Plustek OpticFilm 7300 Film Scanner review

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, February 2008
Manufactured by: Plustek US, Plustek UK
Requires: One available USB 2.0 hi-speed port, Windows - Pentium III CPU or faster, Windows 2000, XP or Vista; 500MB available hard driver space; Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later including Leopard, PowerPC G4 CPU or faster
MSRP: US$369.95, UK£169.99

It has been more than a year since I reviewed the Plustek OpticFilm 7200i. So when I was offered the newer OpticFilm 7300, I was intrigued to find out what the updated model would be able to offer. The Plustek OpticFilm 7300 is aimed squarely at the amateur and and enthusiast. It's a dedicated 7200 dpi film scanner, faster and more robust than its predecessors with new features such as Multi-Exposure for negative film and Multi-Sampling functions which are supposed to bring out the best quality on negative and slide scans, all at a competitive price. That's quite a mouthful and quite a claim. So how good is the 7300, and how does it live up to the requirements of converting your slides and negatives into digital equivalents?

The Plustek OpticFilm 7300 is widely available at or below suggested list prices in the U.S. and Canada, it's competitively priced in the UK, and has an even lower price point than its predecessor. On that basis I expected the scanner to be a bit of a let down. I was however pleased to find that the value and quality offered at this price point doesn't seem to be an issue. The OpticFilm 7300 is easy to install and use. Scanning with it is as easy as ever and with the slide viewer embedded in the top of the unit, it is truly a pleasure to work with.


Also included is LaserSoft Imaging’s latest SilverFast SEPlus 6.5 ME image editing software, which provides high quality results from more advanced and carefully configured scans. Among other features SilverFast SEPlus offers Multi-Exposure (designed to enhance the dynamic range of scans), AutoFrame (automatic frame detection), NegaFix (used to remove residual color casts from negative film), Selective Color Correction, Auto Adjust, UnSharp Mask (USM) for edge correction, and SilverFast-Basic (which is the normal scanning driver and ideal for beginners and for quick scans any time). The OpticFilm 7300 is relatively fast for scanning clean negs and slides using the basic scanning driver. However scanning times go way up when you use high resolution SilverFast scan processing and the annoying muddying sometimes introduced in this process is problematic and gives some detail a soft, watercolor look.

We tested the OpticFilm 7300 over a period of a couple of months in order to gain some sense of how well a device at this price point would hold up to repeated use. I have a large and varied collection of negatives and transparancies (mostly 35mm) so it`s usually easy to find photos that will challenge any scanner I`m using. Throughout the review period, I didn`t encounter any problems with any of the electronics, the negative holder or any of the controls.

The scans produced are pretty good - a subjective opinion certainly because we don`t do technical testing at Kickstartnews - but the general quality of results is easy to see. Once again, my pre-review worries about what sort of quality could possibly exist at this price point weren`t justified. A number of convenience features add to the solid evaluation of the OpticFilm 7300 including the ability to select the type of film being scanned (although the range of products supported is still not sufficiently expanded to handle all the film types I have in my collection). Like the older OpticFilm 7200i, I had to guess on a couple of OEM-based film brands and their ideal profiles.

Two film carriers are provided and support both negative film and slides. I still think the carriers needed to have a more secure fit (same problem in the older 7200i). Still, I found no issues with the resulting scans because of any looseness or fit and finish issues. I don't know what the long term usage issues are here or whether the loose tolerance is a deliberate part of the design.

Scanned detail in highlights and shadows was not blown out due to the multiple exposure feature, a big improvement over the 7200i. However, dynamic range is still in need of improvement in order to put this scanner at the top of its category. I would recommend this scanner for enthusiasts and amateurs who needs high resolution scans but who don't have a lot of technical expertise in this area.

For the amateur this unit is actually a real steal. Dedicated film scanners of similar capabilities can cost much more. The 7300's clean looks and ease of use makes it an attractive option.

Cons: Slow scanning in high resolution. No support for larger negs and transparencies.

Pros: Easy to set up and use. Small footprint. High optical resolution and good detail. Surprisingly low price. Multiple Exposure mode is a very welcome addition. For the amateur photographer who wants a cheap scanner to scan slides and negatives, this unit is an excellent option. The Plustek OpticFilm 7300 like its predecessor is easy to install, and even easier to use. Although it features 7200 dpi high resolution scanning and basic dust and scratch removal, it misses on some crucial capabilities such as support for more transparency and negative formats (e.g., no medium format). However the added capability for multiple exposures of a single image source makes up for what is missing. I highly recommend the Plustek OpticFilm 7300 for the amateur photographer and enthusiast.

KSN Product Rating:



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