Saturday, 2 March 2013

Slide Scanning: Nikon LS-40 vs Epson V500

After I bought my Nikon LS-40 ED (Coolscan IV ED) I scanned all our 24 x 36 and 24 x 18 (half-frame) slides using the Nikon Scan software. When Nikon disgracefully stopped supporting its software and when I switched to Mac, I changed to the excellent VueScan software in order to use the LS-40.

The LS-40's gate size is approximately 24 x 36. I could only scan the central slice of a superslide. Anything larger, I scanned in the office SCSI-interfaced HP scanner. After I retired I decided to scan all my old 6 x 6 cm negatives and bought an Epson V500 running it either with Epson Scan software or with VueScan.

Originally I had scanned all my slides as they came - some in cardboard, some in glassless plastic and some in glazed mounts. Recently, I decided to remove the glass and remount the 24 x 36 slides in glassless plastic (Reflecta) in order to scan them free of the anti-newton rings glass.

Scanning transparencies in the V500 is less time consuming than in the LS-40. However, reading the various comments in discussion fora, I should have been discouraged from using the V500 instead of the LS-40: 'dedicated film scanners are always better' blah blah. Well, having done extensive trials using both for the same slides, I can say that I have found that the LS-40 is no better for 35 mm slides than the LS-40. Indeed the higher resolution from the V500 to me gives it the edge. I find it easier to get a good scan using the V500 with Epson Scan in 'Professional' mode than using the LS-40 with VueScan. I can get there with the latter but it takes longer to get the settings right.

Having scanned all my slides, my LS-40 has been relegated to a box at the back of a cupboard. When the inevitable request comes to scan a few slides for somebody, I shall use the V500. The LS-40 is not on the 'to be disposed of' list though. The filmstrip and the APS attachments could still prove useful in the future.