The age old debate of Noritsu vs Frontier will always be alive and well in the film community. If you’ve read our blog post comparing the two scanners, you know that choosing one over the other is highly considered a matter of personal preference. However, there are some tried-and-true facts about Noritsu scans that may influence your decision if you still haven’t committed to a specific scanner (and may even convert a Frontier loyalist to the other side!). We’ve gathered 5 benefits, along with testimonials from some of the industry’s top film photogs, on why the Noritsu scanner is the cat’s pajamas…
FASTER TURNAROUND TIMES
Noritsu scanners are newer machines than Frontiers—so, they’re faster at doing their job! Turnaround times for film scanned on the Noritsu are typically completed 2-3 times faster than those scanned on the Frontier.
“I have always worked with Richard Photo Lab and the Noritsu scanner, and am delighted with the results so far. The fact that the scans feature less contrast than the Frontier works for me, my style and aesthetic. Because I am shipping my film rolls from France, turnaround time is important to me, and the Noritsu just delights me in terms of quality, pricing, and timing!” - Greg Finck
Noritsu scans cost less than Frontier by at least a few dollars a roll across all film sizes. Why? Noritsu hardware and software systems are more advanced than their Frontier counterparts, so Richard’s scanning technicians can scan more rolls per hour with greater consistency!
"I find myself in flat light often, but I like a punchy, high-key look; I think the Noritsu scans are better at achieving the style I like in those conditions most of the time. There have been times that I waffle back and forth because I do really enjoy the look and texture of Frontier scans, but getting consistent scans back from your lab is key in allowing you to see and make changes accordingly. In the end, the majority of my jobs and shoots do best on the Noritsu, and the price allows me to shoot more—I'm a Noritsu guy!" - Josh Gruetzmacher
LARGER FILE SIZES
Small, medium, or large—no matter the scan size, the actual pixel width and height of Noritsu scans is larger than that of the Frontier. The more pixels you have, the larger you can display your images, both digitally and in print.
ENHANCED PIXEL STRUCTURE
Noritsu scans aren’t just bigger than Frontier scans—they actually have a better architecture, too. When the Noritsu replicates a negative into a digital file, the configuration of pixels lends itself much better to both artificially rez’ing up an image in Lightroom, Photoshop, etc., as well as producing any subsequent large prints.
"I've been a dedicated Noritsu user for years! I feel that it delivers highly-consistent scans; cohesiveness of tones is so important to me when I'm putting together a collection of wedding images. I especially want my skin tones to have a pastel warmth to them, and the Noritsu gives my images that soft pink-toned look. Plus, a lot of my editorial work requires a swift turnaround time, so in that sense, Noritsu is the clear winner for my post production needs." - Corbin Gurkin
A LEG UP ON CONTRAST & SHADOWS
The Noritsu handles both underexposed and overexposed film more effectively because, unlike the Frontier, the Noritsu allows us to precisely add contrast to a flat film negative and more easily reign in frames that have too much contrast. Notice how in the above quotes, Greg likes less contrast while Josh likes more, and both get killer scans on the Noritsu? Of course, the quality of the exposure of your film contributes to the control over contrast that either scanner can achieve, the Noritsu just has much more of it.
Beyond that, Noritsu scans tend to reproduce shadows in low-light situations with more smoothness and uniformity.
"A few years ago. I was at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, taking film images of the dramatic landscape. Once I got my scans from Richard, I was blown away! The Noritsu captures extremely rich blacks without blowing out the whites, creating a beautiful and even contrast. This gives images an almost three-dimensional depth. Also, color tends to be very natural, not too pastel or overly saturated. When I look back on those images now, I’m reminded of what it felt like to stand in those Tennessee foothills." - A Bryan Photo
Bonus! THE BEST BLACK & WHITE
When it comes to black & white film, Noritsu is the absolute best scanner—that’s why we scan black & white film exclusively on the Noritsu at Richard. Without adding a few extra steps in digital post, Frontier scans of black and white can appear to be muddy brown, while Noritsu scans look more like a true black & white (straight off the scanner).