Which scanner to buy, Nikon 8000ED or Minolta Scan Multi Pro

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by mike_watkins, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. Hi, I'm about to take the plunge and buy a medium format scanner.
    Apart from the obvious differences such as price, I can't decide
    which is the better out of the Nikon or Minolta. Could anyone who
    owns either of these scanners tell me which one that they bought, and
    what they are like in use.

    I have discounted the Poloroid Sprint Scan 120 as it does not have
    ICE. My 35mm scanner over the last year has driven me nuts (I hate
    spotting in photoshop) not having ice! Should I ignore the Poloroid
    because of this?

    I'd appreciate any advice over this difficult decision as I'd hate to
    make the wrong choice. I'm leaning towards the Minolta at the
    moment, due to the cost difference.


  2. Not an easy question. I have never made my decision, and continue to use
    my Epson 2450 until there is more clarity.

    Minolta DSMP


    better film carrier;
    physically much smaller;
    4800 dpi on 35mm


    not 4000 dpi on MF scanning;
    poor at negatives;
    no SilverFast support



    4000 dpi MF scanning;
    SilverFast support;


    too big;
    more expensive;
    terrible MF carrier;
    soft MF scans (likely a function of the carrier)

    When I looked at it, I was in favour of the DSMP, but as most of my scans will
    be on B&W negatives, I was put off by reviews of poor scanning of B&W and
    color negs. I don't think newest version of VueScan has really changed this.
    Many are awaiting upgrade to Minolta software.

    I am hoping we may some new contender at Photokina next month. Perhaps
    not (more R&D will likely go towards newer digicams). I don't have the space
    or money for an Imacon. Plus, it doesn't have ICE.

    Check the archives for more information.
  3. I have the Minolta and owned the Nikon for a little while shortly after it was introduced. I returned the Nikon after a couple of weeks because of banding and crashing software. Lawrence's synopsis above is quite accurate but I'll add a couple of things.

    The Minolta does very well with slides and it's true that it doesn't do well with negs. However, Vuescan works with the Minolta very well and makes neg scanning at least workable if not as good as using Silverfast on the Nikon. As for speed on the Minolta, make sure you scan using the software as a plugin in Photoshop. This is much faster than as a standalone. As for resolution, the Minolta scans MF film at 3200 which I think is plenty, at least for 6x7. It can scan the central 4cm at 4800dpi which is useful for cropping.

    If I had to do it over and just pick one, I'd try to test both but I suspect I'd end up with the Minolta again.
  4. I have the Minolta Scan Multi Pro, and yes it is appaling at scanning negatives. BUT, rumour is that this is all a software problem, and this will be sorted out in the autumn with a new update. This update should also address some of the clipping on the histograms. The slide scanning is very good (most reviews I have read make it better and sharper than the 'higher' resolution of the Nikon, but I haven't used that), and it is very quick (unless you have everything switched on like GEM and ICE. But then I think the Nikon would slow down as well.) But like most scanners and their software, using Vuescan answers many of the problems. I think at this high end of the market both the Nikon and the Minolta are pushing the boundaries, and because its high end, people are trying to show the weaknesses. For me, the Minolta is great for transparencies, and a good deal cheaper than the Nikon.
  5. Sorry this is another question rather than an answer, but how does the Minolta and Nikon compare to the Epson 2450 for medium format slide scans. Much better?
  6. Thanks for the replies. It's interesting to hear about the problems of the Minolta with negative film, I use NPS and NPH negative film quite a lot, as well as TriX for BW. I searched on Google and found this site -

    http://www.visicon.se/multipro/ which made interesting reading.

    I think I'd rather put up with the banding on the Nikon (which presumably isn't on all scans and can be corrected in photoshop) and use the unsharp mask. Has anyone managed to overcome the problem with negative film?

    The Epson 2450 is not an option for me, I want the quality of a dedicated film scanner and also don't want the large footprint of a flatbed scanner on my desk.

    It seems odd that Silverfast software isn't available for Minolta scanners, they're losing a few sales here?

  7. The MF film carrier on the Nikon is a real problem to some. It is not always
    easy to get your film flat. A lot of people have reported real problems with soft
    scans with with the Nikon, which could be partly attributed to the film carrier.
    For a few hundred dollars more you can get a glass carrier, but some have
    reported that newton rings can still be a problem despite anti-newton glass
    and there is a debate about the glass affecting scanning results.

    If the footprint is an issue, better look at the size of the Nikon, before you
    order. You will be quite surprised at how big it is ! Probably best to find a
    store where you can play with each before you spend your $3000 and test
    some of your color negs.
  8. My Dimage Scan MultiPro works great with color negs. Maybe the problem is limited to black & white negs?
  9. Keith, I am fortunate to also have the Epson 2450. The Minolta Multi Pro knocks it on the floor, then does a tap dance on it. There is no comparison for transparency work. The Minolta is considerably sharper when tested at the same 2400 dpi, and of course goes to a higher resolution as well. Its also quicker, and has ICE, particularly good if your landscapes have much sky in them. BUT, the Epson is a great bargain, and very good results are possible.
  10. Mike
    I have never used anything but the Nikon so can`t compare.

    Digital ICE is the must, go without it and you will weep salt tears:)trust me, it is a lot harder to work clean in your study than it was in your darkroom.

    Size of Nikon? it`s big but I`m sure you`d shoe horn it in somehow.

    Some negs/slides need the glass carrier and it`s a must to have, I did have a problem with newton rings but seem to have overcome it by not cleaning the glass with anything moist(mind you they only appear in even toned sky or similar at enlargements.

    I had banding for just one day and I know it was user error when scanning xp2 upside down with fine scan.
    Negs and slides are equally as good. you will get away with flatbed scans( I did) till you use a film scanner!
    What crashes?
    Full res scans are big and slow with everything turned on( so whats new)
    So to summarise, comparison side by side with other scanners(never done it)Am I getting quality scans? you bet. are there any perfect scanners? of course not.Have a look at Michaels review of the 8000 on Luminous Landscape cos when he says its ok then its ok.Banding No.Crashes No.Newtons rings yes at times(just like enlargers)I don`t use Nikons colour balance,sharpening etc. I use file size,cropping, digital ICE and Gem and do anything else I need in the only prog worth considering! Photoshop. All I know is that when i get a good well exposed slide or neg when viewed on the lightbox I know I can get that neg/slide into photoshop with the minimum of lose from the original(If you read my thread on the Contax vacuum back being better that the standard one I put a lot of my problems down to the fact that the 8000 gives you what you`ve got on the film with no lies)To be quite honest, I was quite happily plodding along with my results when flatbed scanning( a Linotype Sapphire 2)till i got the 8000, it is a love hate relationship between the almost run slides/negs which the 8000 shows up and the superb results when the negs are spot on. If your technique aint right when taking then the 8000 will expose you(pardon the pun)
    Have fun, spend the money, take some pictures ,scan them and then get the books out to find out where your taking technique is lacking:)

    Dave C
  11. The new version 6 of Silverfast includes a really good software
    version of Dust and Scratches Removal and Grain Reduction. I
    personally, after having used SilverFast for the past 4 years,
    would not buy a scanner without it-it just saves so much time
    and gives incredible scans. No post process editing in
    Photoshop required! SilverFast will cost you something like
    $600 to add to the Nikon but often comes bundled with the
    Polaroid. The 6 upgrade would run you $69! and give you your
    Digital ICE equivilent pretty much - at leat in practical use. I own
    the Polaroid 120 and love it so I would not be so quick to
    discount it. That said, the Hardware is just part of the equation.
    I'ts the Software and the scanner operator that really makes or
    breaks things. For this reason, I would not buy the Minolta as it
    is one of the few scanners not supported by SilverFast even
    though the Hardware itself might be tops.
  12. "For a few hundred dollars more you can get a glass carrier, but some have reported that newton rings can still be a problem despite anti-newton glass and there is a debate about the glass affecting scanning results."

    After a few days with the Nikon glass carrier, I'm quite happy with it. Every point on the film is well with the beast's narrow DOF. Not a Newton's ring in sight, and the scans are, if anything, a tad sharper. As Dave C. points out, though, the 8000 is merciless.
  13. Thanks to all who reponded to this post. I went with the DSMP. I would have favoured the Nikon scanner over the Minolta, but with the extra 500UKP (I'm in the UK) over the DSMP, plus the cost for a glass carrier, I just couldn't justify the extra expense of the Nikon (as an amateur, if I was a pro, I would have bought the Nikon no question). I probably would have also bought the nikon if I didn't have to buy a new PC to cope with the huge file sizes generated by either scanner. I hope I made the right decision!

  14. Mike, make sure you download Vuescan from www.hamrick.com. It will make scanning of negatives substantially better.
  15. Yes, I was planning on trying Vuescan (I had it for my previous scanner photosmart S20).

    I received the scanner yesterday and had time to connect to my old PC (SCSI2 connection, only 160MB ram). I only had time to scan a 35mm tranny. I used 4800dpi and ICE and didn't bother blowing the dust off the slide. First impressions are great - There were only about 3 "spots" on the scan, which compared to the S20 is amazing. I can see ICE is going to save me a lot of time and effort. The new PC has 1GB RAM, so should cope with 6x9 scans.


  16. I've had the Nikon 8000ED for almost exactly a year. I've found
    some problems with banding in transparencies in the very dark
    tones. As a practical matter, the banding is not apparent in a
    print unless I make large upward tone adjustments -- as when
    my transparency was seriously underexposed. For ordinary,
    well-exposed film, the banding is not, in my opinion, a problem.

    I have also found that for underexposed transparencies, the
    banding can largely be fixed by using the analog gain
    adjustments before doing the scan. In fact, it is critical to study
    the histogram before scanning, in order to make sure that it isn't
    skewed to the dark. It's the photos with those histograms that
    end up with problems.

    I have recently been using the scanner almost exclusively for
    B&W negative scanning. I am very happy with the results.
    Banding is no problem at all, presumably because, unlike with
    transparencies, it would occur (if it does occur -- I've never seen
    it) only in the highlights, where it won't print anyway. I have not
    had problems with soft scans; those that have occasionally
    come out soft can be fixed on re-scan with using the manual
    focus option (pick a point on the image and direct the scanner to
    focus on it). The MF film carrier is a bit awkward to use, but I've
    only had image problems with it on some severely curled film.
    Otherwise, the scans seem to be quite sharp.

    Overall, I'm quite happy with the machine.

    Barry Carlton
  17. SilverFast Ai 6 is now available for Minolta SCan Multi Pro. You can download the
    demo from here:


    Other Minolta fim scanner will also be supported!
  18. I had a Minolta DSMP first which I then had to retourn because of its terrible negative-scan performance. In a usergroup I found out that it is a diffusion problem. When using a filter(someone is selling them now in Holland) it makes things better but not good.

    In exchange i got the Nikon 8000, wich I must says, does a excellent job on both slides and negativematerials. For maximum sharpness its handy to get the optinal glasscarrier. And that combined with the included silverfast-software(there is no banding, when using this software) it makes this machine more than equal to a Imacon scanner.

    For some testscans no the to machines have a look at this link:


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