PrimeFilm scanner is positively great for negatives, slides


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April 01, 2004|By Kevin E. Washington

Photo enthusiasts like myself are always looking for the best way to digitize film without spending big bucks. Any professional worth his salt will tell you to use a drum scanner, but those of us who play with technology find that using a high-end flatbed sometimes is the only affordable option, though you'll lose some detail in your photos.

Pacific Image Electronics Inc. must love hobbyists who picture themselves as serious photographers because once again they have produced one of the best consumer-level negative/slide film scanners on the market. The PrimeFilm 3650u ($360) produces wonderful results for those who don't have an expensive slide/negative scanner at their disposal.

I like some of the scans I've gotten from flatbeds that can perform the same service on slides, but almost nothing in the price range compares with a dedicated slide/negative scanner.

The PrimeFilm 3650u, which is about 11 inches long and weighs a little more than 2 pounds, fits right in on my computer workstation desktop. It connects to Macs and PCs using Universal Serial Bus 2.0 connections. A professional version also connects through FireWire interfaces.

The scanner has a 3,600-by- 3,600-dot-per-inch optical resolution, which made scanning slides and blowing them up to print all the more easy. It also has a 3.2 dynamic range and will scan in 48-bit color.

Images were crisp and colorful. The difference in the detail between what I was able to get with the PF3650u and other flatbed scanners was quite noticeable. (If you have lots of slides or negatives, then a dedicated scanner like this is must-have.)

I was really pleased with the software bundle, which includes Adobe PhotoShop Elements 2.0 and the secret weapon for scanning old slides and negatives, cleaning and correction technology developed by Kodak. You can manage the grain in your images, reconstruct color and remove dust and scratches - a real headache to do in Photo-Shop to get good results.

Information: 310-618-8100 or

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