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Thread: Does it Make Sense to buy a Nikon 9000 Scanner for Future Color Work (April 2010)?

  1. #1
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    Does it Make Sense to buy a Nikon 9000 Scanner for Future Color Work (April 2010)?

    Hello, Issues of Current availability of aforementioned Nikon 9000 scanner aside:

    I am buying up Mamiya RB gear in anticipation of using it for traditional process portraiture, namely B&W. However, I shot some color Fuji 800 portraiture with it and decided that beauty of resulting contact print (A&I) and the huge negative had so much potential in terms of scanning and output back to RA4 process paper that I began to take a serious look at a long dream of mine -to own and use a Nikon 9000 to scan color negatives and color transparencies.

    But then Fuji recently announced the discontinuation of most of their C-41 films, making my no-brainer decision no longer a slam dunk. The question looms how long before the remainder of color in 120 format is gone completely?

    I have not shot enough color in 120 roll format in the past to just buying a Nikon 9000.

    I don't want to throw a third factor in yet: buying an Epson V700 series instead. (The idea being that the Nikon can resolve down to the grain, and is more durable, and to buy right:buy once).

    Help provide me with some objective advice: Do you feel that 120 color film will be around for the next 15 to 20 years (my criteria in justifying the price of a Nikon 9000)?

    PS: I already have a Nikon D300. I do not consider it or any other digital camera a serious tool for color portraiture work.

  2. #2

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    Re: Does it Make Sense to buy a Nikon 9000 Scanner for Future Color Work (April 2010)

    Your D300 won't be around in 15-20 years, yet you still bought it. I have an epson which is OK at medium format, but not great. If you are going to stick with MF then go for the 9000. A used Nikon 9000 should hold value pretty well at least for the next few years.

    I personally have almost given up on MF in favor of LF. DSLRs are at a point where the middle ground is getting difficult to defend. So predicting 20 years out, I think you will have gotten a better digicam and have sold your RB or kept it as an ornament on the shelf. Perhaps not because film is not available, but because better alternatives exist.

  3. #3
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    Re: Does it Make Sense to buy a Nikon 9000 Scanner for Future Color Work (April 2010)

    The 9000 itself almost certainly won't be serviceable in 15-20 years. And even if it isn't broken by then, you can't count on having a computer with an operating system and scanning software and device drivers which will be able to run the thing.

    Buy it if you can reasonably afford it and if you think you'll get good use out of it over, say, the next five years. Think of anything after that as a bonus.

  4. #4

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    Re: Does it Make Sense to buy a Nikon 9000 Scanner for Future Color Work (April 2010)

    Here's a review of the Epson 750 that includes a comparison with the Nikon 9000.

    http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/int...750/page_5.htm

    It doesn't address your film availability question. But, it might provide a useful insight into the performance of the 9000.

  5. #5
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    Re: Does it Make Sense to buy a Nikon 9000 Scanner for Future Color Work (April 2010)

    Hello Neil, I saw that review and it was precisely the third picture down on the following page http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/int...750/page_6.htm. (you can see the fine detail of the Nikon 9000 resolving even the film grain whereas the epson cannot) , plus reports that the Epson seem to be designed with planned obsolescence mechanically that makes me feel the CS 9000 is significantly a better scanner.

  6. #6

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    Re: Does it Make Sense to buy a Nikon 9000 Scanner for Future Color Work (April 2010)

    The Photo-i article is interesting in its conclusions.
    1) The author feels the LS-9000 is the better scanner vs. V750, but not by much
    2) The LS-9000 tends to accentuate the grain in an image, not just show grain but over emphisize grain ( my Minolta Scan Multi was great at this) so the grain you see may be over blown.
    3) After applying sharpening to the image the images are very close between the LS9000 and V750. Edge to the LS9000.

    I'm thinking because of the lack of availability Nikon may be trying to get out of the higher end consumer scanner business. 5-10 years ago the market for scanners was a whole lot bigger than it is now. I also think Epson has a decent, but not excellent product in the V700/V750, it has been out for 4 years (I had one of the first at my old job, and it is still going strong). Other than rumors Epson hasn't come up with anything new, so i really don't look at the V700/750 as any more obsolescent than the LS9000, expect both to last for 5+ years.

    Tom

  7. #7

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    Re: Does it Make Sense to buy a Nikon 9000 Scanner for Future Color Work (April 2010)

    A good friend of mine is very happy with the D900 and I am happy with the negatives he scans for me.

    The issue of availability is like quicksand:

    I don't know for sure about color film's availability in 20 years; my guess is that most likely it will but choices in emulsion will be fewer.
    Any scanner you buy today will most certainly not be supported even ten years from now, software being the biggest issue.

    I would say buy and use it - in a few years' time it will have paid for itself many times over.

  8. #8
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    Re: Does it Make Sense to buy a Nikon 9000 Scanner for Future Color Work (April 2010)

    Software is an issue, but as an issue it can be managed. Nikon has announced that their scan software for the 9000/8000 will run under Windows 7 without modification, and Vuescan will operate both scanners directly likewise. If Windows 7 has a run as long as XP has had, then the software should not be a problem for at least another 6-8 years. Even then, a fresh computer build at that time should last several years beyond that. 10 years seems a reasonable expectation.

    My 8000 is already five years old, but I expect it to go another 10 years, given my modest usage level, and hoping my surge protectors do their job. I'm more worried about the lamp than the software.

    I am hoping that digital offerings will render the question moot by the time my 8000 finally breathes its last.

    A bigger question is in maintaining an ability to work with my past archive of film. Having a good digital alternative 10 years from now might not help me with a negative or slide I want to scan that I made 10 years ago. But we can only do what we can do.

    I have compared scans from my Epson 750 to scans from my Nikon 8000. It isn't just the resolution that is different. I find that the Nikon can handle a wider dynamic range, particularly in transparencies, than the Epson. If I used wet mounting with the Epson, I might close that gap a bit.

    If you go with a Nikon, build a glass carrier into your budget. It is essential.

    Rick "for whom Vuescan, which requires no device drivers, is a good maintainer of legacy hardware" Denney

  9. #9
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    Re: Does it Make Sense to buy a Nikon 9000 Scanner for Future Color Work (April 2010)

    Just to put my skepticism in context: I bought a 9000 myself, and I'm very happy to have it.

    I agree with Rick about the glass carrier - I bought one of those, too, and I'm glad I did. But see Dante Stella for a different view:

    http://www.dantestella.com/technical/nikonholder.html

  10. #10

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    Re: Does it Make Sense to buy a Nikon 9000 Scanner for Future Color Work (April 2010)

    I would suggest that one can make a reasonable 5-year plan. A 15-20 year plan will include assumptions that are simply pie-in-the-sky. I don't see film being here 15-20 years from now, and of course, I could be totally wrong (I'd be happy to be wrong). I don't anyone that knows at this point... we all have our reasoning, some guesses will be right on and others won't.

    The D300 is 1200-1400. One can possible get a nice digital back for a 645 for 10-15K and the scanner then seems pretty cheap. No reason to buy something like a 750, which won't give any real quality on a med format negative, IMO.

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

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