Slide Duplicator VS Plustek 8200i or…? (Help with decision)

Dear swarm-intelligence,

I was hoping to get some advice from you on the following topic:
Recently I got a hold of a very nice/cute Agfa Optima 1535 in perfect working condition. It is the first 35mm camera that I genuinely bought (put aside the ones I “inherited” or found or what not…) as my plan was to get a tiny-tiny camera with a pleasing quality for everyday use for around 50€. I was very happy that the first 2 testrolls I shot through didn’t disappoint me at all! It’s a great camera and I’m very happy with the results.
I want to use the camera exclusively for b&w and my goal is to also start developing at home. The test rolls were developed by my local lab. It was 1 HP+ (shot at 200/ dev. Ilfotec) and 1 APX100 (shot at box speed/dev. Rodinal).

So now to my questions:
I digitized them with my Fuji XH-1/Canon FD 50mm Macro/copy stand setup that I use for my medium format process. I’m not a big fan of this particular process, as my apartment is super small and I have to set everything up and stow away after done using. So ultimately I think I want to get rid of “dsrl” scanning (especially for mf). But please discard the medium format for now…

So for 35mm I thought about how to optimize my setup and get the most IQ out of the negatives and have a more convenient/economical output… my two ideas were: let’s either get the Plustek 8200i or try it with a Slide Duplicator (NIKON ES-2, KAISER).

I’ve read and seen good things from the Plustek, but I’m aware that it’ll take more time. The question here I guess is: Will the bump in IQ justify the time/money spent on this machine vs. my existing setup???

And for the slide copier I’m a bit unsure… in a way it seems to be super easy, but I haven’t figured yet out what will work for APS-C and if it’s the best solution for me. Maybe some of you are using a slide copier on an APS-C camera and can recommend either of the two? Apparently it’s better to use a full-frame camera with some of them for 1:1 reproduction – at least that’s what I read for the older ones on ebay and such. Also: Would I need extension rings for my 50mm macro to get closer?!?

Because they might get compressed here…I’ve also put 4 frames of each roll in my dropbox for you to judge (full size jpgs). They were converted with NLP (LAB – Shadow Hard) and some minor adjustments for shadows/hightlights.

I’d really appreciate your feedback on my thoughts/questions.

Thx in advance,

I use ES2 with FF Nikon and as for speed I don’t think any scanner can be faster than that. In 10 mins, I can scan 36/38 frames and convert them. With a scanner it’s much longer. The only downside is, it doesnt do dust/scratch correction. I don’t think, you can get much better results with a scanner, as long as it is not CoolScan9000 or drum (for 35mm only).

Just an FYI, the Nikon ES-2 seems to be back-ordered world-wide as has been so for months–even Nikon doesn’t have them. I have seen them for sale on EBAY for over 2x the price at photo houses (in the USA that is $140 ish).
In addition look at what your setup would be if you used the ES-2; it has some specific requirements to make it work. BTW, I have been on the list for one at B&H in New York for a couple of months.

Hey Fatih,
thx for you response. Yes, the time factor is very tempting, even though I used a less convient setup than the ES-1 I got it done under one hour for 2 rolls (NLP included). Dust and scratch removal would be nice, but that’s normally done rather quick.

Over here in Germany there are plenty ES-2’s available via webshops…
I ordered the Kaiser one below, it’s half the price and seems promising. Apparently it works on APS-C with focal lenghts between 50–80mm (80–120 on FF). There is a macro lens inside that you can take out…

Let’s see how it’ll perform.

Thanks for the info…do you have any links to the websites that offer the ES-2? If there is an English translated option, that’s better.

Note that dust and scratch removal won’t work on conventional silver-based black-and-white films, only on dye-based C41 and slide films… so presence or absence of that feature may not even be an issue for you, depending on which films you decide you prefer.

Hi Marcus, you can get good results either way. I have a film scanner equivalent to the Plustek 8200. I got an ES-2 and worked out a good light source (Nanguang CN-T96) and since then the scanner has gathered dust. After post processing, I can’t tell most images apart from the two methods. I like dslr capture because I can individually adjust exposure as necessary for each image to get ideal histograms, helps rescue negatives that weren’t perfectly exposed. The overall workflow is a little faster with dslr but start to finish it’s not a huge difference.
DSLR capture does a better job rendering deep shadows. I also think film scanners exaggerate grain.
If you use an ES-2 with APS-C sensor Nikon camera it’s easy, just get the Nikkor AF-S 40mm macro lens. For FF sensor, the 60mm macro; AF-S or D. Good examples of both lenses are available on Ebay for reasonable prices if you don’t want to buy new.
If you are space-constrained, the scanner might be a little easier. I’ve tried Silverfast but prefer Vuescan for scanning. For dslr captures of color slides, I prefer Lightroom; for color negatives I like Negative Lab Pro a LOT, and for BW it’s a tossup between NLP, Lightroom, or FastStone which includes a very nice “negative” button.