Film scanner ranking and scanner comparison

Since we have begun to publish scanner reviews on this website we have always emphasized that it is hard to compare the few film scanners available on the market. The differences between the singular scanners are too big. With the following examples I want to demonstrate the difficulties of a direct comparison of the scanners available.

  • It is clear, that a used Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual IV cannot keep up with the 10 times more expensive Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED. Anyway, the big Nikon fails at the simple task to scan an APS film roll, whilst the old Minolta can do it as a matter of course.
  • The extremely expensive Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED is superior to a Reflecta RPS in almost all disciplines. Digitizing a 35mm film roll with 36 pictures can be done by the Reflecta RPS as a matter of course, whilst you have to cut the film roll into film strips when working with the Nikon.
  • The Canon FS4000US is in terms of scan speed like a snake compared to to Nikon Coolscan V; anyway it can process 4 mounted slides in the batch mode, whilst you have to reload the Nikon after each single slide.
  • A Hasselblad Flextight X5, which price lies in the range of 20.000 €, scans films with a brilliance and sharpness, which no other film scanner achieves. However, if you have films which are pretty dirty or have scratches, the scans of a Reflecta ProScan 10T appear better, since it has an automatic dust and scratch removal function, which a virtual drum scanner like the Hasselblad Flextight does not have.
  • How shall we classify a magazine scanner like the Reflecta DigitDia? This scanner processes a complete slide magazine in the batch mode, however fails completely at a single film strip. Is it now superior or inferior to a Plustek OpticFilm?
  • The flatbed scanner Epson Perfection V800 Photo is inferior to a film scanner like the Reflecta ProScan 10T in terms of resolution and colour. However, it can process up to 12 mounted slides or 18 pictures on film strips in batch mode, so that it has an essential advantage in time.

This list with examples could be extended continuously. What I want to say is that there is no gold medal, silver medal and bronze medal in the film scanner area. Everybody has to consider carefully which characteristics are important for his project: Which kind of film material is to be scanned, how many films have to processed in which time, which resolution is suitable for the available film material, how good must the image quality be? Anyway, one statement can be made very clearly:

The best film scanners which are available or which were ever available, respectively, are thos of the last generation from Nikon, i.e. the Coolscan V ED, Super Coolscan 5000 ED and Super Coolscan 9000 ED. No other scanner has ever achieved the image quality, performance and reliability of these top scanners, except from the Hasselblad Flextight scanners. Too bad, that Nikon has given up its film scanner production in the year 2009.

The last Nikon film scanner generation: LS-5000 with Feeder SF-210, LS-50, LS-9000

It is also important no knwo that the image quality not only depends on the scanner but also from the scan software used. Especially at low-cost scanners the use of a high-value scan software leads to an enormous increase in the image quality and the scan features. Some film scanner like the Reflecta ProScan 10T or the Reflecta RPS 10M or some flat bed scanner like the Canon CanoScan 9000F or the Epson Perfection Photo V800 climb to a better class if it is operated by a professional scan software like SilverFast Ai Studio or is even calibrated with an IT-8 target.

In spite of the above remarks we have composed the following ranking list, because many visitors of our web site had that whish. It is mainly based on the valuation factors image quality, scan speed, handling, price and equipment/accessories.

High value top film scanners for the professional area, where best image quality and very fast scan speed are required

Hasselblad Flextight X5
Review     Technical Data

+ Virtual drum scanner
+ extremely high scan speed
+ resolution 8000 dpi (effectively 6900 dpi)
+ very high maximum density of 4,9
+ auto focus / manual focus
+ excellent image quality
+ absolute flatness of the films
+ films from 35mm up to 4x5" large formats
+ batch mode possible
+ smoother scans by light condenser
+ active colling for noise reduction
+ extensive accessories available
+ very good scan software

- extremely expensive
- very high annual service costs
- no infrared dust and scratch removal

Hasselblad Flextight X1
Review     Technical Data

+ Virtual drum scanner
+ extremely high scan speed
+ resolution 6300 ppi (effectively 6150 dpi)
+ very high maximum density of 4,6
+ auto focus / manual focus
+ excellent image quality
+ absolute flatness of the films
+ films from 35mm up to 5x7" large formats
+ extensive accessories available
+ very good scan software

- extremely expensive
- very high annual service costs
- no infrared dust and scratch removal

Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED
with SilverFast Ai Studio
Review     Technical Data

+ Medium format and 35mm format
+ films up to a size of 6x9cm
+ high density range
+ 4000 dpi resolution (effectively 3900 ppi)
+ auto focus / manual focus
+ scans up to 3 6x6 films in batch mode
+ excellent image quality
+ many accessories available
+ very reliable
+ ICE4 and ICE Professional integrated
+ best scanner for Kodachrome films
+ IT-8 calibration by SilverFast Ai Studio
+ multi-exposure

- very expensive
- optional film holders very expensive

Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED
with SilverFast Ai Studio
Review     Technical Data

+ high density range
+ 4000 dpi resolution (effectively 3900 ppi)
+ auto focus / manual focus
+ excellent image quality
+ very reliable
+ scan software SilverFast Ai Studio
+ IT-8 calibration by SilverFast Ai Studio
+ multi-exposure
+ extremely fast
+ automatic film strip adaptor
+ optional feeder, film roll adaptor available
+ ICE4 integrated

- optional film adaptors very expensive
- no front flap for dust protection

Nikon Coolscan V with SilverFast Ai Studio
Review     Technical Data

+ 4000 dpi resolution (effectively 3900 ppi)
+ excellent image quality
+ scan software SilverFast Ai Studio
+ IT-8 calibration by SilverFast Ai Studio
+ multi-exposure
+ ICE4 integrated
+ automatic film strip adaptor

- no front flap for dust protection
- film strip holder FH3 not included

This big gap shall demonstrate that there is a huge class diference between the scanners above and the following scanners.

Epson Expression 12000xl Pro
Review     Technical Data

+ Flat bed scanner + film scanner
+ very large scan area with 30,9 x 42,0 cm
+ auto focus / manual focus
+ batch mode 30 mounts/48 on film strips
+ medium format and large format scans
+ very good image quality
+ very fast scan speed
+ suitable for x-ray scans

- no infrared dust and scratch removal
- effektive resolution only 2170 ppi
- very expensive

Braun FS-120 with SilverFast Ai Studio
Review     Technical Data

+ medium format and 35mm format
+ films up to 6x12cm
+ 3200 dpi resolution (effectively 3270 dpi)
+ Effective higher than nominal resolution
+ infrared dust and scratch removal
+ very good image quality
+ very high scan speed
+ compact dimensions

- no batch mode available
- fix focus

Reflecta RPS 10M with SilverFast Ai Studio
Review     Technical Data

+ 5000 dpi resolution (4300 dpi effectively)
+ very high effective resolution
+ auto focus / manual focus
+ very good image quality with SilverFast Ai
+ iSRD dust and scratch removal
+ multi exposure
+ IT8 calibration with SilverFast Ai Studio
+ automatic film strip feeder integraged
+ batch mode for film strips
+ scanning film rolls up to 36 pictures
+ viewing window at the front side

- no batch mode for mounted slides
- no optional APS adaptor available
- scan speed only average

Epson Perfection V800 Photo
with SilverFast Ai Studio
Review     Technical Data

+ scans documents and films
+ medium format and large format films
+ large transparency unit (20,3 x 25,4 cm)
+ batch mode 12 35mm mounts/24 negatives
+ infrared dust and scratch removal
+ SilverFast scan software included
+ original Lasersoft Imaging IT-8 targets
+ suitable for x-ray scans

- slow scan speed
- effective resolution only 2300 dpi
- fix focus

Braun Multimag SlideScan 6000
with SilverFast Ai Studio
Review     Technical Data

+ 5000 dpi resolution (3900 dpi effectively)
+ good image quality
+ Magic Touch dust and scratch removal
+ scan software SilverFast Ai Studio
+ IT8 calibration within SilverFast
+ scanning directly out of the slide magazine
+ batch scans up to 100 frames
+ scanning 36x36 films

- works only for mounted 35mm slides
- fix focus

Reflecta DigitDia 6000 + SilverFast Ai Studio
Review     Technical Data

+ 5000 dpi resolution (3300 dpi effectively)
+ good image quality
+ Magic Touch dust and scratch removal
+ scan software SilverFast Ai Studio
+ IT8 calibration within SilverFast
+ scanning directly out of the slide magazine
+ batch scans up to 100 frames
+ scanning 36x36 films

- works only for mounted 35mm slides
- fix focus

Reflecta ProScan 10T + SilverFast Ai Studio
Review     Technical Data

+ 5000 dpi resolution (4100 effectively)
+ very good image quality with SilverFast
+ good dust and scratch removal
+ IT8 calibration within SilverFast
+ Multi-Exposure within SilverFast
+ very fast scan speed

- no batch mode possible
- fix focus

Reflecta MF 5000
Review     Technical Data

+ medium format and 35mm films
+ films up to 6x12cm
+ 3200 dpi resolution (effectivelx 3050 dpi)
+ automatic dust and scratch removal
+ low purchas price
+ compact dimensions

- low density range
- image quality only good
- no batch scan possible
- fix focus

Plustek OpticFilm 120
Review     Technical Data

+ medium format and 35mm format
+ films up to 6x12cm
+ comprehensive scope of delivery
+ batch scand possible
+ compact dimensions

- extremely slow at high resolutions
- fix focus
- low density range
- effective resolution only 3450 dpi
- faulty dust and scratch removal
- image quality only good
- bad results at Kodachrome films
- runs instably and unreliably

Reflecta CrystalScan 7200 with SilverFast Ai
Review     Technical Data

+ 7200 dpi resolution (3300 dpi effectively)
+ good image quality
+ ICE3 integrated
+ scanning 35mm film rolls
+ Scan-Software SilverFast Ai Studio
+ IT8 calibration within SilverFast
+ compact and handy

- very slow
- handling complicated
- delivers blown up image files
- no batch mode for mounted slides
- no automatic flim strip feeder
- fix focus

Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II
with SilverFast Ai Studio
Review     Technical Data

+ very good functionality for documents
+ suitable for medium format films
+ batch mode for 4 slides/12 negatives
+ automatic dust and scratch removal
+ excellent scan software SilverFast
+ colour calibration with IT-8 targets

- effective resolution only 1700 dpi
- density range too low
- slide holder only as kind of template
- transparency unit only 22 x 8,2 cm
- fix focus

Epson Perfection V850 Pro
Review     Technical Data

+ scand documents, photos and films
+ medium formats and large formats
+ large transparency unit (20,3 x 25,4 cm)
+ batch mode for 12 slides/24 negatives
+ automatic dust and scratch removal
+ SilverFast-Software SE Plus inclusive
+ suitable for x-ray scans

- slow scan speed
- effective resolution only 2300 dpi
- no SilverFast IT-8 calibration possible
- fix focus

Reflecta RPS 10M with SilverFast SE Plus
Review     Technical Data

+ 5000 dpi resolution (4300 dpi effectively)
+ very high effective resolution
+ auto focus / manual focus
+ very good image quality with SilverFast
+ iSRD dust and scratch removal
+ Multi exposure
+ automatic film strip feeder integrated
+ batch mode for film strips
+ scans film rolls up to a length of 36 frames
+ viewing window at the front of the device

- no colour calibration possible
- no batch mode for mounted 35mm slides
- no optional APS adaptor available
- scan speed average

Braun Multimag SlideScan 7000
Review     Technical Data

+ 5000 dpi resolution (4900 dpi effectively)
+ acceptable image qualtiy
+ Magic Touch dust and scratch removal
+ scans directly out of the magazine
+ batch mode up to 100 slide mounts
+ rotates portrait formats automatically
+ scans 36x36mm films

- works only for mounted slides
- bad image quality at b/w films and negatives
- fix focus

Reflecta DigitDia 7000
Review     Technical Data

+ 10000 dpi resolution (4900 dpi effectively)
+ acceptable image qualtiy
+ Magic Touch dust and scratch removal
+ scans directly out of the magazine
+ batch mode up to 100 slide mounts
+ rotates portrait formats automatically
+ scans 36x36mm films

- works only for mounted slides
- bad image quality at b/w films and negatives
- delivers strongly blown up image files
- fix focus

Epson Perfection V800 Photo
Review     Technical Data

+ scans documents and films
+ medium formats and large formats
+ large transparency unit (20,3 x 25,4 cm)
+ batch mode for 12 slides/24 negatives
+ automatic dust and scratch removal
+ suitable for x-ray scans

- slow scan speed
- effective resolution only 2300 dpi
- fix focus

Reflecta RPS 10M
Review     Technical Data

+ 5000 dpi resolution (4300 dpi effectively)
+ very high effective resolution
+ auto focus / manual focus
+ MagicTouch dust and scratch removal
+ automatic film strip feeder integrated
+ batch mode for film strips
+ scans film rolls up to a length of 36 frames
+ viewing window at the front of the scanner

- no good image quality with CyberView
- no good dust and scratch removal
- no batch mode for mounted slides
- no optional APS adaptor available
- no colour calibration possible

Reflecta ProScan 10T
Review     Technical Data

+ 5000 dpi resolution (4100 effectively)
+ good image quality
+ good dust and scratch removal
+ very fast scan speed

- no batch mode available
- no colour calibration possible
- fix focus

Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SilverFast Ai Studio
Review     Technical Data

+ 7200 dpi resolution (3250 dpi effectively)
+ good density range
+ good image quality
+ scan software SilverFast Ai Studio ME
+ IT-8 colour calibration thanks to SilverFast
+ large software packet included
+ low purchase costs

- no batch mode for mounted slides
- no batch mode for film strips
- bad dust and scratch removal function
- scans appear a bit unsharp
- extremely low scan speed
- fix focus

Reflecta CrystalScan 7200 + SilverFast SE
Review     Technical Data

+ 7200 dpi resolution (3300 dpi effektively)
+ acceptable image quality
+ ICE3 integrated
+ good scan software SilverFast SE
+ multi exposure within SilverFast SE Plus
+ scans complete film rolls
+ caompact and handy
+ good price performance ratio

- very slow scan speed
- complicated handling
- no batch mode for mounted slides
- no automatic film strip feeder
- fix focus

Reflecta CrystalScan 7200
Review     Technical Data

+ 7200 dpi resolution (3300 dpi effektively)
+ ICE3 integrated
+ scans complete film rolls
+ caompact and handy
+ low purchase costs

- extrem langsam
- bad image quality
- complicated handling
- delivers blown up image files
- no batch mode for mounted slides
- no automatic film strip feeder
- fix focus

Epson Perfection V600 Photo
Review     Technical Data

+ scans documents and films
+ suitable for medium format films

- very slow scan speed
- effective resolution only 1560 dpi
- small transparency unit with 6 x 22 cm
- density range too low
- unacceptable image quality
- no colour calibration
- fix focus

Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SilverFast SE Plus
Review     Technical Data

+ 7200 dpi resolution (3250 dpi effectively)
+ scan software SilverFast SE Plus
+ multi exposure
+ good software package included
+ low purchase costs

- no batch mode for mounted slides
- no batch mode for film strips
- bad dust and scratch removal function
- image quality not acceptable
- extremely low scan speed
- fix focus

Plustek OpticFilm 135
Review

+ 3600 dpi resolution (3280 dpi effectively)
+ batch mode for slide mounts and film strips
+ very good film holder included
+ acceptable scan speed
+ fast scans by button click possible
+ good software package included

- no dust and scratch removal function
- image quality only average
- fix focus

Canon CanoScan 9000F
Review     Technical Data

+ good software package
+ very good functionality for documents
+ suitable for medium format films
+ automatic dust and scratch removal function

- effective resolution only 1700 dpi
- density range too slow
- bad image quality at film scans
- slide holder only as a kind of template
- transparency unit only 8,2 x 22 cm
- fix focus

Plustek OpticFilm 8100
Review     Technical Data

+ good software equipment
+ resolution 7200 dpi (effectively 3800 dpi)
+ multi exposure function
+ acceptable image quality

- no infrared dust and scratch removal function
- scans appear a bit washy
- slow scan speed
- no batch mode for mounted slides
- no automatic flim strip feeder
- fix focus

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