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I Virtually Purchased a Scanner

I Virtually Purchased a Scanner

2023-01-25 16:00:22

I Virtually Purchased a Scanner

I nearly purchased a scanner. Primarily for my Alpine Panoramics project. The important thing right here is that I’m nonetheless taking pictures most of those pictures on a Hasselblad Xpan – an extended since discontinued movie digicam that shoots two 35mm frames aspect by aspect to realize a panoramic body masking roughly 65x24mm.

You can’t get ok high quality scans of those negatives to print them as much as 60cm on the brief edge with shopper grade scanners. You might want to go to the excessive finish. That prices. There are different causes i nearly purchased a scanner, that we’ll get to. That is the scanner in query:

A Hasselblad Flextight X1. Google the factor for the value should you’re curious, and no I wasn’t going to pay that a lot, I used to be going to pay lower than half of that (a cut price to be truthful). Right here’s the scanner in motion:

As you possibly can see, the Mac linked to the scanner is kind of an outdated one. On this case a 2007 iMac. I additionally received it working with a 2015 Macbook Professional, which is about as updated as you could be with this scanner. That is the place the “nearly” turns into clearer.


The software program that drives these scanners is compiled for 32bit structure and hasn’t been up to date in effectively over 10 years. Hasselblad refuse to replace it to fashionable architectures, and refuse to open supply it to permit others to do this, so you’re caught utilizing an OS that may run it.

Virtualization is troublesome because the scanners use SCSI or Firewire connectivity and that’s problematic with VMs. So that you want a devoted previous rig to run the proprietary software program to drive the scanner.

That’s form of manageable however the scanners themselves are actually reaching their pure finish of life – most of them had been manufactured in late 2000s after which had been discontinued in 2019. The service choices are restricted, components are actually briefly provide, and the present scanners are beginning to see their components fail.

It appears the Firewire ports on these items begin to go unhealthy after a few decade. If that occurs you’re taking a look at a 3,000 Euro restore invoice if you’ll find somebody with the components able to changing them. Hasselblad will nonetheless restore them nevertheless it’s a ache to get the scanner to them and so they cost nearly twice as a lot as third half service outlets.

This explicit scanner, regardless of having low utilization (within the order of two,500 scans, lower than one tenth of the variety of scans earlier than a advisable service) was displaying indicators of a foul Firewire port. I went via a number of weeks of debugging to ultimately conclude the port or essential board was unhealthy and was this not ready to drop 5,000 Euros on it.

Why This Scanner Although?

This factor is exceptional. The larger brother (the X5) much more so. Imacon/Hasselblad had a load of patents on the expertise which means no different producer can replicate it. There are different excessive spec scanning options, after all, however none that come near this type issue.

The scanner is comparatively easy – a intelligent mechanism to make sure the movie stays flat (a “digital drum”), high quality fixed gentle supply, a really costly and intensely top quality Rodenstock lens that has its focus exactly adjusted for each single scan, and a good high quality CCD to seize the picture (scan). That is all held inside a largely empty field.

The historical past is that Hasselblad merged with Imacon in 2004 for his or her digital again / CCD expertise. It is because Hasselblad had been considering creating digital backs for his or her, on the time, H vary of medium format cameras. The scanners had been included as a part of the take care of the deal stating that Hasselblad needed to honour that for not less than x years (15 years perhaps?).

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15 years handed, at which level Hasselblad discontinued the scanners. The price of modernising the interfaces was not price it. In truth, solely 7 years handed earlier than Hasselblad successfully discontinued them as that was after they stopped updating the software program.

So that you now have a not-insignificant variety of house owners of those scanners which might be approaching finish of life with little choice to switch or restore them. I in all probability sound just a little bitter, however Hasselblad have kind right here and as I mentioned this factor is exceptional. It truly is.

How exceptional? Right here’s certainly one of my very first panoramics scanned with this scanner again in 2016:

Right here’s a small crop, with the left hand aspect being this scanner and the precise hand aspect being the perfect I might obtain with my shopper grade scanner:

The native optical decision of the X1 is 6300ppi when scanning 35mm movie. The X5 has 8000ppi. Completely no contest, and there’s no approach I can interpolate the buyer scan as much as obtain information ok to print 160x60cm. I want top quality scans of those negatives.

Right here in Switzerland I’m taking a look at a value of round 30.- CHF a body minimal if I get a 3rd occasion to scan them for me. Think about when you have 10 frames to scan, or 100 frames?

The Different Motive?

My Formula Non venture has about 2,300 frames. I’m within the means of modifying this and trying to ultimately create a guide and presumably an exhibition. For that I additionally need the highest quality scans. That is much less about printing huge however extra about extracting probably the most dynamic vary and sharpness from the negatives – one thing this scanner can also be exceptional at.

In fact I’m not planning to scan all of two,300 frames on the highest high quality, however in all probability within the area of 75 to 200 frames. That’s 2500 to 7500.- CHF price of scans if I get a 3rd occasion to do it.

The price of this scanner doesn’t appear so unhealthy taking a look at it from that perspective, given that will be simply this venture alone and never counting all the opposite movie I find yourself scanning.

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