Nikon Coolscan 5000 film scanner


New York 1995 (2)

I got a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED (sorry, that's really the name). Quick Summary: It's really great.

I have a big stack of pictures to scan. It's curious how good I was about writing careful notes on all the framed pictures of place/trip/event/occasion, film number, frame number and usually year. When the time machine is invented I must send thanks back to myself annno 1991-1996 for doing that. (It's also curious how it seems like I was a much better photographer then than now, but that's for another posting...)

I'll get to the fun ones with people soon enough (well, fun for the 5 occasional readers who knew me in that period. For you 2500+ daily readers looking for the regular serving of ... Actually, I've no idea what you are looking for!). Anyway, no matter what I find and scan I will post to my flickr account and occasionally here.

The technical quality of the scanner is amazing. It almost makes me want to put batteries in the old F-90 and take some more. The new fancy digital cameras might technically have better resolution and all, but "it just doesn't quite look the same". Sob sob. Of course, the workflow completely ruins it. Even scanning a strip of 6 pictures (which the scanner can do by itself) takes forever and a bit too much manual labor wheras with Aperture I can "process" hundreds of pictures in a snap. (Duncan compared Apple Aperture and Adobe Lightroom a few days ago).

The scans show A LOT of detail. Also a lot of dust and dirt, almost no matter how carefully you thought you cleaned it. Fortunately the dust, dirt and scratch removal in the scanner is really good (except on some of my slides which I think are Kodachrome, more on that another time.

Only nit so far (I only opened it up and made a few test scans) is that it didn't come with the "FH-3 Film Strip Holder" so I can only scan framed slides or strips of 2-6 pictures.

For some of the pictures (maybe the one above included) it looks like it'd work better if I could take it out of the old glass frame and clean it better, but without the strip holder I can't scan them. And it appears to be sold out everywhere. Grrh.

Speaking of dirt, here's an article on how to clean the Coolscan 5000.

Update: The hardware is really good; but the software is really just completely horrendous. Nikon basically completely stopped supporting or developing the software years ago and are showing no signs of opening up the APIs to other developers or some such. To use the scanner you really need an old computer with an old OS. For Macs I'm keeping a G4 Mac Mini around with OS 10.4 just to scan because the software is working marginally better (which is better than "not at all") there. Contacting Nikon technical support will just give you a "well, maybe it'll work. If not, as you described, try re-installing and cross your fingers a lot". Okay, so they didn't recommend crossing fingers; but they should have - it'd have been the most helpful advice they'd given.


What about the scanner Knud Erik has? Isnt that one scanning without the frames holding the film? I think I remember that it was able to accept a simple film strip with 6 pictures with no frames at all.


Yup -- the 5000 comes with that attachment too. It doesn't work for single frames though!

I think my solution might be to get some glass-less frames and move the slides with "bad" frames to them...

- ask

I hope someone can help me here. I and my colleagues are all stumped by an issue we seem to be having with the Nikon Coolscan 5000. I just got the scanner last spring, loaded the software and tried it out before I went on summer break. So, I barely used it yet things seemed ok, auto color correct worked fine etc.

I returned in Fall and had recieved a grant so I got a new IMAC G5 (I had a mac marshmallow G4 prior). So, I hooked scanner to the new mac and loaded the software. I mention this since it is the only change I made that I can think of.

Now when I scan a slide the preview looks fine but when I actually scan it it comes up on my screen very faded, almost as if there is some sort of a greyish whiteish haze over the whole image. I have tried everything I can think of, returning to factory settings etc yet it happens with all images. These are slides that I scan in my Epson flatbed with no problem.

Any ideas?

No matter what settings I select the scanned images from my 5000 are always considerably darker than the original Kodachorme slides.
Any suggestions?

I just got the 5000 scanner and the previews looked great while the full scan was darker. I tried to improve it in Photoshop and it got duller. then when I zoomed in at very high magnification I saw that every other column of pixels was a black bar, like looking through a grating. the scanner was defective and had to be sent back.

Hi I am a little late here just seen Krista smiths trouble--one thing with kodachrome is that cleaning must be turned off also
(I don,t use nikon software but vuescan)if ther is an option to select filtype,use the correct one

The Coolscan 5000 is the most frustrating piece of equipment I have ever used. The stacker doesn't work half of the time and 75% of the time I startup the software and cannot get any response or the desktop is missing. IMac is only 2 months old and works wonderfully. Any suggestions...please!?!

It was a long time ago but Krista's problem is just dust on the mirrors in the scanner. Same thing happened to my LS-2000. Didn't use it for a few years and, when I started it up, I had the fuzzy images. I was not happy.

HOWEVER, I found some information on the 'net that led me to believe the optics needed cleaning and, sure enough, I opened it up (4 screws on the back, the sides come off) and the mirrors and lens were covered with dust. A moisture collecting dust. I used some alcohol and swabs to clean it off, blew it dry with compressed air (not the canned type, a portable air compressor - the canned stuff can leave a residue) and VOILA! Clean scans again!

Blue casts are almost always a result of scanning Kodachrome as well as not calibrating the scanner to a good target. Look up IT-8 and you'll find what you need. A calibrated scanner will always outperform a non-calibrated one. It will also help to remove any particular color casts the slides or negatives may have. Though, every scan is different and your mileage may vary.

Consider a Plustek 7500i AI with Silverfast 6.6 ai software from B&H - half the price and works fine on my 2008 MacbookPro with current Leopard OS. I was considering the Coolscan 5000 as it is technically a jump or two up from the Plustek but I was told flat out by the B&H sales rep that there are a lot of problems with the Coolscan 5000 and Mac OS Leopard. The Plustek 7500i gets some pretty high ratings and I think I may just stick with it for now. Not as fast as the Coolscan but I'm pretty happy with the results I see and the fact it seems perfectly happy on my Mac.

Best of luck - we all know how frustrating it is putting down big bucks and ending up with headaches.


Some notes on the Nikon 5000:
- Problems with Mac: Nikon officially canceled the support for Mac 10.5. Some people get it to run, others don't.
- The Plustek isn't bad that's right. And there's also a successor the Plustek 7600i available (also including SilverFast like the 7500i). Nevertheless, the Nikon is the better, but pricier device.
- In general: It's not just the scanner, but also the software, that makes the scan. Using professionl software can reduce a lot of manual post processing, of which Bjoern complained about. SilverFast can even use dust & scratch removal on Kodachrome slides (and it supports Mac).

Here's an info page on Nikon scanners & SilverFast.


I'm using my Nikon 5000 on a PC running XP. For scanning colour negs and slides it produces wonderful results. So far I have done about 4000 frames. I find the software quite easy to use and set. BUT!&#%$#@& Now I get down to scanning the B&W negs I have. What ever I do I get crap. If I do get any results at all its full of dust and what looks like mould spores. If I turn on ICE all the dust and spores are gone but so is the image. Has anyone had this problem?


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This page contains a single entry by Ask Bjørn Hansen published on September 6, 2006 9:07 AM.

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