Scanners come in all shapes and sizes and they all have different purposes. Plustek makes lots of different kinds of scanners. They have photo scanners, books scanners, and film scanner. Over two years ago I reviewed the OpticFilm 7200, today I am looking at the OpticFilm 7300.
- 48-bit scanning
- 7200 x 7200 DPI
- USB High Speed 2.0 connection
- Multi-Exposure, Multi-Sampling
- Illuminated Slide Viewer
There are several new features in this model. The first is MultiExposure. This feature gives the scanner the ability to scan your film with different exposures and then combine the images to create a higher quality image. The other new feature is very similar, it is MultiScan. This scans the image multiple times using the same setting and then combines them. This also creates a higher quality image.
A feature that was also in the 7200 is the slide viewer. The slide viewer is a small square on top of the scanner that lights up when it is turned on. This is for placing slides on so you can see them better. It does not do anything else.
Getting the Plustek OpticFilm 7300 set up the first time may take a little while. The scanner comes with 5 pieces of software and each one serves its own purpose. LaserSoft SilverFast SEPlus 6.5 ME is the main scanning program. You will use this the most. NewSoft Presto! PageManager 7.10 is photo management software. It also supports OCR and full-text indexing. NewSoft Presto! ImageFolio 4.5 is the image editing software. You will use this software for touch ups and other editing tasks. Last, but not least, is QuickScan utility. This makes it so you can use the QuickScan button on the front of the scanner.
The only software that is actually required is LaserSoft SilverFast SE 6, QuickScan utility and the scanner drivers. You can save about 10 minutes of setup time by not installing all the Software. If you have Photoshop or any other image editing program then you don’t need LaserSoft SilverFast. Also, if you don’t want to use the button on the front of the scanner you can skip the install of the QuickScan utility.
The scanners design is very simple and easy to use. There are three buttons on the front of the scanner. The lowest one is the power button. Obviously, this turns the scanner on and off. The next button up is the QuickScan button. This activates the QuickScan utility which will scan your negative or slide according to the settings you defined in the software. The final button is the IntelliScan button. This activates the LaserSoft SilverFast SE 6 software. With this activated, you can configure the scan to meet the specific needs of your film or slide. One of the nice features of the LaserSoft SilverFast SE 6 software is when you scan negatives you can specify the type of film you used and it will adjust to the best scan settings for you.
On top of the scanner is a small square. Conveniently, it is just the right size for a single slide. When the scanner is turned on this square lights up and can be used as a viewer for slides and negatives. It actually uses the light from the scanning bulb to light up so during the scanning process the light will move and the viewer cannot be used.
The back of the scanner is plain except for the power and USB plugs.
The scanner also comes with a very handy carrying case which has enough room for the scanner and all the accessories.
The OpticFilm 7300 comes with two scanning trays. One for the negatives and one for the slides. The slide tray will hold 4 slides and the negative tray will hold 6 frames. I personally have found that negatives are usually cut in pieces with 4 frames each. So unless you cut them again you will probably never get 6 frames in the tray. The negative tray also does not have any tabs for holding the negatives in place, so it is possible for them to slide around or get misaligned. You will need to make sure the frames are in the right spot before scanning. The easiest way to do this is by holding them up to the light or against the slide viewer. Be very careful when adjusting your negatives because they are very easy to scratch.
The trays slide into the body of the scanner from the side. They can enter from either side. As you slide the trays into the scanner you will notice that there are notches that will hold the tray in certain spots. This will help you align the tray so you don’t cut the picture off. You can only scan one slide or frame at a time, so if you have a lot to do it could take a while. If I could recommend one feature it would be making the tray automatically move when it is done with each slide. This way you can set the scanner to go and it will scan all the slide without any intervention.
The performance of the OpticFilm 7300 is fairly good. Performance consists of both speed and quality, but I weigh quality a little more heavily than speed.
The scanner documentation says the maximum resolution is 7200 DPI, but while I was using the software I noticed it would go all the way up to 24000 DPI. I really want to test this out, but when I tried to scan it, it said the host program could not handle it. So I had to lower the resolution to 12000 DPI. To make a scan at that resolution it took a little while. This scan took about 11 minutes 30 seconds and produced a 141 MB file with an image size of 17059 x 11679 pixels. I tried this purely for fun because I don’t know anyone who needs an image this size or anyone who is going to wait that long for a scan. A more reasonable setting would be 1200 DPI and 48 bit color. This scan took 35 seconds from the time I clicked the scan button until the image appeared in Photoshop. This file was much smaller, 1.96 MB and an image size of 1705 x 1168 pixels. As you can see from the pictures, the negative produced a much better picture. You can play with the settings a little to try and fix that.
Adding features like MultiScan and MultiExposure also add time to the scan. I ran a couple more scans, at 1200 DPI and I tried different settings for MultiScan and MultiExposure. For the first scan I set MultiExposure at 2 and it took 1 minute 35 seconds. Next, I set MultiScan to 2 and it took 1 minute and 5 seconds.
Below I have some images that I scanned so that you can see the difference in quality for the different settings. I first scanned some negatives at different settings and compared them to a slide I had, then I scanned a different negative at different settings and compared them to a photograph that I had. As you can clearly see the Photograph is the best, then the negatives, and finally the slide is the worst.
The QuickScan button, as mentioned above, performs scans according to the settings that are set in the QuickScan application. This saves you time by not requiring you to manually change the settings each time you scan. If you have lots of the same kind of slides or negatives to scan, this would be a great benefit. The actual scan time is the same, but you can save several seconds by only having to press one button to start the scan.
You will notice some scratching on the negative scan. This is the danger of using negatives because they are so easy to scratch. The more you use them, the quicker they will get damaged.
This scanner has a lot of functionality and you can with time and effort get your scans to look good. I do however recommend scanning from a photograph if you have it. If you only have negatives use those next, and then scan slides if you don’t have anything else. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|