Questions about the Filmscanner Reflecta DigitDia 4000/5000/6000

How long does a DigitDia work?

Those who buy a Reflecta DigitDia-scanner have a large archive of framed slides that have to be scanned. Thereby, the question often comes up from when a slide archive is large and how many slides can a scanner digitalise in its life without a loss of quality? Is a slide archive already large if it consists on 500 slides or only if a whole cupboard with thousands of slides is filled?


In our filmscanner-shop, the Reflecta DigitDia is available from stock in many variants.

Those who buy a Reflecta DigitDia or a Braun Multimag SlideScan of course get a legal guarantee that assures from production errors but not from the abrasion and wearout. While the electronic in a scanner normally works during the whole life of the scanner, in the case of a magazine-scanner, some sophisticated optical and mechanical components are employed. While the optical components get dirty in the course of the time and therewith provide some bad images, the transport mechanism increasingly abrades, so that the automatic slide feeder does not work frictionlessly any more and a full automatic batch scanning is interrupted with increasing frequency.

One can compare the situation of a scanner with the one of a car. The electronic components as a car radio or a navigation system normally last as long as the car does, no matter how many kilometres are done with the car. But the mechanical components as the wheels or the motor do abrade in dependence of the kilometrage (not the age) and must be mantained and/or replaced. A courier who drives daily from Munich to Hamburg will not be helped with the legal guarantee if his motor does not work any more after having done 300.000 km.

A magazine-scanner as the Reflecta DigitDia is designed for 10.000 - 20.000 slides. Already after 5000 scanned slides, some quality loses can occur, as with each slide that is introduced into a scanner, also dust particles get into the interior of the scanner. If these dust particles land on an optical lense, on the LED-lamp or even on a CCD-line, some visible quality loses will occur. Also the functionality of the transport mechanism that pushes the slides fully automatically form the slide magazine into the the interior of the scanner to the front of the light sourse, gets increasingly weaker after approximately 10.000 scanned slides.

Tip for buying a used scanner: only buy a scanner from first hand and get the number of the scanned slides confirmed.

The purchase of a used magazine-scanner from second or third hand can be a total flop, if for example the first owner scanned 25.000 slides with it. Also if the scanner still is under guarantee, it won't help if the problem is caused by the natural abrasion or dirt in the interior of the scanner.

Finally, there is to mention that the above mentioned figures are estimation and empirical values. As it is the case of a car motor, the normal life expectancy is of approximately 200.000 km but there are some exceptions of up to half a million, there are also filmscanners that after 20.000 slides still work as they did in the first day. Of course, a lot depends on the handling style of the user, from the condition of the scanned slides and magazines and of course from the grade of dirt of the inserted slides.

How can the life of a DigitDia be prolonged?

In the chapter about the Durability of a DigitDia it is mentioned that such a magazine-scanner is designed for an amount of approximately 20.000 slides. What is to do then if one has 50.000 slides in the cupboard? Is it possible to prolong the life of a DigitDia with certain measures?

The same way as one can prolong the average life of a car of 12 years by a good maintenance and care, this is also possible in the case of a magazine-scanner as the DigitDia. Let's start first with the problem of the dirt in the interior of the scanner. The slides that were kept for years or even decades in the magazine are dusty and even covered with a thick film of dirt. During the feeding of the scanner, the dust that is on the slides is dispersed by the movement and gets into the interior of the scanner. There, it likes to set down on the LED light source, on the optical lenses or even on the CCD-sensor. The consequence is a slow decrease of the image quality.

There is a simple mean against the dirt on the slides: Compressed air. With some simple air compression cartridges, the major part of the dust particles on a slide can be simply sprayed away. As such anti-dust sprays generate a quite high pressure, one can expect that those dust particles that are not blown away by this pressure will also not loosen from the slide later in the interior of the scanner. Therewith, one effectively avoids the dirt of the scanner optic, light source and the CCD-line, and by the way, one of course also gets a better image quality, as the dust particles are not visible any more on the scans. For those who have big archives of several thousand slides for scanning, a Compressed air-cleaning device is recommended, that produces compressed air endlessly. Concerning the compressed air it has to be said that for a high-quality film material only filtered compressed air should be used (products for the photography). The compressors or compressed air- cartridges from the DIY store partly contain some tiny foreign particles that can destoy the film layer of a slide.

The cleaning of the framed KB-slides with compressed air is part of the obligatory preparations for the scanning. By the cleaning with compressed air, one gets either a better image quality as also a longer durability of the scanner.

The second big problem of a magazine-scanner as the DigitDia or the Braun Multimag SlideScan is the abrasion of the transport mechanism. This depends on the consistence of the slide frames. This is already noticeable during the operation of the scanner: the modern CS-frames and CS-magazines are pushed into the scanner and transported without any problem. In the case of glass-framed slides or full glass slides with a frame thickness up to 3 mm, the slider has partly a struggle. One can literally hear the abrasion with such slide frames. The only way to solve the problem is to replace the frame to a normal CS-frame or in case of curved slides to a Wess-special frame. Specially in the case of glass framed slides, the change of the frame either provides a longer durability as also a better image quality.

How is it possible to get the best possible image quality with a Reflecta DigitDia?

Those who scan their high-quality slide collection with a DigitDia will of course want to do this is the best possible quality, as one only scans one's slides once in a lifetime and then never again. Too many users already made the unpleasant experience to have scanned thousands of slides in order to notice that with a different configuration or by the use of the software of SilverFast, a significantly better quality could have been achieved. If then one restarts to scan the slides one knows how many times has been wasted.

First, there is to mention that a good image quality with the DigitDia is only obtainable with the use of the Scan Software of SilverFast. The differences to the in-house producer CyberView aere so dramatic that it can be spoken of a quality difference as day and night. We came to this result in our Detailed Test Report, but also many renowed technical magazines as for example ColorFoto 09/2008 obtained the same result.

In order to get a good image quality with the Reflecta DigitDia, the employment of the scan software of SilverFast in conjunction with the IT-8 colour calibration is indispensable.

The quality increase through SilverFast is, one one hand, due to the reason that SilverFast is a professional scan software with numerous possibilities of configuration and the best algorithms for the image processing, but on the other hand also due to the IT-8 colour calibration in which the scanner errors are measured and an ICC correction file is generated. Normally, SilverFast is released with a Kodak-IT8-Target. For those who have mainly photographed with fuji films, a Fuji IT8-Target is recommended, then then the colour profile will exactly correspond to the slides to be scanned and one gets an optimal image quality.

There are different versions of SilverFast: Standard, Studio and HDR. In all versions, the important IT-8 calibration function is included. The studio version differs from the standard-version mainly by a feature named multi-exposure. Thereby, a slide is scanned multiple times with different configurations of exposure; the individual scans are superposed and processed to one image that stands ut by a high dynamic range.

The best image quality is achieved with the multi-exposure function of SilverFast Ai Studio.

But the multi-exposure function has the disadvantage that the scanning time increases significantly. But as the DigitDia works fully automatically, this is normally not relevant. There is detailed information about the multi-exposure function on our SilverFast FAQ-Page.

But there is an important point that should not be forgotten in the attempt of getting the best possible image quality: the condition of the slides before the scanning. The DigitDia is indeed equipped with the dust and scratches removal ICE that is based on the hardware, but it does not work wonders. Some individual dust particles are indeed corrected effectfully, but a slide that is covered by a constant dust layer will get dull and colourless during the scanning. This is why it is absolutely necessary to at least remove the rough dust from the slides before the scanning with the help of a Compressed Air jet. There are also cleaning cloths and cleaning liquids for the thicker dust layers.

Another element that influences the image quality is the frame. Glass-framed slides provide a worse image quality by nature, as the glass plates lead to light loses, provoke newton-rings or even small air bubbles or traces of mould. Moreover, strongly curvatured slides lead to a worse image quality, as the autofocus is only used on one level and the depth of field of the scanner does not compensate the complete curvature (see chapter Curvature). The best is to change the frame of glass-framed slides and strongly curvatured slides before the scanning in order to get the best possible quality.

What has to be considered at the purchase of a Reflecta DigitDia?

The DigitDia 5000 is a magazine-scanner that is sold by the producer Reflecta as a complete package. Beside the scanner, all the necessary cables as also the simple scan software Cyberview are included in the scope of delivery. Also a version of Adobe® Photoshop® Elements for the later image processing is part of the standard scope of delivery. I emphasize the term standard-scope of delivery, as some sellers remove the Photoshop®-CD and sell it separatedely in order to be able to offer the DigitDia to a cheaper price.

As it is mentioned in the chapter Image Quality, a DigitDia should be operated in any case with the scan software of SilverFast in order to get the best possible quality. There are different versions of SilverFast: the SE-version is a reduced version for beginners that does not enable an IT8-colour calibration and is only of a limited functionality. By purchasing a DigitDia, the purchase of the SE-version is to be disadvised.

Thus, it must be the SilverFast Ai version in order to benefit from the essential advantages the scan software of SilverFast offers. But from the Ai-version there are also different versions. Only the studio-version does have the decisive multi-exposure feature; the HDR-version on the contrary is an add-on of the studio version and enables the generation of raw scans for the later optimization. The IT-8 colour calibration is an essential feature of the SilverFast Ai-version. Therefore, an IT-8 Calibration Target and a reference table are necessary. Many times, the SilverFast Ai-version is sold without an IT-8 Target, then the target has to be ordered separetedely in order to be able to accomplish the colour calibration.

The IT-8 Target should be included in the SilverFast-Ai-Version. Finally, the IT-8 colour calibration is not a core feature of the SilverFast Ai-software that leads to a significant increase of the scan quality.

The are internet dealers who sell SilverFast Ai without the IT-8 target in order to be able to offer a better price. But the single price of the target is much higher than the price difference og the Ai-version with a target.

Those who purchase a used Reflecta DigitDia or Braun Multimag SlideScan should consider the advices mentioned in the chapter about the Durability of such a magazine-scanner.

Position of the orange-coloured adapter at the slider for the universal magazine

Video about the positioning of the orange-coloured adapter

If universal magazines are employed, only those with the label DIN 108 should be used. With other magazines, some disturbances might occur. The orange-coloured adapter is then set on the tip of the slider. In order to get it to this position, pull the slider completely out and hold it. With a slight finger pressure on the orange-coloured adapter from above, push it to the front as far as it is possible.

In order to get the adapter up to the end of the slider, you have tu push the slider a little back into the device. By this way, you can easily push the orange-coloured adapter in the magazine-shaft up to the very front until it catches with a "click". Then you push the slider completely back into the device. You set the universal magazine into the left track of the magazine shaft and push it until it is positioned at the slider. In case of all other magazines, the orange-coloured adapter must be relocated to the handle piece of the slider. This is done by a slight finger pressure on its outer tip.

Unfortunately, the slide is a very small piece that can be easily lost and/or get broken. In our filmscanner-shop, the Slider is available in the material group Reflecta-Accessoires.

In the batch scan mode of SilverFast only the first picture is scanned

SilverFast Configurations

You have accomplished the configurations for the magazine-scanner and the scan moodus for the batch scanning:"batch modus (file)" correctly. But despite of this, the Reflecta DigitDia always only scans one image. In order to solve this problem, you have to choose in the main dialogue window in the index tab, in the field original the option "paperfeed"instead of translucent. After this, it will be possible to scan several slides subsequently from the magazine.

Where do I find the newest CyberView version?

On the website of Reflecta (www.reflecta.de)over the menue "download" and the submenue "software+driver", the newest version of CyberView for Windows XP can be downloaded. For WINDOWS VISTA, a special version CyberView X-MS can be downloaded as also for MAC OS X.
Another possibility for the download is available on the website of the hardware producer (www.scanace.com/download/drv_ps3650.htm).

Problem with the image quality: there are strips on the image. What should be done?

Example for vertical strips on the image

If after the pre-scan some strips get visible on the image, the most probable cause is a hardware error of the sensor, as it is represented in the sample image for vertical strips at the left.
In this case it is recommendable to send the defect device to the dealer or straight to Reflecta. Therefore, you add the purchase receipt of the device and a filled-out error analysis form. The form for the error analysis of slide scanners can be downloaded from the website of Reflecta (www.reflecta.de) under the menue SUPPORT.


What is the difference between Scan-Software and Firmware?

Firmware is also called hardware-based software. It is firmly embeded in in a programmable chip in different electronic devices as for example also in scanners. The producer of the device is responsible for the whole functionality. If therefore an operating system or certain parametres are required, the producer will determine them on the basis of the firmware. Thereby, the manipulations of the user are omitted.

The firmware priorly provides some functions for the control of the device, input and output routines, occasionally also comprehensive functions for the working tasks with memory, CPU and other components. In the case of personal computers, the firmware is for example the "Basic Input Output System", shortly BIOS. For most of the devices there are, from time to time, firmware-updates whith which errors in the existing functionality range can be improved or through which completely new functions are added. In the case of filmscanners, a firmware-opdate oftenly leads to an increase of the image quality, as the firmware also contains some important image processing algorithms.

Contrary to the firmware, the scan software is the actual application programme whith which the user can scan his slides. It basically serves for the handling of the scanner with an abundance of possibilities of configurations. Professional scan-software as SilverFast additionally provides some high quality image processing algorithms that can compute from the raw data of the scanner an image quality of the highest level.

Where does one get the newest SilverFast-Software?

For the updating of your SilverFast-software, go straight to the download-area of the SilverFast-website (http://www.silverfast.de/show/downloads-start/de.html), in order to get the latest update. The updates for the version 6.5 are free. In order to get straight to the download area of your update, your serial number of SilverFast and your e-mail address will be required.
An update from the version 6 to the version 6.5 is with costs and can be obtained over the shop of SilverFast (www.silverfast.de/show/store/de.html).

Where does one get the newest Firmware?

On the webssite of reflecta (www.reflecta.de), by clicking on the menue "download" and then on "software+driver". There, by scrolling down, one will find the last but one chapter Firmware. There, the current firmware for the reflecta DigitDia 4000 is ready for downloading. For the DigitDia 5000 there is no firmware update available yet.

Tip: How the update is accomplished is explained in the Intruction for the Firmware-Update, that can be also downloaded here.

How is a Firmware-Update accomplished?

1. You have downloaded the firmware-update for your scanner and saved in in a file on your PC, for example under C:\Firmware DigitDia.

2. After having connected your scanner to your PC, open CyberView X.

3. Choose Help in the menue bar.

4. Click there in the pulldown-menue on Update Firmware.

5. The following window requires the place where your firmware update is located. Choose in the line "search in:" your file, for example C:\Firmware DigitDia and mark thereafter your update-file.

6. By clicking on opening, the firmware is automatically updated. meanwhile, a small window appears with a task bar showing the progress of the update.

7. After the successful update you will be informed about it in a further window. Confirm this message with OK.

8. In order the update is taken over by the scan-programme, you have to finalise CycerView X and restart. Therefore, choose the menue option Scan and click on close

10. Confirm the following message: "Do you want to save the current configurations as standard?" with Yes.

11. Thereafter, first restart the scanner and then CyberView X.

12. On the website of Reflecta (www.reflecta.de) you will find some instructions for the firmware-update with the respective images of the pragramme windows by clicking on "Download", then "Software+Driver", or by clicking on "Download" and "Instructions+Catalogues".

Which advantages does the SilverFast Scan-Software offer?

By comparing the professional scan-software SilverFast of the producer LaserSoft Imaging with the scan-software of other producers, the scan-software of SilverFast outstands specially due to its sophisticated algorithms for the image processing. Most of the times, these algorithms take more out of the scanned raw data than the other standard-scan software. In case of filmscanners that innately have a range of density of 2,5 with the own software, SilverFast partly avhieves a value of more than 3. By this way, much more differences can be captured in the extremely bright lights and/or very dark shadow areas of the original image, a thing that leads to a higher image quality (in this concern, see also our know how-page about Density).

The studio-version 6.5 of SilverFast has additionally a function that is called "Multi-Exposer", whith which it is possible to achieve a further significant increase of the dynamic range by scanning translucent material. Through the multiple scanning with different exposures and a following interpolation of the results, the maximum dynamic range of the original is captured. Contrary to the multi-sampling procedure that accomplishes a multiple exposure with always the same intensity of exposition in order to "nur" identify and remove the general image noise, the multi-exposer-procedure continues with an improved increased of the dynamic range in addition to the effective reduction of image noise.

SilverFast is equipped by numerous options of configuration and procedures for the image processing that are simply not avaiable in other scan programmes. From the simple brightless controls to sophisticated curve tools up to professional functions for saving the own special configurations for certain actions or for the creation of own profiles for certain types of films and/or types of recording, each considerable possibility is offered to to get the optimum of one's originals in an easy way.

A specially outstanding advantage is the IT-8 colour calibration of the scanner that is included in SilverFast Ai (s (in this concern see also our page Which advantage does the IT-8 colour calibration offer?). Possible deviations in the colour representation of the filmscanner based on the hardware are therewith effectively compensated. For the calibration, some high-quality IT-8-transparency-targets are included in the scope of delivery. They represent the reference data that are compared with the actual measured colour values during the colour calibration. The differences obtained are kept in an ICC-profile and reused for the automatic correction in the next scanning. With this calibration, specially in the case of slides a clearly positive improvement of the image quality is noticeable. The IT-8 calibration does not have such an important effect in the case of negatives. In order to optimize the negatives, SilverFast offers a special area of adjustment "NegaFix". Here, the producer and type of film can be exactly choosen. With this saved colour profile for negatives, one achieves clearly better results than with a standard colour profile.

A valuable help that saves a lot of work and time is the new auto-frame function. What is that? Normally, after the prwe-scan, the area to be scanned is manually adjusted in a way that exactly the image is scanned without a black frame around it. The auto-frame function takes over this step with one mouse-click. After the pre-scan, the right area to be scanned is fully automatically recognized and adapted. The time consuming manual adjustment of the image can be skipped.

Finally, the high "compatibility" of the handling of the software of SilverFast is a great advantage. What does this mean? Once one has really learned deeply the user surface and handling of the scan-software of SilverFast, it is very easy to handle also the scan-software of SilverFast for another type of scanner. The reason for this is the uniform structure of the software for all supported scanner models. Thereby, one saves some valuable time of getting introduced into the matter after having bought a new device.

For some detailed information avout the scan-software of SilverFast and each of the versions of SilverFast, see our FAQ-page SilverFast.

My DigitDia is damaged. What can I do?

The device must be sent for reparation to reflecta. Send the damaged device either through your dealer to reflecta or - in order to save time - straight to reflecta. You will find the adress of reflecta on the website of Reflecta (www.reflecta.de) under the menue item "contact". Therefore, please add the invoice of the purchase of the device and a filled-out form for the error analysis. The form for the error-analysis of filmscanners is downloadable on the website of Reflecta (www.reflecta.de) under the menue item SUPPORT.

Is there no guarantee card for the reflecta DigitDia?

A guarantee card the way one obtains it for example in case of Nikon devices within the scope of delivery does not exist in the case of the reflecta DigitDia. The purchase invoice is sufficient as proof of guarantee.

How can the unsharpness of the strongly curved slides be treated?

After numerous slide-shows, many positives are not fixed evenly any more in the frame but have a clear curve on one side. Those who project their slides with a slide projector on a screen also know the "plop-effect": a slide that already has a slight curve in the frame, "plops" to the other direction during a longer projection due to the heat caused by the projector lamp and the readjustment of the slide projector for sharpening has to be made.

The problem of the sharpening also does exist in the case of filmscanners. Due to the LED lights that do not generate any heat there is indeed no "plop-effect", but before the scanning, the autofocus has to be adjusted for sharpness on a certain level. In the case of a strongly curved slide, there are parts of the image unsharp as for example at the edge or the centre of the image, depending on the level on which it has been focused.

There is only one solution against these unsharpnesses: reframing. A cheap solution is the reframing in glass frames; therewith, the unsharpness caused by the curvature is indeed avoided, but there are quality loses due to the glass plates. The most effective is to reframe the slides in Wess-special frames; these are special frames with burlings for the film perforation, so that the slide is optimally fixed. Therewith, the even position is guaranteed, and without any glass!

Advice: Normally, one does not have to reframe some complete magazines. Many times, only a few slides of a slide magazine are the ones that are so curved that they have to be reframed. In the practice, it has been proved that the problem can be solved by scanning a complete magazine in the normal way and to detect afterwards the unsharp slides on the screen, reframe them and rescan.

Can the dust and scratch removal (ICE) also be applied in black/white images?

The ICE-procedure only works in the case of colour slides or colour negatives and cannot be applied to black/white images.

Important: By scanning some black/white originals, the ICE corrector must be deactivated. Other wise the image quality gets so lost that the scans become completely useless, see in this concern our website about Questions about the correction procedure.

Is there a "plop" during the scanning with the DigitDia as it is the case with the slide projector?

During the projection of slides with a normal slide projector, it repeatedely comes to the "plop-eefect": thereby, a positive that is not 100% evenly fixed to the slide frame, is heated as a result of the heat released by the projector lamp in such a strong way that it changes the direction of curvature, thus it "plops" the dent from one side to the other. Thereby, it comes to a temporary unsharpness in the projection, as, befor the "plopping", the projector autofocued or oneself has adjusted the sharpness. After this "plop", the focussing has to be readjusted in order to recuperate the sharp image on the screen.

Does this "plop-effect" also occur in the case of scanning with a DigitDia, as a slide with the respective adjustments is also partly x-rayed for some minuted by the light source? The answer is a clear NO. As a light resource,.a LED in applied in case of the DigitDia that does not release any heat that is worth to mention. Moreover, not the slide as a whole is x-rayed but always only one line. Also if accomplishing a multiple scan that can take up to half an hour, there are no "plop-effects" as it is the case in the slide projector.

Those slides without any curvature can in some cases not be scanned completely sharp, as the autofocus of the filmscanner has to focus on one level, see therefore the chapter about the Curvature of slides.

Problem: during the scanning of CS-Magazines, the slides repeatedely get stucked in the drawer

According to Reflecta, only the original CS-magazines of Reflecta and Braun are appropriate for the scanning with the DigitDia 5000 (see also page 4 in the manual). But also the CS-magazines of other producers can be processed with this device. But sometimes, it can happen that the small frames got stucked while one pulls them out of the magazine.

In order to solve this problem, the respective magazines can be treated with a silicon-spray. Therefore, take first all slides from the magazine. In order to make it comfortably, simply put an empty cs-magazine the way around on the slides that are in the magazine that has to be sprayed and by turning it, you change all the slides from one magazine to the other at once (The same way will be applied in order to get the slides back into the magazine that has been treaten with the spray).

After this, spray carefully the surfaces of the interior of the magazine by not using too much of this silicon spray and fill the previously removed slides back into the treaten magazine. Now, the small slides glide more easily on the tracks og the magazine and can be better removed from the feedeer of the DigitDia 5000.

Test Report Reflecta DigitDia

For further detailed information as equipment features, performance data, installation, start-up, practical experience with different kinds of slide frames and magazines, statements about the image quality with different scan-software and scan velocity, see our detailed test report of the Reflecta DigitDia 5000 on our website.

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