Luckily for me I routinely shop for things I can't afford in my fleeting spare time, as a way of keeping an ear to the ground for the general trend of fluctuating prices. So like with the printer rebate, when I see a good deal, I know a good deal.
A few weeks back I happened to come across a Plustek OpticFilm 7200i film scanner for $8. Yes, $8. Eight dollars. Gotta love Goodwill. Now, this scanner is by no means the latest and greatest technology, in fact it's pretty outdated as far as film scanners go. I think it may have actually been the first scanner in the Plustek OpticFilm line, and the first to be able to scan at 7200dpi, hence the name. That would put it over ten years old. But for that matter, that would make it about 30 years newer than the $65 worth of 1970s camera equipment I shoot 90% of my work on, so who gives a shit. Works don't it?
When the 7200i was new, it only ran for about $250, which is still the very bottom of the food chain as far as film scanners go. But when it comes to film scanning, considering how costly it gets to scan in print-worthy resolution, this was yet another no-brainer. Photographers these days seem to have a habit of thinking more expensive = better. The ability to self scan every 35mm negative I want to print cost me less than scanning one negative at a lab. Yeah, I'll take it. With this new (read: old) scanner at my side, I'll be able to offer a much wider range of prints in the store now, so look out for future updates there.
On a final note about the film scanners, I should point out that nothing in the roughly affordable price range for the average starving artist will be capable of scanning anything beyond 35mm. A lot of people do have varying results with flatbed scanners however, and some even recommend them, but the size and workflow of those didn't exactly fit my (ridiculously busy and ridiculously cramped) lifestyle. And even cheaper dedicated film scanners like the Plusteks are able to scan better quality high resolution negatives that the most expensive of flatbed scanners. I knew a dedicated film scanner would be the right choice for me, and I'd just need to continue getting lab scans of my medium format work for the time being. Any dedicated film scanners capable of medium format seem to run in the $1,200+ range. And uh... That's rent.