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[filmscanners] Re: Help with purchasing decision?

> My choices seem to be between the Minolta Scan Elite ll and the Microtek
> Artixscan 4000tf, though I suppose I could also go for the Nikon 4000
> from e-bay.
> The Minolta is 2820 dpi but will output a full 16 bits and claims 4.8
> dynamic range, the Minolta software seems to get good notice and they
> include ICE 3 the lens also seems to be superior.

Without wanting to sound like a scratched record, I'd be a bit wary of the 
Elite II,
especially if you want to get detail out of the shadows in dense slides.  I 
tried 2 units
at the start of the year and both had red channel banding in the deep shadows 
and a
number of "lazy" pixels in the green channel.  This was using both the Minolta 
and Vuescan and with or without IR cleaning switched on.  From a recent 
posting, it sound
like Minolta may have partly corrected this in the latest version of the 
software but not
if you use ICE.

My examples of the banding are here:

(Crop of full frame for reference and full resolution extract - 470KB)

(Separate channels of full resolution extract - 307KB)

I'd say ICE is the the main advantage the Elite II has over the 4000tf but if 
the banding
is still a problem then it rather lessens this advantage.  In other respects 
the Minolta
software is fine and, if it wasn't for the banding, the scanner would have a 
very good
DR.  I wouldn't say the lens is better than the Microtek: I tried a SS4000 
(which should
have a very similar lens to the Microtek) and it seemed very sharp and certainly
extracted more detail than the 2820ppi Minolta.  I scanned the same slide - 
with the
Minolta you could just make out the individual teeth on the zip of a jacket but 
with the
Polaroid you could see the actual shape of the teeth.

Unfortunately, the Polaroid wasn't quite as good at getting the detail out of 
the deep
shadows as the Minolta but the Microtek 4000tf is the next generation so should 
be more
capable in this respect.  (The SS4000 unit I tried did seem to be faulty in a 
few areas
so that might not have helped either.)

> .....ICE 3 would I'm
> sure be helpful at times even if i think I'd prefer to spot "manually".

I'm a fan if ICE but if your film is in good condition, it's not essential.

> The Microtek is fairly new and i haven't seen any reviews. I'm concerned
> with lens quality_sharpness, and also with any possible issues on a Mac.
> Has anyone used either of these scanners? has anyone seen an in depth
> review of the Artixscan 4000tf?

I've seen a couple of magazine reviews, both of which were quite positive and 
the only real advantage other scanners in the same price range had was dICE.  
there was no suggestion that the scanner was any less sharp than the 

I am actually in a similar position to you (having returned both the Elite IIs 
I am
scanner-less at present) and am very drawn to the Microtek.  Unfortunately, 
having seen
how well ICE has recovered some old - and naturally irreplacable - film, its 
still a
feature I'd like to have.  Such is life!

Al Bond

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