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Minolta Dual Scan III review

Do you have old slides to be scanned and converted into digital format? The Dual Scan III by Minolta is an excellent low cost solution giving good quality.

 

Minolta slide scanner

MINOLTA DUAL SCAN III DEVICE

Minolta Scan Dual III is a dedicated film scanner for 35mm and APS slides and negatives (APS requires an optional adapter). In my opinion, it is a very capable and interesting unit, in particular because of the low price when compared to the quality. It isn't suitable for professional applications, but still excellent for private and home use. The installation was very easy, I've connected it to a very old PC (AMD K7-600Mhz, 256 megs of RAM, USB 1.1, Windows 98 SE) and configured everything in just five minutes without any problem.

I've started to scan very soon and wrote this short review one week later, comparing several slides with the same scanned by a Kodak photo lab and stored on Kodak Photo CD. As shown on the following samples, the quality of Minolta pictures is very close, and sometimes higher, than Kodak Photo CD for both resolution, colors and behaviours with shadows/highlights.

MINOLTA DUAL SCAN III PROS

The main Minolta Dual Scan II pros are:

  • Great value for the money
  • Easy to install and to use, worked fine even on my very outdated PC and it is also quite fast!
  • 16 bits per channel, excellent dynamic range, very sharp considering the age of the device.

MINOLTA DUAL SCAN III CONS

However, being a low cost device designed for non-professional use, the Minolta Dual Scan III device has also some limitations:

  • Pictures require heavy post-processing editing in Adobe Photoshop or equivalent software. The built-in dust removal, which is software-only, is quite weak and even the smallest, invisible grain of dust, will produce very big and very noticeable dots on the scanned picture. Scratches are even worst and require time and patience to correct all of them by hand. Slides scanned without any software correction activated in the driver, will be from very to extremely dark, anyway the very high dynamic range of this unit makes possible to recover the brightness and saturation, without loosing any detail in both shadows and highlights. Activating the Auto Exposure didn't help me, as the color balance was still very far from the realty. This problem can be partially fixed by createing a set of image-correction jobs, one for each type of film or situation, and applying it automatically at the end of each scan. Negatives are much more brighter than slides and require less tweaking, but dust and scratches are more evident on this kind of film.
  • Pictures scanned from high speed films appear very grainy, probably much more than actually they are. I've tried with 200 ASA Agfa VISTA and they are still acceptable, 400 ASA Agfa Vista requires extra tweaking to get smoother pictures, Kodak 800 and Fuji 1600 produced totally useless pictures for either monitor and printer. Kodak kodachrome 64 and Kodak Elitechrome 100 was instead simply superb.

MINOLTA DUAL SCAN III TEST

To test the Minolta Dual Scan III device, I've scanned several slides and compred them with the same from a Kodak Photo CD. My LCD monitor is dark and quite contrasted, thence some corrected picture may appear too soft. Pictures was scanned at 2820DPI at 8 BITS instead of 16 (for Photoshop Elements compatibility, as *this* is the version supplied with the scanner) and resampled down for monitor/web use. Kodak Photo CD images acquired from CD at the resolution of 3072 and resampled down like before. I've also performed a color count on each picture and data can be summarized as follows:

  • Pictures scanned by Minolta and processed by Photoshop have 38,6% colors more than Minolta's "as is".
  • Pictures imported from a PhotoCD and processed by Photoshop has 10.2% colors more more than PhotoCD's "as is".
  • Minolta "as is" has 34,3% colors LESS than PhotoCD "as is"
  • Minolta photos processed by Photoshop have 4,0% colors less than the same pictures coming from a PhotoCD and processed by Photoshop.
KODAK ELITECHROME 100 SLIDES
Kodak Photo CD sample unprocessed Minolta Dual Scan sample unprocessed
Kodak Photo CD "as is"
Number of colors: 39365
Scanned by Minolta without *any* correction.
Number of colors: 28433
Kodak Photo CD sample processed Minolta Dual Scan sample processed
Corrected Photo CD
Number of colors: 39555
Corrected Minolta.
Number of colors: 46127


Kodak Photo CD close up Minolta Dual Scan close up sample
Particular, Photo CD Particular, Minolta



KODAK ELITECHROME 100 SCAN SAMPLES
Kodak Photo CD "as is"
Number of colors: 72043
Scanned by Minolta without *any* correction.
Number of colors: 42044
Corrected Photo CD
Number of colors: 68275
Corrected Minolta.
Number of colors: 70539


Particular, Photo CD Particular, Minolta. The cactus' skin is much more defined than Photo CD.



MORE KODAK ELITECHROME 100 SAMPLES
Kodak Photo CD "as is"
Number of colors: 36028
Scanned by Minolta without *any* correction.
Number of colors: 21688
Corrected Photo CD
Number of colors: 34886
Corrected Minolta.
Number of colors: 33196


Particular, Photo CD Particular, Minolta



KODAK KODACHROME 64 SLIDES FROM PHOTOCD AND MINOLTA SCANNER
Kodak Photo CD "as is"
Number of colors: 34405
Scanned by Minolta without *any* correction.
Number of colors: 19357
Corrected Photo CD
Number of colors: 40592
Corrected Minolta.
Number of colors: 45749


Particular, Photo CD Particular, Minolta. The color of the sky is more real on Minolta. The color of the rock is better on Photo CD. Details and sharpness is still slightly better on Minolta.



MORE KODAK KODACHROME 64 SLIDES SAMPLES
Kodak Photo CD "as is"
Number of colors: 43852
Scanned by Minolta without *any* correction.
Number of colors: 29216
Corrected Photo CD (the color of the sky and of the grass is quite different from the original slide).
Number of colors: 71930
Corrected Minolta. Sky and grass color is *very* similar to the original projected slide.
Number of colors: 61189


Particular, Photo CD Particular, Minolta (seems to be slightly sharper)



KODAK KODACHROME 64
Kodak Photo CD "as is"
Number of colors: 95511
Scanned by Minolta without *any* correction.
Number of colors: 70190
Corrected Photo CD
Number of colors: 102541
Corrected Minolta.
Number of colors: 95511


Particular, Photo CD Particular, Minolta. On this nasty slide, with a lot of very bright and very dark areas all togheter, Minolta performed better, with greater sharpness and better color balance (especially for the sky) although Photo CD has an higher number of unique colors.


So, if you have lot of slides, perhaps from trips and holidays made before the digital camera era, the Minolta Dual Scan III may be an excellent solution to make them digital and share them with your friends on social networks.

 

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