Q: I recently bought a cut-price Canon EOS Digital Rebel (300D) and have got back into photography in a big way. I want to make use of the slides I took years back and I’d like to be able to print large photos on my A3 photo printer. I know I need a film scanner but which one should I buy?

A: The current Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai Film Scanner has great resolution (7200 dpi) and a fast scan speed and is a mid-range priced scanner. My old Nikon CoolScan V ED (no longer available) does 4000 dpi but cost significantly more – $550 at the time. Slide scanner capabilities change pretty quickly over time with the scan resolution continually going up.

While my now ancient Konica/Minolta scanner offers higher resolution, it doesn’t seem to resolve any more detail than the Nikon scanner. Scanners are actually limited by the physical grain size on film itself, even for fine grain films like Fuji Velvia or Provia.

Both scanners have ICE4 which cleans up images but the Nikon user interface gives you better control over all the various settings and image enhancement options.

If speed is important (it might be if you need to scan a huge number of slides) then the Plustek scanners are the ones to go for. Interestingly, Nikon no longer make film scanners and Konica/Minolta have now gone out of business.

Nikon Coolscan V ED film scanner (no longer available)

Konica/Minolta DiMAGE 5400 II film scanner (no longer available)

Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai Film Scanner, 7200 dpi, USB 2.0 Interface, Windows and Mac

Pacific Image Prime-Film 7200U 35mm Slide & Film Scanner with USB Interface, 7200x3600dpi Resolution, for Mac & Windows

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