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.

Nikon, SCSI, Firewire, VueScan, Mac OS X

Since I know people find my web pages while searching for information about Nikon scanners and Mac OS X, I’d like to offer the following endorsement: The Ratoc FR1SX Ultra-SCSI to Firewire adaptor works perfectly with Mac OS X 10.3, and doesn’t need any drivers. Plug the unit in to the back of your SCSI-based Nikon film scanner, and you suddenly have a Firewire-based Nikon film scanner. This can then be used with Ed Hamrick’s excellent VueScan software to fulfil all your scanning needs.

Nikon digital: A sorry tale

In 2001–2003, I had a rather bad experience with Nikon Digital’s repair service. The product I had problems with was an APS adaptor for a high end film scanner, but other people have written to me with similar tales of woe regarding digital cameras and digital SLRs.


  1. I discovered that while Nikon are reknowned for the quality of their lenses, they also make some really shoddy products. High price and the Nikon name is no guarantee of quality.

  2. I found out that if you buy a faulty Nikon digital imaging product, such as a scanner or a digital camera, your chances of getting it repaired or replaced with a working product seem to be pretty slim.

  3. When Nikon were unable to get the product to work after four attempts, I couldn’t get a refund for the non-working product without a year of ignored letters, phone calls and faxes.

  4. The Nikon product jammed with some of my irreplacable negatives inside. I couldn’t open up the unit to get the film out without voiding the warranty, and Nikon failed to extricate and return the film.

I did finish scanning the rest of my APS film cassettes, no thanks to Nikon. I had to break open each cassette, pull out the film, and chop it up into individual frames. I then mounted each frame in a 35mm glass slide, adjusting for the size difference by using plastic spacers cut by hand from old subway passes using a sharp knife and a metal ruler. As you can imagine, the process was very fiddly and laborious and no fun at all.

Anyway, here’s the whole sorry tale…

Photo scanning

Burned four more CDs of photos. I’m using Mitsui Gold 650MB CD-Rs, which I ordered specially. Stores don’t seem to stock standards-compliant high-quality CD-Rs any more; everyone wants non-standard 700MB CD-Rs that are as cheap as possible. So anyway, I’ve finished with the major travel pictures—East Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and a few last shots of St Petersburg. Now to switch back to video for a while… But first, I finally played Diablo II.

Sex and death

I spent most of the day scanning. I have finally finished digitizing the last of the APS cassettes. It was the same painful process of mounting each one in a slide mount with a makeshift plastic spacer cut from a T pass, scanning, removing the spacer, and storing the slide away just in case. Now all I need to do is get Nikon to give me the refund they promised me back in July for the non-working APS adaptor, and I can put the whole sorry episode behind me.

Photography evening

People and software conspired to treat me to a crappy day today. I’ve spent the evening on photography; I’ve finally finished restoring a batch of 50 slides from 1969, and added another image to the photos page…

Photo archiving project / QPS CDRW: the score so far

32 CDs burnt. No coasters. The old slides take a hellishly long time to fix up. Some of them have aged in inexplicable ways, like the one I scanned yesterday where the sky has turned purple but everything else is fine. There didn’t seem to be any obvious PhotoShop adjustment to make to the whole image to fix it, so I had to resort to airbrushing out the purple. Not much fun, given that there were trees on the horizon.