I've been doing film scanning for over a decade; not professionally, but seriously. With both the LS-30 and Coolscan 4000, Vuescan worked great and I join the chorus in recommending it. Best $80 I've ever spent on sw.
If this isn't an ongoing pursuit, I'd take John's message seriously and send them out. There is a learning curve, which could take 200 images to climb. Most of my stuff is on color negative, which is more challenging than slides, as you have no reference for color balance. But, slides can also be tough as the narrower contrast range of print or screen display requires interpretation. That takes time and practice. Add to that the effort of perfecting a scanning workflow, which can vary in its details from one system platform to another, and the time adds up significantly. A cheap scanner that won't handle the higher densities will multiply your editing time and potential frustration. Working with pictures in Photoshop (or whatever) is great fun, but scanning isn't!
Carl (John, I'm a fellow Rochesterian)
>From: John Schroth <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Sep 18, 2012 10:22 AM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] 35mm slide scanner -- what's good these days?
>Part of my business includes slide scanning services. Here's my opinion.
>If you only have 200 slides, this is a very small amount. If you really
>want to get a good quality scan, and you don't feel you'll be scanning a
>ton of slides in the future - send the slide out to a service for
>scanning. The time and money you will spend trying to fit out
>hardware/software and testing will not be worth it. If you will be doing
>more scanning in the future and/or you still want to get a scanner, then
>I've tried and tested many options. I have not found any flatbed
>scanners to be acceptable for scanning small format transparencies,
>including 35mm slides. Flatbeds just can't match small gauge dedicated
>CCD imaging. I have a Epson VM-750 pro flatbed and any transparency
>scans in or near the 35mm size class does not look nearly as good as
>from a dedicated small format transparency scanner. A company in town
>that also offers slide scanning services uses a very high-end flatbed
>scanner for slides and they still look crappy. You just can't get the
>resolution and density range.
>I agree with Randy - For the money, based on your needs as you described
>below, if you're looking for better than a flatbed, the Nikon Coolscan
>5000 with the bulk film loader offers the best quality. The 5000 was the
>only one to take a bulk film loader. With all my testing, the only other
>option that scans at better quality than the Nikon is Hasselblad but
>you're looking at a price point of more than $10,000 over the cost of
>the Nikon, for minimal gains only at very high resolution scans. The
>unfortunate issue is that Nikon stopped making these units, they are not
>available new, and can only be found used. I've had several contacts I
>know buy the used Nikon 5000's on Ebay, as long as the seller guaranteed
>the item, the buyer was protected. Both of the units that I know of that
>were purchased through Ebay worked out fine. I believe you can still get
>the bulk loader attachment through B&H Photo.
>I know of one person who has purchased a Pacific Imaging Powerslide
>5000. They say that the bulk loading mechanism jams (though so too does
>the Nikon bulk loader - but I've worked out modifications to this and it
>works fairly reliably now). They said that the quality of the scans from
>the Powerslide were good and they were pleased with the end results,
>though they were not a professional scanning service with a discerning
>eye and a really good monitor, so I'm not sure how the quality compares
>to the Nikon. My guess is that the Nikon is better.
>The Nikon Coolscan 5000 and the Pacific Imaging Powerslide 5000 are the
>only two scanners that I know of that have good-excellent ratings that
>can handle bulk slide scanning.
>There is no type of software that I know of that offers "good" results,
>for automatic, accurate exposure and color balance during the scan.
>Believe me, if there was, I'd be using it - as I get many projects
>through the door that are several thousand slides. The bottom line, you
>really have to "touch" each slide in Photoshop after the scan to
>accurately represent exposure and color balance. The closest I can come
>to an automated adjustment is using Viewscan pro software and setting up
>for an automatic white balance setting, with a safe/conservative fixed
>adjustment for the white and black points so that both the top and
>bottom point of the histogram are not clipped during the scan. Then you
>can batch process the scans in Photoshop using auto color correct
>adjustment only, then using a 25-30% fade on the adjustment as part of
>the batch scan. This will get you close. Even at that, I still prefer to
>make all my adjustments by hand and not batch process anything.
>The best scanning software you can get is Viewscan. It will work with
>almost any scanner and offers many more options for your scanner than
>the native GUI will. I can't say enough about this software and the
>support they have after the sale.
>Let me know if you have any additional questions.
>Media Transfer Service, LLC