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View Poll Results: Opinion of Plustek OpticFilm 120 -- Any Issues?
Superb, I have had no issues with it 7 20.59%
Very Good, I had some issues but they have been sorted out 12 35.29%
Good, there are still some minor issues with it but they don't bother me 5 14.71%
Fair, there are some issues but I can get round them somehow 2 5.88%
Poor, there are important issues with this scanner that cannot be resolved 8 23.53%
Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Plustek OpticFilm 120
Old 08-04-2016   #1
lawrence
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Plustek OpticFilm 120

Plustek OpticFilm 120

My sixty-fifth birthday is coming up in October and I've been toying with the idea of treating myself to one of these, however I have read some negative comments about this scanner. I'd really appreciate it if current or past owners could give me an idea of any issues with the scanner before I make a decision.
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Old 08-04-2016   #2
G Dogg
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Lawrence, first, happy birthday. I have been an early adopter of the Plustek 120 and continue to use it with high regard. But like many things, it takes some time to learn the machine and its capabilities. And while I do find it works very well for me, I am sure you will hear from others who do not like it.

I have had no issues with the machine itself, the scanner has worked without any mechanical issues for the past 3 years. The biggest issue for me was the earlier versions of the SilverFast software and an alignment of the scanned frames. The folks at Plustek worked with me and sent me software and updated drivers, which has since been incorporated with the newest version of Silverfast, the packaged software. The issue was resolved in that you now have the ability to "move" the rescanned framed images, to get precisely what you want, the full frame. Maybe one in 50 scans I need to reload the negs in the holder and tweak it a bit, but really no longer an issue.

I used VueScan as well, bit did not see any real advantage for my work flow. However I do use this for another Epson scanner.

I routinely make 17x22 inch enlargements with the scans (from mainly 120 negative film) and the images are superb.

I like the scanner, and for me, it has done very well. I continue to learn new things with it, and I have no complaints.
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Old 08-04-2016   #3
lawrence
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Many thanks for the comments, which are very reassuring.

Lawrence
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Old 08-04-2016   #4
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I was also an early adopter. I've no issues with the scanner itself but I find I have to move the negatives around in the holders to find the right position to scan the whole frame. It's not really too much of a problem. Another issue is I need to keep my finger in the slot of the machine holding the door up or the door will prevent the movement of the holder back out of the scanner. This is only an issue when scanning frame 2 of 6x6 or 6x7 (I don't use any other format other than 35mm). I use Vuescan. Otherwise I'm perfectly content with the scanner.
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Old 08-04-2016   #5
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Same here, had one of the first ones in Canada.
Only issue was the early versions of the software which have been updated.

I'm mostly scanning 120, Linhof 612, but also 6X6 and 35mm.

cheers/k.
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Old 08-14-2016   #6
MartinN
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Hello

I can certainly recommend the Plustek OF120. I had some minor software problems with Silverfast but they are mostly resolved.

Now I almost exclusively use VueScan for OF120. Thats because I get better colors with Whitebalance or Autolevels. Besides that I can tweak underexposed or overexposed slides better with VueScan and it scans much faster than Silverfast, so I happily use Light IR cleaning.

I would only use Silverfast for black and white fillm (Software cleaning of BW film).
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Old 08-15-2016   #7
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The alignment of the frames for 6x6 scanning is a definite problem to me.
I use Vuescan. I gave up ever getting 3 squares. I just take one square (Frame 1) then two cropped frames. If I try to scan just Frame 2, the scan crashes. The holders don't even vaguely fit most strips of three 6x6.

The scans themselves seem good. 35mm is also good.
I only had a limited amount of patience and time for overcoming the 6x6 issue so maybe others had more success.
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Old 08-17-2016   #8
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I'm quite happy with the scans, but as coogee says, scanning more than one 6x6 frame in a holder is only possible with some hacking: I had to cut the middle 6x6 holder frame to allow resizing and freely moving all 3 frames on the rails. Then I have to cut my strips into single frames and position them in the now freely movable frames individually where the scanner expects them. Then I can scan all 3. Still much better than doing them one by one, but for the price of the scanner and how well it works with 35mm strips, I find this to be rather disappointing. But it's still the best multi-format scanner on the market.

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Old 09-06-2016   #9
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It's a fantastic scanner. I don't own mine any more, since I stopped doing 120 completely, and I don't have a lot of time for film (or photography in general any more), so I sold mine. But it's the best 120mm and 35mm scanner for home use that I've ever tried. Expensive though.
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Old 09-07-2016   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borge View Post
It's a fantastic scanner. I don't own mine any more, since I stopped doing 120 completely, and I don't have a lot of time for film (or photography in general any more), so I sold mine. But it's the best 120mm and 35mm scanner for home use that I've ever tried. Expensive though.
Many thanks for the feedback. Still considering this because, as you say, it's not cheap...
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Old 09-07-2016   #11
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I bought one and it had really bad banding on 120 scans. I did some looking and this is a big issue with multiple users reporting this problem. There is a big flickr thread about it. No resolution came from Plustek. Also the lack of AF or even MF is a stupid move for a scanner of this price. My cheap (and EXCELLENT) Pacific Image Primefilm XA has auto and manual focus and it cost me about $300.00. The Pacific Image is a rebranded "Reflecta". Not sure why the name change, but Reflecta also makes a 120 scanner. Given that my experience with my XA has been so good I would definitely consider it. It's cheaper to boot.
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Old 11-23-2016   #12
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Lawrence,

Thanks for this thread. I'm looking into this as well.
BTW, B&H have a $300 discount currently on the scanner.
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Old 12-12-2016   #13
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I haven't done much medium format with it recently, only 35mm. I never use Silverfast - no documentation (to speak of) and utterly incomprehensible interface. I use Vuescan, with which I am very pleased.

The real problem with this scanner is the misplacement of frames - for some reason it just gets off by a few millimetres and you have to remove the tray and reload. Either that, or be prepared to lose one side or other of your frame. So painful, not terminal, but painful. I really do not know why they could not have prevented (or solved) this issue. it's a lot of money for something which doesn't really work as it should.

Having said all of which, it probably offers the best scanning around at the moment, and will deliver better quality than a flatbed if you are prepared to live with its quirks.

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Old 12-13-2016   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstep3 View Post
The real problem with this scanner is the misplacement of frames - for some reason it just gets off by a few millimetres and you have to remove the tray and reload. Either that, or be prepared to lose one side or other of your frame. So painful, not terminal, but painful. I really do not know why they could not have prevented (or solved) this issue. it's a lot of money for something which doesn't really work as it should.

rjstep3
They solved that (partly) by giving to you an offset option underneath every frame in the Overview.

Of course you still can have severe uneven spacing problems whereby a frame goes underneath the crossbar between holder frames. In that case you have to eject the holder and reposition the film.
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Old 03-22-2017   #15
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http://luminous-landscape.com/wp-con...nner-Final.pdf

A rather long, but well written, review of primarily the V850 but in the latter half he runs tests against the 120 and Imacon scanners as well as other well regarded equipment. It is worth a read I think if you are looking at that spend and there are some useful comments on software and settings along the way. Still available despite the LL paywall.
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Old 12-01-2017   #16
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Very good read. Thanks!
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Old 12-03-2017   #17
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I'm looking to buy this scanner and Mamiya 7, wondering what are the real scan times per 1 roll of 120 film (10 photos 6x7) on 2017 Windows 10 PC (Xeon e5-2620 v4 and 128Gb ram).
The filmscanner.info review has it at 10600 ppi resolution between 33 and 60 hours.
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Old 12-03-2017   #18
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Quote:
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Very good read. Thanks!

Pleased you found it useful, thanks for responding.
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Old 03-10-2018   #19
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One of the sites that reviews and sells scanners used to carry this and noted that they stopped because of quality control issues. I bought and restored a Nikon LS8000 instead. Very very very pleased. Note that I have a Plustek 8200 and it is a royal PIA by comparison.
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Old 03-10-2018   #20
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The OpticFim 120 is so far out of my price range that any issues with it, technical or otherwise, are beyond my care. I do know two photographers who have bought it. One had technical issues, now resolved. The other produced excellent scans with his from Day 1.

This may brand me as a Luddite, but I blew my budget in 2009 and bought a (then new) Plustek 7600i which continues to serve me well after 10,000+ scans - but with several tens of thousands more negatives and slides yet to be done, I will surely need another complete lifetime to finish the job.

Apart from being infuriatingly slow to work with, the 7600i does all I expect of a scanner. To me the Software (Silverfast) is the PITA.
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Old 03-16-2018   #21
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I agree with you about the slow process using a scanner like the 7600i.

I got the Plustek 120 and I have always been sort of disappointed with it: the software is terrible, and you need to use Vuescan, which is much better though still not exactly what you would call user-friendly. I suppose the real complaint is that I was expecting my scans to improve in some sort of quantum leap and, compared with an Epson 700, they are not. The only discernible difference is that the 120 really gets the grain out of a scan, whereas the V700 is just a creamy texture.

I am not sure I would buy a 120 again. In fact, looking at bits of the lengthy review someone posted in the thread above, the Epson 850 is not that bad, and not at all bad in comparison with the Plustek 120. So I might go back to using the V700 - the process is much faster overall and the results (which is what it is all about) are good, especially if you use some proper film holders rather than the ones supplied by Epson.
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Old 03-18-2018   #22
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Just to say that in the end I bought a Minolta Elite 5400 for 35mm scans and continue to use the V750 for 120. I simply don't do enough 120 to justify the cost of the Plustek and for 35mm the Minolta is excellent (much better than my previous Nikon Coolscan IV). As for software, I tried Vuescan but after much experimentation found that I get better results with Silverfast. Note that there is a huge difference between the bundled version of Silverfast that came with the V750 (which is horrible) and the latest version, which is available on their web site.
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Old 03-18-2018   #23
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Just chiming in to say that I'm one of the happy Plustek 120 owners who hasn't experienced any problems. Mine has been working perfectly right from the start. I get much sharper scans than with the Epson scanners I had used before and a bit more DR too. Silverfast was admittedly a bit annoying in the beginning but updates to the software have since fixed the problems I had. The Plustek 120 and SF isen't slow by any means. A 5300 PPI scan of a 6x7 negative takes 2.45 min. including SF processing - how is that slow? My drum scanner takes well over 10 min. doing the same.
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Old 10-01-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamph View Post
Just chiming in to say that I'm one of the happy Plustek 120 owners who hasn't experienced any problems. Mine has been working perfectly right from the start. I get much sharper scans than with the Epson scanners I had used before and a bit more DR too. Silverfast was admittedly a bit annoying in the beginning but updates to the software have since fixed the problems I had. The Plustek 120 and SF isen't slow by any means. A 5300 PPI scan of a 6x7 negative takes 2.45 min. including SF processing - how is that slow? My drum scanner takes well over 10 min. doing the same.

I am also very pleased with my Plustek OpticFilm 120. I just had a scanning session yesterday with it. It's nearly 3 years old and has performed flawlessly.
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Old 10-01-2018   #25
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I tried EsponScan, Silverfast, and Vuescan with an Epson V700 and Pacific Image Prime Film XE, and, while each is adequate, they all leave a lot to be desired. Without any meaningful demand oor competition among scanning software, I don't expect any significant improvements, so we are left with making do with what we have.
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Old 10-01-2018   #26
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...they all leave a lot to be desired.
It would be interesting to know in what ways you find them lacking.
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Old 10-01-2018   #27
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It would be interesting to know in what ways you find them lacking.
The user interface primarily. Like I said, they all get the job done once you figure them out.
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Old 10-01-2018   #28
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I wish Apple made scanning software. Their approach to user interface is sorely needed in the scanning world. I loathe SilverFast with every cell in my body.
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Old 10-01-2018   #29
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I have looked at both the Plustek Optic Film 120 and the Epson V800/850 longingly for some time but always have trouble shelling out the dollars for either of them.



I find that my old Epson V500 still handles all my 120 and 4x5 (with photo stitching) scanning needs while my old Optic Film 7600i does a really good job with 35mm though it is glacially slow to operate.



But now that I have read the write up on the Epson V850 that was linked I may begin to get more serious about one of these instead.



My primary problem with any of the flatbed scanners is how much desktop real estate they occupy. But, the 850 does sound promising.
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Old 10-01-2018   #30
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I find that my old Epson V500 still handles all my 120 and 4x5 (with photo stitching) scanning needs while my old Optic Film 7600i does a really good job with 35mm though it is glacially slow to operate. But now that I have read the write up on the Epson V850 that was linked I may begin to get more serious about one of these instead.
If you do spring for a V850, don't give up your Optic Film 7600i for 35mm film. It would be a step backwards.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #31
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Still no sign of a new, improved OpticFilm 120.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #32
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I think the question is what "premium" they are going to charge for the new OpticFilm 120, the last one was expensive enough!
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Old 2 Days Ago   #33
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Just to say that in the end I bought a Minolta Elite 5400 for 35mm scans and continue to use the V750 for 120. I simply don't do enough 120 to justify the cost of the Plustek and for 35mm the Minolta is excellent (much better than my previous Nikon Coolscan IV).
I have the Minolta 5400 but a big problem with it are the flimsy holders that don't flatten the film, so often not all of the frame can be clearly in focus. May I ask if you found a workaround for this?

The in-focus part of the image is comparable to a drum scan so that is impressive (though at high res very very slow).
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Old 16 Hours Ago   #34
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I have the Minolta 5400 but a big problem with it are the flimsy holders that don't flatten the film, so often not all of the frame can be clearly in focus. May I ask if you found a workaround for this?

The in-focus part of the image is comparable to a drum scan so that is impressive (though at high res very very slow).
I don't have this problem at all, the image is sharp corner to corner. In fact the holder is the best I've used because it has bars between each frame that help to keep the film flat (see photo).

One thing to bear in mind is that there are two versions of the 5400 and the Mk.1, which I have, uses a cold cathode light source whereas the Mk.2 uses LEDs and personally I prefer a diffuse light source. Is it possible that you have the Mk.2 and that the holders are different? Alternatively, maybe you haven't noticed the two little tabs on the inside top that you need to slip the film under?

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