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Nikon Super Coolscan 8000 ED Film Scanners

4.08/5 (26 Reviews)


  • Scanner TypeFilm Scanner (35 mm)
    InterfaceFireWire (IEEE1394)
    Max. Resolution (Interpolated)4000 x 4000 dpi
    PlatformPC, Mac
    Max. Color Depth48-bit Color
    Form FactorDesktop
    Scan Element TypeCCD
    Light SourceRGB LED
    Input TypeColor
    Film Scanning Capabilities35mm Filmstrip • 120 Film
    Optical Density4.2 Dmax
    Focus ControlAuto Focus • Manual
    Supported Media TypeFilm • Slides
    Media Loading MethodAutoload
    Max. Supported Media Size 56 x 83 mm
    Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 2000 • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition • Apple MacOS 8
    Width9.65 in.
    Depth19.11 in.
    Height7.88 in.
    Weight19.85 lb.
    Included AccessoriesFireWire Cable • FireWire Card • Power Cord • Templates For FilmStrips • Transparent Media Adapter For Negatives • 120 Film Holder
    MPN9246
    Product ID20170915

Product Description



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Reviews 1 - 5 (26 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by cor55 a Expert

Date Reviewed: February 15, 2011

Strengths:    High quality scans
Easy to use software


Weaknesses:    if any, its an older model, so parts and service may be hard to come by.

Bottom Line:   
Many reviewers slam this product for the film holder, the lines in the dark areas, and no detail in the highlights, but they do not understand the principles of scanning and perhaps of photography in general. I shoot 6 x 7 slide film, often with very contrasty images and every time I get a scan that I can use to get a perfect print. Yes, there is a lot of work in getting a print that matches a slide, but this is what you have to do, what photographers have always had to do.

The film holder works well, you dip a cotton bud in alchol, run it along the rubber on the grooves, then it will grip the film and you can pull it tight and flat. No problem. One of the clips broke off, so I used screws to pull the holder down onto the film. works fine.

I use the basic Nikon software that comes with it. If you get lines in the scan, go to fine mode - 3 times longer - big deal - you get a perfect scan. If you need detail in the dark areas, use 14 bit and 16x passover and you will get good detail. Dont use shaprening, curves (unless absolutely necessary, or any other settings except ICE) This gives you a high quality raw file that you then use in photoshop to get the best detail from.

If your film is so poorly exposed that you have a massive contrast between blacks and whites, you can always do 2 scans and layer them, one exposed for highlights, and one for shadows. Its no different to masking in a dark room.

I get sharp prints that look almost exactly the same as the slide films they are scanned off. Sometimes you have to work at it, just like getting a good neg in the first place, so dont slam something just because you dont know how to use it.

Samples of my scans are on www.coreyrankin.com

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Medium format flatbed scanners

Type of photography:   Fine Art


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by cron90 a Expert

Date Reviewed: January 13, 2011

Strengths:    -Top-quality scans
-dust and scratches less noticeable than flatbed
-excellent color and contrast with a minimum of post-processing
-professional build quality
-firewire for speedy transfer
-uses standard cables for power, firewire
-MUCH cheaper than anything like it (but not for long). The 9000's price is now skyrocketing out of sight.


Weaknesses:    -out of production, unlikely repair by Nikon
-expensive, though still a fraction of what a 9000 now goes for
-software unsupported by Nikon (other option exist, though)
-large, though footprint is no bigger than a flatbed


Bottom Line:   
Even as I write this review in January, 2011, the Nikon Coolscan 8000 ED is still the best (probably the only) value for high-quality scans outside of expensive drum scans. Despite being years out of production, large, noisy, and slow, it still beats everything else for the money. But as the latest generation, the 9000, climbs past $4000 and even $6000, expect the 8000's value to rise as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see the 8000's price climb above $2000 fairly soon.

I can compare the 8000 to two other scanners: the Coolscan V, and the Epson V500.
The 8000 makes excellent 35mm scans, but not visibly better than the V. 35mm is noticeably better than the Epson flatbed, as expected. I primarily scan medium format film, and the Epson does a fairly good job, but it depends on the film: Tmax 400 II is a great scanning film and the Epson does a good job. However, the Nikon 8000 far surpasses the Epson when it comes to color. Straight out of the Nikon, both color negs and slides have excellent color and contrast, while the Epson produces very low-contrast files that only guess at the colors. Much tweaking of the Epson files is needed, and sometimes you just can't get the colors right. Also, the Nikon color scans produce very little noise, while the Epson color scans are full of noise. The 8000 scans, even without ICE, produce less in the way of dust and scratches. Because the Epson's files always need a contrast and sharpness boost, dust and scratches are emphasized.

The 8000 is certainly no speed demon, but let's face it: it's much faster than mailing out your valued negs to a service bureau (one of which sends them on to India...). And of course faster than darkroom work. It has a small amount of operating noise, but nothing too objectionable.

The film carriers are large and beefy, and put the Epson holders to shame (although the Epson holders do what they need to do). Many have said the glass MF holder is necessary--I'm still determining that. I have found that, contrary to the instructions and common wisdom, I get sharper scans with the emulsion side up in the supplied 120 holder.

The one weakness of using Nikon scanners in general (besides the possibility of no repair service) is the lack of reasonably-priced full-feature software. NIkon Scan, while it has the most control, especially for batch scanning, constantly crashes and is no longer supported. Silverfast is expensive. I have been using Vuescan, which is adequate, especially for the price, but the documentation is very thin, and many aspects about the program are cryptic.

The 8000 occupies a very narrow and specific niche. Who would want one?
Serious film photographers who want the best scans for the money, want to do it themselves, but for whom the 9000 is now out of range. Even at its current used price of $1500-2000, you only have to do a few hundred scans to pay for it. At this point, there is nothing left to replace the Nikon scanners. Get one before the price follows the 9000 into orbit.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $1750.00

Purchased At:   private

Similar Products Used:   Coolscan V
Epson V500


Type of photography:   Fine Art


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JohnW a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: June 1, 2005

Strengths:    Scanning quality

Weaknesses:    120 format film holder, NikonScan4 software.

Bottom Line:   
This is a great product. While it is capable of great scans - I've done 35mm slides, 35mm negs, and (mostly) 6x7 negs and slides- it needs help. Several other reviews have mentioned the problems with the 120 neg holder. There is an easy fix - take off the hinged holders and substitute a thin piece of frosted glass to fit within the negative holding rails. Place your negative on the holder, convex side up, and cover with the glass.
I also purchased VueScan from Hamrick software which drives the 8000 without a problem - which I can't say about Silverscan. With VueScan I've never had a problem with the scan lines and you have complete control over the scanner's capabilities, including complete control over the number of multiscan per pass, and the ability to add a seperate long exposure pass. It may not be fast, but it does a superb job!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $1600.00

Purchased At:   Nikon demo via ebay

Type of photography:   Outdoor


Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Karl Downing a Professional

Date Reviewed: June 16, 2004

Strengths:    Fantastic scans, if you know how to get round the scanners faults! ICE is very good and Scan3 software very comprehensive - perhaps a bit too comprehensive?

Weaknesses:    The banding, poor quality film holders, expensive glass film holders, thick, dark shadow-like lines appearing down one side of your images. This happens mainly when scanning MF B&W negs (and yes the ICE is switched off!)

Bottom Line:   
Reading these reviews has been very interesting, and I agree with the majority of the comments.

The 8000 is a great scanner and is capable of producing some top quality scans. Indeed this is verified by the fact that I have never had a complaint about the scan quality from my professional and amateur photographer clients.

HOWEVER, getting top quality scans with this unit can be long-winded and sometimes extremely frustrating. Let me explain. The supplied medium format film holder is rubbish. Its fiddly and difficult to get the film flat as it only holds the long sides of the film and subsequently the film can bow. This can result in partially out of focus scans. Very irritating if you only discover that the scan is out of focus after waiting over 10 mins for it to appear on the screen. The best way to combat this problem is to ditch that carrier and get the glass carrier that keeps the films totally flat. It makes a HUGE difference. The price of it however is a complete rip-off. The cheapest I found it was £300.00. A terrible price for a bit of plastic and a couple of bits of glass!

But by far the biggest problem with this scanner is the intermittant banding. In other words lines running accross the image. Nikon mention this in the manual but they state it will only happen on contrasty negs and slides and when extreme curves adjustments have been made. Rubbish. It can happen on a perfectly exposed, normal contrast neg and slide. The only way you can get rid of it is by using the fine scan mode, but that just prolongs the whole scanning process 3-fold.

The scanner has other quirks too which have also been mentioned on this section. But all of them can be got round - with difficulty. But it really shouldnt do these in the first place.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $2500.00

Purchased At:   Calumet

Type of photography:   Other


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by David Rees a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: March 12, 2004

Strengths:    Reasonably robust under prolonged use.

Holders apart from std. 120 holder work well.

Excellent scans, with good detail.


Weaknesses:    It is slow, esp. in Fine Mode (which I use all the time). 12 35mm slides takes about 40mins; 12 35mm colour negs need about an hour.

Some noise when in use, but I've got quite used to it. When it stops, I load it with more.

The original MikonScan software was flakey. Now I have 3.1.2, the problems have gone away.

Forces you into buying enormous hard drives, plus burning 1000s of CDRs / 100s of DVDRs, if you use it as much as I do!


Bottom Line:   
I bought this scanner 2.5 years ago, and have been using it subsequently to scan in all my current photographic work, plus archive all my old films going back 15 years. (A bit obsessive, no?). So far I have scanned about 1000 6x7s (mostly slide, but some neg), and 8500+ 35mm (slide both mounted and strips, and neg strips). It's still working, so my example at least is reliable.

I scan exclusively at 4000dpi, with Nikon Colour Management switched off, using Fine mode (I got banding sometimes, so decided quality was preferable to speed). I use Digital ICE where I can -- love it!

At first my scans of 6x7 seemed sharp enough, but after a while, I felt I wasn't getting the best from them, so bought the 869G glass 120 film holder. This has its quirks, but works pretty well (it didn't come with instructions, but a web search found a 1 page Nikon guide -- the thing you need to know is that the film masks go beneath the film). I recommend this unit, but don't pay the outrageous UK prices for one -- import one from Germany or the US.

Recently I started shooting 35mm panoramics with my Mamiya 7. I tried scanning these by laying them on the glass of the 869G, but the results weren't brilliant. Light from the sprocket holes in the film was bleeding into the scan area. The 869G does not come with film guide for 35mm panoramics; only the 869GR (the rotating version does). I considered making my own masks, but then I found that replacement mask sets for the 869GR can be ordered from B&HPhoto in New York. I took a flyer and got a set, and indeed the panoramic masks do the job fine. There is a tab in the middle bottom of the mask which you might want to cut off, but I haven't bothered -- it does no harm.

The generic LS8000 ICM profile supplied is not great. I finally got around to using Monaco EZColor 2.6 to profile my monitor, printer and this scanner, and I'm most pleased with the results. Don't bother with the Ektachrome IT8 -- get the cheaper, and better, ones from Wolf Faust (www.coloraid.de).

I have never used GEM, or multipass scanning -- results have never warranted it.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $3800.00

Purchased At:   digital first, UK

Similar Products Used:   None.

Type of photography:   Outdoor



Reviews 1 - 5 (26 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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