Comparing Film Scanners

by Chip Chapin
Updated July 26, 2000

What's Here

I wanted to buy a "medium quality" film scanner (i.e. a high-end consumer unit, but not a zillion-dollar professional machine.  So here's a comparison of the leading alternatives, with links to various info sources.

Product MSRP Street Price Base
dyn range scan
NT 4.0? inter-
A/D Software Notes
Nikon Coolscan III (LS-30) $799   $699 2700 2592 x 3894 3.0 20 sec (neg / pos) yes SCSI-2  10-bit Digital ICE, Altamira Gen. Fractals Incl. IR channel.  Lacks multi-sample averaging.  Output 8-bit only. Handles 6 negs at a time.
Incl strip & slide adapters. APS adapter add $200.
Nikon Super Coolscan 2000 (LS-2000) $1599   $1378 2700 2592 x 3894 3.6 20 sec yes SCSI-2  12-bit Digital ICE, Altamira Gen. Fractals Incl strip & slide adapters.  Auto slide feeder +$500.
Minolta Dimage Scan Dual  $595   $422 2438 2336 x 3504   60 sec (pos) yes SCSI-2 10-bit "Adobe Imaging Software" Says 200 sec for APS neg!?
Scans 4 slides.  Manual handling of film strip.
Optional APS +$200.
Minolta Dimage Scan Dual II  $595 $422 2820 2688 x 4032 3.2 60 sec (pos),
3-4 min w/color s/w.
NO USB 12-bit Minolta Easy Scan, Adobe Photoshop LE  Optional APS +$200.
Minolta Dimage Scan Speed  $1195 $877 2820 2688 x 4032 3.6 40 sec yes SCSI-2 12-bit Adobe PhotoShop LE Optional APS adapter +$200.
Canoscan FS2710  $1100 $700 2720 2570 x 3855 3.2 25 sec yes SCSI-2 12-bit Adope Photoshop LE Incl. SCSI adaptor card.  Incl APS adapter.
HP Photosmart S20 / S20xi $500   2400 2468 x 3402     yes USB 12-bit differs btw S20 and S20xi Also scans prints up to 5x7 at 300dpi. No APS. Handles 4 negs at a time.

Additional Resources

Additional information about these products can be found here:

Other Resources for Digital Imaging and Scanning

Personal Criteria

  1. I want to connect to my NT 4.0 system.  That basically rules out USB, though HP claims to have some hack that allows their S20 to work with NT.  SCSI should be noticeably faster for these huge data files anyway.
  2. I don't care about APS.