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|Product:||Plustek OpticFilm 7200i|
Plustek OpticFilm 7200i - Plustek OpticFilm 7200i review
The Plustek Opticfilm 7200i created quite a stir when it was announced. It is currently the highest resolution dedicated 35mm scanner available, and one of the cheapest. In this review Gary Wolstenholme will take a look at whether this budget film scanner can live up to expectations.
|Technology||Colour CCD image sensor|
|Hardware Resolution||7200 x 7200 dpi|
|Max. scanning area||36.8 x 25.4 mm (1.45 "x 1")|
|Preview Speed||Approx. 5.6 sec|
|Scan Speed||Approx. 36 sec (3600 dpi), 68 sec (7200 dpi)|
|Colour Depth||48 bit/pixel|
|Dimensions (D x W x H)||272 x 120 x 119 mm (scanner only)|
|Net Weight||Approx. 1.5 kg / 3.1 lb (scanner only)|
|Scan Mode||Single Pass|
|Film Holder||Mounted slides, up to 4 slides - Filmstrip, up to 6 frames|
|System Requirements||IBM Compatible PC, with Pentium II or faster CPU
One available USB Port
128 MB RAM (256MB recommended)
160 MB free HDD space (300 MB recommended)
High Colour graphic card (VGA or higher)
Microsoft Windows XP, Me, 98 SE, 2000
The OpticFilm 7200i comes bundled with the latest version of Lasersoft's Silverfast Ai Software which, supports the scanner's infrared dust removal system, iSRD. Installation is straightforward, just run the installation CD, then connect the scanner using the USB cable. Windows auto detects the scanner immediately and you are ready to scan.
Two film holders are included with the scanner, one for slides and one for unmounted strips of film. The slide holder takes up to four slides at once, the film strip holder has enough room for six frames of film. These accessories are made entirely of plastic but are robust enough to last a long time if handled carefully.
To scan your film, simply insert the film holder into the side of the scanner until it clicks into place; and to advance to the next frame, simply push the holder further through the scanner. This system is fairly crude compared to those
Scan speed is often the achilles heel of cheaper scanners, depending on your requirements this scanner turns out scans at an acceptable rate.
|Scan Resolution||iSRD Enabled||File Size||Time|
For scans with no dust and scratch removal, the scanner produces images quickly right up to the maximum resolution of 7200dpi. However when the iSRD facility is enabled the scan time increases dramatically, especially when scanning at 7200dpi. At almost 40 minutes for a single frame scanning an entire roll 36 exposure of film would take approximately 24 hours!
Scan Elite 2
PF 3600 Pro
The OpticFilm compares well against other scanners. It's only second to the better dynamic range and more accurate colour reproduction of the Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 2, although the OpticFilm does capture more detail.
If you compare the OpticFilm to the similarly priced Jessops Primefilm 3600 Pro scanner, you can see just how good value this scanner is. The OpticFilm not only shows better detail, but better dynamic range, more accurate colours and sharper detail.
Black & white test
Colour negative test
Colour transparency test
The Opticfilm produces respectable results from colour transparency film rendering colours accurately and reproducing plenty of detail. Contrasty slides like this on show how the limited Dmax can cause problems. The back of the gull's head is burnt out and the darkest shadows have lost detail as well.
Skin tone test
The image above is a 100% crop from the veil in the image to the left. This shows just how much detail can be reproduced by this scanner, each individual circle of the fine gauze has been rendered.
When Silverfast is set to automatic, the OpticFilm tends to produce slightly oversaturated skin tones. The Silverfast software has an excellent user interface which makes correcting this very simple.
Dust and scratch removal test
The Silverfast software bundled with this scanner gives you two options for automatically removing dust and scratches from your images, the iSRD infrared dust and scratch removal and a software based dust and scratch removal tool.
|This is the image with no dust or scratch removal applied to it at 100%.
It's worth taking note of the sharpness of the image. Even the grain of the film has been resolved.
|With the software based dust and scratch removal activated, images take on a blotchy appearance similar to the effect achieved by using on of the pixelate filters in photoshop.|
|With the iSRD infrared dust and scratch removal activated the image retains its sharpness much better. Scratches are not completely removed, only dulled down, and are clearly visible in the final scan.
The iSRD system performs reasonably well, although I have seen better results with other scanners.
|This is another 100% crop of a plain section of an image with a severe scratch. No dust and scratch removal has been used on this image.|
|This is the same part of the image but with Silverfast iSRD dust and scratch removal used. You can clearly see where the software has tried to patch over the scratch, but it seems to have missed it.|
|And finally here is the same part of the image scanned using Vuescan. The infrared dust and scratch removal performs much better with viewscan, if you look very closely you can see where the scratch has been cloned out.|
The performance of the Plustek OpticFilm 7200i is excellent, especially for its price. It produces detailed scans and accurate colours that aren't too different from the results you would expect from a scanner twice the price. There are a few limitations though, the length of time it takes to produce a scan when using the infrared dust and scratch removal, at the maximum resolution, is impractical. Also the limited dynamic range of this scanner shows, when compared to more expensive opposition.
When compared to similarly priced opposition the OpticFilm really shines, in fact I find it really hard not to compare it to much more expensive 'professional' scanners, it really is that good.
The high resolution and overall quality of the scans really does make this very good value for money, especially for someone who may only scan film occasionally, or who can live with its few limitations.
In summary the positive points are:
Software is easy to use
Infra-red dust and scratch removal
Quick scan speed without infrared dust and scratch removal
No noise visible in images
The negative points are:
Limited dynamic range
Scan times with infrared dust and scratch removal enabled
Silverfast may not produce the best results