Gear

Konica Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 II Film Scanner

Leave your lab coat behind…

Do you have an old box full of 35mm negatives or slides you keep saving so that someday you can “do something” with them? I know I have a few boxes like this. The technology to scan these images to a PhotoCD can be found in many local photography shops and even supermarkets or drug stores and has existed for a while, but the quality of the output never seems quite as good as the original. The other option was doing this at home on a traditional flatbed scanner with an often-clunky adapter of some kind—but that didn’t quite do it either.

Now, the technology of both hardware and software combine in the DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 II from Konica Minolta so that you get a good quality scan as well as the tools to improve the images. Old underexposed photos can look better and flaws from the old minilab’s unbalanced machine or poor quality paper are no more. In fact, it’s fun to find an old image that was thought to be a “lost cause” and breathe new life into it with this compact film scanner. Its full-featured software suite and broad range of applications offers better-than-retail-quality images and you can leave your lab coat behind. But it’s not without a higher price tag, coming in at just under $700USD MSRP with a street price of around $550-$599 from most resellers.

Right out of the box, the EISA Award-winning 5400 II is noticeably compact and solid-feeling for a 42.2-megapixel film scanner. With a maximum resolution of 5400×5400 and vertical scan size of 1.42″, the output is sharp, nominally saturated, and offers an even contrast/gray balance from most 35mm transparencies and negatives. The 3-line color CCD (charge coupled device) with Film Expert Algorithm for negatives responds well, and the 16-bit A/D conversion provides excellent results at this price point. The Kodak plug-in suite features Digital ICE, Digital SHO, Digital GEM, and Digital ROC in a single expert-mode interface that also offers a Pixel Polish pane for manual corrections (in the 8-bit mode) as well as an “easy” mode for direct printing from your films. USB 2.0 interface is the only option, but performance is good.

On the down side, there is no FireWire connectivity nor any film trays to support sizes above 35mm; however, this is a niche item that does its job well for the advanced consumer or 35mm photographer. Konica Minolta reports top scanning speeds of 25 seconds; but I found performance to be in the 30-second range, myself. Like most new products these days, the software included in the box had already been updated on the manufacturer’s website, but once that expected step was completed, the scanner performed very well. In fact, a friend from WireImage (http://www.wireimage.com/), a leading media photography house, recommended the 5400 II to me after I had already started my evaluation—inadvertently and unofficially endorsing this product which is high praise, indeed.

As film scanners go, the DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 II is a full-featured device that delivers very good results for (relative to other scanners of this type that are far more costly) a good price. While spending around $600 may seem like a large investment for consumers, consider how many images you may have and, of course, what you wish to do with them and at what size. Once you begin to restore and embellish your 35mm images, you may not want to stop. If you are still married to analog film, as many are in these changing times, this scanner is a great way to bring those images into the digital realm.

PRICE: $698.95
FOR: Mac and Windows
FROM: Konica Minolta
PHONE: 800-285-6422
WEB: www.konicaminolta.us
RATING: 4.0

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