Back in January, we introduced an interesting article from Film Shooters Collective website: “What scanner will you buy to digitize films and slides – flatbed scanner or dedicated film scanner?”
If you are looking for a film scanner to digitize your 35mm slides and negatives, but your collection is not that bulky, check out this film scanner open box review written by Zoltan Arva-Toth at Photography Blog for informative advice.
Single versus Multi-exposure
Perhaps the most useful feature of SilverFast, supported by the Plustek OpticFilm 8100, is Multi-Exposure. If enabled, it allows the program to blend two differently exposed scans of the same slide into a single digital image with improved shadow detail; essentially expanding the scanner’s dynamic range. To see if the feature really works, we took a slightly underexposed Kodak EliteChrome EC 100 transparency and scanned it both with and without Multi-Exposure turned on. … based on what I’m seeing here I would definitely recommend that you turn this feature on whenever scanning a transparency or even a black-and-white negative with a high density range. …
Scanning Black-and-white Film
As you can see from our sample images, we have scanned a number of black-and-white films with the Plustek OpticFilm 8100, including Ilford Pan 100, Kodak Academy 200 and Fortepan 400; and the scanner did a very good job. Some of these films have a much wider density range than colour print film but the OpticFilm 8100 had no problem capturing the entire tonal range from the brightest highlights to the deepest shadows. Of course if you think that the result is a little too flat, you can always add a bit of contrast in post … But the point is that both shadow and highlight detail is there, should you like to do a bit of dodging and burning or any other kind of image manipulation in the digital darkroom.
For its price, the Plustek OpticFilm 8100 is a very capable desktop film scanner. 3600ppi scans are sharp and detailed, printing well up to A3 size (depending on the quality of the originals, of course). Scanning at 7200ppi offers no noticeable benefit and is therefore unnecessary. The scanner’s dMax of 3.6 may not sound like a lot but the Multi-Exposure feature does help you eek out a bit of extra detail from your most contrasty slides. SilverFast’s NegaFix profiles, while not perfect, do help you get the colours right when scanning colour negative films. The lack of an infrared channel means SilverFast’s iSRD feature cannot be used with this scanner but the software-based SRD function can sometimes prove surprisingly effective. Manual film advance and relatively long scan times at high resolution settings mean the OpticFilm 8100 is not the ideal tool for archiving truly large film collections but if you only need to digitise a moderate amount of slides and negatives, we have no reservations recommending it to you.
To read the complete review article, please visit Photography Blog website.