Plustek’s latest 35mm film scanner hits US retail


posted Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 10:23 PM EDT


Have you been putting off buying a film scanner and bringing your analog film into the digital age? Perhaps you've already scanned everything years ago, but your scanner wasn't up to the task of extracting the full image quality from your 35mm slides and film. Either way, Plustek has just started shipping a new film scanner that it hopes will persuade you to dig your film out of storage and start scanning.

The Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai film scanner was announced early this year, but it's just now reaching retail in the US market. In terms of hardware, it's essentially identical to the preceding OpticFilm 7600i Ai model. The important changes are to be found in the product bundle. Where the 7600i Ai shipped with SilverFast 6.6 Ai Studio scanner software from LaserSoft Imaging, the OpticFilm 8200i Ai instead includes SilverFast Ai Studio 8.


There's a pretty significant difference between the two releases: SilverFast 6.6 was released all the way back in mid-2008, and was superceded by SilverFast 8.0 a little over a year ago. The older version won't work on Mac OS 10.7 or 10.8 (Lion or Mountain Lion), and nor can it be used with Adobe Photoshop CS5 or Photoshop Elements 10, or with a 64-bit version of Photoshop. The current release is SilverFast 8.1, and this supports 64-bit and multiple core processing, allowing up to a 40x speed improvement for some functions. The interface is designed to allow scanning and image processing in parallel, reducing time spent waiting on scans and image processing. SilverFast 8 also has a more modern user interface, with filter previews and what LaserSoft calls the Workflow Pilot, a wizard that guides you step by step through scanning your slides and film. And there's also a much more accurate 16-bit histogram, as well as a range of other tweaks and improvements.


Like the OpticFilm 7600i Ai before it, the OpticFilm 8200i Ai accepts 35mm film and slides, has a hardware scanning resolution of 7,200 dpi from a CCD image sensor, and includes an LED light source and infrared dust and scratch removal. Combined with SilverFast, it provides multi-sampling to reduce per-pixel noise, and offers automatic IT8 calibration. Color images are scanned at 48-bit and can be output as 24-bit or 48-bit, while grayscales are 16-bit input and 8-bit or 16-bit output. Dmax is 3.6. Multi-sampled 7,200 dpi scans take about 113 seconds apiece, while multi-sampled previews need around eight seconds. Connectivity includes 15V DC, and USB 2.0 high-speed.

Available immediately, the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai has street pricing of around US$450.