,,,Microtek M1 reviews....

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by jtk, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. jtk

    jtk

    Now that a "reviewer" and several legitimate-sounding owners have reported
    (Google for them), I wonder if anybody here has comments?

    No Ice in US, but it supposedly has Ice in Europe.

    The "reviewer" looooves it, of course. The owners had a variety views, not yet
    enthusiastic. It'll be good to have reports from somebody we know and trust...

    Lack of Ice doesn't seem a problem if one is using B&W silver film, my interest,
    and the price is right for the "pro" version specifically because of the
    advanced Silverfast...if it rivals Epson.
     
  2. ICE in Europe, but not in the US? Why would that make sense to Microtek? (Not arguing, just curious.)
     
  3. You can read my preliminary review in the January issue of "View Camera." The tested
    resolution is slightly better than that of its competitors. It does an acceptable job for
    prints up to 11x14 and sometimes 16x20 from 4x5 negatives and transparencies, 11x14
    from 6x7 (sometimes) and I wouldn't recommend it for 35mm. No comments yet on DMax
    as it hasn't yet been tested.

    If you already own an Epson 4990, V700/750 or Microtek 1800f the marginal gains may
    or may not be worth the price of a new scanner. IMO, none of the consumer scanners give
    you a top quality scan suitable for making an exhibition quality print any larger than 8x10
    but I am very picky and if you are doing this as a hobby it may be just fine.
     
  4. I'm in the process of evaluating my M1.

    Very preliminary---

    The Scan Wizard software has some issues and isn't stable or functional on my computer. Silverfast AI is worth the extra $100, but still may have some bugs. I have significant problems with 2400 ppi B&W scans--not sure if it's hardware or software related. Scan quality is excellent, but not hugely better than similarly priced flatbeds. The M1 is noisy and slow--this is not a production machine. With good scanning technique and careful post-processing, the scans are well suited to producing 16x20 prints on an Epson 3800. The real resolution probably tops out at 2400ppi--maybe a bit less.
     
  5. Perhaps the europe-only ICE is due to patent restrictions or distribution rights? Anyone
    know?
     
  6. I am thinking that Epson must have some sort of exclusive licensing deal for film-type ICE when used in a flatbed where they get exclusive use in the U.S. Multiple companies use print scanning ICE but Epson seems to be the only one with film ICE in the U.S.
     
  7. jtk

    jtk

    Conflicting claims from Microtek via P.N have been that a)Ice didn't work well in M1 and it was Kodak's fault (yet it's supposedly sold in Europe), b) There's a licensing problem and it's Kodak's fault.

    Film Ice: Epson (two generations), Minolta (two generations), Nikon (two generations), but not Microtek or Canon or HP. What...Canon and HP couldn't swing the license and Kodak didn't want all that business?

    And what about Plustek? :)

    Is Plustek's IR essentially an unlicensed Ice equivalent, like Vuescan? Vuescan's better than Ice IMO..is Plustek's IR comparable? Why couldn't Microtek use (or buy) Vuescan or Plustek with their IR ?

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2447928&Sku=P405-1006

    Vuescan "supports" Plustek, but does the IR work? Not entirely clear.

    Worth inquiring if one owns non-Ice M1.

    http://www.hamrick.com/vuescan/vuescan.htm#supported
     
  8. Canon has its own "ICE" called FARE which worked pretty well.

    If any scanner has hardware IR I'd expect Ed Hamrick (Vuescan) to adapt his cleaning algorithm to it.
     
  9. http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/M1/M1B.HTM

    These scans look fairly poor to me.

    I see vertical lines on the second red car picture and there are weird artifacts where the red goes pink in both the car and flower picture. It also doesn't seem to be resolving grain (which may be normal for flatbed type scanners).
     
  10. Hi,

    I tend to agree with Barry's report but I'm also experiencing what Roger is reporting i.e. "banding" or drop-out columns despite updating Ai Studio to 6.5.5r4. Seems more likely with higher res scans (2000dpi and above). Has been a problem regardless of color, bw, or bit depth. Has not happened with Scanwizard at higher res settings although the higher res scans with Scanwizard are quite poor for other reasons I don't have time to go into just now. Just sent e-mail this morning to Silverfast tech support about this. Has anyone gotten an opinion from them? from Microtek?

    Thanks,

    Rudy Ternbach
     
  11. Silverfast has responded to my request for tech-support and I am in the process of getting back to them now (I'm an amateur at photography and scanning and I work full-time so it may take me a few more days for me to do this--meanwhile I will enjoy the feeling I have that I am a beta-tester for Microtek and Silverfast).

    RE: My initial experience with the M1 using Ai Studio: 35mm holder holds film quite flat. 6cm strip holder is ok but not as good. Haven't tried 4x5 yet. Problems: banding or drop-out columns can be viewed at http://www.silverfast.com/forum/new-m1-scanner-problem-with-ai-t5101.html i.e. my results are similar at times but usually I have just one or two bands and there is no image information visible within the bands. My initial impression that these phenomena are more likely at higher res settings seems valid but not 100% reliable i.e. they are intermittent even when all settings and the frame+focus+film are unchanged between scans with only the resolution between the scans changed from 2400 to 4800 to 9600. Also, I get color fringes (pink and purple) obvious at long straight edges in color scans e.g. rooflines in an image. I have not yet explored many of the scan options so I won't comment on multi-sample, HDR, in-scanner filters etc. at this time. I believe that once the software issues are resolved and the scanner tests out as healthy and to manufacturer's specs that Ted Harris's opinion in VIEW CAMERA will hold true for B&W scans. Color scanning may remain a separate challenge however.

    Overall, I have no buyer remorse and that "for the money" the M1 is likely a good buy for most people who are looking for a step up from an Epson 700/750 or even a Leaf 45. The Imacons may remain a significant step above in quality and 10 to 12 steps up in price.

    Rudy Ternbach
     

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