Every once in a while I get the urge to shoot color 35mm film and scanning that film is no fun at all. The only thing I’ve ever found that made it painless is the Pakon F-135 Plus.
I recently paved and rebuilt my iMac, meaning I had to recreate my carefully-constructed Parallels/WinXP/Pakon configuration. This turned out to be no small effort. So that I don’t forget, I’ve captured a few random notes here. The short version is that once you have this all running, don’t lose it.
First, I needed a Virtual Machine that would run Windows XP. I decided to try VirtualBox, since it’s free and I wouldn’t need to deal with upgrading Parallels (and the associated cost).
I downloaded the Pakon software and updates from the Pakon Facebook Group. Join the group and check out the Files section. Lots of great information there.
I could not get the Pakon software to see the scanner after about four hours of throwing everything I knew at it. There’s even a pre-built VM available with everything already configured. I just could not get it to recognize the scanner. I must have done something in the wrong order when first connecting the scanner. Eventually I gave up and installed Parallels. That worked on the first try.
After installing Parallels and downloading/unpacking the PakonUpdate.zip from the Facebook Group, I did the following:
- Run Setup from the fx35install folder inside the Pakon Update folder
- Run Setup from inside the Pakon Update folder
- Reboot the VM
- Plug the Pakon in (USB) and turn it on
- Wait until Parallels asks if I want to use the new device on Mac or Windows (select Windows)
- When the New Hardware wizard starts, don’t let it use Windows Update, but do let it find the drivers itself. This worked for me anyway, and I think is where I may have gone wrong earlier.
- Reboot again (just in case).
- Wait about 30 seconds, then launch the PMI app in Windows
- Say No to the request to upgrade Firmware
- Click the icon at the top left to get to the “advanced” screen. (I’m not sure what it’s called).
- Leave the password blank when prompted and click OK
This left me ready to start my first scan. I’d almost forgotten how fast this thing is! A roll of 36 frames scanned at 3000×2000 and cleaned with Digital ICE in about 5 minutes. The colors are always dead on, or at least much better than anything I’ve been able to achieve after many hours of tinkering with every known scanning package. The Pakon scans are as sharp or sharper than those from my V750.
In short, if I’m going to shoot color film, the Pakon is the way to go, whatever it takes.