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INTRODUCTION AND EXPLANATION OF DIFFERENT VERSIONS
This new scanner was announced in June 2001 and only started shipping in November 2001. It scans 35mm and 120 formats and costs about $2,800 here. It scans up to 6 x 9 cm, or up to four 35mm slides or up to six 35mm frames of 35mm film strips at once.
The scans are the best I've seen off of any sub $50,000 scanner, and yes, the scans are better than from the $10,000 Imacon. I'm not kidding; I've scanned the same transparency on both, and in fact, many scanners. I can't post these because each scan is bigger than my entire website. I've thought of offering to send people CDRs of all these raw scans for people to evaluate on their own, but to be honest, I do this for fun and would rather be scanning then running a retail outlet. Let me know if you want to see these. The biggest difference is that the Imacon lacks ICE, it does funny things in the shadows and has some spatial chroma shifts. I hate dirt and spotting.
I am scanning transparencies (slides) and almost exclusively Fuji Velvia. There is no relationship of anything I say to scanning negatives.
The scans from this Minolta just look great; the colors and values are just like my original chromes, the levels are perfect too. Also less importantly, the resolution is genuinely as specified, the software is great and so are the film holders. Read the rest of this review if you want, but if you're in a hurry, just go buy one and forget the Imacon, Polaroid 120 and Nikon 4000 and 8000. I will make direct comparisons below, something the commercial sites and magazines won't dare!
THREE DIFFERENT VERSIONS
Minolta's website and literature make no mention of different versions, however when I went to order it I saw three different ones with different prices!
I called Minolta and asked. The film adapters and software are all the same. The differences are whether or not they throw in a card to go inside your computer to add a SCSI or Firewire input. If your computer already has SCSI or Firewire input then the least expensive version is all you need. All new Macs already have firewire ports, most Windows PCs don't.
The three versions are: (Minolta part numbers)
2887-301: this is the one to get so long as your computer has either a SCSI or Firewire port. Firewire, invented by Apple, also is called iLink by Sony and IEEE 1394 by engineers.
2887-X001 adds a SCSI card for your computer; you probably can skip this version.
2887-X002 adds a Firewire card for your computer if your computer doesn't already have firewire.
Either of the X versions costs about $200 more than the first version. Since you probably can buy either of those cards for less than $200 you may have no need for any version other than the basic one if you are fast with the computer hardware.
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