1. Controller Unit. Optronics scanners communicate with computers via a controller unit. The controller unit is a PC with separate...

Scanner and Accessories

1. Controller Unit.
Optronics scanners communicate with computers via a controller unit. The controller unit is a PC with separate cards for communicating with the scanner and host computer. The scanner was manufactured in 1996, and modern technology has failed to improve upon the image quality attainable through the PMT tubes used in drum scanners, so it is still state-of-the-art. However, computers have come a long way since 1996, and the controller box is ancient by today's standards. I went through months of frustration changing the boot settings in the original controller box, changing out batteries, etc., and finally had the sense to find a newer PC to replace it. The controller unit pictured here is a Gateway2000 PC, probably about 7-8 years old, that now houses the scanner and host computer controller cards. It works great, and reliability issues are not a concern.

2. Controller Monitor.
Pictured is a 15" Dell LCD monitor for use with the controller box. The status of the scanner's communication with your PC can be viewed here.

3. Scanner Drums
Four drums are included with the scanner. One is noticeably scratched in areas, the other three are in excellent condition. I have taken very good care of them. Having multiple drums is a real time-saver as a spare drum can be loaded with film while another is in the scanner. Next to the drums is a soft brush for cleaning the inside of the drums.

4. Documentation and Manuals
I have the installation and operation manual, which covers setup/installation procedures and basic scanner operations. I also have an extremely detailed copy of the maintenance manual. Using this manual, one can open the scanner up and make adjustments as needed. I have done this many times and it has always been fairly straightforward, even for someone with no technical background whatsoever like me. The innards of this scanner and, mechanically speaking, relatively simple.

5. Spare Xeon Lamp
A spare xeon lamp - the light source for the PMT tubes that passes through the film during the scan - is included as a backup in case the currently operational lamp fails.

6. Mounting and Cleaning Accessories.
Everything you need to clean and mount film, and clean scanner drums, is included. This includes: (a) scanner overlay sheets, (b) Kami-brand film cleaner, scanner drum cleaner, and film mounting fluid, (c) special non-stick tape, and (d) scanner wipes. I learned how to wet-mount film by following online tutorials. In fact, I had never seen a drum scanner before purchasing one and knew literally nothing about their operation, and became reasonably proficient in a matter of weeks simply from reviewing publicly available resources on the web. There are enough supplies here for mounting many dozens of drums. An individual drum holds 4 4x5 sheets or dozens of 35mm exposures.

7. Mounting Station
This mounting station is used for mounting film to the scanner drum and is in excellent condition.

8. GPIB to high-speed USB Adapter
The controller box was designed to communicate with the host PC via a GPIB connection. Haven't heard of GPIB? Neither had I when I bought this scanner. One solution is to find an old GPIB card on Ebay and install it in your PC. After multiple failed attempts at making this work, I found a much better solution. This piece of hardware is an almost new (purchased in 2006), $500 National Instruments GPIB to high-speed USB adapter. With this the controller unit can simply be connected to a USB port on your PC.

9. Software Dongle.
The scanner runs using a program called TerraTec. This program yields fantastic scans and is fairly intuitive. It also requires this dongle to run. There are other software programs available for this scanner, including ColorRight Pro which runs on Mac. The advantage of TerraTec, if you're a PC user, is that it runs on any version of Windows, including Windows XP. Photo © copyright by Brett Deacon.