Friday, 13 March 2009

Noritsu vs Nikon LS-IV ED

Some time ago I photographed an event using Negative (as I prefer it over slide for prints). As my scanner was in Australia (and I was in Finland) I opted to get the images from the negatives placed on to a CD at the time.

Now what I didn't know was that the local mini lab that processed my film was using a Noritsu for the scanning or that they'd scanned it at their highest resolution. I was pretty impressed with the results, although I didn't have an objective comparison.

Last week I finally got my hands on a Nikon Coolscan LS-IV and after spending a week coming to grips with operating it (and I've already spent some several years using other scanners including older Nikons, Epson flatbeds, HP S20 scanners ...) I thought I should turn my hand to comparing it to what I got from the Noritsu.

So, here is an overview of the scene

Now a 100% pixel crop from the Noritsu

and a 100% pixel crop from the Nikon LS-IV

I don't know what you think, but I think its not bad at all.

Actually to even get them this close I had to
  • scan with the Nikon set to scan a positive (so I could set the levels less agressively than it does)
  • put on ICE to cover some developing / handling marks on the film
  • adjust the colour and pay attention to colour profiles

So, for less than 10 bucks at the time of developing VS spending money on a scanner and time scanning (don't under estimate that part) the Noritsu service simply kicks!

What I want to know is, with such outstanding results available for next to nothing why they aren't plugging this service more!

I'll say that whatever the advantages of digital are, one of the disadvantages is that you need to be able to store your files and be able to find them again. This is the greatest weakness of the digital camera system for most "ordinary folks".

Why? well I can't count how many times I have heard friends, relatives or neighbors tell me their computer crashed and they lost all their files (often including digital camera images). With this system you get
  • a CD of your images (to keep as a back-up)
  • your negatives (to keep as a back up)
I just don't understand why this sort of service (which they have already developed) is being left to languish when it certainly adds value to peoples film cameras and gets their images into the digital domain as painlessly as possible.

try it!

1 comment:

Charles Maclauchlan said...

I find your blog interesting. I think one of the reasons is that you are a film user. I'm not at all certain but I suspect that film (negative film) users must lead somewhat parallel lives. Many seem to use 35mm, MF folders, 4x5, scanners and now scanning services.

I discovered a while back that with careful use of profiles the very large labs (Costco, Adorama etc) will make a print up to 16 x 20 whose quality exceeds my capabilities at home, and do so for just a few dollars. This led me to have a close look at their scanning capabilities, which are excellent. After working through a handful of labs who feel that scan services should be priced by the file size (expensive) I was led to NCPS by another web site. (North Coast Photo Services).

I now usually send my film to them for developing and for high rez. scanning. The scan service is $11.00. For my xPan images that works out to about $.50 each and the image size is equivalent to 27 megapixels.