If you have hundreds of slides and photographic negatives to scan, a dedicated slide scanner is one way to go. (You could also considering using a service to do this, which depending on the number of slides you need to scan, could be less expensive.)
Among slide scanners, the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i, receives mainly positive feedback from reviewers. This scanner is available in two versions: the Ai model , which is bundled with the professional Laser Soft SilverFast Ai Studio software, and the less expensive SE model ( Discontinued) , which comes with SilverFast SE-Plus. As would be expected, the professional version of the software provides more options for editing scanned images. The OpticFilm 7600i SE boasts 7200 dpi resolution, although some reviewers report lower actual resolution in tests. Editors at ScanDig, for example, are able to achieve an effective resolution of about 3250 dpi, which they find "acceptable."
Reviewers all note that scanning with the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i SE is a relatively slow process, because each frame must be manually fed into the machine. Also, as the editors at ScanDig point out, loading slides and filmstrips into the spring-loaded holders can be somewhat challenging. However, Shutterbug.com reviewer David B. Brooks points out that when the SilverFast software processes a pre-scan image, it offers correction and adjustment tools similar to those found in image editors. Being able to do much of the editing work in pre-scan mode is a big time-saver. The Plustek 7600i SE slide scanner also has a dust and scratch removal feature which Brooks says, "works accurately, so just about all of the slide scans were cleaned by SilverFast iSRD, and I had little post-scan editing work to do."
Although the editors at ScanDig are not overly impressed with the 7600i SE, other reviewers have a better experience. Mike Pasini at ImagingResources.com says he used the 7600i SE for several weeks to scan a variety of Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides, plus some color negatives that had been damaged in a flood. Pasini says the automatic defect removal feature on the 7600i SE worked very well, and "the iSRD module did an excellent job of cleaning up the image without losing detail." Pasini does note as a downside that the Plustek scanner can't handle all formats of 35 mm film; for more versatility, he writes, a high-quality and more expensive flatbed scanner like the Epson Perfection V700 Photo (*Est. $540) would be more suitable. Consumers posting reviews of the Plustek 7600i SE on the B&H Photo website are positive, reporting good scan results. They say they are only minimally inconvenienced by the manual feed feature.
Editor Mike Pasini bases his long, thorough review on weeks of hands-on testing of the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i. His tests include scans of various types of slides and some color negatives that had been damaged in a flood. Pasini reports that although the Plustek is less versatile than a flatbed scanner -- it couldn't capture the full frame on film that is "35 mm in size but not format," for example. -- "Within its limitsÉthe Plustek 7600i delivered the goods from a wide range of difficult originals."
Review: Plustek OpticFilm 7600i Scanning 35mm Film, Mike Pasini, Feb. 11, 2010
This extensive review, translated from its original German, goes into much detail about using the scanner and compares test results with those of the Plustek OpticFilm 7500i and other competing models. ScanDig editors say they are not overly impressed with the performance of the 7600i, though they cite a few improvements over the earlier model.
Review: Test Report Plustek Film Scanner OpticFilm 7600i Review, Editors at ScanDig
David B. Brooks gives an informative write-up of the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i's features and functionality, concluding: "Simple and straightforward, the compact Plustek OpticFilm 7600i scanner offers the best consumer 35 mm dedicated scanning at the smallest cost for photographers today." He terms the manual feed feature "a minor inconvenience" and writes that the Plustek's "simplicity avoids wear and tear problems."
Review: Plustek's OpticFilm 7600i 35mm Scanner; A Scanner/Software Workflow, David B. Brooks, Sept. 2010
4. Computer Active
ComputerActive gives the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i its Buy It designation. This short but informative review is based on the results of tests of its basic features. Reviewer Anthony Dhanendran says scan results are "excellent," and he is impressed with the dust removal feature and powerful software. Negatives cited include no automatic feeder and slow scan speeds on certain settings.
Review: Plustek OpticFilm 7600i, Anthony Dhanendran, June 4, 2010
5. B&H Photo
More than 140 owners rate and review the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i SE scanner on B&H Photo's website, giving it an overall rating of 4 4.5 out of 5 stars. Nearly all users report very good scan quality. Although some say scan times are slow at high resolution, many note that there is little post-scan editing required, which saves on the overall amount of time required for the process.
Review: Plustek OpticFilm 7600i SE Scanner, Contributors to B&H Photo