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nikon 8000 v. imacon; windows v. mac

 
 
Nobody Nowhere
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      12-23-2004
Some time ago I asked one of my many "little boy" questions: "is imacon
better than nikon 8000, or (on a different occasion) is mac better than
windows?". On both occasions I was told "try for yourself", and David
also added "and tell us the result". Today, I went to a shop where I
could scan 6 x 6 hassy negs with an imacon, and play a little with their
mac. I wish I didn't do it. I have found that I liked both more than I
did my current nikon 8000, and windows xp. Both sets of software seemed
to me to be better and more user friendly than the Nikon and windows xp
software; not only this, but the imacon (colour flex?) software seemed
to allow for more intelligent manipulation of the image. As I just
said, I liked the results of the scan better than my current Nikon
scans. It was not a question of number of pixels, I ended up with only
100mb files or so, but the image seemed to me to capture much better
the atmosphere as I remembered it. Whether this was due to the ability
of the imacon to focus better, which some say it is the case, I wouldn't
know. I often heard that "nikon 8000 gives you 95 per cent of what
imacon gives", but I was never entirely convinced by this argument: the
chimpanzee also has 95 per cent (or even more) of the human genes, yet
it is still a chimp. I wish I knew what to do now!
ps: the imacon was of the expensive kind, something like a 846, or
something like that. On these shores it sells for only the equivalent
of 18000 us dollars *plus* 17.5 per cent tax!!!!! (ok, new, big
deal...).
--
nobody
 
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David J. Littleboy
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      12-24-2004

"Nobody Nowhere" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Today, I went to a shop where I
> could scan 6 x 6 hassy negs with an imacon, and play a little with their
> mac. I wish I didn't do it. I have found that I liked both more than I
> did my current nikon 8000, and windows xp.


Well, the mac part is easy: buy a mac.

> Both sets of software seemed
> to me to be better and more user friendly than the Nikon and windows xp
> software; not only this, but the imacon (colour flex?) software seemed
> to allow for more intelligent manipulation of the image.


Hmm. NikonScan is a kludge and inconvenient, but I like the curves tool it
provides. The fact that it shows you where on the curve the place you point
at in the preview falls is very useful. I find that rough color correction
at scan time using that tool gets very close most of the time.

> As I just
> said, I liked the results of the scan better than my current Nikon
> scans.


So put some crops of them up on a web site somewhere. The Imacon scans below
don't tell me much about the scanner.

http://www.terrapinphoto.com/jmdavis/

Were you scanning a silver-based B&W neg? My fondness for the Nikon is based
on its performance on color materials. The one roll of silver B&W I scanned
was rather gritty.

http://www.terrapinphoto.com/jmdavis/ugly-c2.jpg

> It was not a question of number of pixels, I ended up with only
> 100mb files or so, but the image seemed to me to capture much better
> the atmosphere as I remembered it.


Huh? What's the "remembered" bit??? You should have the film in your hands,
so you should be able to see which is doing a better job.

FWIW, I tend to be dismissive of the Imacon because the bloke at Luminous
Landscape seemed unable to get good scans from his, and there's a lack of
sample scans on the net to compare.

> Whether this was due to the ability
> of the imacon to focus better, which some say it is the case, I wouldn't
> know.


The 8000 _autofocus function_ is flipping amazing: extremely repeatable and
accurate.

The 8000 DOF is too shallow, so you have to keep your film flat to within
+/- 10 or 15 focus units and manually set the focus to the center of the
range of focus distances across the frame to get a sharp scan across the
frame.

Do an 8000 scan of a small crop from your test negative with the focus set
on that crop area and compare it to the Imacon scan.

> I often heard that "nikon 8000 gives you 95 per cent of what
> imacon gives", but I was never entirely convinced by this argument: the
> chimpanzee also has 95 per cent (or even more) of the human genes, yet
> it is still a chimp.


This is, of course, an invalid argument. Genes are software, and thus an
increase of 5% in gene size gives a nearly infinite* increase in available
complexity. (This is a basic result in the theory of computation due to
Turing.)

*: The function that describes the increase in complexity with program size
grows faster than any other function.

> I wish I knew what to do now!


One problem is that desktop scanners collect crud in their optical systems
and you may need to persuade Nikon to clean the thing. This is easy for me,
since Nikon's Tokyo service desk is short taxi ride from here, and Nikon
service in Japan, unlike that in other countries, is excellent. I was being
unhappy with my scans from the 8000, and rescanned one of the first slides I
had scanned with it and found it had lost a lot of contast. US$200 and a
week later and I was back to being happy with the beast.

> ps: the imacon was of the expensive kind, something like a 846, or
> something like that. On these shores it sells for only the equivalent
> of 18000 us dollars *plus* 17.5 per cent tax!!!!! (ok, new, big
> deal...).


For US$18,000 it flipping better be better than a US$2,000 scanner...

David J. Littleboy
Tokyo, Japan



 
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