ICE/Infrared 5400 vs. 5400 II

The new film scanner review

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ICE/Infrared 5400 vs. 5400 II

Postby trainjunkie » Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:21 am

Hi all,

I have had a DiMage 5400 II for quite some time and it provides stellar results. I drive it with VueScan Pro which has worked fantastically for me. If I only have a few images to scan, I scan and clean using the medium dust removal filter and save as TIF. If I have a lot to scan, I scan RAW files then reprocess in a batch later using VueScan to apply the dust filter to the IR channel.

Either way the results have been incredible. Better than any Nikon CoolScan I've ever owned or tried and better by far than my Epson V700. The dust removal process works beautifully even with Kodachrome, which I've always been told isn't possible. But it works and it has made the 5400 II very valuable to me since a lot of the slides I scan are pretty old and always have artifacts that would take forever to remove by hand.

This week I stumbled on a good deal on a Dimage 5400, the predecessor to the 5400 II. I always wanted a Firewire scanner anyway since USB 2.0 on my machine has never been very reliable and I had been looking for another slide scanner as a back-up in case the first one failed during an important project. So I bought this barely used 5400.

I plugged it in and turned it on and launched VueScan, calibrated the scanner and scanned a couple sample images, first using the scan and filter workflow, then using the RAW and reprocess workflow.

The 5400 makes beautiful scans, with slightly sharper detail than the 5400 II. But the IR dust removal (ICE) is terrible. It barely works on the dust and is very destructive to a lot of other details in the image. I'm shocked! I thought these two scanners were pretty much identical optically but apparently they are not. I scanned the exact same slides using the 5400 II with the same exact VueScan settings for comparison and they are beautiful. I looked at the alpha (IR) channels in each RAW image file and the one from the 5400 is very, very dark compared to the one from the 5400 II.

Has anyone else used both the 5400 and 5400 II and experienced similar results? If so, did your find a solution or work-around to get the IR/ICE to work properly? Without a solution to this problem, this 5400 is useless to me.

Thanks!

Mike
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Re: ICE/Infrared 5400 vs. 5400 II

Postby Costas L » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:30 am

trainjunkie wrote:............. I plugged it in and turned it on and launched VueScan, calibrated the scanner and scanned a couple sample images, first using the scan and filter workflow, then using the RAW and reprocess workflow.

The 5400 makes beautiful scans, with slightly sharper detail than the 5400 II. But the IR dust removal (ICE) is terrible. It barely works on the dust and is very destructive to a lot of other details in the image. I'm shocked! I thought these two scanners were pretty much identical optically but apparently they are not. I scanned the exact same slides using the 5400 II with the same exact VueScan settings for comparison and they are beautiful. I looked at the alpha (IR) channels in each RAW image file and the one from the 5400 is very, very dark compared to the one from the 5400 II .........


The scanners have a different light source plus the original has a "diffuser" called "grain dissolver"

Try scanning on the 5400 (1st generation) using ICE and the grain dissolver with the latest Minolta driver (download from their website) and compare with the Vuescan image captured on the 5400 II. It might be you just need to use different Vuescan settings because of the different light sources, but in any event ICE on the original 5400 with the Minolta software is excellent with very little (I do not remember there being any) loss of detail compared to NOT using ICE which is the way to make the comparison.
Costas
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Re: ICE/Infrared 5400 vs. 5400 II

Postby trainjunkie » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:25 am

Thanks for the reply Costas. Unfortunately, the Minolta drivers will not run on my machine at all (OS X 10.4.11). That's the reason I went to Vuescan to begin with.

I've scanned quite a few more images on the 5400 this evening, using various settings, some with ICE and some without, emulsion up, emulsion down. No matter what, I can't replicate the results I get from the 5400 II using the 5400 when I compare images from both made from the same exact slides. I guess this thing is going on eBay tomorrow. I have no use for it if this is the best it will do. Might was well have a Nikon :wink:

Thanks.

Mike
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Re: ICE/Infrared 5400 vs. 5400 II

Postby Kevgermany » Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:30 pm

Mike, before you ditch it, try sending jo-1 a pm. He uses a 5400 with vuescan on a mac, and his results are pretty good. Maybe it's just settings as Costas suggested.
Kev

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Re: ICE/Infrared 5400 vs. 5400 II

Postby jo-1 » Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:57 pm

Dear Mike,

I own the Minolta DSE 5400 Elite (the predecessor of the DSE 5400 MK II)

In many respects the DSE 5400 MK II should be better (speed, contract) and in terms of sharpness it should be slightly worse (due to reports I read) but on an absolutely high level!

So if you sense problems with scanning you can contact me (if you like) just send me a private message.

VueScan + DSE 5400 Elite gives really good results - as good as they can get from slides. There are many comparissons to drum scanners and the DSE 5400 is more or less on par with them (after some tweaking)

look here:

(just as an explanation - the width of each image is in reality 1,5 mm of the original slide)
ImageImageImage
from left to right: Minolta DSE5400 II original; DSE5400 II + neat image and Photokit sharpener pro; professional Howtech drum scanner 4500 (for some 20 k USD)
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Re: ICE/Infrared 5400 vs. 5400 II

Postby jo-1 » Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:15 am

btw - infrared cleaning on some netatives (specially Kodac ones) just causes blur and very bad results on my DSE 5400 MK I

I never experienced this on slides - but (as many might know) I purely use Velvia 100 (without F) and this film can be scanned absolutely nicely. (IMHO the best film to be scanned today)

So go and try slides on your DSE 5400 - they should perform absolutely nice (if the scanner is not damaged) and make sure to turn on the grain dissolver plate of the DSER 5400 - this will enhance the "scanability" of the slides.

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Re: ICE/Infrared 5400 vs. 5400 II

Postby trainjunkie » Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:33 pm

Hi All,

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. At the end of the day, after many attempts to secure a scan from the 5400 that was comparable to the 5400 II (with regards to ICE/IR function), I decided that they were too far apart and that the 5400 wasn't going to suit my work flow. It has been sold.

I suppose it is possible to get the ICE to work well on the 5400, I just don't want to have to learn and remember two different work flows and scanning techniques for each scanner. As it turned out, the 5400 using Firewire was no faster than the 5400 II using USB so there was no gain there. Also, it turned out that every time I switched from one scanner to the other in Vuescan, I would have to recalibrate the scanner which added an extra step. Not a huge deal as I would not normally have both scanners attached to the same machine at the same time. But it was just one more thing to have to remember and, again, the results weren't worth the hassle.

I've often discussed the superior IR dust removal results I get from the 5400 II/Vuescan combination with friends who have Nikon scanners and none of them have ever been able to replicate my results regardless of software drivers. I've even borrowed a Nikon 5000 from a friend to see if I could make it work and I couldn't get the results I get from the 5400 II. I scan a lot of Kodachrome so this feature is especially important and, so far, the only scanner I've ever seen that really has effective IR dust removal on Kodachrome is the 5400 II. I don't know why, all I know is the results I get are leaps and bounds above those from any other film or flatbed scanner I've ever had or used, including the 5400 and the Coolscan 5000.

I guess if I want a back-up for my 5400 II, I'll have to find another one somewhere. Seems like there is nothing else like it on the market even though it is long out of production and an "obsolete" product.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

Mike
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