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[filmscanners] Re: Which is better - Canon,Nikon,Minolta - Please advise...



Hi Douglas,

Let me explain my response.  I was originally very positive about the
new series Minolta scanners, based upon some early reports and some
initial reviews.

So much so, that when I finally decided to upgrade from the
problematical HP S-10 and S-20 scanners, I bought a Minolta Dual II.  My
first one had numerous bad sensor elements which varied in position
based upon which channel they were in.  In other words, these "lazy
sensor elements" as I referred to them, caused a distinct one pixel
width line right across the image in several places on each channel.  I
returned the unit to Minolta and they sent me a second unit.  It was
better, but still had this problem.  It also intermittently would
develop strange miscalibrations where a wide band of pink would show up
toward the middle of the scan (I'm speaking about a band that could be
20% or so of the total width of the scan  Then it would disappear on the
next scan).  This problem occurred with negs most commonly.

Another unexpected aspect of this scanner was that in spite of it being
a cold cathode lighting source, which should diminish dust and dirt and
scratches on the film, it instead emphasized them.  This further causes
the grain to get amplified, as a result of grain aliasing. Further, the
auto focus was sloppy and the scanner is relatively slow and very noisy
acoustically. The shadows are somewhat noisy (visibly), although Vuescan
corrects a lot of this with its slow scan.  The Elite II having a
greater A/D converting which should have improved this aspect.

The software that comes with it is OK.  Not great, but OK.  Minolta's
service here in Canada has been mediocre at best.

Now, here are the big issues, in my opinion.  Minolta had a SLEW of
these scanners (both Dual and Elite II) with the streaky lines I
mentioned, but they never acknowledged the problem of did they seem to
correct it either.  They must have had a fairly high return rate on
theses because almost everyone I know has returned one or more.

The Elite II is the same basic scanner, made by the same company (which
isn't Minolta, BTU, but Avision, a scanner company I never heard of
prior to my research on this scanner).  The Elite has a few changes, but
not many.  It uses a higher A/D bit rate (14 bits rather than 12 per
color) In theory this should improve shadow information and lower
visible noise.  It has the firewire interface, and it has incorporated
the dICE IR noise reduction and some of the other ASF licenses.  For
this, you pay twice the price of the Dual II.

My personal feeling, and this is no slight on dICE which works very
well, is that had the scanner been properly designed to begin with the
need for dICE would have been considerably reduced.

I think that if you need a 2700-2900 dpi scanner with dICE, the best
"value" is the Acer/Benq 2740S.  It comes with SCSI II (including the
interface card) which is fast enough for a scanner of that resolution,
and it is about as sharp as the Minolta, and probably better built.

You should also know that the Elite II has tended to suffer from the
same defects discussed above on the Dual II.  I think it is too
expensive for what it does in the current marketplace.

I am interested in what you have found out about the FS-4000 that brings
you to the conclusions you have.  I have heard from very few users.  The
ones I have seem to indicate it works fairly well, is well built,
provides a IR cleaning method that is effective, and offers 4000 dpi all
for about the same price as the Minolta Elite II. However, it is
apparently slow... quite slow. I have been told the new version of the
FilmGet driver is a considerable improvement. What are the problems you
are finding being reported?

The reason I suggested some people need to be poked in both eyes, one at
a time, is that only a few days ago I posted a similar commentary to
this one regarding the Minolta Elite II, which I was fairly sure you
would have read, and I was somewhat surprised at your conclusion, but
there is no easy formula for making a film scanner purchase, so I don't
propose to have any magic insight into what is best for any one individual.

My only caveat would be that if I were thinking to buy a Minolta scanner
today (Dual II, Elite II or Multi Pro) I would do it through a dealer
which has an easy exchange or return policy in case I found it necessary
to go through several to get a good one.  I plan to try one more
exchange with mine very shortly, making it the third one I will have owned.

If you are finding people who have been using the Elite II and are
pleased with it, and not experiencing intermittent or worse
difficulties, perhaps Minolta has resolved the majority of the
production problems, in which case it might be just what you want.  I
still think it is overpriced for a previous generation scanner (non-4000
dpi).

Art

Douglas P. Rousso wrote:

> Art,
> I've notice that you are a very frequent contributor to the list.  Your
> response on my "Which is Better" post is a bit perplexing given that you
> seem to have every scanner made :-)  I've even seen some of your posts
> regarding Minolta's that seem quite positive.
>
> Is it your personal experience that the Minolta pokes you in both eyes?
> Given my requirements of which 4000dpi is not one of them, I prefer
> firewire over usb or SCSI, and ONLY scan 35mm color negatives, seems
> that my choices are rather limited.  The Nikon LS40 (LS IV ED) which is
> only USB and the LED configuration which has resulted in a requirement
> for dICE to take care of the noise it creates, the Canon LS4000, again a
> 4000dpi USB device that requires FARE to get rid of the noise and whose
> reputation for clear sharp scans and good color balance is very
> questionable, or the Minolta Elite II which is Firewire and reviews
> indicate one of the sharpest sub 4000dpi scanners around, and has
> multisampling and dICE.
>
> It seems every prosumer scanner creates steaks and noise, has color
> balance problems, and in general has common and unique issues among the
> whole family.  I'm just trying to make the best selection for my purpose
> and minimize the pain post purchase.
>
> All indicators are poking me in both eyes!  Minolta...
>
> Can you please elaborate for me...
>
> Thanks kindly...
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: filmscanners_owner@halftone.co.uk
> [mailto:filmscanners_owner@halftone.co.uk] On Behalf Of Arthur Entlich
> Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 6:58 PM
> To: doug@rousso.net
> Subject: [filmscanners] Re: Which is better - Canon, Nikon,Minolta -
> Please advise...
>
>
> Douglas,
>
> Regarding the Minolta Elite II or Minolta Dual II, sometimes people only
> pay attention after they have been poked in both eyes, one at a time.
> ;-)
>
> Multiscanning doesn't fix or improve resolution problems, although it
> may improve shadow information and lessen noise.
>
> If you are planning on sticking with 8x10" or smaller final images (and
> no additional cropping to make it actually a larger image then cropped
> down in size) resolution is not a major issue and 2700 dpi or so is
> adequate, but some grain aliasing will likely occur.
>
> In regard to interface, firewire is fastest, followed by USB 2.0, SCSI
> (II), USB 1.1 and a number of Parallel methods, but the speed of the
> scanner itself may be the limiting factor, in which case most scanners
> in the 2700 dpi range probably don't much benefit from anything faster
> than USB 1.1 or SCSI-II anyway.
>
> Art
>
>
> Douglas P. Rousso wrote:
>
>
>>Hi All,
>>I'm in the market for a film scanner. I will primarily scan 35mm color
>>
>
>>negs and aps film. I've narrowed my choice to the Nikon FS40 (IV ED),
>>Canon FS4000 and the Minolta Dimage Scan Elite II. I do not intend to
>>print anything higher than 8x10 with a majority of my scans going to
>>5x7 and the web.  I've read the archives here and found each has its
>>issues. I've also read all the postings about the Polaroid SS4000 and
>>SS4000+. In the US, I can't seem to find the older SS4000, but the
>>SS4000+ is about $1200.00us. A bit too much for my budget. Although
>>I've not seen any comlaints about this scanner! WOW.
>>
>>Here's the details;
>>If I went with the canon, I'd have to buy a SCSI-II card for another
>>40-50 bucks and have no other SCSI requirements. In fact, firewire is
>>the way to go! but the FS4000 doesn't support IEEE1394 (firewire). I
>>have not yet been swayed that DPI is the only messure of a good
>>scanner and from what I can tell, multisampling more than makes up for
>>
>
>>the higher dpi scanners (at a speed penalty). From all the reviews
>>I've read, all three scanners perform well although the canon is slow
>>even when SCSI connected. The older Minolta elite actually beat the
>>FS4000 in the following review at Macworld
>>http://www.macworld.com/2001/10/reviews/filmscanners.html
>>
>>Software is not an issue because all are supported in VueScan. What to
>>
>
>>do? I've read through this entire group and seem to find many other
>>groups as well who have expressed the same issues you all discuss,
>>grinding noises, streaks, dark noise, color correction probs, etc. I'd
>>
>
>>really like an fair opinion from any of you who have experience with
>>other vendor's scanners.
>>
>>I'm leaning way over toward the Minolta right now mostly because its
>>firewire. I noticed that there have not been any recent postings about
>>
>
>>the elite II and am wondering if Minolta has managed to cleanup their
>>production line and are now producing quality hardware...
>>
>>Any thoughts are greatly appreciated....
>>
>>
>>
>
>
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