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Industry wide indications and ceasing film body development by Pentax altogether in early 2003 more than suggest the manual focus Pentax LX will not be having an upgrade (except, perhaps for very rare Limited Edition Models hand assembled by special commission by the new HoyaPentax Corporation). In 2008 Pentax became a division of Hoya Corporation, which had together with Pentax released jointly developed professional grade optics (since 2005); Pentax has shifted its attention to development of auto focus Digital SLRs having build qualities constructed for the long run--now with weather seals--like the LX. You may use this site for common support and sharing of mutual users knowledge or experiences among yourselves. You may also use this message board as a guestbook for the advanced users Pentax SLR cameras from the LX forward, including many such auto focus film cameras, and Pentax digital SLR cameras. We keep the site going too for the WORD SEARCH FEATURE found here as to its magnificent K mount system user archives: as have been shared here for many years. Have an inquiry related to Pentax gear? First try KEYING IN YOUR KEY WORD(S) for a preexisting archived response on your subject of inquiry from this LX site. If your inquiry or sharing is from advanced users K10D, K20D, or K200D SLR needs, proceed on to t NEW PENTAX ADVANCED USERS K10D, K20D SLR site.

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1. From : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 02:11 AM Friday 16 July, 2004

Tony, You ask a very interesting question as to the best balance of value vs. results on a slide scanner. The 5400 is very good, but has been eclipsed by recent Nikon, and Konica Minolta offerings (it is no longer Minolta's top 35mm). Even so, what does one really need? I started years ago with the Minolta Quickscan 35 plus, with a very low density rating, but pretty par with what was available at the time. It had 2880 PPI rating seldom used. Even so, I got some good 12 X 9 inch prints from it and my Epson printers, when going through Corel photo paint's latest version of the time. I usually scanned at 450 DPI, or smaller, down to 300 dpi, and then tweaked with Corel. Prints were outstanding and, of course, due to density restrictions of 3.0, very contrasty. These then had managable file sizes too. I used tiffs, or corel's own file format, later shifting to Photoshops own file format. These were color management decisions based on printing my own prints and on the requirements of CMYK or RGB, according to the printshops being used by clients. Color palette today should be a consideration, as printing has honed for digital file address and Adobe's various graphics design related programs (Quark seems harder to use for example than InDesign. And the latter program works well with Illustrator and Photoshop CS.).

Image size output was a factor, and getting the file on my then optical media, 250MB Olympus optical magnetic media (seen in the first Tom Cruise Mission Impossible film as containing the sought after and murdered for disk of agent names). If I were buying a unit today, I'd get the $300 Diimage IV. Because it outperforms the ten year old Quickscan, has a high density rating, and will do a quality 12 X 16 print from a 450 dpi scan. Further, its maximum PPI can be upgraded with an upgrade program (free on the web), without scanning up to the film grain limits and seeing ugly results. Even if I had the latest 7,000+ Minolta PPI scanner, the tradeoffs of showing grain and slide media's resolution of color and detail limits are increased by the increased scanning pixelation. Nothing for final use then is so gained.

Then your capital outlay is low, as the technology continues to get cheaper, and surge ahead. I never recaptured the $1000 put into the Quickscan, and watched it get usurped in a few years (it is a boat anchor now). The 4.5 to 4.8 density rating of the Diimage IV is actually greater than transparency film offers, so you are up past par with that number. Even the 3,200 ppi top rating of the unit is enough, after that go to drum scanners for professional maximal enlargement work, according to output needs needed. The reason I'd go down, not up, is that this would meet my 35mm scanning requirements and needs. Little is gained scanning 35mm at high PPIs on the desktop, for, when one gets to or past film grain resolution limits the tradeoffs begin to appear in the results: already discussed prior herein. Seeing film grain by these scanners' electronic file renders is disturbing. There is the relationship between PPI scaning results, DPI end use, and color palette too. Color management per UXGA flat screen is pretty good, and certainly better than the low limits of web resolution, or magazine resolution, or, even self printing. The large file sizes, unless coming from a drum scanner, in application, really have little end use application. There is some argument of diode vs florescent illumination scattering scanning results, hence, Nikon vs. Minolta. But there is little difference pixel for pixel in the latest units. The two brands mentioned have excelled as to their own optical tests for the lenses they use in their scanners. None other are quite as good (even Heidelberg, which has other good qualities is not as good in the lens department). So, go buy the bargain unit and be happy. TONY of carp gaming fame. --Jay of Annual Report, Commercial, Catalogue, and images for project projection use fame. This includes World's fair set-ups, touch screen interactive set-ups, and other client representative displays. I hope to work on a museum project soon.

2. From : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 01:30 AM Friday 16 July, 2004

Tony, I think we were working on our last postings at the same time, and was surprized by yours below mine when I posted. I was referring to the digital bugs posting, whomever that was. Yes, we remain on a first name, respectful basis, because we bring out the best in one another. --Jay

Url :
Date : 01:24 AM Friday 16 July, 2004

"...The person below..." Are we not on first name terms now, Jay? And there was me beginning to warm to your recent informative posts, and even started nodding my head! No, not nodding off to sleep, nodding with agreement...Ha ha Great last post 'from the person below' - our illustrious Jay. I agree entirely with almost all you've just said.

A number of the drum scans that were made for my book by the publisher in Holland used some of the world’s best equipment that money can buy. Sadly some of the scans made a lot earlier in Denmark (on far cheaper equipment - and far less professional control of the equipment they were using, I might add) did not look so good, and the new Dutch high-quality scans made the older Danish scans (made using similar 35mm transparencies) look pale, dull and 'soft' in comparison. The Dutch scans look incredible, with biting sharpness, powerful colours to match that of the original Velvia slides, and with microscopic detail right to the edge of the pages. If only I had such equipment to us at home next to my PC...unfortunately it wouldn't even fit in the door! And my credit cards would cringe at the prices asked for such wonderful machines. This brings me round to desktop 35mm scanners that will deliver the best quality within a limited budget. Is the Minolta 5400 Dimage that good, Jay? I've heard a lot of great things about it, and seen some positive reviews online. Would you recommend it for scanning thousands of my 35mm slides to add to my archive, with enough quality to be able to use such a scan on disc at a later date (due maybe because the original slide becomes lost or damaged)? - Or would you advise me to look at a far more expensive model (which I can’t afford at them moment!). Chez is ultra-keen on also scanning her negs – does it do an equally good job on the negative films? The Minolta 5400 is selling for very reasonable prices, so I’m tempted to buy one. You’ve been working with one Jay. Could you please give me a short run-down on the positive and minus points of this scanner model?

4. From : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 03:49 PM Thursday 15 July, 2004

Ian, Yes, I catch your drift, and so it goes. FYI, where a small format slide scanner is permitted by its designers to truly show grain, it becomes an acute illustrator of the problems I discussed with 35mm film scans and the random grain structure inherent in film becoming visibly annoying to viewers. These would include revealing that chemical layering in emulsion structure causes lens focal point light diffusion (as seen in small details in a 35mm film rendered scene. This is not so obvious with a single subject which fills the format). So scanned, what is seen is a limited pallette of available scenic color hues, as rendered; also sectioned segments from small film format size scans show loss of scenic detail (look at the grass under a subject under magnification, for an example of poor scenic detail as originated on film). The inherent compression of tones in a scene by film then limits scene-available hues and increases apparent color saturation (in some films with a postery color affect), but with the cost of fewer hues being rendered from a scene. It is hues which grant more color from digital file originals than from digital film scans. But do more hues found in digital originals give a colorful result? Paradoxically, no. We like the compression of tones, with the increased tonal blocking and resulting saturation of a given color. This is Velvia's claim to fame. Hence, digital image originals offer more color from a given scene, but often with less saturation than with scenic tone limiting film. And, ironically, this can seem less colorful than results from film in some cameras, even after onboard digital image processing. So, as some folks mentioned, to get the "film look" from digital originals, not scans, one may have to tweak digital file image originations with an image manipulation program. As I stated, viewers are used to the film look being OK for viewer acceptance.

Saturation is helped by an increased compression of tones, from a given scene, because of film increasing contrast, but, in the process, it can decrease the full spectrum of color hues of any represented color in a scene. This qualifies my original statement made a couple of months back here on the forum.

Blowing up a 35mm scenic shot electronically accentuates the problems of depicting grain though digital file scans constructed from small format film originals. For example, as mentioned in my posting, the lesser quality Minolta Diimage III, also sold concurrent with the 5400, showed a film original's grain extensively (though at half the pixel rating of the 5400). The results werer not pleasing, because of revealing the problems past discussed about film's limits and color seen and rendered in a filmic depiction. Hence, software programs coming with such scanners controlling their results have to confuse film grain's literal rendering in very minute ways in order to not show such a literal, and viewer disturbing, result. For the 5400, not only does digital ICE, and the scanner image-regulating machine's own operating program selectively remove scratches and dust marks to some degree on film originals, these also, in doing so, massage the grain depiction problem so one gets the kind of results Ian wrote about. The resulting loss of detail can usually be corrected with the unsharp mask filter available in many image manipulation programs (e.g., Photoshop, Corel Photo Paint, etc.). Where grain shows, and is shown by a scan,it then is made too obvious in resulting prints or projections from such scans. This frustrates people trying to get superior or lab print kind of results from small format films from such scanners; it is not possible to get some kind of seamless imagery appearance while showing grain revealed by a digital scanners means of capturing and file structuring. So Minolta designs the higher pixel count scanner with inherent software which intentionally confuses grain depiction. So too it recently released the cheaper 3200 PPI, Diimage IV with this in mind.

Drum scans, as mentioned by the person below, and others, are usually made from 120 and upward size film. And magazine publishers have made large investments in such devices and their own dedicated four color print processing technology: so that shifting to a digital original based printing process all at once is cost prohibitive. Plus, so many image banks now available from shooters, are based on years of collecting transparencies and using them. The person below who mentions the limits of small format digital--as far as their own magazine reproduction requirements, and image size blow-ups--also found their magazines general lack of regard for 35mm film images at all. My own experience is that 120 formatted images are preferred both on film and as digital originations by such printers. But, as with Arizona Highways (using 4X5 film originals), or National Geographic (normally using 35mm film originals, and small format digital originals), one must consider the kind of magazine, its subject matter, image use, physical size for use of images, and readership: as to the kind of originals it may seek. For example, wildlife or gaming photos are not usually shot on medium format, or larger, outside of controlled environments with captured animals. So, 35mm chromes are acceptable because most longer lenses of quality and of reasonable size for field use are not affordable in medium format and above. If you are in the US, in the west, and have opportunity to visit an REI flagship store, you can see some of Art Wolf's galleried reproductions. These use the best possible film to paper enlarger projected printing processes (and are costly to purchase). They are well saturated larger prints made from 35mm chromes. Digital originations vs. film scanned files are not even a factor for comparison with his work.

So, Ian, I responded based on what you shared. I hope this further opens up understanding and being understood as to color seen and rendered, as dealt with as scanned images from slides, and digital originations. --Jay

Url :
Date : 02:55 PM Thursday 15 July, 2004

Many thousands of professional photographers worldwide use only 35mm for their submissions to magazines. I have been using and submitting 35mm to magazines and books for 25-years and a large amount of that work is reproduced double-page format. Hundreds of agencies work almost exclusively in 35mm. A few decades ago it was difficult to have front covers accepted unless they were at least 645 or 6X& format, but this has long changed. Those same magazines now accept 35mm for front covers gladly. My 35mm transparencies have been used on covers in magazines in many countries, so I don't see much need to step up a format. For many years I pondered over the need to work more with the Pentax 645 or 6x7 systems, but the continued and rising workload of accepted published work produced from my Pentax LX equipment brought me to the conclusion that I didn't need to go to a larger format than 35mm. This helped me immensely, because it cut cost and weight of equipment. The 35mm also has the added advantage of allowing an immense variety of optics to be bayoneted onto a 35mm body to cover an incredible and diverse range of subjects. This is especially important when you need to use fast-aperture, long telephotos – which is not an option you can choose in the larger format film cameras.
I must stress here that I am not saying that a 645 or 6X7 (or even larger formats) does not produce outstanding quality. What I am saying is that 35mm, when used carefully - with ultra-fine films, sturdy tripod & mirror lock-up (when needed) and matched with top-grade lenses, the results can match the larger format for reproductions on front-page magazine covers, or even double-page spreads in magazines and books. For ultra-large display prints or poster-size prints and calendars that sometimes require exquisite details to the edges, then I will concede that the larger formats have the advantage; but it is still surprising just how many posters and calendars are sold worldwide that have images that originated from the 35mm format.

6. From : Digital-bugs (
Url : http://
Date : 01:03 PM Thursday 15 July, 2004

Read about the discussion on digital cameras. How many photographers have the chance to have their owrks published on top photographic magazines ??? My agency only select 120 format drum scanned images for annual reports (my artists insisted); not even 35mm have the slightest chance to being considered. Lately, I have demonstrate to them how a digital image will look like on their Apples screen. They are impressed, simply because NOT ALL PAGES the work flow they will have full page illustrations (even with fainted background, who cares about uality then ?). So, now they use Digi-cam to shoot on their own on anything they like (as long as images that are sized around 8 x 10, 5 x 7 or smaller). clients have no complaint, neither they now. But I have told hem to shoot with RAW files and decide upon what do they want in pixel size later during conversion. Peace.

7. From : JY Lim (
Url : http://
Date : 09:56 PM Wednesday 14 July, 2004

Slide scanner ? No way to compare to drium scan

8. From : AB (
Url : http://
Date : 05:29 PM Wednesday 14 July, 2004

Globetrotter (and all) my 'bin' prints were on the LX, I was back at the jazz club and do you know what? I think I'm out of practice. When I was shooting there regularly I got good at anticipating the singers' movements and expressions, my focussing was quick and accurate and I just felt at home. This last time I started off with some TTL flash shots of a group that were posed. I took them, the group dispersed and then I realised that the camera was set to the wrong ISO... hopeless under exposure. It kinda went downhill from there really, I missed expressions, focussing was off, tried a new proccessor (DLab 7) to save some money and they put tram lines across several prints and actually took a bite out of one negative, a bite shaped bit is completely missing from the negative!!! There was no note in the packaging, nothing. Won't be using them again. All in all a photographic experience to forget. AB

9. From : Ian (
Url : http://
Date : 09:35 AM Wednesday 14 July, 2004

Hi all, damn busy, just a quick note.

Jay : "Slide scanners can’t give greater detail than is found on the piece of film"

Yeah, because they are not good enough. Film has phenomenal content. Try your 5400 (which I've been using non-stop since it's release) on an E100G frame. The grain is blurred (very), hence it cannot out resolve the film. It's a wonderful scanner, don't get me wrong. But it cannot cope with the resolution of the film. And that's at 40.1 Megapixels (7800x5232). Catch my drift?

More later, much more - Ian.

Url :
Date : 10:20 PM Tuesday 13 July, 2004

Anton - That's what my partner said about most of her pile of prints from photos taken in USA recently - until she viewed almost exactly the same scenes exposed at the same time on my own cameras using transparecy film. Now she's sudenly stopped buying print film and is pouring the adverts to buy stocks of slide film for the future! Mind you, Anton, you could always buy a digital SLR and at least check the exposures regularly...or buy that poloroid back from Ebay. Were your recent 'bin' shots taken on the 6X7, or LX?

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