Coolscan 4000 v 5000; firewire v usb2; bulk feeders


Jeff McLean

Hello scanners!

I've got the usual project: scanning about 5000 Ektachrome slides dating
back 20 years. A year or two ago, I rented a Nikon 4000 and bulk feeder
for a weekend to sort of test the waters. That worked well enough for my
needs (and a few hundred slides), though it was loud and slow. Have
finally decided to actually buy one of the things and find that there are
some choices. And maybe I'll build a soundproof cover.

Nikon 4000 is available in refurbished form for $700 to $900, new it's
harder to find but about $1300. Firewire. The Nikon 5000 is around $1100
and is USB 2. I've seen the bulk feeder for around $500. I'm going to
budget $2000: maybe my close friends will chip in a few bucks to borrow
the setup once I'm done. (Hope they're reading this.)

Here's my dilemma. I've got an older Mac Pismo laptop that has two
firewire ports, two USB 1 ports and a PCMCIA slot. Would the data
transfer from the LS5000 via some USB2 PCMCIA card be as fast as
firewire? Does the 5000 scan faster than the 4000, all other settings
being equal? Just how important are the three year extended warranties,
anyway? Are there other scanners I should consider? I'm aware of
scanning services, but the cheapest I've run across is around 50
cents/slide, and I'd still be without a slide scanner.

Interestingly enough, the bulk feeder is the most important feature for my
scanner choice, followed by speed of scan and robustness/reliability.
Plus, I want "pretty good" scans. And easier access to the images:
they'll be more readily available for slide shows on whatever flat screen
or projection device I eventually acquire. The largest prints I very
occasionally make are 8x10. If I really want a good print of a given
slide, I'm perfectly willing to go back and scan at high resolution, touch
up and print. But automating the bulk process with ICE is absolutely
crucial to my plans. I'll be using Ed's excellent Vuescan (Thanks Ed!).

Any suggestions, tips, commiseration or words of encouragement would be
most welcome!

Seattle (where it's sunny today)
And if there's someone local who wants to sell their scanner+bulk feeder
and upgrade, let me know!

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