Scan this, Nikon

The infamous Nikon scanner decided it didn’t want to scan any more. Or rather, it would scan, but the scan head wouldn’t move, resulting in some interesting modern art.

I took the case off and looked for any obviously fixable mechanical problems, but couldn’t see any. It would probably be possible to get it working by disassembling the mechanism, but I’m not that mechanically oriented.

It’s not like I’ve abused the scanner, and it has only had light residential use. So that’s definitely the last Nikon product I will ever buy.

I zipped off to the web and did a quick search for reviews of film scanners. Turns out that technology has advanced (as usual). Canon now have dual-mode flatbed/film scanners that are so good that they have stopped making old-style dedicated film scanners. Their finest model is also less than half the price the Nikon was back when it was new.

So, I bought a Canon CanoScan 9950F from Newegg. It arrived yesterday. It’s clearly a pro grade scanner; it feels far more hefty and resilient than any other flatbed I’ve used. It also has two killer features.

The first is that you can load it with up to 30 images (5 strips of negatives) in one go, and it’ll churn away for an hour or so and scan them all automatically. Major time saver.

The second is that it has an adaptor for larger film sizes, including 120 and 645. So I’ll be able to scan my dad’s prize winning 645 photos. It’s also higher resolution than the Nikon, with better bit depth.

It also does all the usual flatbed stuff, including turning documents into PDF with OCR. I use this to turn interesting magazine articles into PDFs for reference.

So, how do the results look? At least as good as the Nikon, and the software is miles better. The FARE auto-fix stuff even seems to do a better job than VueScan, though the sharpening is a bit over-zealous (but can be turned off).