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Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner Film Scanner Review

Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner Film Scanner Review - Capable of scanning at up to 7200dpi and with new environmentally friendly features, and no warm up time, is the Opticfilm 7400 the ideal film scanner for those on a budget?

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Category : Film Scanners
Product : Plustek Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
Price : £200
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Features
Handling
Performance
ePHOTOzine verdict and ratings
Specification

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Click on the thumbnail for the larger image.
Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner

Plustek's latest film scanner is a mid-range option that costs around £200 offering scanning resolutions up to 7200dpi, an improved Dmax of 3.5, multiple exposure support and advanced energy saving features.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Installation
Included with the scanner is everything you need to get started. Even a padded carry case is supplied for safely transporting the scanner along with a 1.5metre USB cable, slide and negative holders and two CDs containing drivers and the Silverfast SE Plus scanning software.

In order to run the scanner, you will need the following available on your computer system:
  • CD-ROM Drive
  • One available USB Port
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 500 MB free HDD space
  • High Colour graphic card (VGA or higher)
Both Windows and Macintosh systems are supported with a minimum processor of Pentium III for windows or A Power PC G4 CPU for Mac. Although these minimum specifications are quite modest, Plustek do recommend a faster system for better performance. As the files produced at maximum resolution are quite large, this is quite understandable.

For the purposes of testing an Intel Core2Duo E6300 system running at 1.8Ghz with 6GB of RAM, running 64bit Windows 7 Professional. Although Plustek's literature states that Windows 7 is supported, the software supplied on the disc does not support the 64bit version, so I had to pay Plustek's support website a visit to download the latest drivers and software in order to get started.
Once this hurdle had been overcome, the installation process was straightforward and is simply a case of following the instructions on screen and waiting to connect the scanner until it asks you to.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Features
Just like with every other Plustek film scanner, the Opticfilm 7400 can scan at a maximum resolution of 7200dpi, which produces a 193 megabyte file. This is a huge amount of resolution, and will probably exceed the requirements of most photographers, unless large reproductions are necessary. Those using a scanner like this will probably wish to reduce the resolution to speed up the scanning process and save on hard disk space. Scans completed at 2400dpi produce files that are 21.45 megabytes, which is about equal to what you'd expect from a 10-12 megapixel DSLR.

A feature first introduced on the high-end Opticfilm 7600i is the increase in Dmax from 3.3 to 3.5, which should result in scans with more detail retained in the highlights and shadows. To further increase the dynamic range that can be captured, a multi-exposure feature has been included. This allows the scanner to take scans at different exposures, which are automatically merged to produce an image with better detail in bright and dark areas. Up to 16 passes can be made, which should in theory make a big difference when scanning contrasty slides or negatives.

Silverfast SE Plus software is bundled with the scanner, which offers features that will please both experienced scanners, and complete novices. The software also includes a defect removal tool and colour correction tools, which should be especially helpful with faded or damaged slides and negatives. Enhanced support for Kodachrome transparencies, which are notoriously difficult to scan well, is also included. Unlike the higher end model, there is no infrared dust and scratch removal.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Handling
The unit itself is constructed from high quality plastics attached to a metal sub-frame. The blue finish to the exterior is a refreshing change to the beige usually found on devices of this type and it should fit nicely with most office environments at home, or at work. Being only 272 x 120 x 119mm in size, the scanner's footprint is quite small, although you will want to allow plenty of space either side as the plastic film carriers slide through the scanner from the side.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Click on the thumbnail for the larger image.
Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner   Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
Three buttons are provided on the front of the unit.   Film is loaded straight through the scanner from the side.
Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner   Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
Negatives are easy to align in the film holder.   Mounted slides clip firmly into place on the slide carrier.

In terms of build quality, the black plastic film carriers are a little disappointing as they feel quite flimsy. Saying that, so long as they are treated with care, they should last. Both carriers are easy to load. Mounted slides clip firmly into place and negatives are easy to align. The carriers load into the side of the machine, and are pushed straight through. The indexing marks provided for each frame are a little loose in the scanner, and I find a little fiddling is required for each frame to ensure accurate alignment.

Three buttons are located on the front of the unit. The power switch completely cuts power from the unit, which should please the energy conscious amongst us, although the power transformer still stays warm when plugged in, which means it is still drawing some power. There is zero warm up time once the unit is switched on and you can begin scanning straight away. Two other buttons are provided, on marked QuickScan and the Other Intelliscan. Each provide a quick and dirty way of scanning each frame loaded without faffing too much in the Silverfast software.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Performance
Scans are performed in a timely fashion, and are a vast improvement over the older generation of Plustek Scanners. A pre scan only takes 14.89 seconds and a full scan at 7200dpi is completed in four minutes and four seconds, which isn't as fast as the higher end 7600i, but is still respectable for a scan at this resolution.

Reducing the resolution not only results in smaller file sizes, but dramatically improves scan speeds too. Scanning at 2400dpi only takes one minute and 28 seconds.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Detail Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
As we've found with previous tests of Plustek scanners, it compares extremely well, especially when the price is taken into account.

The scan produced by the Opticfilm 7400 is just a shade softer than the 7600i, but is a marked improvement over the 7200i.

The amount of detail captured is clear to see when compared to the results from the Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 2 and the budget Jessops PF3600. Although both these scanners are now discontinued, they are a good benchmark for assessing the quality of reproduction.

The images below show a 100% crop from the area highlighted in the image to the right.
Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
Plustek Opticfilm 7400 Plustek Opticfilm 7600i Plustek Opticfilm 7200i Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 2 Jessops PF 3600 Pro

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Colour Negative test

Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner

Negatives scan well with colours being reproduced accurately, thanks in no small part to the Silverfast software. A Negafix option allows you to select preset settings from a list of popular film types, which corrects any colour cast that may result from the difference in film base colours. Automatic exposures are generally well balanced, although I would generally prefer a little more contrast. This can be added easily in the Silverfast software.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Colour Transparency Test

Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner

The increased dynamic range can clearly be seen with contrasty slides, although in an attempt to reproduce as much detail as possible, the results can sometime look a little washed out. Again there are plenty of controls at your disposal to alter the contrast as required.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Skin Tone Test
Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner  Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
This image is a 100% crop of the veil in this image, which clearly shows just how much detail can be captured by the scanner at 7200dpi. Each circle has been resolved in the veil.


 

This scan of a bride shows a pleasing skin tone, with good detail retained in the highlights of the white dress and the darker areas of the image. The colours have come out a touch warmer than would be considered accurate here, but this leads to a pleasing portrait result.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Black and White test

Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner

A decent range of tones are captured when scanning black and white negatives. The extended dynamic range certainly helps here, while a pleasing level of contrast results in a pleasing faithful reproduction.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Multi-exposure test
Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
A single exposure scan from a colour slide. A 16 exposure scan from a colour slide.

With slides, the difference the multi exposure feature can make is clear to see. A wide range of tones can be reproduced, without the washed out contrast present in the single exposure image. In multi exposure mode, the scans do take much longer to complete, so it will still best be kept for those images that will benefit the most from the expanded dynamic range.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
A single exposure scan from a colour negative. A 16 exposure scan from a colour negative.

With negatives the difference is much more subtle, as the scanner doesn't have as much contrast to deal with. A little difference can be seen in deep shadowy areas, but you'd really have to go looking quite hard.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Verdict
Once again Plustek have proved themselves capable of producing a scanner that is more than capable of producing excellent results. Costing around £200 it's pretty good value for the quality it produces, although those with scratched or dusty negatives who haven't the time, skill or inclination to spend ages in image editing software cloning out marks may find the extra £50 the 7600i costs a worthwhile investment.

There isn't much contemporary competition around these days with Canon no longer producing film scanners and Nikon's Super Coolscan 9000 being way out of most photographer's reach, but even compared to used prices, this Plustek still represents decent value for money.

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Pros
High resolution scans
Good value for money
Multi exposure feature with high contrast slides
Bundled software is easy to use
Padded carry case
Accurate colour reproduction

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Cons
No infrared dust removal
Film carriers can be difficult to align properly
Supplied software wouldn't work with 64bit Windows 7

FEATURES Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
HANDLING Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
PERFORMANCE Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
VALUE FOR MONEY Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner
OVERALL Plustek Opticfilm 7400 35mm Scanner

Plustek Opticfilm 7400: Specification
Interface USB 2.0
Technology Colour CCD image sensor
Hardware Resolution 7200 x 7200 dpi
Dmax 3.5
Film Holder Mounted slides, up to 4 slides. Filmstrip, up to 6 frames
Max. scanning area 24.3 x 35mm
Preview Speed Approx 7.57 sec (Multi-Sampling ON) for slide & Approx. 7.96 sec (Multi-Sampling ON) for negative film
Scan Speed 3600dpi: Approx. 54.56 sec (Multi-Sampling ON)
7200dpi: Approx. 112.59 sec (Multi-Sampling ON)
Colour Depth 48-bit input 24/48-bit output. Greyscale 16-bit input 8/16-bit output.
Operating temp 10° C to 40° C (50° F to 104° F)
Scan Method Single-Pass
Scanning Materials Reflective colour or black-and-white 35 mm slides, 35mm filmstrip.
Multi-Sampling Yes
Lamp White LED
Dimensions (WxDxH) 272 x 120 x 119 mm
Weight Approx. 1.6 kg
Power adapter Power Output DC 15V, 1A
Power Consumption Operation: 15 watts maximum. Idle: 5 watts
OS Support Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP / Vista/ 7
MAC 10.3.9 and higher including Snow Leopard

The Plustek Opticfilm 7400 costs £200 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Plustek Opticfilm 7400

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Comments


rhousham e2
7 432 United Kingdom
2 Jan 2011 8:52PM
I've just finished copying some of my dad's old film onto digital and yeah this does the job but 57 images did take me around an hour to do with the quick scan. The quality was good though even on film that was 27 -28 years old since they were developed.

Personally if you want to convert one or two select images to digital then this is the tool for you - if you want to do more like 50+ then I would look elsewhere or take your time.

One thing that would really boost this process is some sort of auto mover for the film. So scan - set your settings and go. It would save the prescan - scan - move film crandle that you have to do.

All in though good little piece of kit.

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