Nikon 4000 ED scanner review posted!|
(Friday, April 20, 2001 - 08:37 EDT)
An in-depth look at Nikon's $1695 film scanner...
It's been almost two years since we reviewed Nikon's previous high-end 35mm film scanner, the LS-2000. Now, Nikon's updated the design and boosted critical operating specs in several areas to create the Super Coolscan 4000 ED. Resolution is now a full 4000 dpi, up from 2700 on the original, the digitizing is up to 14 bits/channel, up from 12, the computer interface is now IEEE-1394 ("FireWire") instead of SCSI, and it looks to us like the signal-processing electronics have been significantly upgraded as well. The new scanner has by far the best dynamic range and noise performance of any unit we've tested to date: Even in 8-bit mode, it did better at digging detail out of dense slides and negatives than many units we've tested did working at 12 bits. We found the software to be a bit buggy, at least on our Mac G4, as we never did manage to get it to operate as a Photoshop plugin, but it did very well running standalone. Because our test scanning is so exacting, we initially went a little batty with what seemed to be an interminable tweaking process on each scan: We seemed to spend half the day waiting for preview scans to come up on the screen. Happily though, once we got to more routine production scanning (taking advantage of the 4000's presence to scan a number of rolls of the family film archives), we found that the scanner can really be a tremendous workhorse. By using the Digital ICE dust/scratch removal feature, and scanning in the background, we could get literally dozens of high-quality scans done per day.
There's a lot to talk about with this scanner, and in typical Dave/IR fashion, we talked about *all* of it: The full review runs something like 12,000 words! We spent so much time on it because the scanner seems so significant in the marketplace, and also because the same software drives the two other new Nikon scanners, both of which we'll be reviewing in the weeks/months to come. Stay tuned over the next couple of months for a complete overview of all the major film scanners on the market: We'll finally be updating our scanner section to include coverage of the latest from Nikon, Polaroid, and Canon. (Maybe Microtek too.) Meanwhile, check out the Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 ED review for *all* the details!
When you're done with our review, you can get a second opinion from another review posted by our good friends at Steve's Digicams...