Third-Parties, Take the Mac Platform Seriously

A Nikon LS9000 connected to a Mac Pro.

I’ve had such a nightmare. It all started out simply enough. All I wanted to do was to connect a Nikon LS9000 medium format scanner to my Mac Pro (Intel cpu running OS 10.5.6) to scan in several hundred 35mm and medium format colour negatives.
I then discovered on the internet that many were having problems using Nikon Scan software on Intel Macs running Leopard. I decided to try it and surely enough failed. The software installed fine but wouldn’t recognise the scanner, even though a demo version Vue Scan did, and scanned just fine. I then decided that the only way to go would be to get Parallels and buy a copy of Windows XP OEM, which I did. It all went swimmingly until I discovered that Firewire 400 isn’t supported by Parallels or any other virtualisation software! At this stage I was beginning to get rather annoyed.
My next plan was to use Boot Camp and install Windows XP. This went swimmingly too, until Microsoft refused to activate my copy of XP Pro, saying that it was either a pirate copy or it had already been activated on another machine, and that I would have to pay for another license; this was in the period of an hour, using the same machine! I have yet to phone them, but am hopeful they will see sense and let me activate XP (for which I now have no use).
So, I went back to trying to get Nikon Scan working on the Mac OS. After some help from folks on Lightstalkers, I unplugged everything and it all worked! The scanner was seen, the scan window opened and I began to preview the first strip of negs….and then the first scans. Hurrah! (It seems that the scanner was having some sort of conflict with the four FW400 hard drives I had plugged into the Mac!).

The annoying thing is that as far as I can see, that piece of software hasn’t been updated on the Mac platform since 2004. For an expensive piece of equipment like the LS9000 which is still in demand and use to this day, that’s ridiculous. I’m using Nikon as an example here, but others are to blame too. I had similar issues with a Minolta 35mm scanner before they went bust.

On the whole, Apple Macs account for a smaller percentage of the computer users market compared to PCs. However, in the creative sector, Macs account for a huge chunk of users. I think its extremely short sighted of companies to not realise this and spend time and resources perfecting and supporting their software and drivers on the Mac platform. A survey done by the BPPA in 2005 of their members found that 56% used Apple Macs and given the choice 66% would use Apple. One thing to remember is that staff photographers with AP, Reuters, Getty and PA (almost all) are forced to use Windows machines; I know personally that a great deal of these colleagues would prefer to use Macs.

Come on people, its about time you took the Mac platform seriously; you’ll do your business the world of good.

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