What can I expect (Minolta 5400 scanner)

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by les_barstow, Mar 28, 2004.

  1. I'm about to make a commitment to a film scanner, and am trying to
    give myself one last opportunity to "back out". I think I'm settled
    on the Minolta 5400 scanner - I can't afford to go to a Nikon 5000
    (yes, the extra $200 is too much...), and the Coolscan V doesn't seem
    like it offers as much.

    Drum scans eat my pocketbook every time I go to get a set.

    So - what can I expect from the 5400? Quality art prints? Good
    enough for a magazine submission? Or am I just hoping that there's a
    cheap solution to an expensive problem?

    One of my big concerns is the repeated comments I've seen about green
    lines on multi-sampling. I've seen a couple of causes and solutions
    posted. Anything definitive?

    Anything else I should know before making the plunge?
     
  2. "Anything else I should know before making the plunge?"

    I was in the same boat as you less than two months ago. I went with the Nikon Coolscan V, largely due to several threads here and on other forums talking about problems with the Minolta 5400. I have no idea whether these issues have been resolved, but it seemed pretty clear that if you ordered a 5400 you needed to cross your fingers and hope you got a good one.

    I have had my Coolscan V for a month now, and I couldn't be happier. 95% of my prints are 8x10, so the extra dpi of the Minolta wouldn't be of much benefit anyway.

    "..the Coolscan V doesn't seem like it offers as much."

    Other than a bit more dpi, what does the Minolta offer that the Nikon V doesn't? Not much, from what I can recall.

    FWIW
     
  3. If Minolta were to come out with a glass negative holder for the Minolta 5400, it would put this scanner ahead of any other scanner in its class.

    Without this holder, the film is not perfectly flat and the edges (corners) of the negative are not as sharp as they should be. Unsharp marking can help to resolve this problem, but it can be tedious if a custom has to be made to preserve the center of the image which tends to stay sharp.
     
  4. I have been 100% satisfied with both the mechanical performance and results of the 5400. Good rendition of Velvia and Ektachromes (not so good with color negs, though I suspect that third-party driver software would improve this), and really quick scan times with ICE turned off. I find the Minolta software less-than-intuitive and may get Vuescan soon, but in terms of satisfaction with the scanner itself, it has exceeded my expectations.
     
  5. Ed Hamrick is quoted in message 2 of this thread, as favouring the Nikon Coolscan V, as opposed to the Scan Elite 5400, at this link.
    (don't know if you'll be able to cut and paste this ok, maybe someone with html smarts can translate it into a proper link)
    [Ed: Now that is a long URL]
     
  6. I recently bought the Dimage 5400 and it is wonderful! No banding issues like one guy who complained on here earlier. I bought a canonscan 2710 back in 2000 that has 2720dpi. Let me tell you, the Dimage is far superior. I scanned a picture of a restaurant slide from Catalina Island. With the Dimage, set at 5400dpi, I could read the menu on a distant signpost way in the background. Not possible with the canonscan. It was absolutely stunning.

    It comes with pixel polish, grain dissolver, and Digital Ice. A slide I had drum scanned 24x36"inch @ 200 dpi from Santorini was not as good as the scan I had done with my dimage. The drum scanning service I used didn't do anything to get rid of the grain that the drum scanner picked up. With the Dimage, you can remove it with ease.

    And don't worry about the Dimage software slowing down your system. I have a 1gig Amd Anthalon computer with 1gig of Ram memory, and it does just fine. With newer systems, if you have 512Gig of DDR and a 2 gig AMD or Pentium processor, you'll do just fine. I'm not complaining. I plan to use Portland Color to print my 24x36inch on their Light Jet. They have the most inexpensive Light Jet prints I've found. You can check them out at portlandcolor.com. Now I also have the new Adobe Creative Suite, so I can work with the monstrous 16bit color images which are 200mb or larger from the Dimage 5400.

    Plus, if I ever have a problem with my equipment not working, I added a personal articles floater and a computer insurance policy to cover loss or damage to all of my photo equipment. So if the scanner stops working, I can call my insurance company, and they'll replace it.

    Again, it's a wonderful scanner. I can't say enough about what a better job it does compaired to my 2 drum scans. I bought mine at Dbuys.com. Just use bizrate.com to find the cheapest 5400.
     
  7. So are the current batch of scanners "good enough" to replace drum scans? With grain reduction and ICE for dust removal, do they come close enough to use the results professionally?
     
  8. I am in a similar position, trying to decide on a good film scanner. I have completely ruled out the 5400 and its cheaper brother, the Scan Dual III, mainly due to comments on this board about reliability issues; it seems that photographic PC peripherals made in any country other than Japan have trouble. I'm going with the Coolscan V.
     
  9. Hi Les,

    I have a feeling that because of human nature, it is more common to see posts expressing dissatisfaction with a product or company than positives. When we are unhappy we tend to vent and when we are happy just go merrily along with our photography.

    I was hesitant to get the Minolta 5400 because of the reported reliability issues but went ahead anyway. I have been completely happy with it for over two months and get what I believe are exhibition quality 13X19 prints from it using the OEM software.

    Regards,

    Jay
     
  10. There was an article in Ephoto magazine last month about a professional photographer who uses the 5400 for his 24inch prints in the gallery. He raves about how good it is.

    One other thing, I failed to mention. If you use Windows 98 or ME, the system will slow down, because Windows 98 & ME only use 512mb of Ram. As where Windows 2000 and Windows XP use the complete amount of ram you place in your system (1gig, 2gig, 3gig! etc.). There are fixes for Win 98, but they don't work very well and make your system very unstable. That's why I don't have problems with Minolta's software, and others on here might.

    You'll probably want to ungrade to Windows 2000 or XP for handling large files that the 5400 produces.

    Minolta lets you set the imput @5400dpi, but there are fixed outputs.
    16x20@360dpi, 20x30@ 240 dpi, and 24x36 @ 200dpi.

    I had originally thought, I could specify output dpi by typing it into the box, but you can't. they're all preset.

    But the quality is very good. Use photoshop to increase sharpness, hue, brightness contrast, saturation. Get a mouse pen to further edit.
     
  11. Hi all,

    I am using Minolta Dimage 5400 for 4 motnths now and I am very happy with it.
    I have dual P3 886mhz, 1gb ram and 2 separate usb 2.0 controllers.
    Scanning at 5400 is fast provided that grain dissolver and ICE are off. (with gd and ICE takes a bit longer)
    Speed depends on density of negative/positive as well.
    I have used it with Minolta software and Vuescan.
    If you are going to scan slide film, do not frame it, cut it in strips and use it in negative holder. This will give you much more flat surface and sharper scans.

    Boris
     
  12. What I do with my FS4000US, for further flatness is to shoot strips of 4, skipping every 5th frame - 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 - a 36 exposure roll gives me 28 images. For those who would call this wasteful - call it what you will, but having these 1/2 frame sized handles on either end of a strip of 4 really helps with flatness, not to mention ease of handling, especially when it comes to cutting 35mm film. I've always thought 35mm frames spaced far too close together anyway.

    I've thought about the Minolta 5400, especially because my Canon is quite slow for my needs, but funding prohibits such purcahse, currently.
     
  13. Ruslan Garipov just replied to an earlier post indicating that the latest version of the DiMAGE software (1.1.3.) should, according to Minolta, solve the banding problems. I’ve just finished the first scan with this version and the banding has been significantly reduced but its still there. The Windows Photoshop plug-in mentioned in an earlier post didn’t interest anybody at all so I can only assume that these effects are really unnoticeable in normal output. Otherwise I’m very happy with the unit. I have also evaluated other scan software but haven’t found any that (in my opinion) are easier to use or produce better results the Minolta Dimage Scan.

    The easiest way to keep your slides flat during scanning is to use Wess AHX002W-slide mounts. Unfortunately I only have a link to a German page, but it might help:
    http://www.fotovision.de/produkte/wess/wess_pdf/wess_ahx_deutsch.PDF
     
  14. I bought the 5400 back in Dec and have had nothing but head ache and lost time. I'm having serious problems with red color casts. I've posted many times about this problem and haven't found a solution. I finally decided to invest in a custom icc profile to solve it (using IT8 target). Now I don't have the red cast but I still don't think the colors are very vivid. Not at all as I'd expected. If I work with them in PS I can usually get a workable image but the point is I shouldn't have to do all this. It is time consuming and I have other things I need to do (my girlfriend will vouch for that). I know some people get scans very similar to their originals without any color management. That's how it should be. But as someone else pointed out it is hit and miss with this scanner. By the way the banding issue was solved for me with the software update.

    Bottom line - If I could go back in time I'd buy the Nikon.
     
  15. Just to add to the mixed opinions: my first 5400 didn't work out of the box. It was replaced and does a wonderful job with Kodachrome (which is all I have and the reason I chose the Minolta). I have never had a banding problem and posts at other forums indicate the new software has greatly reduced it for those who do.
     
  16. I got a Minolta 5400 a couple of months ago and I had no reliability issues. My concerns have more to do with the software: the noise on negative scans is horrific and all scans (even slides) seem to lack saturation.

    But, thats a subject for a whole new thread...
     
  17. Some people are complaining about saturaition issues. You can use the Minolta software or the Adobe photoshop to increase saturation to your liking.The minolta software remembers your settings from your last scan and applies them to the next. You have to reset the software settings if the next negative was taken under different conditions. Furthermore, you need to go to the advanced menus and set up.
    The most important part is the amount of information collected by the scanner.It collects 5400 dpi! More than any film scanner to date, other than drum. You can make 24inch poster prints from its resolution. That's why I bought mine. Bye, Bye, over priced drum scans!

    All the issues with noise, grain, are also problems with drum scans. You have to know how to use the software once you've aquired the scan.
    You can do almost anything with Photoshop if you have the time.
     
  18. Some people are complaining about saturaition issues. You can use the Minolta software or the Adobe photoshop to increase saturation to your liking.The minolta software remembers your settings from your last scan and applies them to the next. You have to reset the software settings if the next negative was taken under different conditions. Furthermore, you need to go to the advanced menus and set up.
    The most important part is the amount of information collected by the scanner.It collects 5400 dpi! More than any film scanner to date, other than drum. You can make 24inch poster prints from its resolution. That's why I bought mine. Bye, Bye, over priced drum scans!

    All the issues with noise, grain, are also problems with drum scans. You have to know how to use the software once you've aquired the scan.
    You can do almost anything with Photoshop if you have the time.
     
  19. Well, it's all a moot point - it arrived via UPS this morning.

    So far I'm impressed. I'll post a comparison picture when I get a chance to composite it. My initial thoughts (5400 with ICE + Grain Dissolver vs. an Aztek hi-resolve drum scan of the same image @4000dpi)

    * Detail: The 5400 definitely pulls in more detail. The drum scanner seems to be better at edge contrast, but I think that's the fuzziness from the ICE and grain reduction; applying some Unsharp Mask reveals more out of the 5400 than the drum scan, as would be expected for 5400dpi vs. 4000dpi.

    * Color: I deliberately used an obnoxious slide for my comparison; once I turned on the 5400's auto exposure for slides, the 5400 magically produced the same saturated image with better color accuracy than the drum scan. (Without exposure adjustments, the 5400 was very under-saturated and a bit dark; the slide used has very dark areas...)

    * Image Noise: I haven't used the multi-sampling on this image yet (it's going as I type)... However, the Grain Dissolver on the 5400 really does the trick to reduce film grain. The test slide is Velvia 100F; the drum scan shows the grain quite clearly, but the 5400's output is very smooth. In the very darkest areas of the slide I can see some faint green lines (using DiMAGE Scan v1.1.3); I'm hoping the multisample will take care of that.

    * Quirks: The 5400 is "talkative" - I wouldn't say it's noisy. In fact, with 16x multisampling on, it's pretty darned quiet (and slow). Fortunately, it's not every day that I want to scan in a dozen dark images; it wouldn't be economical time-wise. Without multisampling, the speed isn't bad, though - even with the ICE turned on. The default of not auto-focusing seems strange to me; why wouldn't you want auto-focus out of the box?

    It only took me about six scans to really get comfortable with the Minolta software. Being completely button-based annoys me, though - I want menus.

    More later.
     
  20. How do you Minolta 5400 owners feel about how the scanner
    works with b&w negatives?
     
  21. I have had this machine for more than six months. It is a great slide scanner but I have problems in scanning negative. I blame the problems arised from focusing.
    Although I haven't scanned any b&w film, those scanner review from the web has graded 5400 as the best b&w film scanner.
     
  22. I am testing the 5400 Minolta scanner. With my surprise when I scan the slides at 16x multisampling (also at 8x) the film become very warm and tends to bend. This is absolutely not acceptable for the film. The source light should be a cold cathode fluorescent tube and shouldn't heat even under repetitive sampling. The scanner takes about one hour with multisampling scanning. Have you ever noted this problem?
     

Share This Page