Kevin, there is a thread on Photo.net where this has been discussed, and somebody mentioned that Chasseur D'Images were publishing a comparison test:
I don't have time right now to follow the suggested link to the site, but you may find the information you seek on their forums there. If you do find an answer, please post a link or summary here as I'd be interested to see what they thought.
It has been interesting to read the comments of other users since I did my original review. There appear to be many complaints about the quality of the software, which I would agree is not in the same league as Nikon Scan let alone Silverfast. There have also been comments about unsatisfactory noise levels, which makes me wonder what people have been using as a comparison point since the noise control seems pretty exemplary to me. The Nikon has only a 14-bit ADC and no multi-s&ling, which ought to give the Minolta a clear advantage in the noise department. If I would consider the Nikon it would be for the light source. I still find the Minolta just <i>bangs</i> up the contrast for B&W, and while it is possible to correct this using curves, the basic look of the scan is pretty hard and grainy. (I think possibly it's this property that people are actually talking about when they say it's "noisy".)
Hi Gianluca! I don't know if I'm a mind reader yet, but I do think there should be no embarrassment about spending money on a good scanner. If you want good results it will be hard enough even if you do go for the best desktop unit you can afford. Too many people judge digital prints in isolation instead of comparing them against the results of traditional methods. For ex&le, my girlfriend is an actor and occasionally I produce standard head-shots for her and her friends. These shots are carefully set up using optimal technique (sharp lens, tripod, ISO100 B&W film etc), scanned with the 5400 and printed on an Epson 2100. I've been pleased with the results, and so have the actors. Recently my girlfriend decided she wanted a different "eye" for a set of alternative shots (some comments from her agent were to blame!) so she went out and paid for a shoot by a commercial specialist. She brought back three traditional prints, and I have to say they absolutely humiliate my Epson prints in terms of the reproduction of the fine details. Not because they are absolutely sharper (although they are at least as sharp), but because the digital prints show some pixel dither where the silver prints contain only smooth tone.
I remember the first scans I performed using my original Nikon LS-30, and how disappointed I was to see so many digital artifacts in the output images, to the point where I thought there must be something wrong with the unit. Looking around the web, I found that the unit itself was normal, it was just the level of acceptance for mediocre results that was to blame. The 5400 is far, far better but there is still a way to go before we can expect those with skills in the traditional methods will stop looking down on us, IMO.
Merry Christmas to you and the other board members too!
-= mike =-
PS. Don't apologise for your English, it's infinitely better than my Italian, and there's no excuse for that considering my mother came from C&obasso...