Film Photography

Scanning old color slides with the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE

I have a small cache of color slides from the 1950s and 1960s that I bought several years ago. I had bought one of those inexpensive film-to-digital converters (review here) and was digitizing the 126, 110, and 35mm negatives I had shot as a kid and young adult. It did a passable job. I was curious how it would handle mounted color slides so I bought some on eBay. I like old cars, so I bought some with vintage vehicles as the subjects.

If you’d like to see how that cheap digitizer rendered them, I shared the scans at Curbside Classic here.

My new Plustek OpticFilm 8100i SE can scan mounted slides, too, so I scanned these slides to see how this scanner would render them. I’m pleased to report that the scans were very good straight off the scanner. I did only minor post-processing work on them in Photoshop. Here they are.

Here’s a VW Karmann-Ghia, probably from the 1960s. While most of these slides are Kodachromes, this one is on unknown film.

Here’s a 1965 Ford F-100, its driver a proud papa.

Here’s a 1960 Ford on a Kodachrome dated 1967.

On a 1967 Kodachrome, here’s a 1967 Mercury Colony Park.

The same family also owned this 1966 Ford Falcon.

Here’s a young couple leaning on a 1950 Chevrolet. A VW Beetle is behind it, and a 1964 Ford Falcon brings up the rear.

I saved the best for last: a 1950 Pontiac Silver Streak convertible.

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Film Photography

First impression: Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE film scanner

My wife bought me a Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE scanner for Christmas. She had heard me lament the long scan times I was experiencing with my otherwise acceptable Minolta Scan Dual II and decided to help a film photographer out.

I scanned a strip in the Plustek from each of the last five rolls of film I shot. Holy cow, is the Plustek blazing fast compared to the Scan Dual II!

My Plustek came with SilverFast scanning software, but I didn’t install or use it. I used to use it with my old Epson flatbed and found it to be so cumbersome as to be unpleasant. I just stuck with VueScan, which recognized the Plustek instantly.

I scanned strips of Fomapan 200, T-Max 100, Kodak Max 400, Fujicolor 200, and 50-year-expired GAF 125, aka Ansco Versapan. I’ll share a scan from each roll here from the Plustek, and for black and white a scan from the Scan Dual II, and for color a scan from the lab’s scanner. The Plustek scan is always first in each pair.

This is just a quick comparison. All photos were Photoshopped to my liking at the time of scanning, and my liking does vary over time.

If you’d like to pixel peep, click any image to see it on Flickr, where you can see it at full scan size.

First, a frame I shot in my Pentax ME SE with my 50mm f/1.7 SMC Pentax-M lens on Fomapan 200 @ EI 125, developed in Ilford ID-11 stock. Right away, you can see that the Plustek captures more of the frame than the Scan Dual, as the Scan Dual scan was not cropped.

Lucy Walker
Lucy Walker

Nikon N90s, 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor, GAF 125 (Ansco Versapan) x-7/72, HC-110 B 6 minutes. These are hard to distinguish from each other at blog size. Both scanners did a great job of cutting through the base fog of this very expired film.

Morristown, IN
Morristown, IN

Nikon N70, 28-80 mm f//3.5-5.6D AF Nikkor, Kodak Max 400. The lab scan is warmer with more contrast. I could probably have Photoshopped my scan to get exactly the lab scan’s warmer look. But I’m not sure which look I like better.

Boone County Courthouse
Boone County Courthouse

Nikon N70, 28-80/3.5-5.6D AF Nikkor, Kodak TMax 100, HC110 B. Other than a slight difference in the crop, these are hard to distinguish from each other.

Video Saloon
Video Saloon

Kodak VR35 K12, Fujifilm Fujicolor 200. Once again the lab scan has stronger contrast. The colors are much more alike than in the previous color comparison. The Plustek yielded a more turquoisey hue in the vehicle than the lab did.

Cherokee
Cherokee

So far I’m happy with the Plustek. It does fine work with black and white, and yields scans much larger than the older Scan Dual — 7200 dpi vs. 2820 dpi. I didn’t use my Scan Dual for color film much as I didn’t like the look right off the scanner. The Plustek does a better job with color and now gives me the option to have my lab only develop my color film so I can scan it myself.

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