Note — October 2016:
I have since parted ways with my PF120 Pro. After I received the repaired unit mentioned in this post, banding recurred. I then received a brand-new replacement unit from the distributor and promptly sold it. I am now scanning with an Epson V700. Find out more about that experience here.
When I last left you, my Pacific Image PF120 Pro scanner was being sent back to the factory to rectify a “PCBA error”. This error was producing very visible banding in scans, of a sort I hadn’t seen since my ill-fated Opticfilm 120 scanner (bought and returned in 2014).
Happily I can report the repairs were successful and the scanner is now virtually free of banding. I say virtually, because it seems that some banding, no matter how minor, is an inevitable part of scanning. That said, if it appears, it is usually in the least well-exposed negatives.
Here is an example of what I was getting before the scanner was fixed, and below that, post-repairs (forgive the different colour corrections, I did not scan this using my usual workflow).
As you can see, the pronounced banding across the sky in the top image is gone, replaced by a nice clean band-free sky.
Although in an ideal world, these types of errors would not occur, manufacturer Scanace and local distributor APS moved to rectify the problem as quickly as possible. APS was even kind enough to pick up and return the broken unit to my door, keeping me updated with the progress of the repair along the way.
My biggest concern is what happens should a problem occur outside of the warranty period. Although in Australia, consumers are protected by some very strong laws, seeking a remedy through these laws can be a chore. This concern is not limited to the PF120 Pro, but as I mentioned in a previous post on the ill-fated Plustek Opticfilm 120, is a potential problem for all film scanners. These are specialist devices which may not exist in a similar form in even 3 or 4 years time.
The best advice then, is to live for the moment, shoot as much film as you can and scan it as soon as possible. Quality film processing, at least in my part of the world, is becoming more difficult and more expensive to find, but I’m not quite ready to give up the emulsional thrill of film yet.