APS Review


Polaroid 4000 APS
Adapter Review

The Polaroid 4000 is able to scan APS film as well as 35mm. All that’s needed is a small adapter costing about $150. The scanner was clearly originally designed with this adapter in mind. It’s simple to use, convenient, and the combination produces results that are essentially limited only by the inherent limitations of the APS format.

The adapter doesn’t come with any instructions, other than some labels on the side. But, none really are needed. Simply drop the APS cartridge into a slot, open the silver door on the scanner and slide the adapter inside. Close the door and the film is automatically withdrawn from the cartridge. Clicking on a frame number in Preview mode quickly brings up a display. (Opening the silver door threads the film back into the cassette and ejects the adapter).

For my landscape and more serious photography I hardly ever shoot colour negative stock because I find that shooting, handling and scanning transparency material works better for me. But, APS currently is only available in colour negative so there’s no choice to be had. I’ve shot both Kodak and APS Fuji stock and though the 4000 doesn’t come with profiles that exactly match the APS emulsions I was able to find matches that were reasonably close with Kodak emulsions. Fuji stock though was quite a bit more difficult to balance successfully. Once again, like many scanner manufacturers, Polaroid lets down their hardware with less than ideal software.

An APS scan on the 4000 produces roughly a 30MB file. That’s a larger file than one gets from a 2700dpi scanner from 35mm scans! How is the quality though?

Street Workers, Bucharest, 1999

Photographed with a Canon Ixus II / ELF II on Kodak Advantix 200 APS film.

I was in Bucharest, Rumania in August 1999 to view thesolar eclipse. I found the Rumanian people very suspicious of foreigners with cameras, but I was able to take some street shots like the one above because of the small size of the Canon Ixus II.

The picture above was cropped by about a third from its full frame, producing a 21MB file from the 30MB original. Click on the picture to see it in an 8" wide size. Not bad huh? 

Until now I’ve shot APS strictly for family and vacation snapshots. Given the quality that I now see is possible, especially with a camera as small and discrete as the Canon ELF II, I plan on using it the way I once used my Leica M3 — as a street photography camera. With this in mind I converted the above picture to B&W in Photoshop.

Street Workers, Bucharest, 1999

Just like the results from shooting Tri-X in a Leica in 1969 :-)

If you want to really be impressed look at the blow-up above. The sign is in the upper left of the picture and is done at "actual pixels" resolution. I don’t know whom to praise more, Canon, Polaroid or Kodak.

Clickhereto read a full review of the Polaroid 4000 scanner.

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