Nikon CoolScan Software Downloads
The following software works with the Nikon CoolScan
IV, the Super CoolScan 4000 and the Super
CoolScan 8000 film scanners. As of 11/28/2002 the following are
links to the latest complete software installers from Nikon:
For general Nikon digital inquires, go to Nikon's
Digital Tech Support Center and then click on the desired product
for FAQs, manuals, firmware and driver downloads.
If the above links don't work for you, you notice that there
are newer software versions or find any errors in the tips discussed below,
I would appreciate a brief email
with that information. Thanks!
Nikon CoolScan Software Tips
Windows Driver Installation Issues
Tips for all Nikon scanners
Super CoolScan 4000 Specific Tips
Super CoolScan 8000 Specific Tips
Following are some tips for using Nikon's latest crop of film scanners.
The software is essentially the same for all three scanners with some
minor functional differences. The information below is not intended
to be a complete guide to the Nikon software and is no substitute for
Nikon's reference manual, however it does offer some tips and recommendations
based on my experience using these scanners.
Until the software has been downloaded and installed, ensure
that the scanner is not connected and switched on. Download and decompress
the software. Run the Nikon Scan installer and follow the instructions
provided. Restart your computer and then connect and switch on your scanner.
When Windows indicates that new hardware has been detected, you should
manually choose the driver INF file that was included in the download.
In the directory of the decompressed Nikon Scan download, there will be
an INF folder. Inside this, there will be various folders corresponding
to your scanner model. Inside these folders you may directly find a Windows
.INF file or you may have to go one level deeper and select which operating
system you're using. Select the appropriate INF file and then let Windows
finish installing the driver. You should now be able to run the Nikon
Scan software and it should find your scanner.
During the driver installation phase, Windows may ask you
to supply an original Windows install CD so that it can copy USB or Firewire
scanner drivers from it. You need to do this! Cancelling this phase of
the install will likely prevent your scanner from working properly, so
make sure you have your Windows install disk handy before starting. Note
that depending on what version of Windows you have and what devices or
software you have installed on your system already, Windows may or may
not ask for the Windows install CD during the scanner install.
When you switched on your scanner for the first time, if
Windows did not show the "new hardware detected"
window or pause in the driver installation window to let you choose an
INF file, then it already had drivers installed for your scanner. At this
point, your scanner may or may not work! It is worth trying the
Nikon Scan software to see if it recognizes your connected scanner properly.
If you are able to do a preview scan, then everything is fine.
At this point, if your scanner is not recognized, you will
have to go to the Window's Device Manager and manually update the driver
for the scanner in the hardware device list. You will need to choose the
appropriate INF file from the downloaded files as was described above.
Also, if you skipped or cancelled a request for a Windows install CD during
the driver install and the scanner doesn't work, you will probably have
to delete the entry for the scanner in the device list and tell Windows
to refresh the list. This should identify your connected scanner as new
hardware again and will start the driver install process from scratch.
At this point you should follow the same procedure as directed above.
You should not need to reinstall the Nikon Scan software however but only
update the Windows drivers as prompted.
Explaining how to do all this in greater detail for all
the various versions of Windows is beyond the scope of this article and
for more assistance with the Windows Device Manager, you should refer
to your Microsoft Windows documentation. Also, you could locate up-to-date
help documentation for your scanner or contact tech support on Nikon's
Tech Support Center
At this point, if all else has failed, you could always
switch to a Macintosh...(No
wait... I was only kidding...)
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Tips for all Nikon Scanners
To ensure the fastest and most efficient scanning possible,
there are several preferences that should be changed from their installed
default settings. Although screenshots of Nikon Scan's Mac OS X windows
are shown, the Mac OS 9 and Windows versions have essentially the same
layout. These recommendations apply to all versions of Nikon Scan 3.0
or higher on Macintosh and Windows platforms.
Preferences: Preview Settings - Turn off
(un-check) all items except Auto exposure for negative film
and Cache preview image... Auto-expose for Negatives
will ensure that you get a well colour balanced preview scan to work with.
Auto-expose for positives (slides) is not recommended since it will often
result in a scan with too much contrast or a colour cast. Auto focus, Digital
ICE and Multisampling may obviously be wanted for the final scan, but on
the preview scan they are just a waste of time.
Preferences: Single Scan - Ensure that Before Scan:
Auto focus is checked, but make sure that Auto expose for
positive and negative film is not checked. You want the
final scan sharp, right? That's why you have checked Auto-focus here! You
have unchecked Auto-expose since presumably you have just fine-tuned your
preview scan and wouldn't want the scanner to override those adjustments.
If you are using the stand-alone Nikon Scan software and are not scanning
from Photoshop, also check After Scan: Save to disk since
this will speed up scan times as well. It will prevent Nikon Scan from spending
time opening the completed scan, then prompting you for a filename
after the fact and subsequently saving the scan to disk.
Notes about autofocus: By default, Nikon Scan
will always try to focus on the center of your scan. If your slide or negative
is lacking contrast at this spot, the Nikon software will do the best job
it can at focusing but not report that it is having difficulty.
The result may be a less than perfectly sharp scan. I would recommend that
for every scan, you manually pick a focus point for the software
by selecting the focus tool (this button )
and clicking on a part of your preview scan that has good contrast. For
example, the eye of a portrait subject, sharply defined branches against
a sky or the edge of a building perhaps. You should choose a high-contrast
point that is somewhat near the center of the image if possible, or is on
the obvious subject in the frame (an off-center mountain-biker for example.)
Notes about Digital ICE: Do
not use on Black & White Negative film!
You will get weird looking pixelated and super high-contrast scans
that are nearly unrecognizable!
On most other types of film, Digital ICE can work wonders
in helping to clean up dust and scratches. With some types of film, Digital
ICE can negatively impact the sharpness of the final scan, especially
on very high resolution (>2000 dpi) scans, but usually this reduction
in sharpness is very slight. A little judicious unsharp-masking in Photoshop
will usually bring sufficient "snap" back to the image.
Also, Digital ICE will likely slow down your scan times
significantly, especially on slower computers, since a lot of software
processing is involved in retouching the scan on-the-fly. Digital ICE
works by pre-scanning the film using infrared light. Most film emulsions
are essentially transparent to infrared (except for B&W negative film!),
however dust particles are generally opaque to infrared. Additionally,
scratches in the emulsion will also refract infrared light allowing the
scanner software to map out all these defects in advance. Then, during
the final scan, the software retouches these identified defects using
the areas immediately surrounding the dust or scratch - similar to what
you would do with the cloning stamp in Photoshop. On a really dirty slide
or negative, the results can be astonishingly effective!
In my experience I find Digital ROC (restoration
of faded colour) and Digital GEM (film grain elimination)
to be far less impressive. Since these functions slow down scanning even
more, you will need to do some testing in advance to see if you like the
results and if their use is beneficial in your application.
Scanner settings: When you have achieved
settings in your preview scan that you are happy with and expect to be
able to use them for subsequent scans, select "Set User Settings"
in the Scanner Settings popup menu (near the top left of the main scanning
window) to save your current tool settings as defaults.
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Additional Tips - Super CoolScan 4000
Preferences: Preview Scan - Turn off
multi-sample scanning since it would unnecessarily slow down the preview
scan times. If you have enabled multi-sample scanning in the Scanner Extras
pane, it will still be used on the final scan even though you have turned
it off here for the preview scan.
Multi-sample scanning can significantly improve shadow detail
and reduce noise on scans of dark or underexposed slide film. It will,
however slow down your scan times significantly as well. With a little
practice, you will get a feel for which scans will benefit from multi-sample
scanning and which don't require it. The settings range from 2x to 16x
with noise-reduction improving with higher numbers but resulting scan
times also slowing down. With 16x multi-sample scanning, the shadow detail
that the LS-4000 can pick up rivals that of some drum scanners!
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Additional tips - Super
CoolScan 8000 (LS-8000)
All the tips mentioned above apply to this scanner as well.
Scanner Extras pane: For any high resolution
scans, I would always recommend that "Super Fine Scan"
mode is enabled. Without enabling this feature, you might find that some
high-res scans will have noticeable horizontal banding, especially in
darker parts of the image. Enabling this feature will slow down scan times
-worst case scenario, up to 3x- but on anything other than web-resolution
scans, the increase in quality will be well worth the wait.
Notes on medium format scanning: Make sure
that you have selected your frame size (6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7 etc.) in the main
scanning window before performing a thumbnail scan. The scanner will try
to automatically identify the edges of your frames if you are scanning
a strip and an incorrect frame size setting will confuse the driver. Also,
if the edges of your frame are very dark (slide film) or very light (neg
film) then the software may not detect your frame edge properly and you
will see the thumbnail scan as being offset to one side or other. In the
Scanner Extras pane, there is an offset override slider that you can use
to center the thumbnail before performing a preview scan. Adjust the slider
and click on "Reload Thumbnail" to see the results of your adjustment.
If you are scanning a single frame of medium format film
and the frame was cut out with only very narrow unexposed edges, you may
find some optical flare noticeable in dark parts of the frame, right near
the frame's edge. You might find it useful to use a piece of unexposed
slide film as a mask, by positioning it right next to the edge of the
frame you're scanning in order to block extraneous light from the scanner's
Grain and ICE: Due to a more diffuse light
source (since it has to illuminate the full width of medium format film),
some people prefer the scans of very grainy film from the LS-8000 (compared
to the LS-4000 or CoolScan IV) since they can appear smoother with less
emphasis on the grain texture. In addition, I find the Digital ICE function
on the LS-8000 not quite as "jaw-droppingly" impressive as on
Nikon's other scanners. I believe this also has to do with the diffuse
light source since the edges of dust particles and scratches will not
be as sharply defined during the scanner's ICE detection phase.
Whew! That's about it for now, although I hope to
have some more screenshots posted here in the future.
Happy scanning to all, and to all a good night...
Beau Photo Supplies
December 3, 2002