The Nikon 9000 is a fine scanner, but a professionally-done drum scan at the recommended resolution is a step up in quality, clearly visible if you're printing large, i.e. 3'x5'.
Yes, the Coolscan 9000 IS a fine scanner, and can definitely deliver great results, but it still has limitations. I've never owned one, but have used one a few times in the past. Scans were great, but IMO, the best results are always delivered via a wetmount scan. Even with the 9000, whose wetmount adapter is a ROYAL P.I.T.A. to use, again IMO
... Loading up a drum with selected negatives and transparencies(of varying sizes, I routinely mount 4x5's alongside 35mm slides, and MF film on the same drum, AT THE SAME TIME. Being able to make a "batch", where scans are in the queue, each with its own settings and curves adjustment applied. Yes, drum scanning takes time. But the time invested mounting each frame of film into the (again, IMO) sub-par designed wetmount tray for the 9000, then previewing/adjusting, etc. each individual frame, THEN performing the scan, it's a time-suck as well.
But drum scanning also has other benefits, even with smaller print sizes(I routinely make 12x16 or so enlargements as "soft proofs" to see if the color is where I want it, saturation, essentially anything pertaining to the image itself. Definitely a "labor of love", but that's why I shoot LF primarily(5x7 in my case now for both color & b/w, having essentially forgone 4x5 and 8x10). MF(6x8 and 645) is another great tool in the arsenal.
But the files can get BIG, REALLY QUICKLY!
A drum scanner also allows you to adjust the aperture size for each scan, so you can match the working aperture to the grain size of the film being scanned(no other scanning technology can do this, other than apply USM, which IS NOT the same technically). A drum scanner is, essentially, doing color separations IN THE MACHINE, so each color channel is separated out and separately read by an individual PMT, then the software puts it all back together. Too much tech for me, but that's the gist of it
.... It's the tool that I've found has allowed me virtually unlimited potential of bringing my film into the best "light" in digital form.
but it takes a lot of work, time, and loads of patience(all of which I'm still learning with this wonderful machine) to get splendid results. But the best part for me is this: LESS DUSTBUSTING. The Kami mounting fluid also incorporates anti-static properties, so most surface dust on the film, or the drum gets pushed out to the edges. I usually spend 15-30mins(at minimum) working @ 100% to dust-bust a 6x8 frame of film when scanned on one of the Imacon's, or even with the Nikon using the drymount film holders.
horses for courses, just felt like sharing some of the reasons why a drum scanner has really opened my eyes to the real advantages of continuing to shoot film (despite being 25 and having grown up in a digital world