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Nikon Coolscan 4000

by Andreas Kaseder, 2001


I'm a hobby photographer who enjoys more the technical side of photography than actually going out and taking pictures. I bought the Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 ED to scan my negatives and slides for archiving purposes. The scanner has surprised me with the immense detail and color brilliance in the scans but also has disappointed me in a few areas like the auto focus not always working properly or the Digital ICE messing up on some images.

Pros

  • Good build
  • Firewire interface is fast and uncomplicated on the Mac
  • 6 Frame strip film holder
  • Nikon Scan 3.1 software has many useful functions
  • Digital ICE works wonders on scratchy and dusty negatives
  • 4000 ppi will scan all that detail
  • 14 bit color channels
  • 16x multi sampling
  • Analog exposure gain

Cons

  • Strip film auto feeder doesn't hold negatives straight enough
  • Very small depth of sharpness
  • Auto focus doesn't always work well
  • Digital ICE badly messes up on Fuji Superia films
  • The software needs a lot of RAM to run stably
  • Haven't needed Digital ROC. Color correction in Photoshop does it for me.
  • Digital GEM reduces some grain but at the same time introduces its own artefacts

A Stable Hardware Setup

Apple PowerMac G4 400 with at least 256 MB of RAM and built in Firewire, running Mac OS 9.0.4.

Scanning Tips - Nikon Scan and Adobe Photoshop on the Mac

Note: these tips are not for beginners.

  • Plug-in or not Don't use Nikon Scan as a plug-in from within Photoshop, it is a bit buggy. If you have enough RAM, have Photoshop and Nikon Scan open as separate applications at the same time. Give each of them at least 96 MB of RAM and don't use virtual memory. Don't give the applications in total more RAM than the available RAM on your computer minus about 50 MB for the operating system. This way you can work on touching up one image while the next one is being scanned.
  • Displaying images in Nikon Scan Don't use Nikon Scan to display and manipulate scanned images. It is extremely slow with large files. Photoshop handles it better.
  • File sizes File sizes can vary from a few MB (web stuff) to about 120 MB (14 bit colors per channel and 4000 ppi). If you want to work comfortably in Photoshop with big file sizes, on the Mac you'll have to give the application minimum(!) the amount of RAM as the file takes up space on your hard drive. That way Photoshop doesn't have to use the hard drive much when applying calculations to an image.
  • Preview images Use large preview images for properly examining a negative/slide before scanning.
  • Scanning resolution Scan at the smallest resolution and file size that accommodates your needs. Small images display less artefacts and use up less memory. If you want to archive your images and have a lot of time, use the 14 bit and 16x multi sampling scanning modes.
  • ICE Try and avoid using Digital ICE and GEM. Both blur your image and unsharp mask in Photoshop won't bring those details back. If you want less grain, use a finer grain film. If your negative is already badly messed up with scratches, then maybe consider using some ICE. A work-around to getting rid of scratches and not blurring your image too much is to scan the exact(!) same crop of the negative once with ICE and once without ICE. In Photoshop you can overlay both images by copying the ICE'd image into a new layer of the non ICE'd image. Mask out the whole ICE'd layer and only let the areas show which you need to remove a dust particle or a scratch.
  • GEM GEM only makes sense on large grain film, but beware, it also creates weird texture artefacts in some images.
  • ICE with Fuji Superia Be very careful when applying ICE to Fuji Superia films, it introduces a strong blur and color cutout effect to some areas of the image.
  • Removing dust Remove dust from your negatives/slides with compressed air before scanning. Where possible, remove dust and scratches from a scanned image by using the cloning tool in Photoshop.
  • Batch scanning The Coolscan 4000 has a very small depth of sharpness. The automatic strip film feeder that comes with the scanner doesn't hold the strip of negatives straight enough to get good edge to edge sharpness. I wouldn't bother batch scanning anything. In the long run, it is better to use the 6 frame strip film holder for negatives or to use framed slides and manually adjust the software for each scan.
  • Auto focus After each scan, make sure in Photoshop that the image is sharp. If with 4000 ppi you can't detect every single grain, then the auto focus of the scanner didn't adjust properly. Move the auto focus point to a spot with more contrast on the negative and rescan the image until it is sharp.
  • Post processing Do any image post processing in Photoshop. The results are better and you have a full information image to play with.
  • Lighting up dark areas 1
    1. Adjust the analog gain in the scanner software so that no light areas are blown out.
    2. Scan the image.
    3. The image will be too dark.
    4. In Photoshop make four layers of the same image.
    5. Overlay the top layer nr. 4 with nr. 3 below it in 'screen' mode and merge the two layers.
    6. Create a layer mask for layer 2 and paste the above result into it as an alpha channel.
    7. Invert the alpha channel (the layer mask).
    8. Delete the merged layer of 4 and 3.
    9. Layer 2 should be overlaying the ground layer with the light areas masked out.
    10. Change the overlaying mode of layer 2 to 'screen' mode.
    11. Adjust the opacity of layer 2 and flatten the image.
    12. Alternatively use the curves and levels functions with somewhat different results.
  • Lighting up dark areas 2 If light and dark areas are too contrasty to be corrected afterwards, I do two identically cropped scans of the same image.
    1. In the scanning software, push the ananlog gain until the dark areas show properly in the preview image. Let the light areas be blown out, you will need it later.
    2. Scan the image.
    3. Adjust the analog gain until the light areas show properly.
    4. Scan an exact same crop of the image above.
    5. In Photoshop, paste the darker scan into a layer over the lighter scan.
    6. Select the whole area of the lighter scan with the blown out areas and copy it into the clipboard.
    7. Select the darker layer and create a layer mask.
    8. Paste the lighter image into the mask as an alpha channel.
    9. Change the brightness and contrast levels of the layer mask to your likings.
    10. Flatten the image.
    11. Use the curves and levels functions of Photoshop to adjust the rest.
  • Increasing the contrast mainly in dark areas Use the same method as described in "Lighting up dark areas 1" but use the 'overlay' mode when overlaying things.
  • Getting details out of very bright areas In Photoshop, to get some more details out of blown out light areas overlay an image with itself in the "multiply" mode. Then use the opacity of the overlaying layer to your liking. Note: you might want to mask out areas of the overlaying image with the techniques described above. This method does NOT make up for a badly exposed film.
  • Selecting dark or light areas In Photoshop, to select mainly the dark or light areas:
    1. Select all in a layer and copy the selection into the clipboard.
    2. Change to quickmask mode and paste the selection into it.
    3. Push the contrast of the quickmask to something between 50 and 80 %.
    4. Return to normal mode and all the bright areas should be selected.
    5. To select the dark areas invert the selection with shift+command+i.
    6. Now apply whatever function you want to the selected areas. Note: of course you could just use the curves function, but that is not exactly the same and you can't apply other effects to just those areas.
  • Inserting a sky
    1. In Photoshop, make a duplicate of your image layer.
    2. Push the contrasts on that duplicate.
    3. Use the liquify function to mask out everthing but the sky in that duplicate.
    4. Use the results to help you select the sky in your original layer.
    5. Remove the duplicate.
    6. Create a layer mask for the original layer using your selection. (You'll have to turn the background layer into a working layer first by double clicking on it and pressing return)
    7. Insert a sky layer below the original layer.
    8. Be careful to adjust the colors well so people don't notice it.
  • Weakening oversaturated areas on skin If you've used Fuji Velvia or Kodak E100VS for people photography, your subject probably will have a red nose and other oversaturated skin areas.
    1. Carefully try and get rid of the oversaturation using the levels and hue/saturation functions.
    2. Select the airbrush tool and set it to 'screen' mode and 1% opacity.
    3. Select a brush color from a normally saturated and bright skin area.
    4. Carefully brush over the dark saturated areas until the saturation and brightness levels match the other areas of the skin.
  • Darkening small skin areas Use the airbrush in 'multiply' mode and 1% opacity. Select a color from a darker skin area and carefully brush over those light areas until the brightness levels match the other skin areas.

Films

Below is a selection of films I've used in the past. My opinions are based on observations I have made during scanning.

  • Agfa Optima II 400: Grain and colors are similar to Kodak Royal Gold 400. Colors sometimes off.
  • Agfa HDC 200: Nice colors. Nothing good and nothing bad about this film. Unproblematic.
  • Fuji Superia 100,200,400,800: Very fine grained negative film for the respective speed. ICE messes up on some images.
  • Fuji NPS 160: Larrge grain. Boring portrait colors. ICE seems to not mess up so badly on this one.
  • Fuji Superia Reala 100: Finest grain negative film I've come accross. ICE messes up on some images.
  • Fuji Provia 100F, 400F: The fine grain is awesome. Reasonably saturated and very sharp. No need for GEM or ICE with slide film (usually).
  • Kodak Gold 100, 200, 400: ICE seems to work the way it was intended.
  • Kodak Supra 400: Large grain. ICE seems to work the way it was intended. GEM creates artefacts.
  • Kodak Royal Gold 100, 400: Not as fine grain as Fuji's Superia line but much richer colors. ICE seems to work the way it was intended. GEM creates some artefacts.
  • Kodak Ektachrome E100S: Very fine grain, saturated, sharp. Scans well with properly exposed film.
  • Kodak Ektachrome E100SW: Same as E100S but adds some warmth. Great for portraits on overcast days.
  • Kodak Ektachrome E100VS: Similar to Fuji Velvia, way oversaturated for my liking.
  • Kodak Ektachrome E200: Fine grain, neutral saturated colors, very similar to Fuji Provia 400F. No need for GEM or ICE with slide film (usually).

Summary

Most slide films up to 100 ASA and Kodak E200 and Provia 400F have MUCH smaller grain than one of the finest grain negative films Fuji Superia Reala. Negative film scratches easily. Dust and scratches appear as bright white spots in the scans and are very annoying. The only realistic way of removing it is with the digital ICE function of the scanner. Slide film does not scratch as quickly as negative film and when framed, it is easier to handle. Grain and scratches appear as black areas in the scan and are much less obvious and easy to remove with the cloning tool in Photoshop. Digital ICE is almost never needed. Negatives have a much larger exposure lattitude than slides. But, a well exposed slide beats a negative in almost any other discipline.

With a few manual adjustments here and there scans with the LS 4000 will actually look pretty good, almost as good as drum scans. Scanning times are anywhere from about 20 seconds to 20 minutes depending on the scanning resolution and which features have been turned on. Typical scans at full resolution and size and 8 bits per color channel take about one minute. I get very few system crashes with Nikon's hardware/software combination on my Mac. Whenever it does crash, it is usually due to the same reason any other app would crash - surfing the web while scanning, or running low on memory and so on.

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



xander janssen , September 19, 2001; 09:52 A.M.

I have been working with this scaner a couple of months now, further do i own a LS2000. I make really alot of scans, and have been experimenting quiet alot.

First a big downside on the scanner is the Nikonscan 3.1 it is no good, for negative scanning, there are to many films which give very bad scan results. You mentioned the Fuji Superia's, these 4th colour layer films give very bad scan results, my worst experience is with the 400 asa films (fuji Xtra 400). The second very big down side is the scanning speed it is very very low compared to the other software around (Silverfast and Vuescan) ROC and GEM not supported by the other software packages, is the worst. And if you have been very carefull with your films not very interesting, ROC is in my opinion giving to saturated colours, and GEM is not needed for people with good equipment, which is probably the only group buying this expensive scanner. Secondly grain makes the picture more attractive!

Slide scanning is no problem at all, the results are very good and alot better as the LS2000, and any other slidescanner I have seen, drumscanners excluded. Nikons big plus is the very low noise these scanners produce, this was already the case with the LS2000, but the LS4000 is really much better here. There is also too little attention in a lot of reviews about this subject, it is very simple if your scanner produces to much noise you are not able to make a reasonable scan, whatever colour depth or resolution your scanner produces! The noise problem is much bigger then suspected, and very frusrating in slide scanning. The LS4000 scans beautifull deep blacks in the dark parts of your slides. I made a lot of scans of underwaterslides, with a lot of dark parts beautifull!!!

I don't agree with the remarks you read in a lot of reviews about the automatic negative feeder it is very exaggerated, and I suspect too many people read reviews, instead of making scans.The fixed frame will give better results in some cases, but we must not forget this automatic feeder makes these scanners by far the most userfriendly types of slide scanners in terms of fast large amount scanning. I never read this anywhere, again I make the remark people who write alot of thes reviews don't scan a film aday (or more) I make alot of scans to a maximum size of A4, and never use the Strip Holder FH3. With the LS2000 the story is a little bit different, because this automatic film strip feeder is of a much lower quality, but still...

About the software, are there good alternatives; YES!!! First there is Vuescan from Ed Hamrick it is cheap simple and great for batch scanning. Secondly it doesn't eat so many resources as Nikonscan 3.1. It is no Photoshop Plugin, so you have to make the scans, write them to a file and open them later in Photoshop. The interface is not so user frienly on first sight, but when you figured it out it works fine. Secondly and my absolute favorite Silverfast from Lasersoft. This is a really good piece of software, but expensive. There last upgrade 5.5 has a Negafix function, with film profiles, and automatic orange mask, etc, for negative scanning. This software is not very easy to master but the results are by far the best!!! This is the software to be supplied with this scanner, you should run this test again with this package! And Silverfast also doesn't eat so much resources, and needs less time compared to Nikonscan!

Xander

Jan Eschrich , September 22, 2001; 07:57 A.M.

There is another big negativ point: There are many professional environments, where you absolutely need a SCSI interface option. On high-end Windows systems there are many, many reasons to run NT (and not Win2000) as operating system and other good reasons to set up a pure SCSI scanning workflow (not only with NT as OS). True high-end scanners 10.000$ to 100.000$ know, why they chose this interface. I am serverly disappointed about this stupid decision to offer Firewire as the only interface option. I hope, Nikon will get reasonable.

Charles Miller , September 24, 2001; 11:45 P.M.

Here are three hopefully helpful notes for anyone still having software trouble:

1. Of course get version 3.1 (or later) of the Nikon software.

2. For WIN95/98 users, edit your config.sys file to include the following three lines:

Stacks=64,512

Files=60

Buffers=40

If there are already entries in the config.sys file for these variables, just change the value(s) to those indicated above. This will improve the system stability when using the scanner as a Twain source within PhotoShop.

3. In the scanner software tool menu, if the box to enable ICE is checked, there are two menu choices, namely On(Normal) and On(Fine). The On(Normal) setting causes a substantial reduction in image sharpness and introduces image artifacts resembling lens flare. So the On(Normal) mode should only be used when it is absolutely needed. The On(Fine) setting takes out fine dust with very little other effects, and it should be the default choice unless you work in a very, very clean environment.

Image Attachment: Car_301.jpg

Chris Hulett , September 26, 2001; 12:19 P.M.

If you're interested in the batch scanning attachments for the 4k, read (the 2nd half of) this:

I've been using the Nikon 4k since it first came out and have been pretty impressed. Actually, I have been fairly impressed with some things about the scanner, like it's speed, ICE, and NS 3.1. As image quality goes, it's by far the best desktop size scanner I've seen, but compared to the Flextight P2 (soon to be P3!) that sits next to it on my desk, the Nikon isn't even close. Maybe that's why the Flextight cost about 6 times as much...

In the review above, under 'Scanning resolution' the author suggests you scan at the smallest size you'll need. With the price of hard-drive as low as it is now, I say scan everything at 4000 dpi and sort it out in Photoshop later. Also in the review, the author says he wouldn't bother batch scanning on the 4000. If you are interested in batch scanning, read on:

I've been using the SF 200 batch scan attachment for mounted slides since I got the 4000. It's a very usefull tool, even if you're not batch scanning, allowing you to load up some slides and not deal with taking them in and out of the scanner untill your done. For batch scanning, it's great, so long as it doesn't jam. Kodak cardboard mounts and Pakon plastic mounts that have little ridges on the back are the worst. Gepe and similar mounts which are two pieces sandwiched around the slide with the seem on the side are the best. That said, the SF 200 has been a good friend when a client brings in 250 slides to scan.

The SA 30 roll film adaptor has seen a lot less use than my SF 200, but it's even better for batch scanning if you've got film in long strips. It'll allow you to preview each image on the roll you want to scan, tweak and crop it indavidually, start them all scanning and walk away. The biggest problem I've had is finding somewhere to put the scanner so the film hanging out the front doesn't touch the ground.

Basicly I feal that the 4000 is a great tool in terms of ease of use, speed, and convenience, but still lacking in image quality compared to much more expensive CCD scanners. So, if you've made it all the way through my (not so) little review here, get back to work and stop wasting your time.

Nikolai Sander , October 01, 2001; 09:55 P.M.

You mentioned that the Strip film auto feeder doesn't hold negatives straight enough.

I had the same experience on my system. I recently bought the SA 30 (which looks almost identical to the 6 strip holder, except it has the roll holder on the back) and the alignment problem is gone. I can highly recommend the SA-30 film roll adapter if you scan a lot of film. It's a huge time saver.

Nikolai

Mick Murphy , October 16, 2001; 06:31 P.M.

Very interesting to read the review in relation to the poor autofocus. I’ve had four of these scanners so far and not one of them has focused properly (the shop I bought in has exchanged without question when I showed them the scans). Even using manual focusing at various settings using the slider rather than the command click, I have not been able to obtain an image which is evenly sharp all over. I’ve tried various mounts for slides plus the two types of film adapter. Having said that, it has been possible to get an acceptably sharp image for A3 printing even without perfect focusing. However, the strange thing is that there are distinct differences between the scanners I’ve used and the one I have now is better than the others but still not perfect. The first machine I had, the focus was so poor that the top fifth of the slide was clearly out of focus on an A4 print. Until I read your review I assumed that I was tapping a faulty batch but now it looks like it may be a design flaw in the scanner.

Having said all of that, I have to say that this is by far the best desktop scanner I have used which is why I want to have a properly working one. As an enthusiast, I can’t even consider spending six times (or even twice) the price of the LS4000. In the UK, it costs more than $2000 anyway. As somebody mentions above, its ability to record shadow detail is absolutely amazing in comparison to any other scanner I’ve used. The new Canon 4000 which I tried after my second faulty LS4000 is in a different (lower) league. Aside from the focusing, the results are truly superb.

So despite the imperfect focusing, I may be hanging on to this machine if this is truly a design flaw rather than a bad batch, as I can scan for up to A3 without the imperfect focusing being noticable, if I spend some time making scans at various settings to find something acceptable, as the reviewer above mentions.

I would love to know if there are perfectly working machines out there and am I have just been receiving a bad batch of scanners or are they all like this (check out the focus at 100% in Photoshop)? I can’t imagine how I could do batch scans on it though but then I don’t do batch scans.

Derek Dammann , November 08, 2001; 11:14 P.M.

While I agree pretty much exactly on the film comments, I'd have to disagree that the Coolscan 4000 scans Fuji Superia films poorly. The photos on the following page were scanned entirely with the Nikon 4000 from Fuji Superia Reala 100 and Superia 400 print film:

http://w3.one.net/~mutant/breederscup01/

I used digital ICE (fine) on all of them, and set the GEM to "2" for the ISO 400 scans and "1" for the ISO 100 scans. I thought it did a fine job, and didn't notice a problem with the autofocusing either. I usually focused "manually" with the CTRL-click method anyway, so maybe that helped.

Joe Zuffoletto , November 19, 2001; 08:33 P.M.

I've had my Coolscan 4000 for about 3 months now, and I've scanned about 100 frames with it. Here are my observations:

1. Nikon Scan 3.1 needs a lot of improvement, but the digital ICE feature is fantastic. About 95% of my scans are of color negatives, mostly Kodak films. Some of these are from negatives that are 15 years old or more. Just for fun, I scanned some of these without ICE. Suffice it to say, without ICE, scanning these negatives would be a waste of time, as I would be spending years in Photoshop retouching them. ICE makes them accessible. But forget about ROC and GEM - they're useless, for reasons already touched on by others. My only complaint about ICE is that it doesn't work for B&W film, of which I have a TON, so I guess I won't forget how to use the rubber stamp tool any time soon.

2. As a software engineer, I read with interest the comments about software stability problems. I can't speak for the Mac, but if you're using Windows, you'll have a much better time using Windows 2000. Nikon Scan has never crashed on my system, plugin or not, except for one rather unfortunate situation I'll discuss later.

3. I haven't noticed any focusing problems, but after reading about the many travails of others, I'm beginning to wonder if something's wrong with my eyes. I've had some badly curled negatives come out blurry around the edges, but I'm always able to solve the problem by using the film tray. If Mick or Robert would like to see one of my scans, I'd be happy to send one, as I'd like to get your comments on my unit's focusing ability.

4. I disagree with the opinion that you should go big on every scan (i.e., big resolution, big file size), and sort it out in Photoshop later. This was my original approach, but Photoshop is just too slow with big files to make this productive. Even simple level or curve adjustments can take up to 5 minutes on a 60Mb file. I thought about throwing some hardware at the problem, but a good friend of mine is a Photoshop programmer at Adobe, and he said his 2-processor, 1Gb PowerMac G-4 is just as slow with big files. Therefore, I do my everyday scanning at 4000dpi, 50% image size, and 8 bits, which yields very manageable 4-6Mb files that can be printed with good results up to 8x10."

5. The unit does a much better job on color negatives than slides, that's for sure. It seems to have been designed primarily for scanning negatives.

6. Now, about that unfortunate crashing problem. I just bought a D1X, and it turns out that Nikon Scan 3.1 and Nikon View 4 do NOT play nice together. According to Nikon tech support, they're competing for the Firewire port, and the results are disastrous. I get blue screens on my Win2K system, which I haven't seen since the NT4 days. Nikon says too bad - no fix in sight. The only fix is to remove one or the other from the machine. If I remove Nikon View 4, I can't read NEF files into Photoshop, which is a MAJOR bummer. But if I remove Nikon Scan 3.1, I lose ICE. I decided ICE is more valuable to me right now. By the way, Nikon recommended with a straight face that I solve the problem by buying another computer!

Bottom line: For what I'm doing - mostly scanning old, 35mm color negatives, the Coolscan 4 is a fantastic piece of hardware, but the software is pretty bad. It's only saving grace is digital ICE, which is indispensable to me. Overall, I'm very happy with my purchase, and thankful I haven't had the focusing problems that are plaguing others.

IShin Wang , November 20, 2001; 05:07 P.M.

I sold my Polaroid Sprintscan 4000 in March on ebay and finally purchased Nikon Coolscan 4000 this month. I have to say I love Nikon's scanner much more than Polaroid's. I not only don't have any autofocus problems mentioned in this review, but also don't have any ICE problems with the film I have (Fuji Provia and Kodak Porta). The ICE technology saved uncountable hours of Photoshop retouching which was the major reason why I gave up on scaning negative film (and gave up negative film eventually last year) using Polaroid scanner. Now, the fun of taking negative film is finally back!

Gene Caldwell , December 04, 2001; 08:41 P.M.

I have used the Coolscan 4000 for about three months now and I could not be happier. I my experience most of the problems mentioned by other posters can be quite simply remedied. Use Vuescan instead of Nikon Scan 3.1. In most cases I find NikonScan to be adequate but it can be cumbersome to use and it is occasionally prone to focus problems as stated above. I just tested using a transparency (Velvia) that in NikonScan was definately blurry. I closed Nikon Scan and rescanned with Vuescan and it was acceptably sharp. For $40 you just can't go wrong with Vuescan and it is being improved almost on a daily basis.

Charles Wood , March 31, 2002; 12:02 A.M.

I almost purchased the Coolscan. After comparing Nikon scans vs Imacon scans, it was no contest. The Imacon FlexPhoto is flatly superior in terms of delivered scan quality.

Additionally, someone posted a comment that 60 meg files can take up to five minutes to do simple level adjustments in Photoshop. If that is the case then their computer system is at fault. On my PC, 100 meg files are processed for most functions in about 20 seconds. I don't wish to start a war but in timed comparisons against a friends G4, my dual processor PC with a gig of memory usually won.

Nick Mirro , May 12, 2002; 02:12 A.M.

Regarding the file size issue:

System memory is the issue here. Processing 50 meg + files requires a great deal of system memory. If you have a gig or more, and a fast processor, (and not win95, 98, or Me), photoshop and coreldraw adjustments will almost always be under 30 sec. Most under 10. Don't know mac. For pc, XP pro is best (obviously) Newest ddr memory runs at 333, a tremendous boost. Also, if you scan much and want an overall boost, set up 2 drives in raid 0 config. The new maxtor 133s are phenomenal ($99 ea). It will half the time of all hard drive operations.

If you can, use an Athlon processor over a pentium. They are equally stable these days, and the Athlons are very much faster (clock time means very little).

I'm not so knowledgeable in this area, but when I first bought my 4000, I ran several scans of the same image at different resolutions. After downsampling to desired output, the one with the highest original res. always looked better. My conclusion: scan at full tilt and buy/assemble (if you can) a killer pc/mac. Scanning and editing images is the most demanding use of a computer after all. Those 1 gig 333mhz ddr memory sticks were made with us in mind.

Tommy Huynh , May 16, 2002; 01:29 A.M.

>>The On(Normal) setting causes a substantial reduction in image sharpness and introduces image artifacts resembling lens flare. So the On(Normal) mode should only be used when it is absolutely needed. The On(Fine) setting takes out fine dust with very little other effects, and it should be the default choice unless you work in a very, very clean environment.<<<

In my experience, the opposite is true. I just got finished running a test and found that there was a VERY slight loss in sharpness with ICE(normal) but ICE(fine) showed a very noticable loss in sharpness. I would recommend keeping ICE set on normal for all scans.

Nicholas Barry , May 30, 2002; 11:21 A.M.

In response to Jan Eschrich regarding FireWire vs. SCSI...

The SCSI interface that most manufacturers put on their devices is UltraSCSI at best. The interface speed of UltraSCSI (narrow/8 bits) is 20MBytes/sec. and often requires reboots between connections onto the bus. The Heidelberg drum scanners have this UltraSCSI/SCSI-2 interface. By comparison, FireWire is hot-pluggable and has a 50MByte/sec bus speed with higher rates in the works (800Mbits/sec. or 100MBytes/sec and 1.2Gbits/sec or 150MBytes/sec). I think it was quite savvy for Nikon to use FireWire and I am glad (as probably are many others) that they dropped SCSI. For periperals it's an old, clunky tech that at this point is primarily only useful for really high-speed disks (with Ultra160). I'll take a thin, little wire with hot-swap capability over a massive cable and reboots anyday. I used to think SCSI was great five years ago. I'm not so convinced anymore.

But if you need an UltraSCSI card I've got one for sale. :)

Robert Graham , June 28, 2002; 01:15 A.M.

Appreciate the information on film. I just got my coolscan 4000 yesterday and made my first successful scans last night.

On the equipment issues, I'm using an AMD 1800+ with 768 megs of DDR 2100 on a Soyo Dragon MB. Scans at full 14 bit, full res inc all three Digital Ice contributions take about 6-7 minutes. I'm using the latest 3.1.2 version of Nikon Scan, and so far (30 scans or so) have had no crashes or hangs of any kind. Scans have been excellent within the characteristics of the film to be scanned.

I find GEM to be necesssary with all film and slides that I've tried so far, but haven't scanned any of my old Velvia or Kodachrome 25.

My best results have been with the late (and forgotten?) Ektar 100 neg film of a few years ago, especially in the area of fine detail.

Like others have mentioned, it seems a better idea to do most color corrections in Photoshop, mainly using ICEcubed for the scratch and dust and film grain repairs.

I'll add some more meaningful contributions later, as I gain experience with this tool.

As an aside, the reason I bought this scanner is to go back to film, having been a digital shooter for the last three years. I became fed up with the inherent limitations of point-and-shoot cameras, and so decided that I'd like to try the new D100 from nikon. Well, come to find out only God could actually get one, and he'd have to resort to use of force. After playing with an N80 (which the D100 is based on) for a few minutes in a camera store, I decided it wasn't worth waiting for months to get a $2500 (price with suitable memory card) digital version of a $450 dollar camera.

So I bought an F100 for quality and performance, and bought the scanner so I could still work digitally for enhancement and printing.

Scanning old film is just a bonus.

By way of comparison, the Coolscan 4000 produces a 48 bit 6000 by 4000 file, about 100% bigger than the D1x or D100.

Bob Graham

Andrei Lau , July 15, 2002; 10:01 A.M.

I just received the new 4000ED scanner this week and the installation is absolutely smooth and straight forward. I connect the scanner to my AMD1700+ PC with 768M DDR2700 Ram. I find the scan fairly quick and yield very good result. The ICE function really works like magic. I have quite a lot of old negative. Before that I scan them with a Minolta Dual 2 scanner, and it typically takes me 1-2 hours on Photoshop to clean up 1 photo to acceptable level. With ICE scan is right straight through, the productivity gain is so much that worth every cents I invest. I don't find ICE affect the sharpness, just sharpen the output in Photoshop I find the print very acceptable. I shall try A3 print out later to see the result. The Nikon Scan 3.1.2 is reasonably stable, at least in XP environment as standalone application I have not experienced any crash so far. Some suggestion is for Nikon to built in popular film profile as I experienced some color problem with different film, though it can be easily corrected in Photoshop. I find the Nikon film holder a little filmsy, and one slide at a time for mounted slide is a bit clumsy. I may consider the SF-200 feeder later. I didn't encounter focus problem and just use auto focus and effect is very acceptable. As a whole, I am very satisfied with the 4000ED, the quality of scan is excellent so far. With this I think I can wait for a while before converting everything to digital. By then may be there will be more reasonably priced digital SLR bodies with 1:1 image multiplier to choose.

jennifer l , September 08, 2002; 12:30 A.M.

The slide feeder SF-200 attachment is expensive and jams a lot. I thought it would be a piece of cake, that's why I plunked down my $512 for this "attachment". It's like they "don't" want you to bulk scan or something. Anyway, the jams take a long time to fix because you have to get the slides out of the SF-200 before it will do anything. I typically load in 40 slides or so, and after it starts scanning, walk away from the computer. I come back later to find that it jammed on #2 or #4 and unjam it for 6 minutes before starting all over. The construction is very plasticky, and the lid feels like a loose tooth. Keep in mind that this is a bulk scanner attachment, but every time you insert slides, you must first tell the scanner how many scans you're about to do, otherwise it will only do one. I've come back to the computer to find this out and it's driving me nuts.

I also got the SA-30 for uncut negatives. This is the way to go with new slide film. Get your film uncut and then bulk scan it as a roll. It never fails, but as a poster notes above, the scanner takes up the film, then spits it out on the floor. What kind of engineering genious thought up this one? I was going to get a new rubbermaid garbage can and clean it really good, then place it in the feed path so that the film could eject into a dust-free place, but I haven't sketched this one out far enough to know if that's the best answer. Seems like the scanner should feed in the whole roll, and then have another roll for scanning or something. Crapty design by Nikon on this one, but it's the bomb for bulk scanning.

I have tons of old slides from 40 years ago, all in cardboard mounts. I'm thinking that it's going to be a real pain to get them through the slide feeder, and might just use the included slide feeder "one-at-a-time" job that will take forever but won't screw up every time.

Sorry to sound so down on these attachments, I have excellent scans, but had much higher hopes for the slide feeder attachment, and the film attachment should do a better job at handling the film. Come on guys, who wants their film to auto-eject onto the floor!

Robert Harvey , September 12, 2002; 09:52 A.M.

jennifer1:

At http://www.pytlowany.com/ED4000_pg_4.html you can find a posting from a Nikon Coolscan 4000 user who solved the problem of slides jamming in the feeder by narrowing the opening with a piece of credit card plastic. I'm thinking of getting the scanner, mostly to use with slides, and I'd be curious to know if this solution works for you.

Tommy Huynh , September 15, 2002; 03:05 P.M.

In reference to my comment above, here's the test on the Coolscan's ICE settings which show that the Normal settings reduces sharpness far less than the Fine setting.

jennifer l , September 19, 2002; 01:02 P.M.

Yes, the credit card method worked! The SF-200 barely jams these days, but when it does, there's no straight-forward method to un-jamming it. I tend to turn the scanner off and on about 15 times, and open the nikonview software a bunch of times until it recognizes the scanner. I found that if I use the FDUtility.exe (on WinXPpro) before cycling the power that I have faster luck, but it still takes time. I wish it was easier!

If anybody knows the secret of unjamming the SF-200, please post.

I've done ~500 scans in about 2 weeks. I was hoping to do 200 scans/day, but with all of the jams that stop the batch scanning, I'm burning more time than I wanted to.

Andrew Johnson , September 27, 2002; 03:27 A.M.

DUST IN THE SCANNER:

I have scanned about 3000 images with this scanner and have been fairly happy, but there is a big problem. Dust gets in the scanners optics and causes flare! Bright areas glow, especially in high contrast slides. The resulting image quality is unacceptable. This will slowly get worse with time. Blowing air into the scanner can help a great deal but will not fix the problem entirely. A cleaning will cost around $300 from Nikon. My recomendation is keep your scanner closed and covered when not in use.

Robert Harvey , September 27, 2002; 03:42 P.M.

To continue on the topic of how to fix the jamming of the SF-200 slide feeder, there are a couple more webpages that describe the credit card fix:

http://lynnfarmerphoto.net/35MMBoard/messages/3dqtr01/16070.html

http://www.greggman.com/pages/ls2000.htm (very detailed with photos).

Antonio Chagin Roffe , October 24, 2002; 12:40 P.M.

What about scanning B&W film with this scanner, does anyone knows. Is it worth at all to Buy a $ 1400 scanner for B&W.

Eric Santiago , February 25, 2003; 03:13 P.M.

I've had my Coolscan for a few months and haven't used it nearly as much as I intended. I'm an experienced Photoshop user but this is my first film scanner. I eventually want to do fine prints from my scans so I really want to learn everything I can about the scanner. Here's the only area where Nikon fails me. The NikonScan 3.1 software manual (from the pdf file on the cd) is horrendous. There's no comprehensive table of contents, no index, and the page layout makes it a bear to read. (It also suffers from a bit of "engrish" in some areas. http://www.engrish.com/ if you don't know what I mean.) It kills me to have this great scanner and that I feel I'm only using a small percentage of its capabilites. If anyone knows of a better written manual for the Coolscan 4000 or the NikonScan software in print or on the web, please let me know. (Whew... ranting gets you tired fast.)

Richard Hale , March 23, 2003; 10:26 P.M.

I/0, Performance and Metrics concerning the Nikon 4000

SCSI - I don't use it but was all out of IDE plugs and installed a new Western Digital with a PCI/SCSI/IDE card to overcome the Win2k 140GB Disk Barrier and it seems to work good. Just don't but the system page file there and expect some whining about file names larger than 256 chars.

I could only use one USB and Firewire device at a time until I invested in the Adaptec DuoConnect and everything FINALLY plays nice on the system (you have to install a USB2 stack).

I have not tested this out with every combination yet but so far its really sweet. The ONLY bug so far is if I drop the system with the DC4800 USB 1.0 device plugged in it won't go down. As soon as I pull it out the system comes down. Maybe the the heads will not park in the camera so it sits there :^)

I like to edit HUGE images and found that you really do need the photoshop scratch file on another disk other than the one the system is on. 750MB for main memory min if you want to edit and scan at the same time. I do set the realtime priority down on the Nikon process and its well behaved (keyboard and mouse get quantum before anything else).

I'm up to 1.5GB of RDRAM now with 12 fans but I hear the latest systems can run really hot.

Metrics (for Resolution,Grain and Color) are the way to go if we are to compare the 4000 to devices like the tango and scitex quantatatively and qualitatively. I've got a pretty good handle on Resolution and Grain as well as a way to use the appropriate targets and then validate.

Color is a monster though. I use wide gamut sRGB in 16 bits on the 4000. The Nikon scan software is a pretty good 16bit editor and when combined with 16bit Picture Window Pro they appear to be the most powerful tandem available. There are some frightening things about color, like the vendor specific tags in ICC profiles that make them proprietary. Then there are color space biases, a general disregard for system control theory and feedback, 2d verses 3d models, gamma, and sensitometry that each OEM seems to gloss over.

The safest thing seems to be use 16bit sRGB Wide Gamut as the Master Image Archive File and/or Adobe98 for the post photoshop 8bit file. I like what Adobe has been doing lately with color and seems to tie in well with the better math and physics models I've run across lately. Best Regards, Richard Hale www.photoCDROM.com

Andrew Prokos , August 20, 2007; 11:51 A.M.

I have the 9000ED and i think it has improved quite a bit over the 4000. The Nikon medium format film scanners are bulky, rather slow, and noisy, but they are well built. I think the optics could be a bit sharper though. I used to have the Minolta Scan Multi-Pro and it's scans were much sharper than the Nikon. The Nikon is great for smaller sized prints but I still send my film to be drum scanned for larger prints. -

Barna Bak , November 20, 2007; 04:19 P.M.

Does the Nikon LS 4000 ED? work on iMac '20 (core duo)

Nate S , January 02, 2011; 09:44 P.M.

Since most of the scanners have been discontinued and hard to find,

here is the price/availability tracker I did on my blog:

http://dealgoogle.blogspot.com/p/nikon-scanners-amazon.html

Hope it is helpful for those who is seeking one.

dianne trussell , February 12, 2011; 08:43 P.M.

Can anyone tell me if the Coolscan 4000 and Coolscan 5000 work with Mac OSX on the intel duos?

Joe Zuffoletto , March 28, 2011; 04:56 P.M.

The Coolscan 4000 did as of 9 months ago, using the Nikon Scan software. There have been a couple OS X upgrades since then and I haven't tried it since, but next time I do I'll let you know.


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