Reflecta mounted slide scanner DigitDia 7000 test report
With the magazine scanner DigitDia 7000 in March 2018 the German company reflecta brought a successor for the well proven and popular Reflecta DigitDia 6000 on the market. The DigitDia 6000 had been on the market for already 6 years at that time. Thus the series of magazine scanners from reflecta goes into the fifth generation , since reflecta introduced in 2003 the first scanner modell, which was able to scan slides directly from the slide magazine.
This first DigitDia model from the year 2003, i.e. the DigitDia 3600, had been replaced one year after its appearance by the DigitDia 4000, which had a hardware based scratch and dust removal function integrated, which was a big progress at that time, und thus had a decicive benefit compared to the predecessor model. In tghe year 2006 the DigitDia 5000 came up to the market; the major innovations were a USB 2.0 interface (instaed of USB 1.0 at the predecessor) and higher scanning times. At the DigitDia 6000, which was introduced in 2011, the resolution was increased from 3600ppi to 5000ppi. And now, at the DigitDia 7000, the nominal resolution even has doubled up to 10.000 ppi.
Equiment and technical data of the DigitDia 7000
If you look at the DigitDia 6000 and the DigitDia 7000 you will not find optical differences: Except for the logo with the model designation the DigitDia of the newest generation does not differ from the predecessor from outside. So the outer appearance has not changed since the very first DigitDia, not even after 15 years. Even if the design does not influence the scan quality and so a design update is not really neccessary, a slight difference would be desireable, just to see the difference to the older generation at a glance. So the new DigitDia keeps its simple and functional slide projector design.
Also in terms of equipment there are hardly news at the new DigitDia 7000 compared to the predecessor model. The scanner still has the hardware based dust and scratch removal function named MagicTouch. Earlier it was called ICE. Technically seen the correction procedures MagicTouch and ICE hardly differ. If you scan with SilverFast, the automatic dust and scratch removal function is calle iSRD. All these methods (iSRD, ICE, MagicTouch) have in common that a infrared ray samples the film material and finds elevations and planations, and the correction method performs an automatic image correction using the surrounding pixels. This infrared sensor and the infrared ray are implemented in the scanner. That's why these correction methods are called hardware based and are not only a software function.
The connection to the computer works with an USB 2.0 interface at the DigitDia 7000. A Firewire interface, which was included at the older DigitDia 4000, is not available any more. The USB 2.0 standard is downward compatible, i.e. you can connect the DigitDia also with an USB 1.0 interface. However, it is better to use a USB 2.0 interface, since large data amounts have to be transferred to the computer after scanning a slide. Wouldn't it be advisable for the manufacturer to change to a modern USB 3.0 interface? No! Of course, USB 3.0 is much faster than USB 2.0, however, considering the scan times of several minutes, a reduction in the data transfer in the range of a second would not be noticeable.
From outside everything is equal to the former DigitDia. The mechanics, the operational buttons and the optical appearance are equal to a normal slide projector, with the exception that there is no lense at the front side of the device. Instead an LED light source and a CCD sensor are built inside the scanner. And exactly at this point we find the innovation of the DigitDia 7000: It has a nominal resolution of 10.000 ppi and a maximum density of 4.2 Dmax according to the manufacturer's data. The colour depth is 48 bit.
At the front of the device there are 3 buttons: two buttons with arrows, with which the magazine can be moved forwards and backwards step by step, and one with a black point, with which you can start a scan, provided that the CyberView scan software is running. You cannot start a batch scan job with this button. There is a small green LED with indicates the actual status of the scanner with a blinking signal. Additionally, the scanner has a small light field, in which you can insert a slide and look at it. As soon as you insert a mounted slide into that light field and press it downwards, the light field switches on automatically. If you remove the slide, the light field turns off automatically. This small slide viewer is a very useful tool in order to view a mounted slide quickly, e.g. in order to make sure that the right slide will be scanned.
In the scope of the delivery of our test device a Paximat magazine was included, which could store up to 50 mounted slides. This is useful for people who have not stored their slides in slide magazines. The scnaner can process all popular kinds of slide magazines like reflecta CS magazines, universal magazines, LKM-, Paximat and carousel magazines. Slide mount collections in slide magazines can be scanned directly without taking out them from the magazines.
If you have stored your mounted slides in archive sheets, journals or somehow outside of magazines, you have to sort them into magazines before scanning. In our online shop you find a wide selection of slide magazines.
Since the DigitDia 7000 is a pure slide scanner it can only digitize framed 35mm filmes. You cannot process 35mm film strips with this scanner at all. Nevertheless there is a way to scan film strips (B/W or colour): Therefore you have to cut the film strips and put the slides into slide mounts. In the scan software you only have to make the setting that you digitize negative or black/white films instead of positives.
The maximum scan area, which the DigitDia can digitize, is 37,5 x 37,5 mm. The official 35mm format is 36 x 24 mm. So portrait films can be scanned directly without rotating them within the magazine. An automatic format recognition by the software makes it possible that the rightimage detail is captured.
At our test device both a printed manual and a DVD with the CyberView software was included in the scope of delivery. According to the manufacturer reflecta in the future CyberView will only be available as a download, and also the manual. You will get the actual manual and the CyberView software on the reflecta website.
According to the manufacturer the Reflecta DigitDia 7000 will be delivered without printed manual and without scan software dvd in the future. Manual and scan software will be available only as downloads.
Installation and setup of the reflecta DigitDia 7000
The procedure for installation of the DigitDia 7000 is known from most other USB devices: First you install the software. For this the provided DVD is put into the DVD drive and follow the instructions displayed on the screen. When the installation is finished the scanner can be connected to the PC via USB 2.0 and to the electric circuit.
When powering the scanner on the operating system reports that new hardware was found and installs the necessary drivers automatically which was copied on the system by the software installation disc. Once the LED stops flashing and starts glowing constantly you can start scanning.
For this a slide magazine is put into the scanner. Those who already have operated a slide projector knows what to do: You push the magazine from behind in the magazine drawer until it is hooked on the transport slider. That is it - all the further steps will be operated with the scan software or with the buttons on the side of the DigitDia 7000.
Reflecta does publish software updates and firmware updates constantly which can be downloaded from the Reflecta website. After scanner installation it is highly recommended to upgrade software and firmware upgrades in order to work with the current version. Software and firmware updates often contain improvements and bug-fixes.
Before starting digitizing the whole slide collection you should make a few test scans to acquaint yourself with the scanner mechanics and to find out which the best adjustments for your film material are. This depends not only on the purpose of use but on your personal liking. It would be very annoying if you realize after hundreds of scans that with some minimal adjustment changes you would have gotten far better image results. Then you would have to think about scanning all pictures again.
The rule of thumb holds for any film scanner, that you sould take a traing period of approx. 3-4 weeks before you start digitizing your complete series.
Digitizing 35mm slides with different magazine types
Like its predecessor the reflecta DigitDia 7000 can process different magazine types. Since the scanner is specialized to digitize mounted slides directly from the magazine it is not possible to process other film types. Thus no 35mm film strips can be processed, which, however, does not mean, that only positives can be scanned. Also negatives can be scanned, however they have to be put into frames and sorted into slide magazines.
The DigitDia 6000 is compatible with the following magazine types according to the manufacturer:
- Reflecta CS magazines for 40 or 100 CS slides
- Universal magazines with DIN 108 for 36 or 50 slides
- Paximat 36/36S, 50/50S und round magazines 100/100S
- Paximat Multimag compact magazine 50
- LKM magazines
With those all popular magazine types are provided. Those who have archived their slides in other kinds of exotic magazine types have to re-sort them willy-nilly. The scanner transport works best with the Reflecta CS magazines which is not surprising since that kind of magazines are Reflecta's own magazines. However, you can not depend on scanning a whole magazine of 100 slides in one go.
During our tests 1-2 times the scanner stopped because of jam on average so a scanner operator was necessary to start the scan process again. That is ok. This is only annoying if this happens at the beginning of the scanning process and you went away for several hours after starting the scan process.
LKM magazines are handled by the DigitDia pretty well but it stops more frequently than working with CS magazines. The biggest problems occur when working with universal magazines. This gets worse when you got slide mounts with different frame width. A mess of slim plastic frames and thicker glass frames disrupts the DigitDia very often. In this case it is advised to make yourself comfortable at the scanning place in order to intervene if something is going wrong.
Paximat round magazines again are handled very nicely which may be caused by the fact that the slides are hold very tightly inside of the Paximat magazines. But you also have to expect disruptions.
The premise for a smooth transport are non-bent slides which are not damaged in some kind. This also applies for the transport of slide projectors. With the DigitDia it is the same.
Everyone who digitizes the own slide collection with the DigitDia 7000 should be aware that scanning without any disruptions is an exception. Usually the scanner gets stuck sometimes so the operator has to start the scan process again.
For the use of universal- and standard Paximat magazines (not from type S) in combination with slim slide mounts the DigitDia is provided with a little adapter which you can slide to the front of the transport slider. This increases the area of support of the automated slide insertion. With this a sliding of the transport slider past the slides is prevented.
With the accessible slide lift at the surface of the device single slides can be inserted and put out. This comes in handy if you only want to scan single slides or you want to check if the correct slides are being scanned. Also the little slide viewer at the side of the DigitDia 7000 can come in handy if you want to check slides quickly.
Although the scanner has the MagicTouch feature for removing dust and scratches you should clean the slides a little bit before scanning. This can be done inside the magazine with a compressed air spray. Because the fewer dust and scratches have to be corrected the better the image quality: If a thick dust particle conceals fine image details MagicTouch can not capture the fine image details. Besides the device works better and longer the fewer dust gets into the scanner.
If you want to put a little bit more effort into the cleaning of slides we recommend the use of an anti-static brush. With this you can remove dust very efficient than with the compressed air spray alone.
The provided scan software of the DigitDia 7000
Like all reflecta scanners the DigitDia 7000 is equipped with the manufacturer's software CyberView, which was available in the version X5.16 at the moment of our scanner test. Cyberview offers basic functions to control the scanner including the slide transport and offers a small selection of useful tools for the image optimization.
If you click on the button with the colour circle a new windows opens with three sections:
With the variations you can make adjustments with small thumbnails regarding brightness and chromaticity. The option color matching provides a brightness-, a contrast- and a saturation slider. With the curves and layer tool you can control the gradation curve and the tonal values. Unfortunately the adjustment possibilities of all tolls are very imprecise. Tools like selective color changing are not even available.
The special elements for batch scanning consist of five buttons. The slide transport can be controlled by those (forwards, backwards, load magazine, current postiton set and go to...) and a small window named Thumbnails. With this you can show a preview of all slides inside the magazine or just a selection. However, a preview of all slides is very time consuming because a preview scan of every single slide has to be done even if the preview scans are made with a small resolution.
By clicking the button Presettings... a new windows opens with different settings like the storage path, image name, MagicTouch and multi exposure. Here you also can choose the file format JPG or TIF.
Unfortunately CyberView has not really changed since the last versions. Only a couple of tools have got a new name, however, the functions itselves have not changed. The handling is still everything but intuitive. It does not make a difference if you use functions from the drop down menu or if you use the buttons, they have the same funcionality. If you buy the reflecta DigitDia 7000 you should allow a specific time for getting used to the scan software, then you will come along with it very well.
The image quality of the reflecta DigitDia 7000
The only thing in which the reflecta DigitDia 7000 distinguishes from its predecessor is the new sensor, which offers a nominal resolution of 10.000 ppi instead of 5000 ppi. Let's examine how this performance increase has an influennce in practice.
We start examining the resolution of the scanner. A 35mm slide (3,6 x 2,4 cm) scanned with the nominal resolution of 10.000 ppi yields an image file with 14173 x 9449 pixels, i.e. 133 million pixels. A TIF-file with so many pixels will have a file size of approx. 380 MB. This sounds impressive. If you have dealed with that topic already you know, that the nominal resolution of the scanner is different from the effective resolution, i.e. in practice the scanner does not achieve the nominal resolution. We examine that by measuring the resolution of the scanner with an USAF 1951 test chart (more information about that on our web site about the Resolution of a scanner).
At a scan with the highest possible resolution of 10.000ppi you hardly can recognize the vertical lines of the element 6.4 and the horizontal lines of the element 6.5. According to the USAF resolution chart these lines correspond to resolutions of 4598 dpi and 5161 dpi, respectively. In average this means a resolution of approx. 4880 ppi. This means, that the DigitDia 7000 does not even achieve 50% of the optical resolution given by the manufacturer, which is a bad value. A scan with 4880 ppi results in an image with 6917 x 4611 pixels, i.e. about 31,8 mega pixels and a file size of about 91 MB. With this effective resolution you can make high resolution prints up to about 58 x 39 cm.
The predecessor DigitDia 6000 achieved an affective resolution of 3300 ppi, so the DigitDia 7000 exceeds its predecessor in terms of resolution by approx. 1500 ppi. So we get a significant nominal and effective resolution increase, if we compare the new DigitDia 7000 with the predecessor DigitDia 6000.
There is one important thing you must be aware of: In order to achieve the effective resolution of 4880 ppi you have to scan with the maximal nominal resolution of 10.000 ppi. If you scan only with the half of the nominal resolution, i.e. 5000 ppi, the effective resolution reduces to 4096 ppi, which is about 20% lower. The scans with 10.000 ppi have about 133 Megapixel, while the real image information is only about 32 mega pixels. This means that more than 100 million pixels are double an multiple and should be eliminated after scanning in order to get smaller image files. This means an enormous time effort after scanning.
The Reflecta DigitDia 7000 achieves an effective resolution of about 4880 ppi at a nominal resolution of 10.000 ppi. So it does not even achieve 50% of its nominal resolution in practice. Effectively one gets about 31,8 million effective pixels from a 35mm slide.
Even if it is disappointing that you only get 4900 ppi effectively at a 10.000 ppi scan, the reflecta DigitDia 7000 is the leader in terms of resolution in the 35mm slide scanner area.
Since the resolution is not the only criterion for evaluating the image quality of a scanner we have a look at the density range: According to the manufacturer the DigitDia 7000 has a maximum density of Dmax = 4,2. This means that the densitiy range is approx. 3.8. This is an acceptable value, however, still below the density range of the meanwhile very old Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED. Compared to its predecessor DigitDia 6000 we donot have a significant progress.
The scan speed of the reflecta DigitDia 7000
The reflecta DigitDia 7000 is a magazine scanner with the main task to digitize all slides from a slide magazine without intervention of the user. So it is not neccessary that the DigitDia 7000 is a fast sprinter, because normally you feed the scanner with a full slide magazine, start the scanner and let the scanner to its job.
Nevertheless it does matter how long it takes to scan a complete magazine, since it makes a difference if it takes only a couple of hours or a complete day. We have measured the scanning times of the DigitDia 7000. Our DigitDia 7000 was operated at a PC with Windows 10 operating system, connected via USB 2.0, at a computer with Core I7-processor and 8GB memory.
|Process with CyberView X
|Preview of a slide
|Scan of a slide with 2500 ppi
|Scan of a slide with 5000 ppi
|Scan of a slide with 10.000 ppi
|Scan of a slide magazine with 100 slides with 10.000 ppi
||approx. 5:56 hours
||approx. 9:25 hours
We recognize that the DigitDia 7000 is not an extreme sprinter, however, it is faster than its predecessor: With the former DigitDia 6000 a 5000 ppi scan took 6:50 minutes. The new DigitDia 7000 is about one minute faster at the same scan resolution. End even at the double scan resolution it is not essentially slower than the predecessor.
Of capital importance is the scan duration of a complete slide magazine: With approx. 10 hours for a magazine with 100 mounted slides you have to calcluate almost a complete day for scanning such a magazine until all files are stored on the computer. Ideally you start the scanner in the morning and look at the results in the evening. Unfortunately it is more en exception than usually, that a magazine is digitized without interruption. So in practice you start the scanner in the morning, check the status of the scanner every hour and restart it occasionally until everything is done in the evening.
Alternatives to the Reflecta DigitDia 7000
While there is a choice of several models of different manufactueres at most film scanners, in the the field of the magazine scanners there has never been a real competition among the manufacturers. The Reflecta DigitDia has ever been a synonym for a scanner which can process complete slide magazines at a time. Our custmomers often ask as which alternatives there are. We can summarize these shortly:
Formerly the Reflecta DigitDia magazine scanner had a serious competitor with the Nikon SuperCoolscan 5000ED. The Nikon 5000 was not able to process slides directly from the magazine, however it could digitize up to 50 slides automatically with the automatic slide feeder SF-210, and that in an breathtaking speed. In terms of image quality and scan speed the Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED has never been exceeded by any competitor.
One alternate to the Reflecta DigitDia 7000 is worth to be mentioned: With the big flatbed scanner Epson Expression 12000XL it is possible to scan up to 30 mounted 35mm slides in batch mode, by feeding 2 slide holders with slides. At the Reflecta DigitDia 7000 one always has to calculate with a slide jam so that the scanner stops, the Epson Expression 12000xl Pro digitizes reliably up to 30 mounted slides in batch mode, and that in an incredible speed of about half an hour. Thus a slide magazine with 100 mounted slides can be scanned with the Epson Expression 12000xl Pro in 2 hours, while the reflecta DigitDia 7000 takes a whole day fot that job. At the Epson Expression 12000xl one has to take out the mounted slides from the magazine and insert them into special film holders. Therefore after half an hour one definitely has 30 scans on his computer, while at the DigitDia 7000 you always have to expect that the scanner gets stuck after the first or second slide.
The large format scanner Epson Expression 12000xl Pro scans up to 48 mounted slides in batch mode in a very short time. Of course you have to take out the slides from the magazines and put them into film holders, however, therefore the scanner works without interruptions.
When working with a magazine scanner one always lives with the hope that a complete magazine runs through without interruptions. If you start the scanner in the morning before you go to work and realize in the evening when coming home that everything has run through perfectly it is a big success. However, the disappointment is big, if the scanner gut stuck after the second or third slide. When doing batch scans with a big flatbed scanner you only get 48 scans at a time, however, you get them guaranteed without interruptions.
Reflecta limits the warranty for the DigitDia 7000 to a number of 20000 scan processes. A scan process can be an index scan, a prescan or a main scan. If you choose the option multi-exposure within the scan-software, the film will be scanned twice and the scan counter increases by 2. The same holds for multi times scans. In autumn 2018 this warranty restriction was abandonned by reflecta.
Such a magazine scanner is a wonderful thing in theory: In the morning you insert a magazine for scanning and in the evening you will find 50 or even 100 scans on your computer. Unfortunately somethines it happens that a slide mount gets stuck or the transport fails. If you have really bad luck you start the scanner with a magazine with 100 slides in the morning, and when you return from work in the evening you realize that the scanner got stuck at the second frame. You cannot avoid that slides or the magazine stucks, hangs or stops. And it is not a matter of warranty if the magazines don't run through fluently, even if you expect that from a magazine scanner.
If a slide mount gets stuck, you should contact the manufacturer immediately. If you damage the scanner mechanics at the try to take out a slide mount, which got stuck, the manufacturer will not take the costs for reparation on warranty.
The Reflecta DigitDia 7000 is a worhy successor of the well proven DigitDia 6000. It is pleasant that the scan resolution has increased significantly without decreasing the scan speed. However, it is less pleasant that the price of the new DigitDia 7000 has increased drastically compared to the predecessor.
It is a wonderful thing if you can scan a complete slide magazine, however, you always have to take into account that the scanner stops or a slide gets stuck inside the scanner. It is not a matter of course that a compete magazine will be scanned frame by frame automatically. And it is not subject for complain if slides hang or jam, that is just normal for a magazine scanner.
FAQ-website Reflecta DigitDia
Do you have questions about the Reflecta DigitDia? On our FAQ-website DigitDia you can find numerous questions and answers and problems with solutions.
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