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Author Topic: Plustek Film Scanner  (Read 6511 times)
JohnBrew
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« on: July 16, 2010, 09:33:44 AM »
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Thank you for the review, Mark. I'm always interested in any new film scanner since my Minolta 5400 went over the cliff. However, it seems to me that when reviewing a new piece of equipment, you would have at least featured an image of that unit in the review.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2010, 10:45:00 AM »
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Quote from: JohnBrew
Thank you for the review, Mark. I'm always interested in any new film scanner since my Minolta 5400 went over the cliff. However, it seems to me that when reviewing a new piece of equipment, you would have at least featured an image of that unit in the review.
Yes of course. Please download the full PDF document as indicated in two places and go to page 2.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2010, 08:47:05 PM »
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Thanks for the review, Mark. The chief attraction of this new Plustek appears to be the noise/scratch removal facility and the over all value for money.

I haven't done any scanning for a few years, but I'm always interested in ways I can improve upon existing scans. For 35mm, I was very pleased with the Minolta 5400 II. It seemed capable of extracting more detail from a 35mm slide than my Nikon 8000 ED.

The 7200 dpi resolution of the Plustek seems impressive at first glance, but the DMax of only 3.5 is disappointing. I recall that the very first scanner I owned, the Nikon LS2000, boasted a Dmax around that figure. It seems a bit on the low side for a modern, dedicated 35mm scanner.  I gather the 7200 dpi resolution figure is also misleading, probably due to poor optics. It's probably closer to half that in real terms.

Fortunately, I've always scanned my film at the maximim optical resolution the scanner was capable of. I could never see the sense in scanning at a lower resolution for a specific print size, which might entail rescanning the film if a larger print size were later required.

It's a little sad that dedicated film scanners are going out of fashion. If or when my Minolta 5400 II breaks down, I sure hope I can get it repaired. I doubt whether the Plustek 7600i Ai would do as good a job.

Cheers!
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2010, 09:32:12 PM »
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Ray, yes, the Minolta Scan Elite 5400 whether the first or the second model were truly very good scanners. I have the first one and I was very pleased with the resolution and luminosity range I got from it. It's main problem was how excruciatingly slow it is. The second model speeded things up a bit, but still no speed demon compared with a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED. I don't know whether you've downloaded my full review (the PDF document), but if you have and you look at the images, you will see that the Plustek performance in the lower quarter tones is better than the 3.5 DR statistic may lead one to at first assume. For me the 7200 PPI resolution spec is neither here nor there, the issue is how sharp the scans come out, and I happen to believe that unless I'm making murals, 4000 PPI is more than enough optical resolution in a film scanner. Heck, if you scan a slide at 4000 PPI in 16 bit depth, SilverFast limits the file size to some 450 MB, which results in output dimensions of about 2.7 by 1.8 inches; but then when you resize that in Photoshop without resampling, say to a print output value of 240 PPI, your print will be some 45 by 30 inches. Respectable by the standards of even our MF digital gear from a single-minded PPI perspective, without getting into the pixel quality issue where no film and scanner combination can touch it. As for the lens quality of the Plustek, well you can judge that for yourself from the content of the article.

I agree, the demise of high-end dedicated film scanners is indeed unfortunate - choice is diminishing. It's a very strange situation where there still seems to be a fair number of people interested - judging from the action on eBay, but apparently - when it comes down to the dollars and cents - not enough to commercially justify a firm such as Nikon to maintain the assembly lines. As for the Minolta - the story there is very simple: Sony has taken over servicing them, and they will do so as long as they have the spare parts. When the spare part you happen to need is no longer available, you are "S.O.L." and cast onto the retail or resale markets for whatever is available in your price range.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2010, 08:08:16 AM »
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I use a Plustek 7200i and have done for a while now. A lot of Dmax figures are to be taken with a pinch of salt real world performance counts for a lot more. Saying that I mostly use it for negative film where this won't be an issue. Kodachrome is tough to scan as it's so contrasty and that applies to a lot of scanners.

Silverfast has improved a lot in recent years it's a bit tricky to get into but it does reward patience. There is a bit of an art to decent scanning it's not fire and forget at all least not in my experience. I'd suggest not applying any sharpening in software for archive scans that's my own strategy. Overall I think they are good scanners and well priced (though I paid a lot less for mine than the newer 7600i)

BTW Silverfast have just added Ektar 100 to the film profiles if anyone is shooting that.
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Ray
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2010, 08:52:57 AM »
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Quote from: barryfitzgerald
I use a Plustek 7200i and have done for a while now. A lot of Dmax figures are to be taken with a pinch of salt real world performance counts for a lot more. Saying that I mostly use it for negative film where this won't be an issue. Kodachrome is tough to scan as it's so contrasty and that applies to a lot of scanners.

Silverfast has improved a lot in recent years it's a bit tricky to get into but it does reward patience. There is a bit of an art to decent scanning it's not fire and forget at all least not in my experience. I'd suggest not applying any sharpening in software for archive scans that's my own strategy. Overall I think they are good scanners and well priced (though I paid a lot less for mine than the newer 7600i)

BTW Silverfast have just added Ektar 100 to the film profiles if anyone is shooting that.

True! Kodachrome is tough to scan. The trouble is, I have a lot of Kodachrome slides. As a matter of fact, my interest in the digital processing of photos began when I realised that my slides could be scanned to CD. I had about 100 Kodachrome slides scanned by Kodak (Photo CD) even before I bought my first computer, about 15 years ago.

I was so naive at the time, I remember asking a Kodak representative if I would be able to discard my slides after getting them scanned   .

Here's an example of a Photo CD scan by Kodak of one of my slides, shot about 45 years ago in Kathmandu.

[attachment=23210:Kodachro...pal_Bank.jpg]

Not only did the dynamic range of the scene exceed the capability of the Kodachrome 64 film at the time, but the detail captured by the film seems to have exceeded the capability of the Kodak scanner used about 15 years ago.

Here's a crop of the guy on the bottom right of the scene, counting coins in the courtyard of the bank. He looks ugly, eh?

[attachment=23211:Kodachro...pal_Bank.jpg]

Here's a crop of the same area, from a later scan I performed myself with the Minolta 5400 II.

[attachment=23215:100__cro...lverFast.jpg]

In all modesty, I have to say, much, much better.

One significant factor I noticed  (or deduced) when I started doing my own scans, is the amount of cropping that takes place as a result of the cardboard frame. If the film has not been centred in the  frame (and sometimes even if it has been centred), the cropping can affect the composition, as is apparent comparing the Kodak scan of the full scene above with the Minolta Dimage scan below.

Although I haven't done any scanning for 2 or 3 years, I adopted the practice of removing the positive from its frame and replacing it in a plastic frame which has been carefully enlarged by pruning the edges with a Stanley knife so that no part of the image is obscured by the frame. I was not successful in my search for a 35mm slide frame with an opening no smaller than 24mmx36mm.


[attachment=23213:processe...inting_2.jpg]

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2010, 10:39:06 AM »
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Hi Ray,

I like your post. It is a very interesting exercise to see how much progress there has been between the Kodak CD scan and your Minolta Dimage 5400 scan of the same image in terms of sheer image integrity, dynamic range improvement and improvement of detail rendition (though the bottom one appears to have an easily adjustable blue-ish cast). As well, the amount of image material lost to the slide mount was surprisingly more than I would have expected. Real nice demo, and thanks.

Indeed you were wise to conserve the original media. One of these days when time permits I would like to re-scan a set of colour negatives I have from a photoshoot in Egypt. I originally scanned them in an HP Photosmart S20 back in 1999/2000, which was all the rage in its day, but I strongly suspect that when I redo them in the Nikon Super Coolscan 5000ED or the Plustek 7600i-Ai, there will be a very noticeable quality difference, added to which there will be the huge difference of printing with an Epson 3800 (or better when the time comes) versus the ancestral Epson 2000P which I used back then.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2010, 12:31:54 PM »
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Quote from: Mark D Segal
Hi Ray,

I like your post. It is a very interesting exercise to see how much progress there has been between the Kodak CD scan and your Minolta Dimage 5400 scan of the same image in terms of sheer image integrity, dynamic range improvement and improvement of detail rendition (though the bottom one appears to have an easily adjustable blue-ish cast). As well, the amount of image material lost to the slide mount was surprisingly more than I would have expected. Real nice demo, and thanks.

Indeed you were wise to conserve the original media. One of these days when time permits I would like to re-scan a set of colour negatives I have from a photoshoot in Egypt. I originally scanned them in an HP Photosmart S20 back in 1999/2000, which was all the rage in its day, but I strongly suspect that when I redo them in the Nikon Super Coolscan 5000ED or the Plustek 7600i-Ai, there will be a very noticeable quality difference, added to which there will be the huge difference of printing with an Epson 3800 (or better when the time comes) versus the ancestral Epson 2000P which I used back then.

Thanks for the comments, Mark.

Yes, I  noticed the 5400 scan has a bluish cast, but I'm on a laptop at the moment and was accessing my data base from an external HD. My final image adjustments are made at the time of printing. This was (more or less) the way the scan came out. I'm afraid I didn't use any calibration profile for Kodachrome. I'm a bit undecided on the issue because all my slides are faded and therefore not exactly representative of the 'true' Kodachrome color.

I accept there may be some benefit to calibration, but I'm not quite convinced it's worth the trouble. But I guess I'll have  to try it some time, when I next get into scanning mode.

The problem is, I think I've already scanned most of the images that mean something to me, and therefore my main interest is doing a better job on those slides already scanned.

I'm not convinced the Plustek would be up to the job for my purposes, although it may well do a very respectable job with most film images that people have that are not yet scanned.

I guess I'm disappointed that slide scanners have ceased to improve incrementally, year by year, as digital cameras do.

In revisiting these Kodachrome Photo CD images, I learned a couple of things. First, Photoshop CS3 can no longer open such files. I had to use an old laptop which has CS2 installed.

Secondly, I discovered a couple of images which I've never rescanned, which I think are quite cute, but which I've misplaced or lost. A young Cambodian lady taking a shower from the gutter overflow from a temple (or other structure) in the Bayon area (Angkor Wat). This was shot about 46 years ago when I was a 22 year-old. Not sure if the color and contrast are quite right on this laptop.

Cheers!

[attachment=23217:Taking_a..._closeup.jpg]  [attachment=23218:Taking_a_shower.jpg]
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2010, 01:08:11 PM »
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Charming photos Ray, and no I wouldn't trust a laptop for those judgments either.

As for profiling Kodachrome - it's difficult because most scanners have problems rendering Kodachrome properly including the profiling targets I've tested, nothwithstanding adjustments which may be built into them. Kodachrome scans usually need custom fine-tuning for colour balance after scanning. I understand from reports I've read that the Nikon Super Coolscan 9000ED is superior in this respect (see Chasseur d'Images, March 2010), but it also carries a superior price and has become very hard to get at the official retail price. In my tests reported in the review, the Plustek and the Epson V750M did a better job profiling Kodachrome than I achieved with the Nikon Super Coolscan 5000ED.

Now, if you still have your Minolta 5400 and it's still working fine and you don't mind the scan speed, it's a great piece of equipment for zero incremental cost, and on profiling it, the good news is that it profiles Kodachrome reasonably well. While I was at it for the three scanners compared in my article, just out of curiorsity I did do a profiling test for my Minolta Scan Elite 5400 also, but didn't report the results because that scanner wasn't a comparator product in the review. Using the same methodology as reported in the review, it wasn't great on the L dimension (averaged dE of 4.9), but it did very well on the "a" and "b" (colour) dimensions where it matters more (averaged dE of only 1.3, mostly in the "b" channel). Now this is for the first model of the 5400. I think you have the second, but it would probably behave similarly. So much to say, that colour-managing that scanner may well be worthwhile if you are planning to redo any volume of scanning. You'll spend less time afterward tinkering with colour balance.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2010, 04:51:18 AM »
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Mark,

"and the still current Epson Perfection V750-M Pro which is Epson’s high-end flatbed scanner with the film scanning adapter built-in to the lid (US $850)".
gives the impression there are lenses and a sensor in the lid and the light coming from below. There's just a moving ccfl light in the lid and like with reflective originals the sensor scans from the bottom. The film holders are resting on the scanbed glass. That's the arrangement most flatbed scanners use to scan film. Some have the filmholder in the lid but not the V750M. Some like the old Agfa/Microtek models have the film scan holder underneath the glass bed. They all use one and the same sensor in the scanner body for the different tasks.

Where you write that Silverfast can not focus the 5000ED "manually" I get the impression it can not focus that scanner at all. That seems very unlikely and I think there must be a "manual" focusing possibility in that software too, at least a tool to shift the focusing spot to another area of the frame. Vuescan has that and that software can also change the focusing distance "manually".

Has there been some effort to bring the filmholder in focus on the Epson V750M? No mention of that. Epson provides the spacers and with a bit of work one can improve on that with custom spacers. There's also the lens choice in the Epson. For 35 mm film the one with the smaller field should  be used.

I would take all the scanner dynamic ranges as mentioned with a grain of salt. Image Engineering tested related models and they came out lower. Image Engineering tested the Silverfast Multiexposure feature that increases the dynamic range but the results of that test improved practical numbers but still didn't get close to the manufacturers numbers.  http://www.image-engineering.de/index.php?...7&Itemid=91

The Nikon optical system, light, lens, sensor, delivers a better dynamic range and better resolution. It tends to work much more contrasty though which translates to more grain in denser film and it shows in less dense negatives blocked shadows, in similar slides loss in highlight detail. The Epson can cope better with the last due to the oversampling sensor assembly and diffuse light. I guess the Plustek has something similar as it is the best solution for cheaper scanners. Scans from systems like that can do with a lot of sharpening, partly compensating their actual lower resolution.

The price is right for the Plustek. If the budget is small I would look for a solution with Vuescan + Wolf Faust's IT8.7 calibration targets. Like I did for my Nikon 8000 and Epson's V700. The Plustek is cheaper but the V700 or V750 a much more versatile scanner, reflective originals and film up to 8x10 can be scanned. The V700 price is approx. 550$


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

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« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2010, 05:45:05 AM »
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You can manually focus a Nikon LS50 with Silverfast (sf), at points you want it to focus, i tested also a LS5000 and that one too can be focused manually with sf,
i use it regularely. I do use the sf multi-exposure it does improve the quality of the denser areas.

I had a problem with the LS50, that mosst ccd scanners have by the way, that is of shadow or double images.
I even noticed this in a older model of the very expensive flexscan, although it is reported that te latest flexscan models do not have this probem anymore.

The key problem is the glass cover on the CCD chip assembly causing reflections, very little in th middle and increasingly so to the sides.

I had this piece of glass removed, and also covered the "chamber"between the sensor and the lens with material that absorbs light very well ( less than 0.5% reflection).
The net result is not only that the "shadow images " are completely gone, and as a fine bonus also much more micro contrast, as if a grey veil is lifted.

Interestingly enough, before modding my scanner i had it serviced by Nikon, the problem was easily seen on a A4 print of a scanned images, reckognised as such by Nikon, yet when testing it with their scanner test-rig, it was "within tolerance". I even got their demo scanner on loan for a while, it had the same problem.
So much for Nikon, or any reviewer that reviewed a nikon scanner in the past, as i have not found any review that clearly states this problem. Yet quite a few reports can be found on the internet.

I am quite hapy now with my scanner in combi with Silverfast.

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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2010, 09:17:28 AM »
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A couple of notes on scanning vis-a-vis the 5400. Yes, I too got a bluish cast with my Kodachrome 64. I used Silverfast and liked it until my computer blew up. My new computer used Vista and Silverfast (at that time) was not compatible and I had to go to Vuescan to get the Minolta to work with Vista. Vuescan has improved considerably since it's first iteration, which I tried when it debuted but didn't see much difference from the Minolta software. I spent most of last summer trying to get my Minolta repaired and everytime good ol' UPS would damage the unit on the return leg. I finally chunked it in the trash and after looking at my options, sold my film cameras. Of course this still doesn't solve the problem of perhaps scanning certain selected images of fifty years of negatives  Maybe there's a Plustek in my future after all?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2010, 09:23:08 AM »
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Quote from: Ernst Dinkla
Mark,

"and the still current Epson Perfection V750-M Pro which is Epson’s high-end flatbed scanner with the film scanning adapter built-in to the lid (US $850)".
gives the impression there are lenses and a sensor in the lid and the light coming from below. There's just a moving ccfl light in the lid and like with reflective originals the sensor scans from the bottom. The film holders are resting on the scanbed glass. That's the arrangement most flatbed scanners use to scan film. Some have the filmholder in the lid but not the V750M. Some like the old Agfa/Microtek models have the film scan holder underneath the glass bed. They all use one and the same sensor in the scanner body for the different tasks.

Where you write that Silverfast can not focus the 5000ED "manually" I get the impression it can not focus that scanner at all. That seems very unlikely and I think there must be a "manual" focusing possibility in that software too, at least a tool to shift the focusing spot to another area of the frame. Vuescan has that and that software can also change the focusing distance "manually".

Has there been some effort to bring the filmholder in focus on the Epson V750M? No mention of that. Epson provides the spacers and with a bit of work one can improve on that with custom spacers. There's also the lens choice in the Epson. For 35 mm film the one with the smaller field should  be used.

I would take all the scanner dynamic ranges as mentioned with a grain of salt. Image Engineering tested related models and they came out lower. Image Engineering tested the Silverfast Multiexposure feature that increases the dynamic range but the results of that test improved practical numbers but still didn't get close to the manufacturers numbers.  http://www.image-engineering.de/index.php?...7&Itemid=91

The Nikon optical system, light, lens, sensor, delivers a better dynamic range and better resolution. It tends to work much more contrasty though which translates to more grain in denser film and it shows in less dense negatives blocked shadows, in similar slides loss in highlight detail. The Epson can cope better with the last due to the oversampling sensor assembly and diffuse light. I guess the Plustek has something similar as it is the best solution for cheaper scanners. Scans from systems like that can do with a lot of sharpening, partly compensating their actual lower resolution.

The price is right for the Plustek. If the budget is small I would look for a solution with Vuescan + Wolf Faust's IT8.7 calibration targets. Like I did for my Nikon 8000 and Epson's V700. The Plustek is cheaper but the V700 or V750 a much more versatile scanner, reflective originals and film up to 8x10 can be scanned. The V700 price is approx. 550$


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

spectral plots of +100 inkjet papers:
http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm

Ernst, thanks for the comments.

Yes, correct what you say about the details of how the Epson 750 is constructed to handle film scanning. and yes, with regard to manual focus, where on page 2 it says "SilverFast for Nikon does not support this feature", it should read "also supports". Thanks for catching this.

Re the Epson, a scanner which requires manual spacers to get the focus right is a time-consuming limitation of technology which I assume may have been provided for badly curved media, but as a matter of basic design users should not need to do this. The V750 I am using did not come supplied with spacers in any event. Epson and LSI both recommend using the wet-mounting frame to get optimal sharpness from this scanner. I've tested that using negative strips and at least up to prints of Super A3 could not see any worthwhile difference between wet-mounting and working dry using their plastic frameholders. By the way, for a flatbed, the results are not bad at all, and very good for medium format media. There is nothing I could find in the copies of Epson Scan and SIlverFast I have (most recent) which allow one to alter the lens usage.

I'm not taken-in with manufacturer DR claims either, why I wanted to look at actual results with real world images.

Yes, the Nikon 5000/9000 is top of the class for DR, contrast and sharpnessm but I have not noticed the loss of highlight detail you mention.

When you discuss the price for the Plustek scanner, please be mindful that the scanner and the version of SilverFast it is bundled with is an integrated product. They do not offer the scanner without one or the other vesion of SilverFast, hence users don't need to spend more money on Vuescan, unless they have a particular preference for using Vuescan. As for IT8 target, the Ai version includes SilverFast's IT8 target. The advantage of it is that the user benefits from the fully automated one-button profiling concept LSI has developed in SilverFast. One can of course use other targets, but then it is necessary to profile manually.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2010, 09:34:03 AM »
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Quote from: JRSmit
You can manually focus a Nikon LS50 with Silverfast (sf), at points you want it to focus, i tested also a LS5000 and that one too can be focused manually with sf,
i use it regularely. I do use the sf multi-exposure it does improve the quality of the denser areas.

I had a problem with the LS50, that mosst ccd scanners have by the way, that is of shadow or double images.
I even noticed this in a older model of the very expensive flexscan, although it is reported that te latest flexscan models do not have this probem anymore.

The key problem is the glass cover on the CCD chip assembly causing reflections, very little in th middle and increasingly so to the sides.

I had this piece of glass removed, and also covered the "chamber"between the sensor and the lens with material that absorbs light very well ( less than 0.5% reflection).
The net result is not only that the "shadow images " are completely gone, and as a fine bonus also much more micro contrast, as if a grey veil is lifted.

Interestingly enough, before modding my scanner i had it serviced by Nikon, the problem was easily seen on a A4 print of a scanned images, reckognised as such by Nikon, yet when testing it with their scanner test-rig, it was "within tolerance". I even got their demo scanner on loan for a while, it had the same problem.
So much for Nikon, or any reviewer that reviewed a nikon scanner in the past, as i have not found any review that clearly states this problem. Yet quite a few reports can be found on the internet.

I am quite hapy now with my scanner in combi with Silverfast.

Yes, the Nikon 5000 can be manually focused with SilverFast. I've not experienced any benefit from doing it, but that may reflect the state of my media. I also never derived any benefit from manually focusing my older Minolta Dimage 5400, though it was possible there too.

When you say "so much for Nikon" and what reviewers don't say - take care - not all Nikon scanners are the same. The Super Coolscan 5000ED shows no such shadow or double images you report for the models you mention - at least not on the one I'm using - thank goodness.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2010, 11:15:56 AM »
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Quote from: Mark D Segal
Yes, the Nikon 5000 can be manually focused with SilverFast. I've not experienced any benefit from doing it, but that may reflect the state of my media. I also never derived any benefit from manually focusing my older Minolta Dimage 5400, though it was possible there too.

When you say "so much for Nikon" and what reviewers don't say - take care - not all Nikon scanners are the same. The Super Coolscan 5000ED shows no such shadow or double images you report for the models you mention - at least not on the one I'm using - thank goodness.

Indeed, if the slide is quite flat and even, auto-focus works just fine in most cases, even with flat slides it is sometimes it is a bit off. If it is less than flat auto-focus can give a non optimal result, and manual focus at some off-center point puts the dof better across the curved slide.

If yours does not show this shadow you are lucky, i have experience with 4 5000ed's, all had this shadow or double images.
It still implies that there is a large spread in quality, something i do not expect from a company like Nikon.

Anyhow like i already said, i am happy now with my scanner.
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2010, 11:23:23 AM »
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Quote from: JRSmit
Indeed, if the slide is quite flat and even, auto-focus works just fine in most cases, even with flat slides it is sometimes it is a bit off. If it is less than flat auto-focus can give a non optimal result, and manual focus at some off-center point puts the dof better across the curved slide.

If yours does not show this shadow you are lucky, i have experience with 4 5000ed's, all had this shadow or double images.
It still implies that there is a large spread in quality, something i do not expect from a company like Nikon.

Anyhow like i already said, i am happy now with my scanner.

Well, unfortunately you won't need to expect anything about Nikon scanners any longer because the 5000 is "Archived" and judging from non-availability in the usual places, the 9000 is probably not too far behind. You say I'm lucky - maybe it's more the case that you and a few others have been unlucky - maybe there was a defective batch of these scanners at some time - hard to tell. They have been picked-over by serious reviewers who have no vested interest (e.g. Chasseur d'Images), and if there were something so systematically and indefinitely wrong with them a number of reviewers would doubtlessly have picked it up. I have no basis to argue that there hasn't been trouble - I'd just be cautious about how far to generalize it.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2010, 03:17:26 PM »
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Quote from: Mark D Segal
Re the Epson, a scanner which requires manual spacers to get the focus right is a time-consuming limitation of technology which I assume may have been provided for badly curved media, but as a matter of basic design users should not need to do this. The V750 I am using did not come supplied with spacers in any event. Epson and LSI both recommend using the wet-mounting frame to get optimal sharpness from this scanner. I've tested that using negative strips and at least up to prints of Super A3 could not see any worthwhile difference between wet-mounting and working dry using their plastic frameholders. By the way, for a flatbed, the results are not bad at all, and very good for medium format media. There is nothing I could find in the copies of Epson Scan and SIlverFast I have (most recent) which allow one to alter the lens usage.

When you discuss the price for the Plustek scanner, please be mindful that the scanner and the version of SilverFast it is bundled with is an integrated product. They do not offer the scanner without one or the other vesion of SilverFast, hence users don't need to spend more money on Vuescan, unless they have a particular preference for using Vuescan. As for IT8 target, the Ai version includes SilverFast's IT8 target. The advantage of it is that the user benefits from the fully automated one-button profiling concept LSI has developed in SilverFast. One can of course use other targets, but then it is necessary to profile manually.

Mark,

The spacers should be in the package. Epson added focus adaption for the first time in the V750 an V700 models following users DIY solutions that  started with the 5 year old Epson 2450 Perfection model. See Norman Koren's pages on the Epson 2450-3200 model. The manufacturing of the Perfection models isn't so perfect that focus is at the same height per individual model. It can vary in some models from glass bed height to more than 4mm above that level. Curved media is another issue with larger films, actually better controlled with the  DOF of the Epson scanners than with the shallow DOF of the Nikon 8000. For both scanner systems wet mounting is an improvement, especially if the prints made of the scans will be huge. In and out of focus areas sharpen very differently. Curved MF and larger film get perfectly plane with wet mounting. There are other advantages of wet mounting. With 35mm film the focus difference over the frame area will be less a problem. The Plustek has fixed focus too so isn't different on that aspect to the Epsons. You will need a Nikon or Canon to get AF.

The V models have two lenses. The lens that covers the entire scanbed that is used for reflective originals and 8x10 film (identical to the 4870 and 4990 model) focus near the glass bed  and another lens that scans 15cm/6" wide over the bed length with the focus at the 4x5" and smaller format filmcarriers height. Vuescan can switch the lens and so does the Epson driver. Read the iPhoto Epson V750 review and the interactive forum discussion there of that review.

Users of a V700 or V750 can do a lot with the original Epson driver that is free in the bundle. Color can be excellent too. If the price has to be lower and the max frame size can be smaller too then a V500 is an option. Vuescan drives many scanner models from one or more systems with one license. You pay 40 or 80$, free upgrades after that and it has the tools aboard for scanner calibration. It is also nice to have one interface for more scanners. What lacks is a set of film and reflective targets that is available for another 40$ from Wolf Faust. The Epson models will do a batch scan of several 35mm frames where the Plustek still needs manual intervention per frame.

The Plustek 7600 can be driven by Vuescan and I doubt that model differs much of what is in the Lasersoft bundle. Plustek hardware doesn't have a good reputation but the 7600 seems to have improved a lot if compared to the 7200. ColorFoto gave a goed review on resolution and dynamic range if used with Silverfast's Multi Exposure, A similar feature is available in Vuescan.


http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/PLTK7600/7600.HTM
http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/interacti...V750/page_1.htm


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
« Last Edit: July 24, 2010, 03:22:55 PM by Ernst Dinkla » Logged
barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2010, 08:38:42 AM »
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Why do they have a poor reputation? I've used my 7200i for years and not a single issue with it at all. I'd be careful about jumping to conclusions about reliability. In fact the units since the 7200i are very similar hardware wise very little difference bar a slight increase in Dmax (if noticeable open for debate)
The main difference with the new models is they no longer use a cold cathode for illumination I believe it's LED for these ones.

I spent some time looking at Vuescan and Silverfast and whilst the later one is harder to get into..I honestly think despite the good price of Vuescan it's not as good as Silverfast overall..close on output but it's interface is horrible! Try changing some of the settings very illogical and tedious. And being fair to lasersoft they have improved the IR dust and scratch a lot over the years.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2010, 04:40:43 AM »
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Quote from: barryfitzgerald
Why do they have a poor reputation? I've used my 7200i for years and not a single issue with it at all. I'd be careful about jumping to conclusions about reliability. In fact the units since the 7200i are very similar hardware wise very little difference bar a slight increase in Dmax (if noticeable open for debate)
The main difference with the new models is they no longer use a cold cathode for illumination I believe it's LED for these ones.

I spent some time looking at Vuescan and Silverfast and whilst the later one is harder to get into..I honestly think despite the good price of Vuescan it's not as good as Silverfast overall..close on output but it's interface is horrible! Try changing some of the settings very illogical and tedious. And being fair to lasersoft they have improved the IR dust and scratch a lot over the years.

I must guess this is a reply to my last message. I wrote "doesn't have a good reputation" which is something else than having a poor reputation. Not on the reliability but the specifications and what is left of that in good tests like Colorfoto makes (actually Dietmar Wüller of Image Engineering). Not just referring to the 7200 but models before that as well.

The 7200 measured results (Colorfoto) were ISO dynamic range 3.3-3.3 Dmax, 4.3 Dmax, 2100/2300 PPI. There was a color problem for slides, reds in the neutral shadows. No ICE aboard and poor OEM software. No batch scanning but manual change per frame.

The 7600i measured results (Colorfoto) were ISO dynamic range 3.7-3.3 Dmax for resp color and B&W, 3.68 Dmax, resolution 2200/2700 PPI for different scan speeds. Better lens and better light (LED) It has ICE aboard. Still 3 minutes per 35mm scan for best resolution and no batch scanning possible. The preproduction model tested showed some defocusing on the fixed focus lens (a la Epson V750 but no user solution for it) so resolution could be better in individual models where the focus is perfect. Silverfast driver used in the test so the Dmax <> dynamic range gets practical value.

The 7600i getting close to Canon resolution specs but not getting near Nikon or Minolta 35 mm scan resolution, dynamic range and hardware features. Models now 5 years old and discontinued. With batch scanning of film, optional slide magazine scanning, autofocus etc. I would say that the Plustek is rated higher these days because there are no high end CCD 35mm scanners left. Plustek (Lasersoft?) are improving on the models before it but at this rate it will have something like a Nikon LS5000 in 2015.

Do a search for cofo06_88-89.pdf and cofo2000912_088_090.pdf.
In German but with a more data than what I quoted here.

In the past I have used the Silverfast SE on the Epson 3200 for some months and I tried it on the Nikon 8000. Must be another taste but I found that
airplane game styling of the GUI horrible. The underlying features will be equal in Vuescan in my opinion. Running an Epson V700 + an Epson 3200 + a Nikon 8000 + an Umax Mirage II on one copy of Vuescan. I guess it would be something like a 1000$ to get 4 Silverfast drivers for them + the updates in time.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers

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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2010, 11:16:40 AM »
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Ersnt Plustek have had a number of models around for some time. The 7200 was the first one and it did not have infra-red dust/scratch removal. They still do a non "i" range so you look for that (and thus the IR which IMO is pretty much essential)
Silverfast has also changed a fair bit in performance since I started using it, now supports CPU's with more than one core. They've updated and improved the dust/scratch removal (and notably too) they added a Kodachrome profile for scans on the Plustek models added multi-scan/exposure as well.

Really it's a different beast since the first reviews came along on the software front and it shows in my real world experience. So to be honest I'm not overly interested in specs and tests. Neither did I buy it for the class leading 7200dpi scan resolution either..maybe some did but I know from experience such high resolutions are pointless for most 35mm scans (about half that would likely be a more common scan resolution)

And I did try a number of Nikon and Minolta scanners nearly went for a Minolta 5400 II Elite very nice scanner but I got scared off by both Nikon and Minolta leaving the scanner business (spare parts etc) Thus I think Plustek have a nice little market to themselves (almost) They don't use ICE either which might sound a con but you can use IRSRD with Kodachrome where ICE can have problems. So on balance I think Plustek can punch up fairly near to the guys who have now departed the scene..and also at a pretty good/fair outlay for a scanner. I def think they provide a better output for 35mm scans than a V700/V750 but of course if you scan larger formats the choice is already made for you.

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