Scanners The Achilles Heel Part 2

Click on the audio logo to listen to a brief rant on the future of film scanners… Part 2!! As mentioned in the audio, contact Kodak and let them know you want your $500 dedicated film scanner now! Also, if you went to a photographic institution- such as RIT (Rochester Institue of Technology) or SCAD (Savannah School of Art and Design)- please send this information to them as well… this directly effects the choices their students will have as working photographers.

LINK TO PART 1: Scanners The Achilles Heel

PS-Two great methods to let your voice be heard on this important topic:

Kodak CMO Jeffery Hayzlett on Twitter: @JeffreyHayzlett

Kodak Scanner Email Contact: kprodigital@kodak.com

If you can, do both!…let your voice be heard!… remember it is our medium! Please reference this article and the $500 dedicated film scanner in both your tweets and in your emails… pass this along to as many photographers as you know…if you get it as a tweet… retweet it and pass it on!

16 Responses

  1. Lou

    Great rant !
    I am among the crowds who get tired of their crappy (canon) flatbed scanners, and yet are not ready to part with the $3000 it takes to buy a LS9000. One of the reasons is that LS9000 does not do 4×5.

    If I may play devil’s advocate, I would say : “alright then, I’ll give you a $500 scanner, now what’s the Achille’s heel ? cameras ! They don’t get manufactured anymore”. Of course you have a couple makers left (actually I believe there are more large format builders left in business than medium format makers. Oh well, anyway, good to see I’m not alone.

  2. What is there to say but, “Amen, brother!”

    Seriously, I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I saw a comment last night along the lines of people who whine for stuff but won’t buy it.

    This is not that situation. There is a market here with essentially NOTHING available to satisfy it. In such a situation the vendor who fills the void can profit from even a relatively small market. And I don’t think it is such a small pool as can again be seen from the used quality film scanner market (six and seven year old scanners changing hands for well over their NEW price even though the software to run them won’t work with modern OSes).

    And it makes so much sense for Kodak. They enable people to buy a lot more film. They retain (instead of losing) those who are “trying” film (new to film shooting). They retain those who want to shoot film but are frustrated. They add momentum to the good name they have already made for themselves in introducing Ektar into a declining film market.

    My money is here waiting for that scanner. And I will buy any scanner that improves upon it. I am not shooting for nostalgia, nor am I digitising the family’s archives. I’m an active film shooter who is passionate about the quality of what I produce. I print and hang in large sizes. I’ve been able to produce nothing saleable since losing the use of the Coolscan 9000 I used to be able to use. And I am FAR from alone!

    As you say in the rant. Everybody wins. Yes, everybody wins. Let’s get this done!

    Sam

  3. The problem with this is that this product already exists, the Nikon Coolscan 9000. They’re still made on order by Nikon (or at least there’s a few months lead time on an order). Unfortunately it’s considerably more expensive than $500. I don’t doubt for a second that if Nikon reckoned it could make money by offering these on the market again in significant numbers that they’d do it.
    The only way I could see it working is Kodak using the scanners as a loss leader to encourage film sales. I don’t see that happening though.

  4. Johnny

    First, I think Kodak is the only company that can do this:

    Nikon can (at the least they can dust off the Coolscan V or 5000, put both a USB and FireWire port on the thing, put it in plastic to save a few pennies and bam, done. OK, so that covers only 35mm, but that is a huge start.

    Sony can do it, if they still got the scanner part Minolta.

    Canon could do it if they wanted to, they used to make great slide scanners that ran atop their copiers, back in the 1990’s Canon Color Copiers were king.

    But also, there are film scanners out there now other than Nikon; Plustek, Pacific Imaging, Wolverine. Would it not be easier to get a company that is still active in film scanners to make a better scanner?

  5. I think we do need this scanner. I think it would be awesome but in the mean time, let me share my story on this. I own an Epson flatbed scanner, and Plustek 7500i. Both gave me ‘proof’ quality scans of my film but were a lot of work and did a poor job with color and dust removal. I was getting pretty discouraged with film and wondering if I was wasting my time/money shooting a medium I could never fully appreciate.

    Shortly there after I was perusing Craigslist and saw a guy selling a Coolscan V ED and was able to buy it for $150. A steal to be sure, but they can be had for around the $500 mark on eBay. I brought it home and noticed, as you have, that Nikon doesn’t list Snow Leopard as a supported operating system for their Nikon Scan software. With nothing to lose I installed it anyway. The installer has some issues but I installed the program and the update they offer. To my great surprise the program loads and runs flawlessly on my Mac Pro (It does run within Rosetta though). I’ve been scanning with a big smile on my face ever since. It scans flawlessly without me having to spend much time with settings, and curves that I dreaded with my Plustek. I pop the film in, enable ICE on the frames, click scan and walk away.

    If you are not comfortable using the Nikon Scan software Silverfast does offer a program that works with the Nikon scanners and supports all of the high end features. It’s a little more fiddly then the Nikon Scan software but will do the trick just as well.

    Longish story short: I’m scanning my film at better then 20MP and getting results that look so much better than I could have hoped. If these companies want to ensure their film sells, they need to make available scanners that can work simply and give great results. I like to be out and shooting.. not sitting at my computer fiddling with buttons and settings. My Coolscan will eventually die and only scans 35mm. We have got to get something new and easy to use on the market.

    The only problem I can see if that once we all have our scanners, why should they keep making them? Once you buy that scanner, you’ll never need another one. That’s a lot of R&D money for such a limited number of buyers. I don’t expect the masses to switch back to film and a create a large on going need for these devices…

    (Blog post on my Coolscan V for those looking for more info: http://topslakr.com/?p=724)

  6. David W. Scott

    Stephen, just want to say THANKS for raising this with Kodak.

    I have emailed them my support. I would spend $500 on this, no problem. I would even preorder.

    I am not a full time professional photographer, and can’t justify the price of the Coolscan 9000. While waiting for a reasonably priced solution, I ended up with a couple of craigslist specials — a Minolta ScanDual III for 35mm, and a Microtek 1800f for 120. I would retire them both if I could get a modern, $500 dual format scanner from Kodak.

  7. no.wateen

    Hallo,

    I just have found a humble reply from Kodak…

    Dear ________ (my name),
    Thanks for your inquiry regarding Kodak possibly manufacturing a $500 pro film scanner, based on the post in figitalrevolution. We’ve investigated the possibility with a number of colleagues.
    The truth is that in this challenging film/digital era, every product we introduce has to justify itself in terms of demand and, of course, sales. We’ve had elements of film scanning in Pakon and Creo scanners and in recent past the Kodak HR500 film scanner. All those scanners failed to generate enough interest to sustain the product line. So while doing what we can to keep the film process alive with our terrific film users and advocates, the film scanner idea isn’t feasible from us.
    Thank you for your interest and inquiry.
    Sincerely,
    Kodak Professional Technical Support

    SO WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE SAY NOW??

  8. I received the same email. This was my reply:

    Thanks for your reply, that is already more than I was expecting! The only thing I would say in my defence is that the scanners you mentioned were true (lab equipment) commercial pro scanners. What the article and my email were raising the possibility of is a high quality consumer scanner. Mass market. Pros are not using film (outside of the motion picture industry and large formats) and I would not expect a sustainable demand for another lab scanner. The growth in film is in its appeal to enthusiast photographers (of which there are more than ever thanks to the digital camera revolution). Many of these dabble in film but have a bad experience with it through poor scanners (either very poor flatbed scans or finicky hard-to-support very old scanners).

    The opportunity I saw was in a high quality scanner affordable by enthusiast consumers. Sold in volume to enthusiasts I saw that it could re-ignite interest in film since all images need to be shared digitally in this day and age. The current consumer scanner market has nothing but flatbeds. Coolscan 9000s are the last of what was really available and you can now see even Coolscan 8000s going secondhand for what the 9000 would sell for new (if it were still available).

    This is where I saw the opportunity.

    I think the Kodak consumer scanner could sell and if it did I think you would see a huge flush of GOOD LOOKING Kodak Ektar, Kodak Ektachrome, etc. scans bumping to the top of the “interesting” rankings on Flickr and making people want to try “this new film thing” with “this new great scanner”. Actually, your “Power of Film” post on your “motion.kodak.com” site makes most of my points for me (including the power of film on digital through good ICE-enabled scanners). The increased demands for your film (and actually every manufacturer’s film) and your scanner would feed each other. But of course Kodak would get the great “mindshare” capital for being the driver much the same way they did for introducing the new “Ektar” film when others were discontinuing.

    Thanks for getting back to me!

  9. Rick

    Obviously nothing we can do to make Kodak do something, but this reply mixes apples and oranges. To talk about demand volumes for $10,000 scanners (and what little I’ve read makes Kodak’s management of those products questionable) and compare the demand for them with demand for $500 scanners. Unless Epson’s scanners get a lot better (and if they don’t discontinue them!), it will soon be “game over” for film when the current generation of now-discontinued film scanners begins to fail, parts are not available, etc. With Nikon 5000 scanners selling on ebay for $3,000, they are out of reach for the average person.
    So Kodak’s vision is sorely lacking in this respect, and very short-sighted (assuming they want to remain in the film business). Despite a demand for Nikon’s scanners, they have discontinued them- could this be designed to force it all to digital, with the new model every 18 month replacement schedule? In any event, an unhappy prospect.

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