Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 Scanner Lens Test

The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 (and the Scan Elite 5400 II) was the resolution leader in the consumer film scanner market in the early 2000s. At that time most film scanners that could not produce optical resolution close to their nominal advertised figures, the Plustek OpticFilm 7200 scanner for example, claimed a stellar 7200 pixels per inch (ppi), but in real life it could barely deliver 2900 ppi. The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 (and later the Scan Elite 5400 II) produced the highest resolution measured with a film scanner at the time, the optical resolution of the v and 5400 II is 5400 dpi. Minolta doubled the resolution of most slide scanners and even beat the top models from Nikons Coolscan 4000 dpi scanner line.

The specs for this scanner look too good to be true and since there was absolutely no results of any kind online for the Minolta 5400 lens being used for photography I just had to buy one to try it out. 

This report on the Minolta 5400 and 5400 II lens will cover what you need to know about image quality, setting up this lens for photography, test comparisons, how to find one, and a link for a separate page on how to remove the lens from a scanner. 

Update May 2018

In this lens comparison, the Minolta Elite 5400 lens beats all of my favorites, and best performing lenses at 2x: https://www.closeuphotography.com/2x-lens-test

Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 scanner lens with the RAF Camera RMS adapter that I leave on the lens permanently.

The Minolta 5400 scanner lens tiny size is not very impressive but the performance of this lens is almost unbelieveably good.

Simple set up for the Minolta 5400 scanner lens, here at about 1.3x.

Why a Scanner Lens for photography?

Amazing image quality. Scanner lenses are designed to be chromatic aberration free, sharp from corner to the corner, corrected for a flat field, and free from distortion. The best scanner lenses have better resolution and better chromatic correction than consumer market macro lenses. 

How sharp is the Minolta 5400 scanner lens compared to a Macro Lens?

Lens test: Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 vs the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo Lens at 2x magnification

The wafer test target

The wafer test target

2x area with crop areas highlighted.

Center Crops at 100% view

Edge Crops at 100% view

Far Corner Crops at 100% view

2x test conclusion

Looking at the 100% crops from this test I can say without a doubt that the Minolta 5400 scanner lens is sharper, more consistent edge to edge, and has better chromatic aberration control than the Canon MP-E 65 macro lens on an APS-C sensor.

When you consider that the Minolta 5400 scanner lens cost a fraction of the cost of the MP-E 65 I would its a real bargain if you can live without an adjustable iris.

Recommendations

Buy one. The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 I and II scanner lenses are highly recommended. 

Where you can find the lens

The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 and the Scan Elite 5400 II film scanners.

Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 scanner PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

When I decided to try this lens out there were no lenses only for sale, only complete scanners. Luckily I was able to pick up a 5400 scanner in 'parts only' condition for less than $100 USD. Later I also picked up a 5400 II scanner for a slightly higher cost.

The lowest cost way to pick up a Minolta 5400 lens would be to find a parts only, sold 'as is' scanner, I have never seen a Minolta 5400 lens only, for sale. There are enough Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 scanners on the used market so the prices are pretty low. I have seen these sell for less than $100. In any case I would recommend that you pick up a scanner now before the lenses become popular.

The average Ebay prices in early 2018 seem to be about $200 - 400 USD. There are four units for sale on Ebay right now for less than $250.

Parts only, non-working condition scanners seem to sell for less money, from $90-200 on Ebay in early 2018. If you can buy a scanner in good shape you can remove the lens and sell the rest of the scanner for parts to offset the purchase cost.

The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 and Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 II lenses are the same but the II version scanners seem to be more expensive on the used market and Ebay.

Small enough to hide behind an SD card, the Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 scanner lens and SDHC card for scale

The Minolta 5400 scanner lens is tiny. Even the small Scanner Nikkor 7 element lens looks big compared to the Minolta 5400 lens!

These are some other scanner lenses for comparison.

Scanner Lenses from Nikon and Minolta.

Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 LENS SPECIFICATIONS

Dimage-5400-one-and-II.jpg

Objective type: 35mm format film scanner

Status: Discontinued in 2005

Aperture: f/4 nominal or working aperture.

Optical design: unknown

Focal length: unknown

Working Distance: Good. 58mm @ 1.2x. 

Chromatic Correction: The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 lens is APO corrected and produces zero chromatic aberrations performing like a Super-apochromat.

Resolution: Nominal optical resolution of 5400 dpi. This lens had the highest resolution of any scanner at the time it was in production.

Designed lens coverage: 24.61 x 36.69mm, full frame. 

Mounting Threads: None. 

Country of origin: Japan

 

Lens test: Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 LENS vs the Scanner Nikkor ED 7 element lens

Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 scanner lens and Scanner Nikkor ED 7 element lens

This is the first test that I have made with this lens, I do plan to run more once I get the lens installed with the proper adapter so there will be lots more images and test results coming soon.

Vintage silicon wafer with the 1.2x magnification area marked in blue.

Wafer crop areas marked in blue.

Wafer crop areas marked in blue.

Click on a crop image below to open a new window with a larger full size image

100% center crop, Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 lens on the left, and the Scanner Nikkor ED 7 element lens on the right. Click on a crop image to open a new window with a larger full size image.

100% far corner crop, Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 lens on the left, and the Scanner Nikkor ED 7 element lens on the right.Click on a crop image to open a new window with a larger full size image.

100% off center crop, Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 lens on the left, and the Scanner Nikkor ED 7 element lens on the right. Click on a crop image to open a new window with a larger full size image.

Uncropped Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 image resized to 1500 pixels.

Uncropped Scanner Nikkor ED 7 image resized to 1500 pixels.

Test Conclusion

At 1.2x magnification, the Minolta Elite 5400 lens shows better fine detail than the Scanner Nikkor element lens. The edge crops show the biggest difference. Both lenses are free of CAs across the frame. The Scanner Nikkor 7 element lens is a very sharp lens, but at least at this magnification the Minolta Elite 5400 lens is sharper.

Note that I have not tested either of these lenses at any other magnification so either of these lenses could perform better at a higher magnification.

For the test I went with 1.2x since neither of these lenses are designed to work at 1x magnification, the Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 scanner sensor is larger than the 24.61 x 36.69mm scan area, the Nikon Coolscan 4000 ED scanner sensor is smaller than 24 x 36 mm. So it seems that the Minolta lens is working at less than 1x and the Nikkor is designed to work at more than 1x.

TEST SETUP

The Sony α6300 camera used for the test was vertically mounted on a Nikon MM-11 stand. Manual mode was used at ISO 100. To avoid any sharpness loss due to vibration I used the two Godox TT350s wireless flash, at 1/128th to 1/16th power triggered by a Godox X1s 2.4G wireless flash trigger/transmitter. The flashes remained in place for the entire test to avoid changes in light angle, the flash was mounted on a flash bracket bolted to an optical breadboard shooting into a 4-3/4 inch (12 cm) Godox plastic half dome diffuser placed over the target.

Each lens was focus bracketed and the single sharpest image for the center and corner were chosen at 100% view in Photoshop. All images were shot as RAW Sony ARW files and processed in PS CC with all noise reduction and lens correction turned off, all settings were zeroed out (true zero) and the same settings were used for all of the images. 

SETTING UP THE Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 LENS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 scanner lens

The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 does not have any mounting threads so you rig something together with glue and tape, or better yet, buy a professionally made adapter to make your life easier. This is about as simple as an installation can get, front to back:

Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 scanner lens
RAF Camera Minolta 5400 scanner lens to RMS adapter
RAF Camera RMS to M39 cone type adapter
Generic Chinese $5 M39 to E-Mount adapter

RAF Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 Lens Adapter

The adapter is a slip-on type with a set-screw and very easy to use RMS mounting threads. 

Minolta-DiMAGE-Scan-Elite-5400-Scanner-Lens-and-RAF-camera-RMS-adapter-Robert-OToole-Photography.jpg

Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 with and without the RAF camera adapter. On my lens I leave the adapter mounted on the lens all the time.

Raf camera came through again on this project. After letting them know what I needed, they put together a drawing, after approval, I had the finished product a couple of weeks later for a very fair price. They are the best custom parts supplier I have ever worked with. 

This is a direct link to RAF camera to find out more and buy the adapter: https://www.rafcamera.com/adapter-18mm-id-to-rms-male

MINOLTA DIMAGE SCAN ELITE 5400 LENS removal

A quick how-to lens removal tutorial is available here on close-uphotography.com:

https://www.closeuphotography.com/minolta-dimage-scan-elite-5400-lens-removal/

LINKS FOR MORE INFO on the 5400 scanner:

Filmscanner.info test of the Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 II scanner:

http://www.filmscanner.info/MinoltaDimageScanElite5400II.html

Scanner information on the Konica Minolta site:

http://www.konicaminoltasupport.com/DiMAGE-Scan-Eli.3089.0.html?

Comments, questions or tips to share. Send me an email with the contact link.