Good Hardware Let Down By Bad Software

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  • Scan Quality

  • Ease of Set Up

  • Ease of Use

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TonySomerset's review of Plustek OpticFilm 135

★★★☆☆

“Good Hardware Let Down By Bad Software”

Written on: 27/04/2016 by TonySomerset (18 reviews written)

Been waiting eagerly for the UK release of Plustek OpticFilm 135 so I can restart my digitised archiving of all my 35mm photos. With its auto film transport and scanning it promised a much faster turnaround on each film strip. A major issue I experienced with my previous scanner. 

The hardware lives up to its promise. Compact, simple button controls and a very nice firm and positive film carrier, up to 6 frames or an equal four slide holder. Fast response time, no waiting for lamp to warm up and a reasonably fast scanning, depending on the scan quality chosen. 

From there on it is all downhill. The software front end that provides the driver for the scanner has been cobbled together, good enough for what it does, but just not good enough to support sustained use. 

Struggled initially to get the film holder inserted into the hold position. Software has to be activated first and then a positive push is required before the auto transport kicks in. Once the scan starts the whole holder is scanned at the same rate, no recognition of end of film. Software offer three options, Scan, View and Edit.
At the scan stage you set the parameters within the range of choices offered., including the save file path name. Its default is a positive film so each time you have to select out of positive and select negative no matter how many strips you are working on. It does at least remember the same parameters as last time. 

Unfortunately it never forgets the file save location. Change the filepath as you will within the same session it will carry on saving to the same initial filepath as the first scan! 

View option just allows deletion, rotation of selected views. Edit Option which perversely offers feature effects first and each time you have to tab to Adjust then there are a range of options offered. Auto colour balance seems the most useful. None allow you to modify parameters so are limited and there settings are just about adequate. But this is a package intended to the home user not professional output. Photoshop picks up and handles the images well if the initial photo quality requires more attention. Having applied the Adjustment back to View to save or lose all the scans or revert to Scan. 

Here is a rub, only once you have scanned can you really decide which file path to follow. To late you have to start all over again and do the slow scan again. To my surprise in the photoshop the Bitmap images come in at actual negative size by the chosen scan rate, odd? As far as I can tell the scan quality is acceptable and had an opportunity to really test it. 

So poorly thought out software, does a limited amount well-enough, but with irritating lapses and lack of options. At least software can be upgraded if Plustek care enough about their reputation. 

 Conclusion, hardware good, software poor.

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