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Nikon Coolscan Photographic Scanners - Servicing & Repair.

Nikon Coolscan photographic scanners

The discontinued Coolscan range of slide and film scanners has proved extremely reliable and durable. This includes models LS-40, LS-4000, LS-50, LS-5000, LS-8000 & LS-9000. Although Nikon no longer supports the Coolscan range, all of the above models may still be considered mid-life with many further years of service ahead of them given some periodic maintenance. Contact me at coolscanuk@gmail.com. I do not support the earlier SCSI interface Coolscan models. These are becoming increasingly rare due to the long-obsolete interface and the problem of running a host computer to support it. The low cost of used USB models such as the LS-40 makes upgrading a better idea.   

Service & Repair

Standard servicing involves careful cleaning of the primary mirror in the optical path and cleaning/lubrication of the moving parts using Nikon-specified lubricant. The scanners with Firewire (IEEE1394) connections have a tendency to failure of the interface chips. These components are obsolete but I hold stocks and replacement is possible. The USB Coolscans can suffer damage through the USB port. While this failure is not repairable as such, a work-around modification can be applied which restores 99% of functionality. Luckily, it is very rare for failures to be mechanical and the majority of scanners show very little sign of age in their moving parts.

NikonScan software and alternatives

The included NikonScan software is a good starting point and will probably be sufficient for most user's needs. With the settings at "factory default", NikonScan will produce excellent scans and provide a useful reference point for further experimentation. The alternatives, Vuescan & Silverfast, offer more functionality but at the cost of complexity. NikonScan4 can work with all Windows versions although Nikon's support ended with Windows7 32-bit (see Using NikonScan for Windows 7 64-bit and Windows 8 & 10 instructions). The last supported MacOS version was 10.4. and users of later versions have no choice but to use the above alternatives to NikonScan.

Care of Coolscan scanners

The enemy of all Coolscan scanners is dust and other air-borne contamination. Because of the orientation of the primary mirror it is susceptible to both debris falling from the media being scanned and dust settling from the air. So firstly, ensure that all media for scanning is free from loose dust & debris. Secondly, ensure that when not in use the scanner is kept on its side (placing the mirror face vertical) and in a dust-proof container or plastic bag. 

All Coolscans have a "transit mode" to protect the mechanism against shock when not in use or being transported. Refer to the relevant user manual for details.

Further Information:

I am based in Lincoln UK. If you have a Coolscan scanner in need of service or repair then please contact me by emailing coolscanuk@gmail.com

Webpage last updated 26 August 2019