• Price: 2000

  • Company: Nikon

  • Pros: Very versatile high-res film scanner with Digital ICE4. Can handle all formats from miniature to 6-x-7cm, with optional holders.

  • Cons: Only supplies 35mm and 120/220 film holders, with other formats charged at silly prices. Grain reduction doesn’t work on small formats.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

This is the priciest film scanner in Nikon’s range, but it’s easily the most versatile. It can handle practically every roll film format you’re ever likely to encounter, from 6-x-7cm film down to old 16mm/110 strips, plus electron microscope and medical slides. The only popular format it can’t handle is APS film.

It’s supplied with film mounting holders for 120/220 strips (for 6-x6, 6-x-7 and 6-x-9cm) and 35mm strips and slides. However, you have to purchase the miniature holders separately and these are expensive – the 16mm holder is £399 and the medical slide holder is £105. These are incredibly high prices for a few pieces of plastic and metal. But, if you need to digitize small film formats, this scanner is one of the few that can do it unless you use a more expensive professional pre-press model.

Super CoolScan 9000 ED is related to the Super CoolScan 5000 ED 35mm and APS scanner (reviewed here), with similar 4,000dpi resolution, 4.8D dynamic range, 8-/16-bit output and the Digital ICE4 dust and grain reduction and colour restoration system. A large diameter Nikon ED (extra-low dispersion) lens is used to handle the range of formats.

 border=0 />This is a fairly large scanner, though compact by comparison with professional pre-press models. The interface is FireWire, with a single port provided on the back, plus a FireWire PCI card and cable in case you need them. The only external controls are the on-off button and an eject button for the film holder. With the scanner switched on you just introduce a loaded film tray into the film slot, and it is taken in automatically.
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Nikon’s ScanView 4 control software is provided, which works the same way on all CoolScans. The user interface is great, with an extensive control set that’s completely logical once you’ve worked it all out. Multi-pass scanning between two and 16 passes can be selected for higher quality but slower speeds, while analog gain and CCD enhancement can improve results for some image types.
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The Digital ICE4 system is licensed from Kodak and provides four modules. ICE is an automatic dust and scratch reduction system that uses infrared lamps built into the scanner. Ours didn’t seem to work quite as perfectly as on the old CoolScan 4000, but is fine if you remember to brush off any loose dust before inserting the film. GEM (Grain Enhancement & Management) attempts to eliminate the noise effect that CCD scanners pick up from film grain, usually with considerable success. It only works for colour negatives or positives of 35mm and above.
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<b>Paint it black</b>
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ROC (Restoration Of Colour) attempts to restore colour and contrast to old faded originals. Again, it won’t work with mono films or small formats. DEE is a new feature that tries to balance the contrast range of an image, so highlights are retained without shadows going black. For shadow boosting, Nikon Scan offers an optional analog gain control that works well too. 
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