I wanted to write a short review on the very impressive Plustek OpticFilm 120 Scanner. Nowadays when I shoot film it’s always a consideration as to how I’m going to scan my black and white film, in fact it has become a priority because of the need to produce a digital file from my valuable negative to proplate my website and of course to share on social media.
I have used many scanners over the years to scan my black and white negatives with varying results, all have left me wanting and nearly all are not good with black and white film. I want to get the very best scan I can out of my well crafted negatives. My desire has always been to own a Flextight X5 Scanner which comes in at around £17,000.00.. way out of my budget.
I bought the Plustek OpticFilm 120 Scanner on blind faith, which you can now get for just under £2,000. One of the positives is that it comes with the very impressive SilverFast Ai studio Suite 8 which is worth £500 on its own. At first glance the software looks very daunting, but it has excellent support from video tutorials which I have to advise is a must to watch and digest because out of the box you won’t get the best results, especially if you are scanning black and white film. It also has all the film profiles build into the software which works a treat.
The Plustek OpticFilm 120 Scanner does not take up much room on the desktop too, it’s quite a small package when you compare it to its rivals, you do however need space at the back because the negative carriers travel some distance out of the back when scanning. Its PC and Mac friendly, the build quality is really good and it comes with all the necessary 120 and 35mm negative carriers allowing you to scan all formats up to but not including 5x4inch. The negative carriers are the best I have seen and used, they’re really well built and hold the negatives securely in place, perfectly flat giving you a good scan edge to edge. It’s maximum resolution is 5300 dpi which equates to a very impressive 105 megabyte file from 35mm if scanned to its maximum. For medium format I personally scan at 2600 which gives me a 100 megabyte file when scanning 6×6 which is more than big enough for me.
I have produced 60 inch, on the longest edge, prints from 35mm black and white film printed on a Light Jet printer through Ilford Photo and the results are fantastic. The print was sharp with superb tonal range..very impressive indeed.
In conclusion you can get fantastic scans from the Plustek OpticFilm 120 Scanner you do however need to tinker with the bundled SilverFast Ai studio software to get the very best from the scanner. In my opinion this is the best medium format mid priced scanner on the market, certainly that I have tried anyway. In fact I have had the same negative scanned by the Flextight X1 Scanner and can’t see much difference at all.
We now hire out the Plustek OpticFilm 120 Scanner with a 27 inch IMac at our studio, with or without tuition. If you are interested in this please send us an email for details and pricing.