Can This $300 Scanner Really Keep up With a Scanner More Than 10 Times the Price?

For film photographers, digitizing negatives (and slides!) is a crucial part of the process. For many, myself included, finding an affordable option that does a good job is a challenge.

Brought to you by Kyle McDougall, this video sought to compare the Plustek OpticFilm 8100, a $330 scanner, with the Nikon Super Coolscan 900, a scanner that was discontinued years ago but is largely considered one of the best scanners of home scanning and only available now for several thousands of dollars. Without giving too much away, I was pretty shocked to see some of the results from McDougall’s comparisons. Overall, while the Plustek did not perform on par with the Nikon in my opinion, I think it did surprisingly well and for the price tag, value comes into the question.

Like many photographers, I have a love-hate relationship with digitizing my film. I love to see the conversion right after it’s made and I love that the time spent per image is still only a fraction of what I would expect to spend on a digital image (and that’s including the scanning time and time spent cleaning the dust!) Personally, I’ve digitized my film with my Sony a7R II and my Epson V600 and have had good luck with both though I’m always looking for ways to improve my scanning efficiency and quality. The one thing that really holds the Plustek back in my opinion and the reason I won’t personally be picking one up for myself is that it can only scan 35mm film. 


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