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Minolta's DiMAGE Scan Dual III film scanner. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Minolta: New 35mm / APS film scanner
By
(Monday, October 28, 2002 - 09:00 EST)

New Jersey-based Minolta Corp. has today announced a new film scanner model for the US marketplace, the DiMAGE Scan Dual III that looks set to gain a good slice of the market with solid specs and an astonishing predicted pricetag.

We're planning to have a review up later today for the scanner (read on for a note from Dave), but in the meantime offer full specifications and a picture of the unit, alongside the official press release. The Scan Dual III has an optical resolution of 2820 dots per inch (dpi), is compatible with both 35mm and Advanced Photo System film (positive, negative and black & white supported), and offers both multi-sample scanning and 16-bit A/D conversion. It can scan a 35mm negative in as little as 30 seconds at its highest resolution, and features USB 2.0 connectivity (which as per the USB 2.0 spec will fall back to USB 1.1 if you don't have the new higher-speed version).

Most impressive of all, we're hearing that the Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III will have an MSRP of US$449, with street pricing "estimated ... in the $300 price range" according to the press release. Obviously the exact street pricing will be decided by retailers, but we'd expect prices in the vicinity of $349 or so, based on this info - an amazing bargain given the specifications and performance.

Preliminary review note from Dave:
I've had an eval unit of the Dimage Scan Dual III (DSD-III for short) here for a little while now, and should actually have a preliminary review of it posted by the end of today. (Full review and performance specs, but the images and detailed image analysis won't be posted until a little while later.) I wanted to put in my own $0.02 worth for the news item though, given the unusual combination of capabilities and price this new scanner offers.

I have to say this looks like a pretty incredible deal. The specs alone are pretty impressive, with 16-bit A/D, 2820 dpi resolution, and advanced features like multi-sample scanning. When you combine those specs with a likely street price of under $400 though, things get really interesting. The real icing on the cake is the Dimage Scan Dual III's performance though: This is a surprisingly fast little scanner, producing sharp, detailed scans with good color and excellent dynamic range. Based on my testing, it competes very well with scanners costing twice as much and more. It's software is fully Mac/PC compatible, and the USB 2.0 interface is plenty fast. For the home user with a lot (or even a little) film to scan, the Dimage Scan Dual III looks hard to beat.

Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III
Film formats 35mm, Advanced Photo System*
Film types Negative and positive, color and black and white
Optical input resolution 2,820dpi
Scan sizes
35mm film: 24.21 x 36.32 mm
Advanced Photo System film*: 17.29 x 29.98 mm
Input pixels
35mm film: 2,688 x 4,032
Advanced Photo System film*: 1,920 x 3,328
Scan method Moving-film, fixed-sensor, single-pass scan
Sensor type 3-line color CCD (2,700 pixels / line)
Filter RGB filter
Multi-sample scanning 2x, 4x, 8x, Off
Continuous scan
35mm-film holder: 6 frames (maximum)
Slide mount holder: 4 frames (maximum)
A/D conversion 16 bits
Output data 8 bits, 16 bits (per color channel)
Dynamic range 4.8 (computed)
Scan times
Approximate time with color positive film, 2820 dpi input resolution, 8-bit color depth, No cropping, No autoexposure, No color matching, No AutoDust Brush, No image corrections:
Windows:
  Pre-scan Final scan
35mm film: 5 seconds 30 seconds
APS film:* 6 seconds 27 seconds
System test environment: Windows Me, Pentium 4 1.5 GHz, 512 MB of RAM, 2.57 GB of hard-disk space, Application: Adobe Photoshop 7.0, Memory allocated to application: 80%, Interface: USB 2.0
Macintosh:
  Pre-scan Final scan
35mm film: 6 seconds 48 seconds
APS film:* 7 seconds 32 seconds
System test environment: Mac OS 9.2.2, PowerPC G4 800MHz, 512 MB of RAM, 8.3 GB of hard-disk space, Application: Adobe Photoshop 7.0, Memory allocated to application: 450MB, Interface: USB 1.1
PC interface USB 2.0 (backward compatible with USB 1.1)
Focusing Autofocus (Point AF available), Manual focus
Light source Cold-cathode fluorescent tube
Power requirements
24V DC with specified AC adapter
100-120V AC for North America
Power consumption: 30W (maximum)
As an ENERGY STAR Partner, Minolta has determined that this product meets the ENERGY STAR guidelines for energy efficiency.
Dimensions
(W x H x D)
5.7 x 3.9 x 12.6 inches
145 x 100 x 320 mm
Weight (Scanning unit only) Approximately 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg )
Standard accessories 35mm-film Holder FH-U1, Slide Mount Holder SH-U1, USB Cable UC-2, AC Adapter AC-U21, CD-ROM for DiMAGE Scan Dual III, Adobe Photoshop Elements
Optional accessories APS Adapter AD-10
.
* with optional APS Adapter AD-10

Source: Minolta Corp.

Original Source Press Release:

MINOLTA INTRODUCES THE DiMAGE SCAN DUAL III FILM SCANNER

Affordable new scanner provides the high-quality image scans that consumers have come to expect from Minolta film scanners

Ramsey, NJ (October 28, 2002) - Minolta Corporation expands its DiMAGE film scanner line with the introduction of the affordable new Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III. The easy to use DiMAGE Scan Dual III allows first time users and advanced users alike to produce high-quality scans from 35mm and Advanced Photo System* film that equal or surpass more expensive film scanners and that offer quality not available in flatbed scanners. This economical and versatile new film scanner features new image enhancing options, a fast plug and play USB 2.0 interface and easy-to-use scanning features.

"The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III offers the high-tech features consumers want - at a price everyone can afford," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group. "Featuring a fast new USB 2.0 connection, high resolution scanning capability, 16-bit A/D conversion, user-friendly software, and new image correction options, the DiMAGE Scan Dual III is the ideal choice for the hobby photographer who wants to convert his library of negatives and slides into superior quality digital images."

The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III's 16-bit A/D conversion and a 4.8 dynamic range precisely reproduce the rich variations in tone and color of an original film image. 16-bit A/D conversion is able to distinguish 65,536 tonal gradations for each color channel. The film scanner's dynamic range of 4.8 indicates the ability of the scanner to record the density range of the film. The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III can reproduce all the fine tones in slide film from the dark shadows to the bright highlights. Multi-sample scanning further improves the scan data by reducing random noise.

Accurate color reproduction between the computer and its output devices, such as the monitor or printer, is absolutely necessary for high-quality image processing. The DiMAGE Scan Dual III color matching function can specify the color space of the scanned image as well as employ the monitor's ICC profile.

Because of film's inherent latitude and the differences between the densities and contrast of the cyan, magenta, and yellow layers, designing a film scanner can be a challenge. With the DiMAGE Scan Dual III Minolta uses state-of-the-art negative-to-positive conversion technology to ensure effortless digitization and reproduction of film images.

The DiMAGE Scan Dual III's point-AF function allows the scanner to be focused by simply clicking on the area of the image to be used to determine focus. Auto loading allows hand-free operation once the film holder is inserted into the scanner. Specific image-processing settings can be saved as a Job and reapplied to any image.

Batch processing large numbers of images is simplified and streamlined. The scanner's new Auto Dust Brush reduces the effect of fine dust particles that settle on film. The scanner's Custom Wizard automates the scanning process for multiple images - images can be selected and image processing and color matching can be applied. Custom Wizard settings can be saved and reused multiple times. And the DiMAGE Scan Dual III's USB 2.0 interface allows for the quick transfer of digitized image data. The scanner's hot swapping interface makes connecting it to a computer as easy as plugging in the scanner's USB cable.

The DiMAGE Scan Dual III features Minolta's new Pixel-Polish software setting which allows automated or custom corrections to be made to an image - custom corrections are made by selecting straightforward parameters in the window. The Easy Scan Utility simplifies the scanning procedure for those new to film scanning and image processing.

A wide range of image-processing controls gives users the tools they need to enhance or manipulate images. The variation palette makes adjusting color, brightness, contrast, and saturation easy by simply choosing the best image from a group of slightly corrected samples. These qualities can also be adjusted using palettes with sliders and input boxes. For advanced image processing, color and contrast can be adjusted using tone curves and histograms or calibrated by defining the white, gray, and black points within the image. And for creative effects, the hue, saturation, and lightness palette permits the colors in an image to be rotated and shifted within the color space.

The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual III will be available in November 2002 and is estimated to retail in the $300 price range.

*With optional APS Adapter

Minolta Corporation
Minolta Corporation, headquartered in Ramsey, New Jersey, is the largest subsidiary of Minolta Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, a leading manufacturer of cameras, business equipment, radiometric instruments and planetariums. Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group (CPG) markets 35mm film and Advanced Photo System cameras, digital cameras, binoculars, accessory lenses, photographic light meters, 35mm and Advanced Photo System film scanners and other consumer products.

The corporation's Business Products Group (BPG) markets digital and analog office equipment. Products include black-and-white copiers, digital black and white printer/copiers, plain-paper laser facsimile machines, digital color printer/copiers, micrographic systems, document management software, and related office equipment.

For more information, visit Minolta's Web site located at www.minoltausa.com or access Minolta's PHOTOFAX at 800-528-4767.

All brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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