.

    I am envious!!!!!!

  3. #3
    Eirik Berger's Avatar
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    Drumscanner

    Thanks Ted.
    The scanning article was exactly what I needed. I will most likely purchase this scanner.
    My biggest consern is software compability with newer computers/OS. I guess the included software is for Mac OS 8 and 9, since an old Mac 9600 comes with the scanner. Does it exist software for Mac OSX and newer versions of Windows?

    Eirik
    Best regards,
    Eirik Berger

  4. #4
    Resident Heretic
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    Drumscanner

    I own a ColorGetter 3 Pro and mostly use it to scan 4x5 Tri-X. It works wonderfully for this. Other than the fact that that's a hell of a deal, some things to know:

    1) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ScanHi-End/

    2) ColorGetters come in two parts - a scan unit (big box, about 100 Kg) and a separate control unit (a little PC that boots off of a 3.5 floppy disk). A lot of liquidators (who don't know anything about the equipment they are trying to sell) throw the PC away thinking it's worthless. They are very wrong. If you don't have the control unit, all you got is a box 'o parts.

    3) See if you can get the AutoCal diskette and it's matching ND filter. They are a matched pair. Otherwise, you can get a replacement from Tech Services (whose website appears to be down right this minutes), but it's quite pricey.

    4) Get all the cables - GPIB cables are often difficult to find.

    5) See if you can get the manuals - the setup manual tells you how to run the cables, for example.

    6) The old Mac will be just fine if you dedicate it to the scanner. I'm running a 7100 at a whopping 66MHz IIRC, and it does fine. Just be sure you have the GPIB card in the Mac.

    7) If you are scanning negatives, you'll want to upgrade to ColorRight 2.0 Pro. The software is still being maintained - you can still get bug fixes, if you can find a bug. This is a big improvement over ColorRight 5.x. While it's called an upgrade, it's really completely new. I think it's a port of Trident for Optronics.

    8) Wet mounting supplies can be had from Prazio in NA, or SDS in Europe. You can try Kami fluid also, but be warned that it has a history of hazing certain drums that supposedly are not annealed properly. Search the archives of the yahoo group above for more.

    9) Wet mounting takes some care and some practice (not much really, but not zero either). You'll find it's easier with a light table under the mounting station so you can see through the drum while you work. Also, if you look in the files section of the yahoo group, you can find a "mounting 101" file by Chris Brown IIRC that is very useful indeed.

    10) Like most all drum scanners, the ColorGetter is slow, loud, heavy, and generates a lot of waste heat (900W). The tradeoff is absolutely gorgeous scans. There are certainly learning curves, but it's not nearly as bad as people would lead you to believe. Your first scans will be usable. After a few weeks they'll be pretty darn good. After a few months they'll be better than you can outsourse, because you'll be scanning your own work, and not a wide range of other people's film.

    Good luck and enjoy.

    Bruce Watson

  5. #5

    Drumscanner

    Eirik,

    No, the sorftware is only supposed to be available for OS 9.0 and no higher. I'm suprised it is operating on a 9600, as that sounds like they have a SCSI version of the scanner, which were rare. The highest computer that the normal scanner interface (GPIB) would run on is an 8100, as that is the last computer to have GPIB slots.

    Most people who use these scanners have an old machine set up to run the scanner, and then have that networked to their modern machines. Mine uses OS 8.6, but I understand it could be loaded with up to OS 9.0. I don't save the files on the scanning machine. The network is fast enough to send the data continuously to the other machine in my network without any problems. I'm actually using a wireless network for that without difficulty.

    The ColorRight Pro software is made by ColorByte Software:

    http://www.colorbytesoftware.com/colorright.htm

    A call to them may be warranted to verify compatibility with the software and hardware that the seller has, and to determine if it can be upgraded to a difference OS.
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

  6. #6
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    Drumscanner

    Michael,

    ColorRight 2.0 Pro does support MacOS 9.1 - that's what I'm using.

    I've read that a "popular" alternative Mac is the blue and white G3. It doesn't have NuBus slots, but you can get GPIB cards from National and at least one other supplier for PCI machines. Those cards are expensive though, and you don't seem to gain a lot other than having a faster interface for ColorRight.

    Bruce Watson

  7. #7

    Drumscanner

    Bruce,

    That's good to hear, as I don't think that ColorByte was able to tell me that this was an option when I upgraded. I had asked them if I could go this route, but I had heard that there was a limitation tn that OS 9.0 was the highest OS that supported the GPIB interface. It must actually be OS9.1 instead.

    The PCI GPIB cards are very expensive, so there must be a use for them that keeps the cost high, even on the used market. Anyone know what they are used for other then scanners?

    ---Michael
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

  8. #8

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    Drumscanner

    Does anyone know the differences between the Colorgetter scanner models? I have seen ads for Colorgetter 2, 3, and Falcon.

  9. #9

    Drumscanner

    Michael,

    The CG2 is older than the CG3, and the 'bird of prey' line is newer than the CG3.

    The Bird of Prey line came out around 1994 and lasted until the endo of Optronics.

    Some people claim that the CG3 Pro is the 'best' scanner because of some cost-cutting measures that were introduced in the later line, most specifically, the lamp was changed from a HID lamp to a halogen lamp. I don't know if that was done through all the models of the Bird of Prey line, but I understand it was done on the Eagle, which is the most comparable to the CG3 Pro (about 11x15 maximum film size).

    Here is a source for specifications on someof the models:

    http://www.promarketinc.com/pdf/

    ---Michael
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

  10. #10

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    Drumscanner

    GPIB was developed by Hewlett Packard as the HPIB bus. In the days when the 68xxx series processors (in the Mac world, the Mac II and its pre-PowerPC successors) were the standard for HPs Unix workstations they used it on a variety of peripherals such as printers, plotters and humungeous 'Winchester' external hard disks. It was codified as the IEEE-488 standard, and IBM/Microsoft came up with the GPIB name for the PC version.

    For a long time is was a standard interface on laboratory instruments. It was more flexible than serial links, and up to six external devices could be daisy-chained off one computer interface. I have used it with multimeters, pressure sensors, storage oscilloscopes, lock-in amplifiers, printers and a home-built probe microscope controller.

    These days USB or Firewire have mostly taken over, but GPIB is still offered as a standard on many pieces of laboratory gear.

    I used a lot of National Instruments (www.ni.com) kit on Macs, PCs and Unix workstations. On the Mac the GPIB cards and drivers seemed to survive operating system upgrades nicely. I was using a program written in 1988 as late as 1999 unmodified except for driver updates. I would therefore expect the scanner to work with all the standalone versions of OS 9, but Classic may be too much of a stretch. The only device N.I. support GPIB on in OS X is a (very slow) ethernet to GPIB bridge.

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