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For the time being at least, old fashioned film still provides the ultimate in quality. Here, in the Nikon Coolscan, you have a scanner to match the best that 35mm film can offer. Well, almost. A top end Kodak lab machine will take you just a little bit further - but the price to own one is beyond the reach of most mortals.
In terms of technical specs, this scanner turns in images which are 4000 dpi, which equates to 5500 pixels across the 35mm format. This exceeds the true resolution of almost any digital camera currently on the market (well, ok - Kodak again do something in the silly-money zone). Note that this is the scanner's optical resolution - loads of flat-bed scanners will offer you really any resolution you want, but that would be interpolated, therefore adding no more data. What's more, the Nikon turns this in at a very respectable 14 bits per channel, which is 2 bits, and therefore 4x, more than their digital SLRs. 24 bit colour, which is commonly referred to as 'true colour' is just 8 bits per channel. If you are a photographer, you will notice the difference. You'll also notice the difference once you start playing around with the image in Photoshop.
The technical specifications, though, don't really do this equipment justice. By scanning directly from 35mm negative or transparency, you are acquiring far more data than you ever could if you scanned a print. This is partly because the image has only been through two lenses - your camera's lens and the scanner's lens - instead of three for a print - the camera, the enlarger, and the scanner.Read more ›