dust gets into the Imagelab FS5CO5 gizmo -- and it invariably
will -- there seems no way to blow it out. You're stuck with
getting the same blotches on all your negatives.
The negative and
slide carriers are awkward to open.
The image size
which results is not the same as what shows on the small LED
screen... and it truncates part of the edge of the picture. In
other words, the aspect ratio of 35mm slides and negatives does
not match that of the Imagelab thing's LED screen.
Quick Read Synopsis -
Only 3 slides fit
into one carrier. If it had been 4 I would probably have
saved two days of scanning (I scanned a lot of slides).
slides won't let the slide carrier close and thus must be opened
to be scanned.
The "sprockets" on
the negative carrier don't match the holes in 35mm film!
You can't use the
negative carrier with filmstrips that are more that 4 frames
long. Only about 5% of my negative strips were that
short or shorter. To use the carrier you must cut your film.
Short, 1 or 2 frame strips are difficult to put into the carrier
because the "sprockets" on the negative carrier don't match the
holes, as stated.
My unit's internal
backlight flickered occasionally.
Scanning the same
image twice will not guarantee identical pictures. Color
may vary. Cropping may vary.
There are may
small design improvements which should be made that would
improve this gizmo's utility quite a bit.
Because I had to remove many dust artifacts using PhotoShop,
many images suffered. The small
(ill-fitting-for-35mm-format) LCD is a farce -- An optical
system, perhaps instead, a simple integrated magnifying lens
such as commonly seen in slide viewers, would have been cheaper
to manufacture and might have had less user-obfuscation, more
utility, clarity, ease of use than that small LCD screen.
The negative and
slide carriers are awkward to open... at least there could have
been a small notch for one's fingernail to catch to help snap
the hinged lid open... easy to do but thoughtless to omit.
This is the only
unit like this I've used; I can't compare with others. I had
some other gripes but I forget them now :( 'Nuff said.
another view -- from
a reviewer on Amazon.com:
By D. M. Morris
I've worked in the film industry for over twenty years, and
helped develop scanning technology for negative/digital
conversion of motion picture film. For this price, and the
convenience, the ImageLab FS5CO5 scanner is a good choice for
home-quality slide conversions. However, it is not without some
Scanning slides on my illuminated flatbed scanner was a slow and
tedious process, especially since they had to be loaded one at a
time, and took several minutes to calibrate and scan. That was
fine for a few slides, but not when doing stacks and stacks.
I've been looking for something quick and easy that my parents
could use to import our thousands of family photos into the
computer. I had looked at these hand-held "scanners" before, and
the high prices and lack of quality always kept me from
springing for one. There are also scanners that can scan
multiple images, and are automated, but they also cost
There are some very nice design elements to the ImageLab FS5CO5
scanner which set it above the other quick-shot scanners. Its'
design is clean and self-explanatory. The functions are clearly
labeled. There's one button for slides, and one button for film
negatives. It also has a very handy "live" screen so you can see
what's positioned and ready to scan. It's very fast, and
although the scans come out very contrasty, a couple of quick
adjustments in iPhoto produce very nice results, considering for
the speed and simplicity. If you don't have iPhoto, or some
basic knowledge of adjusting photos in another program, you
might not be happy with the images as they come straight from
the scanner. Some of my slides produced blown out highs, and
inky black shadows before I tweaked them in the computer. If you
do have iPhoto, load the scan, brighten the shadows, and lower
the highlights, for a quick, and massive, improvement.
Some of the benefits of the ImageLab scanner.
-5 mp images. If the image is sharp, this megapixel size is
enough for cropping and enlarging.
-SD Card. I love this feature. I have a Mac, and lots of
computer hardware will only include software for a PC. With the
simplicity of using a SD memory card in the ImageLab FS5CO5
Scanner, I can load the scans to my computer as easily as I
upload my camera's photos. It also makes it very portable, for
scanning slides when on a trip or visiting a relative.
-Quick Scanning. Flatbeds frequently take several minutes to
scan a slide. This produces the best result, but if you're doing
hundreds and hundreds of slides, it can take forever. This one
is as fast as a camera. Push/click/done. Technically, this is a
camera and not a scanner, which is why it works so fast. The
camera just takes a close-up pic of the slide. It's never as good
as the slow version, but you can save the time-consuming efforts
for the special slides.
-Feels solid. Nice construction. Seems durable. Doesn't have
that "cheap plastic" feel.
-Slide trays easily snap in place inside the scanner. Once
loaded, the trays just slide in, and click in place.
Some of the weaknesses of the ImageLab FS5CO5 Scanner.
The slide trays are not as well designed as they could be. They
have a very shallow "footprint" to position each of the slides
when being loaded. With the comparative depth of the closed
tray, the frame could have been twice as deep, which would have
made it much easier to drop the slides in place. As it is, you
have to gently nudge the slides into place before the lid will
close on the slide tray. This might not be a problem when doing
a couple of slides, but when attempting to get through a bulk of
slides, this gets progressively annoying.
The 35mm negative trays are another matter entirely. The
standard 35mm negatives that I attempted to scan would not fit
within the guides. The 35mm negatives that I tried were
ordinary, flat, negatives that had been stored in a sleeve.
There wasn't anything unusual about them. However, they puckered
when trying to force them between the guide rails of the tray. I
realize that film may have some organic irregularities, but this
seemed significant. The gap between the outer edge of the
sprocket and the rail beside it is very narrow, and would not
accommodate any of the negatives that I tried last night.
Ironically, with the guide sprockets for registration, you don't
really need the rails in the first place.
So, until they fix the 35mm negative tray, it's questionable if
you'd be happy trying to preserve family photos while
potentially creasing or scraping the negatives. But, for a quick
and easy way to get slides into the computer, I'd definitely
give the ImageLab scanner a good consideration. It's not
"archive quality" to the point that you could get rid of old
slides, but it sure does make it a lot easier to enjoy them now.