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Scanner Comparison
Old 11-18-2018   #1
bmattock
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Scanner Comparison

I have had a Konica-Minolta Scan Dual IV for many years, but I have been giving some thought to learning to do direct photography of negatives and slides using a DSLR, as has become popular recently. I like my scanner but I know it will not last forever.

I've also noticed recently that there are quite a few consumer-grade 5MP 'scanners' that are simply digital camera sensors in a box that work more-or-less the way a DSLR photographing a negative or slide would work, albeit at much lower quality.

I saw one for sale recently at an online thrift store for a very low price, so I bought it to try it out.

It is a Wolverine brand SNaP 14-MP, several years old. It has a small flatbed for taking photos of prints, and an input channel for taking photos of negatives and slides.

Here's a link to the latest version, mine is much older but looks about the same (I also paid about $20 for it):

https://www.wolverinedata.com/produc...digital-image-

I read a lot of reviews before buying this el cheapo, and many said it was awful, some said it was terrific, but none seemed to really get down into the guts and details, so I thought I'd give it a quick test by comparing it against my Scan Dual IV.

Before I get into that, here's some random factoids about the Wolverine.
  1. It says it is a true 14mp image, and not an interpolated 5mp image as some folks online have been claiming. I do not know how to tell if it is or not.
  2. It does not have a motorized transport - you push the slide or negative carrier through one side and pull it out the other by hand, aligning the frames based on what you see on the small LCD screen.
  3. There are no drivers or anything else required; it can save images internally (I do not know what the limit is) or you can insert a memory card into the back and save to that. Once you scan, you can either remove the card and put it in a standard card reader, or you can attach the scanner to your PC via USB cable (also used to power the unit) and read it as if it were itself a memory device.
  4. It appears not to scan the entire frame of negatives. You may notice that on the comparisons - I did not crop, it just doesn't seem to get the entire frame.
  5. I really, really, like the Wolverine's negative carrier. It is much like the negative carrier for the Scan Dual IV (not interchangeable though), but it has registration pins for the frame holes on 35mm film. Really holds the film in place nicely. Works better with flat film though. If the film is bowed, it doesn't work that well.
  6. The Wolverine offers very little in the way of adjustments to the scans. Once you are scanning, you can adjust exposure a bit; but you can't see the image while you are adjusting the exposure. I find that pretty useless.
  7. The Wolverine has a feeling of being very cheaply made; I doubt it is built for the long haul. Thin flimsy plastic, very junky feeling; but it does seem to work as intended in any case.
  8. Obviously there are no advanced features. No IR dust removal, you can only save the image as a JPG and you can't even control anything about that JPG.
  9. The Wolverine doesn't have any way to input the current date or any data about what you are scanning. So every photo is marked in exif as 'Zoran Coach' (the chipmaker and the chip as I understand it) and the date is July 4, 2012. Also, the description is 'My beautiful picture'. That's hard-coded, I did not do that. LOL.
OK, so here's the scans. The entire set can be viewed here:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmrc3Dyu

The B&W is Shantou ERA 100 developed at home in Diafine. The color negatives are Kodak Gold 200 gen 5. The color slides are uncut Kodak E100VS (so scanned in negative carrier, not slide carrier).

I did not clean these up or photoshop them other than to adjust levels in digikam, which I did to all of them in the same manner.

You can click on these to see them at full resolution on my Flickr account, for those who wish to peep pixels (I'm not averse to doing that myself).

Shantou ERA 100:

Scan Dual IV

2018-11-18-0005_v1 by Wigwam Jones, on Flickr

Wolverine SNaP 14MP

2018-11-18-0005_v1 by Wigwam Jones, on Flickr

Slide Film:
Scan Dual IV

2018-11-18-0013_v1 by Wigwam Jones, on Flickr

Wolverine SNaP 14MP

PICT0026_v1 by Wigwam Jones, on Flickr

Color Film:
Scan Dual IV

2018-11-18-0021_v1 by Wigwam Jones, on Flickr

Wolverine SNaP-14MP

PICT0034_v1 by Wigwam Jones, on Flickr

My conclusions? I don't know yet, really. The results are actually better than I expected. I could see myself 'getting by' with the Wolverine if I had to, especially at the price I paid, although I suspect that the quality of the Scan Dual IV is much better. You tell me what you see. No right or wrong answers, I'm just playing around with a new toy here. I could see myself using this to scan a large number of slides or negatives that I didn't feel critical about, but wanted to get digitized for some reason. Maybe use the Wolverine to quickly scan a roll of film, then re-scan the 'keepers' with the Scan Dual IV.

PS - Also bear in mind that I'm color-blind. I have a lot of trouble getting colors right in scans of color film and slides, so I tend to just hit auto-exposure and let the chips fall where they may.
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Old 11-18-2018   #2
Bille
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Wolverine does have issues regarding highlight retention and corner sharpness. Basically the negative as seen by a cheap macro lens with a steep tone curve applied.

I guess it looks all fun on mobile though without a lot of hassle.
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Old 11-18-2018   #3
bmattock
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bille View Post
Wolverine does have issues regarding highlight retention and corner sharpness. Basically the negative as seen by a cheap macro lens with a steep tone curve applied.

I guess it looks all fun on mobile though without a lot of hassle.
I guess you're right, cheap and cheerful it is. Seems to prove the concept though. Wedge the guts of a good mirrorless camera in there with a decent lens, and Bob's your uncle.
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