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Thread: ColorGetter Falcon Drum Scanner

  1. #1

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    Question ColorGetter Falcon Drum Scanner

    I have an opportunity to get a ColorGetter Falcon scanner for a reasonable price.

    I have some questions:

    * I feel stupid asking this one, but here it is anyway: For medium and large format film, the Falcon will blow a flatbed scanner like Epson V700/V750 out of the water, right?

    * How much harder is the workflow compared to flatbeds? How many 645 frames would I be able to scan at once? And what kind of warmup time / per frame scan time is to be expected?

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: ColorGetter Falcon Drum Scanner

    I own and operate a ColorGetter 3 Pro drum scanner. I think the ColorGetters are the best kept secret in scanning. They give excellent quality scans (especially negatives, with ColorRight Pro 2.0). They are built like tanks. But they haven't been made since about 1998. You do all your own maintenance (you can get help from the yahoo ScanHi-End group). Spare parts are hard to find. But because of the ColorGetter design, spare parts aren't much needed.

    I use my 3 Pro to scan 5x4 film, almost entirely negative films (color and B&W). It does an outstanding job for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by dubesor View Post
    I have an opportunity to get a ColorGetter Falcon scanner for a reasonable price.
    Just make sure you get a fully working complete turnkey system. A ColorGetter scanner has two main boxes -- a scan unit, and a control unit (a little 386 PC with a special board in it which boots the ColorGetter software off a floppy disk). If you are missing either one, all you have is parts, not a scanner. Just sayin'. People get suckered by liquidators who throw away the control unit because they don't know ColorGetters from a hole in the ground. Again, a scan unit by itself is just a box of spare parts.

    But you need more than a working scanner. You need all the ancillary parts too. Including an ancient Mac to run the ColorRight software, all the cables, a mounting station, drums, etc. Just make sure that the system you are looking at is a *complete* turnkey system.

    If you can't see it in person (if you can, get some training on it), at least have them scan one of your films for you. Then you'll know the answer to your first question:

    Quote Originally Posted by dubesor View Post
    For medium and large format film, the Falcon will blow a flatbed scanner like Epson V700/V750 out of the water, right?
    Depends on what you value, and how much enlargement you make. I can see and appreciate the improved quality of a scan from my ColorGetter 3 Pro at 2x enlargement, but many people can't see it at 4x. It becomes obvious to just about everyone by 8x however.

    Quote Originally Posted by dubesor View Post
    How much harder is the workflow compared to flatbeds? How many 645 frames would I be able to scan at once? And what kind of warmup time / per frame scan time is to be expected?
    I'm not sure I'd say it's "harder" actually. I'd say it takes different skills and perhaps more skills. It's similar to the difference between using a medium format camera and a view camera.

    Drum area for a ColorGetter is roughly 11 x 14 inches. How many frames can you fit on that? It's more a question of how many frames are you willing to work with at a time. And how big your overlay material is.

    I'm not sure I can define "warmup" in relation to a ColorGetter, so IDK how to answer that question.

    Fluid mounting is a skill, and like all skills it has learning curves. Is it more difficult to fluid mount on a flatbed compared to a drum? IDK. But there's not much point in drum scanning if you aren't fluid mounting.

    Scan time per frame for a given film size depends on your scanner resolution. Drum scanners sample the film one pixel at a time. All other scanners sample film a line at a time. Drum scanning is in general therefore somewhat slower. If scan time is your worry, there are faster scanners out there than a ColorGetter. But, of course, they cost more too.

    Setup time per frame depends on how much control you want to exert. You can do fast-and-dirty on a drum scanner just like you can on a flatbed. I'm not sure why you'd want to however.

    Again, drum scanning is to flatbed scanning what LF is to medium format. If you aren't willing to take your time and do it right, you have to wonder whether or not it's worth the hassle.

    Bruce Watson

  3. #3

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    Re: ColorGetter Falcon Drum Scanner

    thanks for the info. i'm thinking of diving in ... with a bit of trepidation. at least the machine is complete, includes old mac etc etc.

    how hard is it to transport (a fairly large distance)? i've read recommendations for other drum scanners of only moving them w/ qualified techs, using special wheels, etc.

  4. #4
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: ColorGetter Falcon Drum Scanner

    Quote Originally Posted by dubesor View Post
    thanks for the info. i'm thinking of diving in ... with a bit of trepidation. at least the machine is complete, includes old mac etc etc.
    If you decide to join the club, also join the Yahoo group ScanHi-End. There are still some of us old ColorGetter guys hanging around there that can help.

    Drum scanning isn't nearly as difficult as some of the people who have never done it will tell you it is. ;-) And the rewards are amazing -- killer scans exactly as you want them done.

    Quote Originally Posted by dubesor View Post
    how hard is it to transport (a fairly large distance)? i've read recommendations for other drum scanners of only moving them w/ qualified techs, using special wheels, etc.
    The scan unit weighs 100Kg (about 220 lbs). It's roughly 120 x 65 x 44 cm. That is, it's fairly big and heavy. You might want to think about building a crate for it and having it moved by a professional electronics moving company (do take the leveling feet off it first and ship the feet separately; shipping is a good way to mangle those feet if you aren't careful). I've heard good things about Trump Card, but never used them. I think United has an electronics division (mainly aimed at getting stuff to and from trade shows IIRC), but again, I've never used them. Last ColorGetter I bought I drove a pickup truck out to get it. It did fine in the back of the truck, but clearly YMMV.

    Drum scanners are precision instruments. I wouldn't want to pound on them too much (which is why I'm kind of leery of normal freight haulers). OTOH, ColorGetters are built like tanks.

    Hard to say. I don't have a recommendation for you on shipping. Sorry.

    Bruce Watson

  5. #5

    Re: ColorGetter Falcon Drum Scanner

    I purchased one locally and everything came with it but the dongle. Without the dongle it won't work so make certain it has the little dongle module. Fortunately the seller took the one I bought back.

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