Plustek OpticFilm 120 film scanner now available for pre-order in the US

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The Plustek OpticFilm 120 professional grade scanner for both 120mm and 35mm film made several headlines when it was announced few months ago. The scanner is finally available for pre-order in the US at B&H.

Plustek OpticFilm 120 film scanner basic specifications:

  • Scan 35mm negatives/Slides & 120 Film
  • Optical resolution: 5300dpi
  • Color depth: 48-Bit
  • Dynamic range: 4.01
  • Newly designed film carriers
  • Compact, durable design
  • Sealed against dust
  • Includes SilverFast Ai Studio 8

Plustek OpticFilm 120 film scanner detailed specifications:

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  • Nick

    Any reviews out there?

    • Nobody Special

      I’d like to find out that too…….. I need a really good scanner that doesn’t cost thousands – that is, if they exist.

      • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

        There are two types of scanners:

        1. Drum scanners
        2. Everything else

        Spending thousands on a scanner of type #2 is silly. Spend a few hundred on a good scanner like a V700 (which has a steep learning curve, I might add – one that most people don’t fully complete before jumping in to conclusions) for proofs, etc. and use the rest of the money to have things professionally drum-scanned.

        • Joseph

          Yeah, go ahead and get that drum scan so you can get every last grain on the film (notice I did not say resolution).

          Sorry, but the Nikon Coolscan 8000/9000 scans just about all of the info on the film. A drum scan might be 5% better, but unless you are trying to do 15x-20x enlargements, no one needs that.

          If the Plustek is at least as good, it’ll be all anyone needs for 135/120.

          I had an LS-8000 and at 100%, 4000DPI, my 6×7 scans were simply amazing. I have seen drum scans and they weren’t any better, just larger files with nothing but sharper grain.

          • JShin

            Sadly, the Coolscans have been discontinued.

            I’ve been using the Plustek 7400, their cheapest model, for 35 mm and have been generally satisfied with it. It is advertised as 7200 dpi, but there is a weird interpolation artifact, so I scan at 7200 and then downsample to 3600 or 2400 dpi.

            SilverFast software is frustrating to use, however. I’ve switched to Ed Hamrick’s VueScan, and have been very happy. The only weakness of the software is with underexposed slides; I use Adobe Raw to make adjustments. With the Plustek, it is best to use the “lock exposure” option and always scan at 16 bits, even if you are outputing to 8-bit files.

          • Alex

            I have a ls-8000 and it’s difficult to get the film completely flat. If not completely flat, the image will get partially soft. A drum scanner, or scanner with similar technology such as Imacon / Hasselblad, will keep the film flat and in focus everywhere. That would make a very big difference.

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com genotypewriter

            I didn’t say your CoolScan’s bad… don’t feel hurt :) But a drum scanner is indeed better.

            By your logic a Epson V700/V750 is the better choice over any CoolScan. They produce the same level of resolution, fluid mounting allows for even higher resolution and they can scan up to 8×10 sheets.

            But do I see you ditching your CoolScan for an V700? Nope… then why should people use a CoolScan/V700 instead of a drum scanner?

        • Nobody Special

          Yes, I am aware of the types and differences of scanners – but, to me, the whole point of scanning my Leica and MF 67 and Hasselblad transparencies is to have control of the process and a drum scanner (cost) is out of the question – the last time I checked.

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com genotypewriter

            Ditch those small formats like 6×7 and go large… any scanner will produce better results :)

        • Joseph

          How do you make the assumption that “By your logic a Epson V700/V750 is the better choice over any CoolScan”??? It’s not. I’ve used an Epson and it’s junk, unless you fiddle endlessly to get it in focus. Either way, the CoolScans are monumentally better, while a drumscan is better but only slightly. There simply isn’t more info on the film. This is why LF is still relevant!! And also why drum scanning is relevant, because LF can be scanned at the quality level of a CoolScan or similar, rather than the paltry 2200DPI true optical resolution or whatever on a well-focused V700.

          Anyway. I ditched the CoolScan for LF and I have a Microtek M1 now. Piece of junk isn’t much better than a V700, but luckily I’m focusing on wet prints.

          • Joseph

            *Clarification: The CoolScan is way better than a V700, but a drumscan is only slightly better than a CoolScan.

    • http://photorumors.com PR admin

      I could not find any – they are just taking pre-orders at that point.

  • Mike1

    Great!!! Film is not dead. First affordable scanner for MF. Want to hear some reviews too.

    • ORLY

      Not the first by a long shot. And define affordable. I tested an Epson V750-M Pro against a Hasselblad Flextight X5 and the results were too close to justify the Hassy’s price tag.

      Unless Plustek has put a Rodenstock lens in this thing, it won’t be any better at scanning 120/220 than the Epson V750-M Pro. Save yourself $1K and just go Epson.

      • NycPete

        you’re tests are incorrect.

        • Correction

          Prove me wrong then. Bring samples and data to the discussion; otherwise, GTFO.

          • Nathan

            I’ve used the X5 (and it’s predecessors) extensively and I own a V750. NycPete is definitely correct — you should probably learn a bit more about scanning with the X5. It’s not even close.

        • Hasselbeen

          Well, I had a damn Hasselblad rep right next to me when I did the test so I’m pretty sure he would have pointed out if I was doing something wrong (ya think?!).

          When HE saw the results, he had me email both files to the Hasselblad techs in Sweden and they came back dumbfounded as well.

          Could the unit they used for testing have been out of calibration? Possibly. But the rep stated it had just come back from the service department for a tune up.

          But you poor bastards with your $20K scanners so right on ahead thinking your gear is superior, and I’ll keep laughing all the way to the bank.

          Ha!

          • Alex

            I would guess the image was soft to begin with. Higher resolution doesn’t make a soft image sharp.

          • Right

            Riddle me this, Batman…. a 6×7 transparency shot on Velvia 50 with a Mamiya 7 and 65mm lens on a tripod produces a soft image? WTF are you smoking?!

          • Banksie

            Clearly your mother never taught you not to lie……

      • Mike1

        I used a flatbed film scanner in the very early days and was never satisfied with the results. Then changed to the Minolta 5400 and the results were great, but it doesn’t take 120 films.

        Perhaps flatbed film scanner have improved a lot since then, but I still think a dedicated scanner like the Plustek would do a better job.

        • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com genotypewriter

          There are excellent flatbeds out there… the problem is people are generally idiots and they never learn how to use them properly. So, while a dedicated scanner like this one might be fool-resistant to a greater extent, it doesn’t mean flatbeds are particularly worse scanners.

          • Banksie

            Good flatbeds, like the German made Cruse and Heidelberg brands, are very expensive and not really feasible for home use. Consumer flatbeds all have their issues and overall aren’t really that ideal for high quality work.

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com genotypewriter

            @Banksie

            Agree… and as I said in my first comment under this post, get a cheap flatbed for proofing, etc. and send the shots off to a professional place to have them drum scanned.

  • NycPete

    great news, for film shooters like myself. I still have an Imacon that will do everything for me.

    now people wont have to pay $4,000 for a 8 year old Nikon 9000 film scanner.

  • malchick743

    Have used the Minolta 5000 (Scan Pro) for years, went thru major repairs three years ago, and the scanner is now out of all support.

    I know the LS-9000 can do wonders but is now hard to find even in second-hand market at decent prices.

    Not sure about this PlusTek’s performance though. Wish Nikon would have an update to the LS-9000 in the future……

  • Joaquim Prado

    I bet it has better noise a lens compare to the Epson V700! It is if so I would switch scanners! Too bad is it not USB 3.0 or even firewire 800!

  • Banksie

    An important factor here will be the Dmax. A benefit of a true drum scanner is that it uses a PMT instead of a CCD. Aside from variable scan capture at spot sizes (in microns) to match the grain, the Dmax is much better on the Tangos, Howteks, and Azteks drum scanners. Plus the film is always 100% flat.

    But for home use and non-exhibition printing, this is really the only choice outside of a Imacon/Hasselblad or a discontinued used Coolscan 9000. It’s nice to see a company still support relatively inexpensive film scanning. btw, Jobo announced their new processor at Photokina. I hope PR will also post about that.

    • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com genotypewriter

      While Flextights, etc. are better on paper than, say, a V700 because there’s no glass in between the scanner lens and the medium, in practice the differences are not noticeable, especially if you fluid mount on the flatbed.

      Plenty of examples and comparisons are out there if you do a search.

      • Banksie

        I don’t need to search anything. I personally have a V750 that I use for making contact sheets from film for digital cataloging and for scans of photographic prints and opaque art prints. I mentioned the Flextight (which is simply a CCD scanner and not a true drum scanner) and the Coolscan as in-house alternatives because the Plustek that’s being discussed here is a dedicated FILM scanner, and not a flatbed. This is about a new FILM scanner not a flatbed scanner or flatbed option. The Epson is not a dedicated film scanner, it’s a flatbed design that has a transparency feature that happens to be the full size of the platen. And with a somewhat awkward way of fluid mounting film as an option (as compared to a drum scanner with an effective mounting station.)

        I also currently own a Howtek 8000 that I bought used years ago and now running on Trident software. Howtek are no longer officially supported but Aztek offers their own support. The Aztek is a redesign of the original Howtek. http://www.aztek.com/

        I was trained on a drum scanner for several years in NYC at one of the world’s best studios: http://laumont.com/index.html It was a once in a lifetime experience in learning high end exhibition production and printing. And I’ve been scanning film (all sizes) for years ever since. There’s a lot more to it then people generally assume.

        • Alex

          How do you keep the film flat in your non-drum-solution? I’m experimenting with different solutions in my ls-8000, with different holders and custom made frames for single frame scanning, but there is always a difference in sharpness across the frame due to variations in film flatness, no matter what I do. I even have the glass holder. Thinking of buying an old Flextight with less resolution but better film flatness. Prefer less resolution but sharp all over. But if you have any suggestions to solutions, I’d like to know.

          • Banksie

            If you’re asking me, I don’t scan film in a CCD consumer scanner. I only make contact sheets as .pdf files for digital cataloging off the Epson flatbed. The Howtek I have is a fluid mounted drum scanner using a mounting station.

            However, Cache makes their Image Mechanics Fluid Mount Scanner Tray system. A colleague of mine uses it with his Coolscan 9000 and it works fine. http://www.onecachet.com/product_details.php?cat=80&pid=1000000269

            You can buy the mounting materials (fluid, tape, and mylar) directly from Aztek to use with the Cachet film tray.

            ScanScience also has a wet mount option for many CCD scanners including the Coolscans: http://www.wetmounting.com/Pages/MyScanner/MyScannerSelect.html I can’t comment because I’ve never used it (but I have used the Cachet with the Coolscan 9000.)

        • HowTek HaHaHa

          Yeah, that Howtek is well within the budget of most people isn’t it?

          Please. I got a quote on a brand new Aztek Premier drum scanner last year…$42,000. Let me sell a few kidneys.

          • Banksie

            Have you actually priced Howteks lately? Do you realize that they aren’t made anymore? Do you know that the Aztek is a new redesign of the original Howtek? Please don’t make assumptions if you don’t know any of the actual facts.

            I bought my used Howtek HiResolve 8000 which had been tuned and calibrated by Aztek, and included Trident 4.0 software, mounting station, and three drums for $3,500. And that was three years ago. The scanner is still running perfectly and I use it 2-3 times each week over those three years. I’ve made back that $3.500 easily in what it would have cost me to use a commercial studio for my film scans.

            Buying and running a commercial scanner is within anyone’s reach. Yes, there are scanning consumables, and parts and servicing is sometimes required, but that’s an understood part of ownership. It takes effort and a certain skill set but that can be learned over time. It all depends on how much time/effort you want to invest, and how critical you are of your own end product.

          • Learn to Read

            I priced Azteks dipshit learn to read. I know Howtek isn’t made anymore you think I’m an effin’ newb? I was scanning 8×10 while you were still in diapers. I have worked for labs better than Laurmont (and there are plenty – Laurmont scans are a JOKE in most professional circles).

          • Banksie

            It’s not Laurmont, it’s Laumont. Philippe Laumont is highly respected in the exhibition art world. Are you sure you’re even talking about the same person? http://www.laumont.com/news/tag/philippe-laumont/

            What “other labs” have you personally worked for and where? Please, I’m curious as one gets to know other people in the industry (I may even know you.) Do you know Ken Allen?

            The point being is that a used Howtek is very affordable (see my post.) So why say that a Howtek is not within the budget of most people? You claimed: “Yeah, that Howtek is well within the budget of most people isn’t it?” It certainly is and is actually closer to the current price of a used Coolscan 9000.

            And if you have been scanning since I was in diapers, then that means you’re over 80 years old now. :-)

            I have a strong feeling you’re making things up…….

          • Banksie Busted

            Hey Banksie! I just got off the phone with an old friend of mine, Tom Hurley, maybe you know him? He says you don’t know what you’re talking about and maybe that’s why you are no longer employed at Laumont.

            Enjoy your new career at McDonald’s.

          • Banksie

            Yes, Tom Hurley works at Laumont. He’s been there since around 1996 and was instrumental in helping Philippe shift from analog to digital. And you claim to be a friend of his? And yet you feel the work he does is a “joke?” You’re telling me that you’re a friend of Hurley and yet you will tell the world publicly that your “old friend” runs a business that you claim is a “joke in professional circles?” Is Clisset a joke, too? Is he also an “old friend” of yours?

            So then tell me, what specifically did he say about what I said? Please enlighten me. Tell me specifically. What PRECISELY are you talking about? That used Howteks aren’t feasible to use as a relatively inexpensive option for consumers? Of course they are. That you can’t buy a used Howtek for a reasonable price? Of course you can. And tell me EXACTLY what I have said in any of my posts that you (and your “old friend” Hurley) disagree with. Or is it that I said Laumont is one of the best studios in the world? Did you tell your “old friend” at Laumont that you feel the work that comes out of his studio is a “joke?” Do you want me to tell him? ;-)

            Describe Hurley to me. Tell me how you became “old friends.” And also about Philippe. And Shamus, too.

            And yes, I’m no longer employed at Laumont because I live in California now. Too far to commute……. ;-)

        • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com genotypewriter

          “I don’t need to search anything.”

          Because you think you’re a know-it-all? But you surely aren’t… especially when looking at the long and irrelevant drivel you wrote as a reply. My post didn’t even say anything drum scanners.

          Perhaps you need to learn how to read what’s in front of you before you learn how to use additional features of a typical web-browser.

          • Banksie

            I only meant it in the fact that I have the Epson already and several CCD film scanners plus a drum scanner, and have used an Imacon many times. So I don’t feel that I need to search and look at examples. That’s all that was said. And this article is about a new dedicated consumer film scanner, not consumer flatbeds (which I personally believe are a compromise.) So no reason to get excited, it’s simply conversation.

            And I also don’t believe I wrote a bunch of irrelevant drivel. And yes, I do have many years of scanning experience and I’m proud of those skills. It’s not made up knowledge. I worked hard at developing that skill set. And I’m willing to pass on any information, be it subjective opinions or objective facts.

  • http://www.ianscovell.com Ian Scovell

    I think its great that in this day & age a company is introducing a new film scanner. Plustek should be applauded for that.

    Will it be as good as my custom profiled Imacon 949? We’ll have to wait & see.

    In the meantime have a look at my website for professional film scanning solutions: http://www.ianscovell.com/isleofwight/filmscanningservice.html

  • george

    looks very nice, i am using a epson 750 that does a wonderful job, but it is slow to use.

    i have found that taping the film to the glass works best (short of the wet method), the epson scans to the grain level of the finest film, which means that the film is the limiting factor on resolution.

    i would welcome a fast film only scanner that performed to that level

    • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com genotypewriter

      Unless you’re using film that’s larger than 4×5″, don’t tape it to the glass. Flatness is important but so is focus. The V700/V750 focuses above the glass for settings other than the “full area/transparency guide” option. Here’s an example of what you can get if you place things elevated above the glass:
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/genotypewriter/6806479707/

      Might want to scroll down on the page to see the crop…

  • nonuniform

    I have the Epson 750, had an Imacon 848, and now I have a Howtek drum scanner, which was almost free.

    I wouldn’t use an Imacon if you paid me. Well, maybe if you paid me. Dust, dust and more dust. I scan 4×5 mostly, and fluid mount is vital. The Epson is fine for quick scans, but can’t come near the drum scan for shadow detail and sharpness.

    And no, drum scanning doesn’t accentuate grain by default. That requires a lack of training on the machine.

  • Ian Rivlin

    Were you all aware that this is a FIXED FOCUS device – ie the same technology in low/moderate end flatbed scanners? The price will be around $2000 -$2500. – For a non focusing “professional” grade scanner, this is a paradox. Plustek say fixed focus was used to save costs but $2500 is 6 times the price of a mid/good range flatbed. As a comparison, the Microtek Artix is an auto focusing flatbed and is available for around $1800. I do feel that Plustek have shot themselves in their foot.

    Nonetheless, all that matters is the end result. I’ll wait to see what the scan quality is like but they have to increase the depth of field to ensure that all the film is focused. This inevitably necessitates that dust or scratches on the other side of the emulsion will be incorporated into the final scan. The infra red digital ICE should reduce this to some extent but how can this be considered as top grade? The absence of a glass carrier limits film flatness and I’m left with the impression that this scanner is inchoate and compromised.

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