The Nikon 8000 Super Coolscan ED film scanner was the predecessor of the current and most latest Nikon 9000 Super Coolscan ED film Scanner. There are differences between the 2, but the main difference is that the 9000 model can read a D-Max of 4.8 compared with the 4.2 of the Nikon 8000. What that means is that the 9000 model can scan a greater range of light and dark tones compared with the 8000 model. My personal opinion is that for the D-Max difference, it's much better to try and find an 8000 model than to buy the 9000 new or used (if you can find one on e-Bay!). Furthermore, the used ones on e-Bay always seem to undergo bidding wars, and inevitably end up costing as much as a new one (which is strange to me!).
I teach professional photography and also do occasional contract work. If you do shoot film and are an advanced amateur or professional, then the D-Max will not be the most important thing for you. If you are a studio portrait or tabletop or fashion photographer, then controlling the lighting ratio to capture the subject reflectance range (light and dark tone extremes) is always a factor on film or with a DSLR. Therefore, the 4.8 D-Max of the Nikon 9000 is not worth ( to me) the added extra cost.
You can upload to your computer (Thank you Nikon) the latest version of their Nikon Scan software. Like all other scanners (flatbed or film), you can scan directly from the Nikon sofware, or scan through Photoshop.
I haven't yet done what I am about to propose, but here it is. I am wondering if you do scan an image with a lot of contrast that does exceed the 4.2 or even 4.8, could you scan the same image at different settings for 2-4 scans, then use the HDR feature of Photoshop CS2 to "meld" the differences into a better-controlled image?
The scanner holders seem to be the same for both models, so if you cannot find older 8000 film holders, then you can always buy the ones made for the 9000 model.
This instrument is a fine-tuned piece of superb machinery. It's a bit noisy, but the results are great. If you have a huge collection of slides or film, then you would be better off with the Nikon Coolscan 5000 or 4000 (older) models. These 2 scanners have great accessories for batch scanning lots of slides "en masse" or rolls of film. The 8000 or Nikon scanners can only scan 3 - 120 format exposures, 5 - 35 mm slides, or 10 exposures of negative 35mm film. What the 8000 or 9000 scanner does is to make you realize what images you really want to scan and makes you become more of an editor rather than a machinist/robot scanning everything that you have!
There is that issue that everyone always mentions and that is needing the glass carrier for 120 format film. The problem that most people mention is that the 120 format buckles slightly in the standard film holder that you receive with the 8000 or 9000 scanner. You can purchase the FH869G 120/220 film strip glass holder starting at about $ 230.00 . Hardly any photo store or Internet Camera supplier carries them, and you will have to wait 7-8 weeks to get one if you order through them. The glass carier is great if you expect to make big enlargements starting at 16" x 20", but if you just want to have a "record" of old family pictures, or a digital record of all of your images, them keep the film, and send it out to a lab.
The scanner comes with a IEEE1994 firewire PCI card.On newer motherboards, the power connection is built into the motherboard. I have an older motherboard, and I discovered, that I needed to use an extra wire connection inside my computer to attach it to the firewire card in order to power up the card.
Since I bought the 8000 used on e-Bay, I phoned Nikon Canada in Toronto) to enquire about the costs should something go wrong. I'm Canadian, ergo the reason for phoning Nikon Canada.I won't hold Nikon to their estimates, but they were surprisingly quite reasonable considering a new Nikon 9000 can cost from $ 1800.00 - $ 2100.00 US.
The bottom line is that the Nikon 8000 is a great machine. They're hard to find on e-Bay. Some weeks there may be 5 for sale, and at other times there are none. I did look at other used older models of dedicated film scanners (Minolta, Microtek Artixscan / Used and New, Imacon, Polaroid). Some models required SCSI connections which is not a big deal if you can connect a SCSI card to a motherboard, and other models(Imacon) are in high demand and go have great resale values.
You might want to read my other article (Hasselblad) on buying and selling on e-Bay which applies to the Nikon 8000 scanner. Some of the key points are:
a. Ask questions of the write-up or pictures are not so good.
b. Set a price that you are willing to bid up to.
c. If you do win a bid, then ask the seller to package the scanner well. The scanner does come well packaged, but as luck would havwe it (and I asked the seller to package it in a bigger box within a box), my scanner did come with the outer box ripped open!
d. These items have great resale value. When you are finished with the scanner, then just relist it on e-Bay. Even if you don't recover the full price that you paid, you will have been still better off in the end after having scanned your film.
Thanks for reading this article.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada