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Digital Capture's Future

(April 2008) posted on Wed Apr 09, 2008

With film disappearing and digital cameras becoming more advanced, what happens to digital capture?

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By Jeff Dorgay

The relative decline in analog image capture has led to a thinning of the ranks when it comes to scanners. The demand for new equipment simply isn’t what it used to be. But most folks turn to a flatbed scanner, and there's still a large selection of these available, many that will perform double duty as a film scanner. These days, $300 to $400 will buy a pretty good flatbed that can serve up good basic scans. (Gone are the days of getting a copy of Photoshop thrown in with the scanner, though.) On the high end, flatbeds typically max out at around $900, but the Epson Expression 10000XL-Photo has a suggested price point of $3000.

The modestly priced dedicated desktop film-scanner game has come down to just a few major players: Nikon, with its line of SuperCoolscan scanners (the CoolScan V and the SuperCoolscan 5000-the latter offering faster scan times and a greater dynamic range-and the SuperCoolscan 9000 for medium-format film), and Microtek, with its ArtixScan 120tf [although the latter may be being phased out]. Yes, there are also a few less-expensive dedicated film scanners still on the market, but these are generally geared toward the consumer or hobbyist market, not the professional arena.