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Ikigai Camera - Buy Kodak, Fujifilm, Ilford, Polaroid and Cinestill 35mm, 120 and instant film direct from Melbourne, Australia. Film developing and scanning also available

Frontier & Noritsu

Fujifilm Frontier SP3000 Versus the Noritsu HS-1800 - A comparison


Frontier Vs Noritsu

Chances are if you've been shooting film for a while, you've seen work that has been scanned on either a Fuji or Noritsu mini-lab scanner.

These were workhorses back in the day and are still used by most labs around the world due to their ability to consistently produce the colours and tones people shoot film for. 

At Ikigai, we use both Noritsu HS-1800 and Fuji Frontier SP3000 scanners to digitise your work. These scanners are similar in many respects, but it’s important to understand the subtle differences between them so you can make a judgement on which one suits your work.

Ultimately, both of these scanners are capable of amazing results and the decision will come down to your personal preference and your communication with us to achieve your desired results.

If you do not have a preference, we will use our experience to choose the best scanner for your work!

So, without further adieu...


Fujifilm SP 3000

  • Fantastic colour and tonality for colour negative film
  • Maintains highlight detail very well
  • Slightly lower resolution than the Noritsu
  • Black and white has a slightly warmer tint
  • Punchier contrast

Noritsu HS-1800

  • Slightly higher resolution than the SP3000
  • Perfect for black & white, with great shadow detail
  • Great results for slide film
  • Black and white images have a more neutral black and white tone rather than warm or cool. 


The short answer?

Deciding which scanner to use is mostly personal preference, and we encourage you to have a test roll done on both to see which suits you!

However, there are a few instances in which we feel the decision is a bit more objective.

Shooting slide?

Noritsu, every time. The Frontier is capable of good results with slide, but it does take a lot more work to get there. The light sources on each of the scanners are different in intensity, and the Noritsu definitely manages to produce more accurate final results faster and more efficiently.

Shooting black and white?

In difficult scenes where shadow detail needs to be lifted, we find that the Noritsu produces slightly nicer results.

For us though, the major determining factor of preferring the Noritsu for black and white scans comes down to the more neutral final image tone, compared to the slightly warmer Frontier result.  This warm tint is only a click away in Lightroom from fixing, but it just saves a step! Both are capable of superb black and white results.

Shooting colour negative?

Despite the slightly lower resolution, we prefer the Frontier for colour negative film. Both scanners have their own film profiles that are excellent, but we find that the Frontier produces the types of tones and colours most people that shoot film are looking for

Printing big?

Depends how big! Don't be put off by the resolution differences between these scanners. Resolution is not everything, and there are many factors that go into whether or not your image will look good printed. Viewing distance, lens sharpness, digital sharpening, film speed etc...

We suggest having a chat to the great people over at Image Science if you need large printing done! They are very much the experts in this area. 

This is all too much! Will you choose for me?

Absolutely! If you do not have a preference, we will choose the best scanner for the type of work you need done.