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Over the past decade digital cameras have almost completely replaced film cameras for day-to-day photography. Although there are some professionals still using film for large format photography and other specialist applications, in the consumer market only a handful of die-hard Luddites are still clinging to what is now a largely obsolete technology. Digital photography has many overwhelming advantages; the cameras are smaller, more convenient and are generally easier to use, you can see the results instantly, delete unwanted images and store hundreds of high-quality photographs on a memory card the size of your thumbnail. Also despite what the Luddites may tell you a good digital camera can beat most film cameras on image quality.
There's also the matter of long-term storage. Slides and negatives are easily damaged, and need to be stored and handled with care. Film is impossible to duplicate without loss of quality, and prints are bulky to store and can fade over time. Digital images on the other hand are easy to store, easy to share, and as long as you remember to back up your hard drive they will last forever, always looking as good as the moment they were taken. For all of these reasons it makes a lot of sense to turn your film photographs into digital images, and the best way to do that is with a film scanner, such as this new easy-to-use model from Plustek, the OpticFilm 7600i SE.
Anyone who's used a film scanner before can't help but be impressed by the compact size and speedy operation of the 7600i SE. The unit is a simple black box, 27.2cm (10.5in) deep and 12cm (4.75in) tall and wide. The case is made plastic finished in a rough matt texture, but it has a steel chassis and feels robustly constructed. The device is designed to be energy efficient, and uses a white LED as a light source, instead of the usual high-intensity halogen bulb. There is a slot on either side of the device through which the supplied slide or negative carriers can pass in either direction. The carriers are fed in manually, with ratcheted notches to indicate the correct frame position. On the front are the only controls; an on/off button and two scan buttons.
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