Sunday, 20 February 2011

Scanner Woes (again)

Image used without permission. Not one of mine, no no no.
My Scanner and I don't get along. I chose this one, a Microtek Scanmaker 6100 over the Epson equivalent for two reasons. It scans film up to 5"x4" and came bundled with Silverfast SE. Just as well, as Microtek's own ScanWizard software doesn't work. More of that later. Out of the box, I couldn't get the first one to work. Or the second one. I took it back to the shop to see if they could help. They couldn't. They called Microtek support who couldn't help either. It turned out that my stripey scans were a result of part of my 120 neg strip obscuring the calibration window. Which in turn was the fault of the design of the film holder making it impossible to scan the middle frame of strip of 3 6x6 negs without the one end of the strip going over the calibration window. I abandoned the film holder and ended up just placing the film directly on the glass. Not ideal.
More frustration was caused by Silverfast pre-scan timing out while the scanner warmed up. BING! 'An error occurred, cannot start scanner'. It took ages to realise that after the first error, a second prescan would work fine. Then there's its tendency to scan the wrong bit. Not every time, just maybe 10% of the time. Often enough to be irritating, it'll shift the scan area an inch or so one way or the other. In Mictrotek's own software, it always scans the wrong bit, making ScanWizard totally useless.
One day it started clunking. Which got louder until it jammed. I had to take it apart to bend some cable clips out of the way of the scan head. Then it started putting mysterious 'phase' lines across ever scan. That was cured by replacing the PSU.
Then last week, the 'An error occurred, cannot start scanner' problem became a permanent fault on the prescan. So I find myself reading scanner specs and again. Looks like the 6100 is dead this time. But a new USB cable, plugged into a different port and we're back in business. Until next time.

See also:
Scanner Death
A Tale of Two Scanners

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