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3.6 out of 5 stars
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3.6 out of 5 stars



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on 25 November 2012
I previously used a Primefilm PF3600 and changed to the Plustek 8200i SE simply to upgrade the technology. The objective was to digitise monochrome film and Kodak slides from 40 years ago, many of which had dust marks and scratch damage. The SilverFast software was a major decision maker. The new scanner came with good packaging and included a nice case to keep the scanner free of air borne contamination when not in use. The film holders for slides and film were satisfactory and simple to use. The software disc loaded straight away and contained excellent explanatory videos for each of the scanner's attributes. A wonderfully precise German voice accompanied each short video. The operation is logical and the scanner is very simple to use. The scanning mechanism is much quieter than the one in the PF3600 which sounds like an MRI scanner.

Scanning speed at 3600 dpi is much the same as the Primefilm machine, at about four minutes per frame. If 1800 dpi is selected then the scan is shorter. Clearly the greater the definition required, the slower the scan and the bigger the TIFF files. At 7200 dpi files can be 150 MB, but a Kodak colour slide might amount to 50 MB. The SilverFast software offers Scratch and Dust Removal (SDR) and a clever iSDR option using an infra red scan. I have found both these options need careful use. The SDR defaults to a figure of 100 on its sensitivity control and at this level it can give strange results, detecting for example, the whites of eyes as faults. It is wise to try lower settings with both SRD and iSRD until satisfactory results are obtained.

Overall the scanner does a professional job but needs a bit of common sense in the settings. Its not difficult, and greatly reduces the work required in Aperture or Photoshop. I am pleased with the product and Amazon delivered it to me within a couple of days.
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on 24 September 2013
The negative reviews almost put me off buying this excellent bit of kit, which would have been a shame because it works well and does exactly what I wanted of fit. I was particularly concerned by the review complaining of its incompatibility with Windows 8 because my photography computer also suffers from that affliction. However, I began installation by visiting the maker's website to download the Windows 8 compatible drivers and the programme installed without hitch. It is worth watching the instruction video, because the screen is rather busy at first sight but very simple to use once you know your way around it. I have been sorting out old colour slides and black and white negatives to archive on the computer. This takes about a minute each on average by shortcutting from prescan to final scan and missing out the optional enhancement processes. (The software includes various sophisticated enhancement options, including the removal of multiple spots, which can call for time and thought, but for the simple cases I do a straight scan and then tweak quickly in Photoshop Elements). Quality of image and format are adjustable so one can go for High Art as well as snapshots. Some reviews have said that the software is unstable but I have had only one or two inexplicable lapses that have simply needed a restart of the programme. The actual scanning box is easy to use. Slides click easily and neatly into their holder; negative strips can be a bit more of a fiddle, but if you have clean hands or a glove and dare touch the image part of the strip, you can do without even basic dexterity.
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on 26 June 2013
I got this version without the scratch reduction as I most needed it for black and white and the correction on the higher value model is aimed more at colour. beisides i find hunting dust and removing scratches relaxing guess i'm wierd.

That said i have no practical problem with this device at all. in fact it's a revelation. For years now I have been using a nikon coolscan which has a clunky interface, a digital ice package that clogs my memory and crashes evey pc i've tried it on and which runs through a micro scsi card. I should have gotten something better years ago.

The plustek is USB. driver installation is a breeze and the silverfast program works pretty much faultlessly on my xp and on ,my 7 installation. For Archiveing and web use the higher stratus of dpi scan is totally pointless but as i will be using it to scan for large print, A0 and above, also i've been playing with the 2400 to 7200 resolutions with interest. At 7200 a test shot on 6ft by 3 ft paper laser printed well, you can get better blacks by normal phot print methods but this is stunning. Enlarging from panf and kodak tech pan to push processed hp5 in other word from fine grain fine contrast to high contrast and grain like golfballs .

In the time it would take me to scan one slide on the coolscan i can have half a dozen at high res on the plustek. Granted my coolscan is a very old model but it's still revelationary. Some of the manipulation on the package is fierce and perhaps a bit lacking in subtlety, the undo hot keys are used a lot. but I find myself happily using the histogram, the exoposure , contrast and tolerance slides and I find the colour correction on colour negs and slides to be mostly damn good only needing to be tweaked on really severe cases.

It does not overheat and in the three or four days i've had it I have archived 50 sheets of 35 exposure negs and found a couple worthy of scanning to 7200 and switching to photoshop for final clean up . I dare say the silverfast can handle some of the photshop stuff but i like to stick to what i'm used to and i am used to PS.

The only problem i've had with it is that occasionally..twice so far it's crashed with silverfast not recognising the scanner driver. The only way to solve this has been a total pc shut dwon and reboot. THere is an uprated version of silverfast which I will dl shortly and see if that solves it. This is on my main work pc tho and there is so much in the way of scanner, printer, camra etc drivers on it that the fault myay be more to do with conflict between silverfast and existng legacy issues on my pc. can't say for sure without running hijack and doing a line check on it.

Even with this slight issue it's upped my work rate on my personal stuff by such a degree that I am totally delighted with it. If it holds up to the treatment it's about to get over the nex few months i think i may look hard at the plustek medium format scanner too. I still use my Bronica 6x6 and i am lacking a scanner for it :D.

So far very happy if i find issues i'll update this review and i'll come back after a few moths anyway. never shy of promoting good gear.
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on 14 May 2013
Good scanner for the money, but don't bother with the software that comes with it (Silverfast). Try Vuescan instead. I've worked with image editors over 10 years and wasn't able to tweak Silverfast to get a scan with the proper colour balance or decent dynamic range. Trying Ed Hamrick's Vuescan software was a revelation. It's a different scanner with that software - much faster and more accurate scans straightaway. You can download a free version ([...] or buy it for about £50 and get a lifetime of free upgrades and install it on as many scanners as you like (if you upgrade scanner in the future, for example).

Contrast that with the rapacious Silverfast policy (pay for every scanner you use, pay for a version that can use an IT8 target, pay for a version that saves in DNG format etc). Anyway, if you look on the Silverfast forum you'll see threads asking about colour casts with this scanner (with slides as well as negatives), and Silverfast blame Plustek and Plustek say it's fine. I've dropped a star because I don't think Silverfast works properly with this scanner, at least not on my computer (Vista).

I've compared the scans I've taken with this scanner to the scans I've got from a lab, and for black and white negatives this scanner was better. I suspect the lab scans would have been better for slides (better dynamic range of the expensive scanners) but I haven't had any scanned there.

It was a tough decision whether to choose the Plustek or the flatbed alternatives (Canon 9000f, Epson V600). I didn't find many comparisons with the flatbeds, but a couple of threads on Flickr suggested a) this scanner produced scans with more detail/higher resolution and b) in this price range and upwards a dedicated film scanner is always going to be better. The dynamic range (Dmax) is slightly higher for this scanner, too. Obviously the flatbeds will scan other formats than 35mm, though. They also have dust removal technology, and they will scan several slides at once. Some reviews on the web have complained about the Plustek only scanning one photo at a time. I don't find it an issue at all.

Size was a nice-to-have factor for me. I've already got a flatbed and ideally didn't want more space being taken up. The Plustek comes with a nice carry case that fits your plugs, leads and film holders in, and is the size of a loaf of bread. You can scan anywhere around the house with a laptop.

If I could have afforded it I would have got the version with IR dust removal, but luckily my slides and negatives are pretty clean so for me that's only been a minor issue.
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on 27 June 2012
They do say that you get what you pay for and this Film scanner is worth every penny. I wanted professional results as I have thousands of superb slides including family heirlooms to be digitalised. I found it easy to use as the instructions were also easy to follow. The way it cleaned the scanned slides from scratches and 'fungal' growths was phenomenal.(I used slides taken in 1960 to start off). Highly impressed. Ofcourse slides taken in the 1990's proved even easier to digitalise and the results were superb. I only had to increase the saturation slightly on Photoshop for some of the more recent slides. Also the ability to extract a huge image (in terms of Megabites) from a slide for archival purposes and future enlargements is a real asset of this machine. I'm now addicted to it as my old slide collection is coming back to life. The only thing Plustek could consider is a second tray for slides to speed up the scanning process. I did buy one separetely. Also it would be more useful to be able to buy only the slide tray, which is now bundled with the film tray - a waste as I don't need two film trays.
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on 22 May 2012
Have got some great scans from the Plustek 8200i but the Silverfast 8 software that comes with it is frustrating with no proper manual, just an overview and video clips that tell you to click icons without explaining what they do. It works well with perfect colour balanced negatives or slides, but with anything that's not perfect, you struggle through the tools, the Workflow Pilot which is supposed to guide you isn't intuitive. I'm sure Silverfast can produce good results but it needs proper documentation and a much better user interface. I downloaded a trial copy of Vuescan and straight off it was producing much better scans of Kodachrome and Agfa slides, so would recommend anyone struggling with Silverfast to give Vuescan a go.
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on 25 May 2013
This is a review of the OpticFilm 120 Scanner and the bundled SilverFast Software. We photographers know that these two things have to work together, rather like knowing that photography is one part science and one part art. Since I have five stars to work with, I’m going to allocate a potential three stars to the hardware and two stars to the software. The reason is alternative high-quality scanners are hard to come by, but alternative equally-effective software is readily available.

First let’s consider the hardware. The OpticFilm 120 is well built and has impressively sturdy film carriers. If fact, this is the first scanner since the Nikon units that does not look like a toy. If I compare the OpticFilm 120 to either the Minolta Elite 5400 or the OpticFilm 7600i, the OpticFilm 120 is better. The Minolta Elite 5400 did not have an infrared channel, thus could not remove dust spots as effectively as the OpticFilm 120. The OpticFilm 7600i claimed a lot of resolution, but its lens was not nearly as good as the lens in the OpticFilm 120. As Nikon proved with its scanners and as we photographers know, the lens makes or breaks the image. If I scan the same slide with all three of my scanners, the OpticFilm 120 produces the best image because it has higher real resolution and more acutance by way of edge contrast. Although the OpticFilm is called a Flagship scanner and carries a high price, it is not yet “world class”, but could be when Plustek starts using “ED” glass elements in its lens. However, to recognize that the OpticFilm 120 is the best scanner currently available that can be used with a 64 bit operating system, I will give it three out of three stars.

Now, let’s consider the software. The bundled SilverFast Ai Studio 8 software makes effective use of the infrared channel and removes most of the inevitable dust softs. The software also uses an HDR like technique that is strangely labeled Multiple Exposure to extract more information from the shadow areas. We photographers are familiar with how most of the available digital tonal information is allocated to the highlights and how little digital tonal information is allocated to the shadows. We are also familiar with using HDR techniques for some scenes to either bring down highlights that are too bright or open up shadows that are too dark. Thus, in an HDR like way, to compensate for the lack of shadow tonal information the software combines one scan for the mid-tones and highlights with a second “over exposed” scan for shadow information. This produces scans with sufficient tonal information for further image refinement.

The bundled SilverFast software also has a lot of automatic correction and refinement options that could be applied to your scans. Ten years ago, these refinements would have been impressive and even necessary, because we didn’t have the impressively powerful Camera Raw or Lightroom software for endless post processing options. Today, these SilverFast correction and refinement “bells-and-whistles” could be the primrose path to limiting your post processing options. We photographers are familiar with both the benefits of shooting in Raw and the limitations of shooting Jpegs. Analogously, applying the SilverFast correction and refinement options to your scans is like shooting Jpegs, because whatever refinement options you now apply to your digital scans can neither be undone nor adjusted at some later time. The software implies through its workflow that you need for such “bells-and-whistles.” In reality, such “bells-and-whistles” are not only a misdirection of our efforts but may turn out to be our worst enemy. As I tell my students, we should expect and allow for the possibility that we will become smarter, see things in our images that we just had not seen before, and want to use not-yet-available or newly improved post processing software. Analogous to shooting in Raw and to allow for such future possibility, I would prefer that SilverFast software engineers concentrate their efforts on providing a neutral scan with a high Dmax. For this infraction, I will subtract one of the potential two stars.

In the world of digital photography, we photographers are familiar with the necessity of calibrating and profiling each and every device that we use. We would not even think about making color-critical decisions for our images on a monitor that is not calibrated and profiled. Thus, for the film that we want to scan we understand the necessity of calibrating the scanner with an IT8 standard based on that film. In the days of shooting film, I and every other professional photographer that I knew used Fuji Velvia ISO 50 slide film. Almost every publishing photographer or camera-club competition level photographer also used Fuji Velvia ISO 50 slide film. Incomprehensibly, SilverFast does not offer an IT8 calibration standard for Fuji Velvia ISO 50 slide film. This omission is like thinking that the Berlin Wall had no importance in Germany, Baroque music was not important in Italy, the Louvre has no importance in Paris, or the Smithsonian has no importance in Washington DC. Moreover, to offer IT8 calibration standards for Kodachrome and Fuji Provia with the implication that these calibration standards are sufficient for all our needs is both disingenuous and a disservice to the photographic community. It is true that IT8 calibration standards are available from other sources, notably Coloraid.de. However, SilverFast seems to have gone out of its way to make it difficult to use such essential (but non-SilverFast) calibration standards by causing the software to ignore the reference file for IT8 standards without a barcode. Although a SilverFast representative says there currently is a known issue with getting their software to recognize such reference files and that a fix will be in the next version, the overall impression is that SilverFast wants to discourage use of non-SilverFast IT8 standards presumably because it wants to have a competitive market advantage. By any logic that you care to apply, until SilverFast either offers to sell a Fuji Velvia ISO 50 IT8 calibration standard or makes it easy to use such calibration standards from other vendors, they run the risk of changing a very expensive Flagship scanner into something that is of little use and has the value of a paper weight. To borrow a line from Sir Walter Raliegh, this infraction is “In folly ripe, in reason rotten.” For this infraction, I will subtract one more of the potential two stars.
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on 10 December 2012
It was with some degree of trepidation that I placed an order for this scanner, as some of the reviews were not particularly good - but did so as it was the type of scanner that I was interested in. I am very happy to say that the scanner software and Silverfast software installed first time and I did not experience any bother at all, (Dell XPS i7, Win 7 x64 Home Prem). Silverfast found the scanner immediately and works well. As mentioned by another reviewer, there are two installation discs, one for the scanner and one for Silverfast. They are both stored in a single disc box - the Silverfast activation code is printed on the front cover of the disc box - so don't lose the box!

I still need to spend some time to get familiar with Silverfast, as the documentation supplied is not overly comprehensive. My initial reaction is that it works very well and I am pleased with results so far. Silverfast feels fairly intuitive and I didn't find it difficult to get the basic hang of, there are many features available which I haven't even looked at yet.

In addition, I have noticed that Adobe Elements v10 (which was already installed on my computer) also spotted the scanner and scans fine from within Element. I only saw that after installing scanner software and Silverfast, so I cannot say whether it would have worked without Silverfast or not. I have only scanned one slide from Elements so I am not in a position to say whether I would use this in preference to Silverfast or not.

My requirements for a scanner were for 35mm slides only. There is a holder for 35mm negatives supplied but I do not have use for this - only slides and I cannot comment on scanner performance when using negatives.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 August 2014
I bought this mainly to scan negatives, though I do have some old slides.
I found it pretty easy to install the software on my Mac and was able to get scanning pretty much straightaway. You get a holder for negs and a holder for slides, although it doesn't take stereo slides.
The software is pretty archaic and not at all intuitive. There are so many different 'plugins' and sections for different types of correction and improvement that I found it a bit bewildering. In the end I found the best way was to get a basic scan and import the files to Lightroom/Photoshop for further tweaking. Even so, the software has many irritations.
The results I've had have been variable. But I'm pretty sure this is down to poor quality negatives as much as anything. Clearly, you can't expect stunning results from a fairly cheap 35mm compact from twenty years ago.
But they're not bad as long as you don't loo too closely, and certainly good enough. Some require a LOT of tweaking to get to the acceptable stage though.
This all adds to the time it takes to scan things, which I found tedious in the extreme.
1800dpi scans are quick, but have clearly visible scanning lines across them. I use the intermediate 3600dpi setting, which mostly eliminates this. But scanning time varies from 25 seconds to several minutes for each scan. I can't really understand why this is. After each scan, there's some processing time too, which is about 30 seconds on my fast, recent iMac.
So, with the prescan, setting the crop area, the resolution settings, it can take almost ten minutes per scan. Add some post processing to this and you're looking at many hours of fun...
I have wondered a few times if it would have been better to use a scanning service.
The 7200dpi setting produces incredible detail, takes forever, and only proved that my source images are not up to it! if you have really high quality source material though, it might be worth the wait.
The machine itself is neatly made and unobtrusive apart from the whirring sounds it makes.
I regard this process as a necessary evil. I plan to scan everything and sell the machine on. But it will take me FAR longer than I expected.
I am, however, happy with the results.
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on 26 November 2012
I have been using the Plustek 8200i scanner for three days now. At first after installing the software the scanner worked fine and I was impressed with the Silverfast software, it is quite powerful and comprehensive. After a while the Silverfast program would not run a full scan and I eventually reinstalled the software to be able to scan within Silverfast. This happened 3 or 4 times and I was about to give up when I decided to click on the Workflow Pilot button which enabled me to scan again. When I pressed the button to get back to the main program everything worked fine again. So I guess that I have stumbled on a bug within the program. Otherwise the program is extremely good and I have already scanned about 90 slides at 3600 dpi with great results. The scanner seems to be quite well made but is fiddly to align the film adaptor properly within the scanner. Overall the quality of the scan is very good and better than any flatbed scanner I have used so overall I can recommend it.
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