First of all remember this is not a gear-blog. I am tired of people thinking they would take better pictures if they only had that special lens or a better tripod. It doesn't work that way. That said, new gear can open up a new world of possibilities. I hate having my gear, or lack there-of, working against my creativity. I love working with film, but when I can't get proper digital files or enlargements from film using the gear at work and the darkroom I use, the creative process stops dead in a cloud of fury.
This years christmas-gift to myself was a piece of gear that have made me fall in love with film all over again; a Plustek 7600i Ai film scanner. I bought it second-hand, mint condition, for 2500NOK ($420). It is a dedicated scanner for 135-film and slides, scanning at 7200dpi using Silverfast software. From testing it I have found 3600dpi is more than enough. At that resolution I get a 15MP 35MB file with details down to the grain with a 50 seconds scan time. Suddenly I have beautifully sharp and high resolution files from my old negatives, and I feel the world of film have been opened up to me again. This piece of gear have made me want to use my old cameras more, because I know I can get great pictures out at the end of the semi-digital process.
My decission to buy the Plustek 7600i came after reading a blog-post at The Online Photographer - Burning our Bridges, that reflects on the consequences of proper film scanners disappearing from the market. There is now no dedicated 120-film scanner available, Nikon have stopped producing their high-end scanner and the prices on the second-hand market is ridiculous. The problem we now face is that most iconic photographs, possible records of historic events and important family memories are taken on film, and in time there will be no way to scann theese without having access to really expensive gear.