unexpectd film scanner problem

Discussion in 'Scanners' started by Mike - EMAIL IGNORED, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. I also have the Scan elite 5400 II. I really like the results, a
    lot. When scanning good film the result is so gratifying I have no
    plans of going digital anytime soon. However, it's already showing
    some problems; sometimes the film holder just gets stuck, and I have
    to drag it out, power-off the device, and hope it works OK when I
    powerup it again. Usually this helps. I fear with time it will work
    less and less and eventually break for good. I live in Finland and
    bought it from technikdirekt.de, a German mail-order company. I wonder
    what's going to happen when it breaks; I still have warranty at least
    until nov 2006. If it breaks while I still have warranty, maybe
    they'll give me my money back if Sony can't repair it, but what to buy
    in it's place? The Nikon Coolscan V ED doesn't look too bad, but will
    it be available anymore? Maybe the flatbeds have improved by then
    and maybe not..
    Toni Nikkanen, Apr 9, 2006
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    Alan Browne Guest

    I've run well over 5000 slides and negatives through my 5400 without any
    fault over a period of 2+ years. Some early 5400's did have "striping"
    issues, mine has been fine from day one (and an early model).

    The 5400 II is less robustly built but works fine.

    (Don't trust Polson on this by the way, he is exagerating everything he
    says as part of his perverse agenda. Note that he lied about "renting"
    the 5400 II, as he said he "bought" one in January. He can't keep his
    lies straight!).

    Two friends of mine have the 5400 II and are extremely happy with the
    results. (They are the typical "Nikon rulz" types, but their scanners
    have always been Minolta).

    I do agree that it is risky to get Minolta gear in the present
    circumstances. In fact, from now on I would only buy _used_ Minolta
    equipment that is known and shown to be in good order after a lot of
    use. I have a lot of Minolta gear, most "pro" level and I have had only
    one failure (A 5400HS flash) in 12 years of heavy Minolta use. (Minolta
    Canada repaired it free of charge even though the warranty had expired).

    So, consider the Nikon V or 5000, both very good scanners. While it's
    possible to get a little more resolution out of an image with the 5400
    that presupposes that the resolution is _there_. That is to say:

    -high quality lens shot in its aperture sweet spot (about 2-3 stops down
    from wide open for most lenses).

    -high res film

    -fast shutter speed and/or flash for main light

    -close to subject (air currents will soften an image, eg: long range
    telephoto shots)

    -very stable shooting platform (tripod).

    -mirror lockup (pre-fire) used.

    Alan Browne, Apr 9, 2006
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  3. Bart van der Wolf, Apr 9, 2006

    Scott W Guest

    Alan Browne wrote:
    is _there_. That is to say:
    Or you could just shoot MF and be done with it. In many cases the
    tripod adds very little to the sharpness of an image. Airr currents
    often are the limiting factor for long shots.

    My feeling is that if you are dragging a tripod around you might as
    well shoot very high resolution photos. Some people seem to keep
    wanting to make 35mm into something it is not.

    Scott W, Apr 9, 2006
  5. It certainly is higher than negative film density range, and good
    enough for most slide film densities that matter (deepest slide film
    densities have poor color):

    Bart van der Wolf, Apr 9, 2006

    Scott W Guest

    That does show a differance. It does bring up an interesting issue,
    the Nikon scan is far softer then what a good 4000 ppi scan should be.
    For that matter the 5400 scan is way over sampled and has no detail
    that can't be captured in a good 2700 ppi scan. You can see this by
    down sampling the 5400 scan to 2700 and back up.

    I have seen scans from the Nikon 9000 that are far sharper then what
    you got from the 4000. Either the optics in the 4000 are not all that
    good or the scanner was out of focus.

    The highest res scan I have seen from 35mm.

    So I guess yes a fairly scan at 5400 ppi can beat a poor scan at 4000
    ppi. But it is not an issue with 5400 ppi vs 4000 rather it is an issue
    with the optics in the two scanners.
    I would bet that the Minolta scanning at 2700 ppi would be much sharper
    then the Nikon 4000 at 4000 ppi.

    Scott W, Apr 9, 2006

    Tony Polson Guest

    Only you can decide what to do, but I think I would probably return it
    now, under warranty.
    The Nikon Coolscan V offers 14-bit scanning. The Nikon Coolscan
    LS 5000 ED offers 16 bits. Both offer the same resolution - 4000 dpi
    compared with the 5400 of the Minolta Scan Elite 5400 II.

    The information I have is that Nikon Europe are taking orders for a
    final production run of the LS 5000 ED, after which no more will be
    made. I don't know if the same applies to the Coolscan V, sorry.
    Tony Polson, Apr 9, 2006
  8. Sometimes the software gets hung up on mine, and I just shut it down, and
    shut the scanner down, and then start it up from scratch...As soon as I turn
    it back on, it ejects the film holder.
    Also, I have found that it helps if I leave the scanner off on start up,
    and wait for the software to inform me that there is a problem, and then
    start up the scanner. I use Photoshop to start up the scanner software with
    the "import" command.
    The scanner is a little touchy when accepting the film holder.....You
    have to make sure that you are inserting it right, and definitely make sure
    the slides are seated properly and the film holder door is closed properly.
    (not the door on the scanner....the door on the film holder itself)
    William Graham, Apr 10, 2006
  9. SNIP
    It's the best focus I could achieve with that scanner. That's also why
    I used the image with the electrical interference during the scan, it
    was the best focused one.
    I beg to differ on the suggestion that's hidden in that statement, see
    the scratch example below. If the film image offers more detail, it
    will be resolved. If the detail consists of graininess, it will be
    better behaved and grain-aliasing is reduced..
    Focus was optimal on the same piece of film, so that leaves the
    scanner lens or scanner resolution.
    Again, the scan was the best that the scanner could produce from the
    same film image.
    Or the scanner resolution...
    That would be an easy bet, because the scanner would resemble more of
    a point-sampling scanner than an area-sampling scanner when only every
    other sensel per scan line is used.

    No, it all comes down to the interaction of the film's MTF, and that
    of the scanner. Their combined MTF will tell if detail can be resolved
    with enough modulation to be visible. This is the MTF of my SE-5400
    (without film):

    If it is fed a film with detail up to 5400 ppi (212.6 lines, or 106.3
    line pairs, per millimetre), the scanner will be able to resolve it. A
    4000ppi scanner physically couldn't achieve that even with the best
    lens possible.

    So for reliable non-aliased resolution one needs to offer a film image
    with a resolution of more than 100 cycles/mm. That means that
    lens+film need to have an adequate combined MTF modulation at 106.3
    cycles/mm which is hard for low ISO multi-layer color emulsions, but
    may be achievable with gigabit film.

    This is an example of the same scanner resolving a Provia film scratch
    of a single pixel width:
    As you can see, the scratch is well resolved but the projected black
    image area is limited by the combined lens-focus + lens-MTF +

    Bart van der Wolf, Apr 10, 2006
  10. Mike - EMAIL IGNORED

    Tony Polson Guest


    Am I right in assuming that you have the 5400, not the 5400 II? In
    which case, you don't have a problem with the mechanism, because the
    5400 has proved mechanically reliable.

    I wonder if it would be possible to engineer a hybrid 5400/5400 II in
    which the optics were derived from the improved 5400 II and the
    mechanical components were derived from the reliable 5400?

    Tony Polson, Apr 10, 2006
  11. No. - I have the 5400 II. So far, I haven't had any problems that I couldn't
    get around, but then, I have only put about 100 slides through it. Perhaps
    if I am careful, it will last long enough to get the other 1000 or so
    scanned, but if not, Then I will probably buy a Nikon machine. Actually, had
    I known what I know now, I would have bought the Nikon machine to begin
    with, because 4000 dpi would be quite adequate for my purposes. - But, like
    most novices, I was suckered in by the additional resolution of the
    William Graham, Apr 10, 2006
  12. Mike - EMAIL IGNORED

    Colin D Guest

    That statement somewhat begs the question, though, since very few
    film/lens combinations will yield >100 lp/mm, and even then only under
    'test' conditions. For real-world photography with hand-held cameras,
    slower shutter speeds, non-optimum aperture settings, slight misfocus -
    or a three dimensional subject where one relies on dof, you're never
    going to get anywhere near 100 lp/mm, or probably even 50 lp/mm.
    IMHO the only thing going for greater than about 3000 dpi scans is the
    better rendition of grain with fewer artifacts.

    Colin D.
    Colin D, Apr 10, 2006
  13. Yes. This is evident in my 5400 p/in scans of my slides.....The film just
    doesn't have the resolution that requires such detail. They are no better
    than my 2700 p/in scans. If I select a smaller subject in the background,
    and crop it out for a more detailed scan, it's still no good, because the
    image on the film is no better than 2700 p/in. I don't necessarily blame the
    film for this. It's more likely the fact that I took most of my images hand
    held under less than ideal conditions. It does encourage me to take a roll
    under more ideal conditions. - Tripod mount, mirror lock-up, bright windless
    day, my best lens, stationary subject......Maybe I can come up with some
    images that can really benefit from 5400 p/in.....
    William Graham, Apr 10, 2006
  14. Mike - EMAIL IGNORED

    no_name Guest

    Consider it from another angle. 5400ppi is more detail than 4000ppi by
    definition, but ...

    Do you absolutely need that additional detail?

    Given the available options, will 4000ppi suffice, particularly given
    your expressed reservations regarding the quality & serviceability of
    the 5400ppi scanner?
    no_name, Apr 10, 2006
  15. Mike - EMAIL IGNORED

    Scott W Guest

    The Nikon 9000 scanners seem to have very good optics and I believe
    would work as well or better then the 5400, but at a high cost. You
    might want to take a couple of your higher resolution negatives/slides
    and get them scanned at hi-res at a pro lab. This would give you a
    better feel for how much detail you might get off of them.

    A bigger issue then resolution might well be the speed of the scanner,
    particularly when Digital ICE is on.

    Scott W, Apr 10, 2006
  16. Mike - EMAIL IGNORED

    pioe[rmv] Guest

    Please verify this. My sources have given me no indication that this
    is the case.

    Per Inge Oestmoen, Norway
    pioe[rmv], Apr 11, 2006
  17. Mike - EMAIL IGNORED

    pioe[rmv] Guest

    I have found that the Nikon LED scanners are of a much higher
    mechanical quality. They will last longer than any Minolta.

    In certain cases you may get more detail out from the Minolta, and it
    is more capable than the Nikons with B/W films.

    But in the vast majority of cases I got slightly better results from
    the Nikons.

    Per Inge Oestmoen, Norway
    pioe[rmv], Apr 11, 2006
  18. Mike - EMAIL IGNORED

    pioe[rmv] Guest

    I did not like the Minolta's mechanical construction, and in spite of
    higher ppi resolution it is not actually better than the Nikons.

    But its Dmax is, like that of the Nikons, very good. I could extract
    information from very dense frames. It is therefore incorrect to
    ascribe poor dynamic range to that scanner.

    Per Inge Oestmoen, Norway
    pioe[rmv], Apr 11, 2006
  19. Mike - EMAIL IGNORED

    Alan Browne Guest

    Rubbish. Sharp photography with MF or 35mm demands a tripod.

    For that matter, MF lenses are not as sharp as 35mm ... they don't have
    to be. 35mm has been challenged to be as sharp as possible, MF has a
    relaxed spec as the large film makes up for less sharpness. IOW, MF
    does not get the most out of the film.

    One does not buy pro glass to see its value lost by shooting w/o a tripod.

    Alan Browne, Apr 11, 2006
  20. Mike - EMAIL IGNORED

    Alan Browne Guest

    Some time ago a fellow sent me a couple slides and his scan from a 5000.
    I scanned the same with the 5400 and let him judge it. He could see
    that the 5400 was noticeably sharper.

    The real advantage over the Minolta is the LED light source (Which
    Minolta belatedly included in the 5400 II).

    As to mechanics, my 5400 is a very ruggedly built piece of gear.
    Certainly much more so than the Nikon V scanner.

    Alan Browne, Apr 11, 2006
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