My filmy photographic life flashed before my eyes lastnight…so to speak.
Hence, the (unintentional) quasi-review I have been promising you for quite some time.
See the image above? (Well, of course you do…)
Notice anything unusual?
Fact is, my negatives have been exhibiting increasing signs of lines, scratching, and damage recently.
Yesterday, the whole roll came out looking like this.
I was pretty sure it was the scanner.
I have tried compressed air in the past, and even fed a cleaning cloth through it (don’t ask…)
Just to be sure, I scanned the same negative on my Plustek…
The line was not there;
I knew my baby was hurting inside.
So off I went; Torx screwdriver and alcohol swabs in hand…
I was somewhat certain I would not be able to correct the problem, as I thought the scanning chamber and transport mechanism on the Pakon was sealed. (I have opened the unit before, but never completely stripped it down…)
I managed to get at the sensor, and gave that a wipe; The focusing lens got cleaned as well. The chamber got opened, and everything thoroughly cleaned.
I knew there was a chance the glass or sensor might be permanently scratched. (Worse still, I might damage it myself…) But I had to try and save her.
Back together, and tremulously fed another strip through (the first one got stuck because I had left a wire in the wrong place). So apart again, and back together…
The image below was the end result:
She was saved!!
So without further ado…
My Pakon F135 Mini-review
(Are you ready?)
(Are you sitting down with a nice cup of coffee, or a glass of cold beer?)
Yes, that’s all.
If you’re serious about 35mm photography, you need to own one. Now.
(Before prices go up, or they disappear…)
I actually have two.
(Yes, I know I didn’t tell you that, but just because I have a spare one sitting in a box, doesn’t mean I was just going to let this one go!)
I don’t actually even know if the second one works, as I haven’t even opened it yet. It was $200. They were about $8000 brand-new. Most of them were re-purposed from old CVS Photolabs.
- Yes, you need Windows XP (I run Parallels on my Mac…)
- Yes, you need the software patch to allow you to scan “C-41 B&W”. (If you need it, shoot me a line…)
- Yes, it is simple and totally worth your effort. You put the film in, and it scans. Flawlessly.
- For color it is even better: DX coded, and spot-on every time.
Most of them are quite ugly to look at (yellowed and dirty) but work just fine. The “Plus” version (the only one around nowadays…) produces an image 3000 x 2000 pixels. For a 35mm frame, that’s around 2100 DPI!!
For reference sake, here is the same file on my Plustek at 1800 DPI:
The Plustek may be slightly sharper, but this was scanned in 4 passes using multi-exposure. The single file above took 10 minutes to produce. With the Pakon, I would have had 36 frames saved to my harddrive, imported into Lightroom, the bad ones rejected, some minor edits done, my teeth brushed, and my pajamas on.
For high-res printouts, I still rescan a frame or two using the Plustek or Epson, but for getting a whole roll into the computer reliably, the Pakon just cannot be beat.
So there you have it. My review is finished. I finally did it. I can now sleep at night.
Here are a few more from the lovingly restored F135: