The Admin Dept. at work recently invested in a snazzy new scanner, a Canon Canoscan 5200F. It's a nice piece of gear with a built in slide and negative scanner, a facility I've actually wanted for myself for a little while. I've carefully preserved (some would say hoarded) all my negatives from way back (1967) and wouldn't mind converting a few of my favourites to a digital image so I thought I'd give the new scanner a go. First up I'd have to say that the software is tricky, sometimes usefully pre-emptive but at other times totally rigid and positively hostile. Annoyingly, in one mode, it offers a series of final image sizes, none of which actually let you scan the full 35mm slide.
Operationally it seemed to work OK for the first strip of four negatives which, at about a minute apiece, is a good opportunity to make a cup of coffee. On the next strip of four slides it could only find three anyway and then it wanted to take anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes to scan each one and you can only drink so much coffee. In lieu of a comprehensive review, suffice it to say that getting a good image from the negative (or slide) is not totally straightforward. The slightest deviation from a 35mm negative, such as an instamatic negative, and the system quite simply doesn't want to know. I've only scanned about a dozen negatives so far and I'm already rather pissed off. At that rate, another dozen and I shall probably conclude that the exercise has been terminated.
Despite the operational difficulties, the scan quality is actually fairly reasonable. Some photos taken in low light or landscapes with a lot of sky don't look good. Reasonably well lit, close-ups or short distance shots seem to be coming across quite well. Which brings me to Island Chicken. The Handbrake's yearning for Vanuatu's answer to KFC, or more precisely, the kumala chips (sweet potato), prompted me to revive this 35mm negative as a souvenir of
our her almost daily visits to Port Vila's premier takeaway establishment a couple of years ago. If we can blame anything for initially triggering off our now thankfully abandoned waistline expansion programme, then this is where it all started. Yes, it does look a bit seedy, but the chips...