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Customer Review

on October 15, 2010
The unit includes 35mm slide and negative carriers, the power adaptor, USB cable and a case. There's no film strip carrier.

Got it to primarily scan slides, so these comments apply to scanning slides only, and the results so far are very disappointing (using the SilverFast software). There's a decrease in sharpness; images have a slightly out of focus look, with none of the focus "crispness" of the original slide. Colors have a dull and lifeless look, and no amount of adjustment brings them to where they match the original slide. The auto-adjust (in SilverFast and the rest of the bundled software) totally distorts the colors. Reds have the typical overblown digital look, and getting a nice white seems impossible.

The slide and negative carriers have a slight amount of play when they're inserted in the machine; if they're not correctly oriented, the scanned image is slightly askew so a preview scan is a necessity. The scanner is very slow, especially in the multi-scan and multi-exposure modes, and the higher resolution settings. I thought lower resolution scans (below 3200dpi) were marginally acceptable, so dropping the resolution below 3200 to speed up the process wasn't an acceptable option for me. For a simple, "Straight" scan of a slide, the results seem better to me using "quick scan" which doesn't use the SilverFast software.

It occasionally "crashes" giving a message saying the scanner is not ready (apparently this has been an ongoing issue for Plustek OpticFilm scanners for a while now, judging from what I found when researching for a solution); the only thing that fixed the problem was to restart the computer. Regarding the construction: I wonder about the quality of the plastics used; was dusting off the slide carrier with a large soft makeup brush, and found that a small piece of plastic broke off the carrier.

From everything I've read about the SilverFast software, I expected better. The user interface is too busy, with 5 separate windows opening when the program is launched; the programmers sure didn't take into account the end user. Some settings just don't want to work; example, it refuses to take a different output setting for the image size (again, when scanning a alide). There's no confirmation some of the other tools/features are either accepted or being made after clicking on the appropriate button (such as multi-scan, multi-mode, the iSRD dust removal). The other bundled software included is Presto PageManager and Presto ImageFolio. (Today, 11/5/10, I searched Amazon for Silverfast software to see what I might find; sometimes reviewers post some good, helpful info. Found SilverFast SE with 4 reviews and a unanimous 1-star much for that idea).

Software and drivers installed easily with no problems (on a Windows Vista computer) and the desktop footprint is much smaller than a flatbed scanner; those are the best things I can say about it. This is my first dedicated film scanner; until now I've used flatbed scanners. I once did freelance commercial and advertising photography, did all my own darkroom work, and been an avid photographer since I was in high school, so I have a definite idea of the kinds of results I want, and the 7400 doesn't give me what I hoped for. Maybe once I master the SilverFast software I'll think differently, but in my opinion it shouldn't take that much work to make a straight, accurate scan of an original (slide) that was fine to begin with. Last of all, I think it's overpriced even at the $240 I paid for it (new).

Update 12/3/10: Color calibrated my HP w1907 monitor with a Spyder 3 Express Datacolor DC S3X100 Spyder 3 Express. Slide scan colors still aren't as close as I would like to the originals but are a bit better.

Final update: I ran out of patience trying to get the results I wanted and gave it to a friend to play with.
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