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XPan MultiScan

By David Mantripp

Minolta Multi-Format Set for Dimage Scan Multi Pro

Although the Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro comes with an extensive set of film holders, it does not include holder support for specialist frames such as XPan 24 x 65mm.  Minolta refer to this as ìmulti-format 35mmî, and the optional HS-P1 holder kit provides support for this and a variety of other more esoteric formats.

It is actually possible, at a pinch, to scan XPan film using the standard MF holders, but this can cause problems with the scannerís autofocus, and also unless the film is perfectly flat, loss of edge sharpness is likely.


The HS-P1 inserted into the MF holder, with a mask cut for 35mm, and the top glass plate open.
Spring loaded clips are seen in front.

The kit comes in a small white box, the contents of which are at first somewhat baffling and only partly related to the (terse) instructions.  The kit is to be used with the existing MF holder. First, a lower glass insert is placed in the MF holder aperture.  Then a plastic mask slides into place on top.  The mask has to be trimmed for your particular application using a sharp knife — guides are printed on the mask. Minolta provides just 4 blank masks, so youíd better be careful to get it right.

Once the mask is in place, you have two options. The first, which is documented, is to insert two spring-loaded clips into the holder, and swing these into place to hold the film.  This is actually a very poor design, surprisingly for Minolta. Using XPan film, in order to make this work and avoid getting the clips in the target frame, you would need to cut the film in strips of 3 frames — and only want to scan the middle one!  Fortunately, the undocumented option then comes into play.  Minolta supply a second glass plate held in a sturdy hinged frame which slots into the holder. You place your film on the mask, lower the top plate, and youíre set.

It works extremely well, although the usual hazards await those who donít keep the film or glass plates clean.  Whenever theyíre not in use, put them safely away somewhere!  Provided they are kept clean, there are no MoirÈ or other interference problems.

 
DSMP software in Multi 35mm mode

With this accessory you have the perfect mid-budget solution for one-pass XPan film scanning. The Minolta software works as well and as reliably as for all other formats.  As said above, you can use the 6 x 9 holder to scan XPan film if youíre careful, but the HS-P1, if you can persuade your dealer to order it, is a worthwhile addition.

 © 2002 David Mantripp

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Concepts: Holder, Photographic film, Spring, Frame, The Mask, Eric Holder

Entities: Minolta, Michael Reichmann

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