Three new Nikon film scanners

rico

Well-Known Member
Press release:

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I'm not unhappy with my current scanner (Canon FS4000), but would like to have roll feed, medium format capability, and better Dmax. Neither of these were provided by the Minolta 5400. Faster scan rate would be nice, too.

Looks like film isn't dead yet!
 
D

djg

I wonder how much better than the Minolta Scan Multi Pro the 9000 will be? The speeds quoted, which are usually optimistic, for medium format did not impress me.

I guess I don't regret getting the Multi Pro at the beginning of the year.

DJ
 
M

mikel

Let's see the price, maybe it will even make sense to get one to do scans for lightjet printing


Mike.
 
M

mikel

Hm. I just noticed. There is actually a new scanner from Minolta, Scan Elite 5400. 5400dpi (!) scanner for 35mm, for slightly less than $900. And, it has a real, manual focus dial.

I don't know when it became available, but it can be already purchased at stores, while Nikon only announced their new models, without much change in terms of their resolution (and slight increase in dynamic range), although it seems to be faster than the Minolta one.

Did anyone have a chance to see Elite 5400 in action?

Thanks,
Mike.
 
M

mikel

Wow, wait. Just noticed. The Nikons have LEDs as light source, not the more common cold cathode l&! That's new, I wonder how colors turn out on these (strictly speaking it's easier to make "perfectly pure" colored LEDs than it is to make surface-applied filters on CCDs/CMOS chips).
So, that new 2-line/3-line CCD is used as CCD was originally intended to be used - light-recording, color-blind device. As their info page states, color separation is done by LEDs.

I also wonder if it has any positive effect on B&W scanning (it could potentially improve things quite a bit when it comes to B&W).

It very well could be, that in terms of color, contrast and overall details these new Nikons might be really good, although somewhat lacking in resolution compared to new Minolta Elite 5400. But if choosing from the two - I would go for better colors and contrast than absolute resolving power.

And, another good thing about LEDs - almost no warm-up time and almost no heat as by-product. Thus, no warping of film, no heat waves, no negative effect on overall performance.


Seems like I might have to scramble some money for it


Mike.
 

wsymington

New Member
Thank God! A sensible posting at last.

Mike, I have owned the Minolta DSE 5400 for about 4 months now and am = very favourable impressed. You get gigantic scans from it (approx = 110MB!) and will unfailingly bring out the detail in the neg (if there = is any!). It´s also very effective at bringing out grain, which can be = a nuisance sometimes. The Grain Dissolver works pretty well, but the = light source is not remotely diffuse and grain is the result. This is = nitpicking though - it´s a great machine, and for the money it is a = no-brainer. Scan times with Digital ICE applied, particularly with = colour negs, are slowish - so I only apply ICE when the neg/slide looks = like it needs help in that area.
 
N

noidea

>Nikon is using the LED's ever since - well at least since I know Nikon scanners. > You forgot another advantage: LED don't change their color when they are aging. So no recalibration needed!
 

redwood

Active Member
> > Hi,

I have the new Minolta 5400 and it is a very frustrating beast.I bought a new computer closely matching to the test specifications released by Minolta and whilst the file sizes are huge from a 35mm scan (100mb+) it does have a nasty habit of crashing. I may carry out a dozen or so scans and then for no reason everything crashes. If I set a day aside a day to scan my work then you will guarantee it will crash four or five times during the day.Its infuriating and time consuming.Every time a scan is taking place I'm almost holding my breath in anticipation of failure. My requirements are for a file size 50-70 mbs. If one of the new Nikon's can produce that at the same price as the Minolta and without crashing I'm tempted to change even after having the Minolta for 3 months. I want reliability and ease of use as well as the file size already mentioned. If your wanting a new scanner my advice is to wait a few months for feedback on these new models and any tests the Photographic mags bring out. The Minolta isn't all bad, it has saved many images that would other wise have been binned, but the user experience could be a lot better, it is its Achilles heel.

Regards

David Moore
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
Hi David.
I have a 5400 and it hasn't crashed on me yet, fingers crossed. I haven't used it a lot though.
That must be very frustrating indeed. Could it be a fault with the machine itself? or have you tried uninstalling and reinstalling it?
John
 

wsymington

New Member
I can´t say that I have had crashing problems with it. Maybe you´re = running short of RAM after you´ve done a load of big scans? I have a = P4 2.4 Ghz, 1024MB RAM on XP Home. Works just fine for me.
 
T

ttu

David,

which scanning software do you use for your scanner? Would be interesting to know which software others have in use where their 5400 scanners are working well.

One thing I've learned is that malfunctions in scanning have a hardware and a software part. If the software is faulty, changing the software can be an affordable option. I've switched myself recently to Vuescan for my Canon FS4000 and that did improve things considerably - plus enabling me to carry out scans under Linux :) .

Other thing is, if you have another scanner attached, the TWAIN interfaces may screw each other occasionally and at apparently random intervals.

regards Thomas
 
F

fastfashn

"I bought a new computer closely matching to the test specifications released by Minolta and whilst the file sizes are huge from a 35mm scan (100mb+) it does have a nasty habit of crashing. "

Make SURE that background programs, instant messengers, virus checkers, etc are disabled and turned off.

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Make SURE that you have sufficient hard drive space available and your hard drive (s) are defragmented.

In most of these cases it isn't the single program that is the problem, the problem is all the c__p you are trying to get the computer to do at the same time you are using the program.

This program will give you a better idea of all the junk you have loaded on the computer - and you might surprise yourself at how many useless things you have gotten by clicking on those little pop-ups from the internet.

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That is the Belarc Advisor. It's very useful.

"and then for no reason everything crashes" Of course there is a reason it crashes. You might have four different USB devices plugged intot he por computer, and suddenly they all want to access the USB controller at once. You might have SpyWare loaded on the computer.

Get AdAware to get rid of SpyWare.

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Do you have more than one hard drive? If not, why not? They aren't expensive and you SHOULD dedicate one hard drive to programs and one to storage of video and large photo and data files anyway.

Lastly, make sure you have the Microsoft Windows hotfixes for your OS. The bug fixes are put on the 'Net by the losers in Redmond for a reason. I suggest you use them.

Dana Curtis Kincaid
 
M

mike_nunan

I've had problems with hang-ups during scans, but always put it down to problematic configuration with my PC (Dana's advice is sound and I guess I really ought to make the effort to take it!)

Certainly I've learned not to do anything else while scanning; it seems particularly unwise to start reviewing previous scans in PS, unfortunately. If a hang-up is going to occur, it always seems to happen when the system is under stress in terms of physical memory requirements and/or disk IO. However, even if I'm being careful I still have a few restarts per session, so it does all point to something screwy in the software. In the past, Minolta have not been well noted for the quality of their scanning software, so maybe this is to be expected. I still find it possible to be reasonably productive, it's an irritation rather than a showstopper.

-= mike =
 
M

mikel

William,

Cool, glad to hear someone actually had a chance to use that new Elite 5400. Gives some first-hand source of information about the product.

Claus,

I didn't know Nikon always used LED as light source. Are you sure about that? And yeah, although I didn't mention that LEDs have stable colors specifically, I have thought of this when I said that it's easier to make perfectly pure LEDs than CCD-applied filters.

David John Moore,

If you bought new computer and it's PC-based, you may also have DOA motherboard. Especially if it's Dell (they seem to have a lot of reliability/quality issues lately). If it's Mac - it would be weird. Plus obviously check on things like last updates to your OS, scanner drivers, anti-viruses, other programs running in background, etc. BUT, if it's practically brand new computer - it's more than likely that the problem is in hardware. Memory or motherboard to be exact.


Mike.
 

redwood

Active Member
> Hi All,

Thanks for all the feedback and advice.The pc is three months old and dedicated to image scanning,storage and manipulation only. When i tried to use Windows 98se with 1GB ram it simply didn't work. I had to reduce the ram to 512 to operate the scanner. Software is as supplied from Minolta. From the comments received i think i will benifit a change to XP and make use of the rest of the 512m presently sitting on a shelf.(plus of course all the other hints and tips received) Others clearly do not have a problem with the scanner so i will have to check my systems more thoroughly.

This is what i have:-

AMD2600+ 1GB! 80GB/CDRW/GF4-128/5.1/USB2

Thanks again for the advice

David
 
M

mike_nunan

One thing to be aware of regarding the LED light sources is that they seem to have a fairly "spikey" (discontinuous) spectral output, meaning that depending upon the particular absorbtion characteristics of the dyes in the film emulsion, you may find that the colour balance is not what you expect. Previous Nikon units have been notorious for producing scans from Kodachrome that were really heavily blue, and it seems a fair bet that this is down to the peculiarities of the light source.

However, I'd concur with William's comment regarding the grain, and I don't find the 5400 to be the ideal device for B&W scans for this reason. In an ideal world, I'd use the 5400 to scan slower E6 and K-chrome, and have a Nikon for B&W and faster E6. Once the 9000 ED ships, I will probably take the plunge, and I'm not by any means sure that I will get rid of the 5400 at that point. It's a bit like having more than one enlarger -- certainly not unheard of by those seeking the best quality across a range of different film types and formats.

Mike, I reviewed the 5400 when I first got hold of it (I seemed to be the first, even though I merely bought it from the store) so you may want to take a look, I tried my best to provide a decent cross-section of s&le images and generally give it a workout:

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HTH

-= mike =-
 
M

mikel

Mike Nunan,

Interesting. I actually thought that the problem you're referring to was fixed, because I remember reading about it (at about the same time first Nikon scanners appeared and people complained about weird colord).

I noticed that Nikon mentions "rod dispersion LED illumination" in their PR, so I wonder if that has anything to do with it?


By the way, you say that 5400 is not very good for B&W scans because of grain. But William actually didn't say that he was talking about B&W (all he said was that he has problems with grain on negatives), thus I assume he was talking about any negatives - be it B&W or color. Also, I'm not sure I understand you right. Are you saying that when scanning slow speed slide film (e.g. Provia 100 or Velvia 50) you don't have a problem with grain on Elite 5400?


Thanks for info and article (will read it later),
Mike.
 
M

mike_nunan

Hi Mike,

Maybe the problem is reduced with the more recent scanners -- I only know firsthand about my LS-30 (Coolscan III) which is well out of date now. However, the only way to fix this problem, if indeed the spectrum of the LEDs is actually the cause, would be to choose different LEDs. Any kind of diffuser or other optical element won't be able to do much about the spectrum, unless I'm much mistaken.

The grain issue on the 5400 is (IMO) worst with B&W, I suspect because the fully opaque clumps of silver are highlighted more by the hard light source than the dye clouds in colour emulsions, which are translucent to varying degrees. It's the same reasoning that leads most traditional printers to choose a diffusion head for B&W work, unless they are deliberately seeking hard grain and contrast. In faster colour emulsions there does seem to be more emphasis of the grain than with the LS-30, so William's comments do still apply. It's just that the trad B&W films are somewhat more affected. Don't get me wrong, you may like what you see, but it's a very different look than what the Nikon provides.

I find that with ISO 100 E6 films or Kodachrome 64, grain is effectively a non-issue. All I'm getting are very sharp scans with fantastic dynamic range, far beyond what I would have dreamed possible at this price point three or four years ago.

BTW, to those experiencing stability problems with the Minolta, you may wish to try the new version 1.1.2 software, available here:

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I'm just in the process of installing it, so I'll soon find out if it resolves my hanging-up problems.

-= mike =-
 
M

mayebaza

>The problem with 98se it defaults to 128mb of RAM you have to manualy set it to take advatage of 1 GB
 
M

mikel

Mike Nunan,

Well these "diffusers", or whatever they're, can technically correct a problem with spectrum variation in a way similar to color-correcting filters. Unless I'm missing something, I think that should work. But you're right, technically these could be simply new LEDs with new fancy name that don't exhibit the same problem as earlier Nikon scanners.

And I understand now your point about grain issues, it makes sense actually.

By the way, I'm curious, how well that idea with body-mounted focus dial works? Is it really easy to adjust focus using it, or it's still easier to do manual focus via software? And I must say, since I'm partial to metal, I like the idea of metal case and not plastic.


And one more thing. Isn't it interesting that Minolta comes up with two new film scanners, Nikon came up with three new scanners and Canon is sitting there quietly, while FS4000 have dropped in price couple hundreds bucks in last 6 months or so? What is it a sign that new one is right around the corner? Or the unofficial acknowledgement from Canon that they have missed the boat on releasing new scanner and now they're trying to keep some market share by lowering the price and winning some time, while their engineers frantically work on new scanner?

Curious thing, don't you think?

Mike.
 
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