PrimeFilm scanner makes quality images at

PrimeFilm scanner makes quality images at a reasonable price

Dedicated slide and negative film scanners have cost $400 or more in the past.


But Pacific Image Electronics has broken that price barrier by offering such a scanner for $200 that will turn your old-fashioned media into digital media.

The device (which comes in several colors) connects to your computer through a USB port and has an optical resolution of 1,800 dpi with 36-bit color. CyberView scanner software comes with the PrimeFilm 1800u. You can use the software or simply hit the one-touch scan button on the front of the unit. It works both with PC or Mac.


You'll need to spend time experimenting with this scanner to determine which settings work best for you. And the process, as with most consumer level scanners, isn't lightning fast. I measured the best scans for me at 55 seconds, although Pacific Image Electronics claimed 35 seconds at 1,800 dpi.

If you're an amateur photo enthusiast, skip the "simple mode" that automatically adjusts the settings. It doesn't give you enough control over the scan to make the image pop from the screen. But in the advanced mode, you can change the settings - playing with color, sharpness and other variables - to get a good digital image that can be tweaked in an image-editing program such as Paint Shop Pro 7.

Professional photographers should spend more money on a dedicated film scanner for better color rendition and sharper focus, but if you're a consumer or own a small business and want to invest a small amount of money into digitizing your slides, the PrimeFilm 1800u is a good investment.

Information: 310-618-8100 or

Sony camcorder offers good moving, still images

Sony's history with camcorders has been a good one, and when it introduced the DCR-PC100 more than a year ago, it was one of the first Mini-DV cameras to offer the capability to take digital still pictures - making it a double threat in the imaging department.

What's great about this camera is that it does both well, whether shooting video on Mini-DV tapes or mega-pixel digital shots on a Sony Memory stick. I'm no fan of video cameras doubling as digital still cameras, but the 1152-by-864 pixel photographs it produced were good enough for the Web.

The camera sports a super sharp 10X optical Carl Zeiss lens, 0-Lux night shot feature for shooting with almost no light and in-camera special effects that include fade outs. A remote comes with the unit.


The DCR-PC100 isn't perfect, though. Its digital still picture is out of place - with it located under my middle finger rather than index finger. I had to look for the button before snapping a picture.

While it still is one of the more expensive consumer Mini-DV cameras on the market at $1,600, if you look around on the Internet, you may find the DCR-PC100 for a few hundred dollars less. And at that price, this durable workhorse of a Mini-DV camcorder is a steal.

Information: 800-222-7669 or

- Kevin Washington

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