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NORITSU 2901 -V- 3001


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Hi everyone, new to the forum and hopefully be able to make a few posts as time goes on.

We are looking to buy a Noritsu minilab and currently on offer to us are a 2901 and 3001. Both are about the same price. I was wondering if anyone can give me some information about quality of output. For us the most important things are

- quality of the scans

- speed of scanning, especially 120 format

- quality of the prints

I know the 2901 prints up to 12", and it exposes the paper with MVLA or something - whereas the 3001 uses a laser, but only prints 8" wide.

Question is - is the 3001 more capable in terms of quality of scan and print? My customers are more on the quality / pro. end of the market.

The 3001 on offer will come with a new laser and fully serviced . The 2901 would just be coming direct from a working environment who are shutting up shop.

It would be lovely to go have a 12" machine, but only if the 2901 is as capable as the 3001 in terms of quality and speed of scanning / 120 scanning.

Any help gratefully received!


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The 2901 produces far better prints than the 3001 and produces more per hour, and I imagine that it would be as quick if not quicker than the 3001 in 120 scanning. The 120 carrier is almost identical incidentally.

The MLVA technology is better than the older laser technology in the 3001 but doesn't have a fixed life like laser.

That is good and bad, it might last forever but it might fail tomorrow.

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What Aussiecameras forgot to mention is that the 2901 parts are no longer available direct from Noritsu as of March of this year.

We still have a 2901 and love it, but the parts situation sucks.

We've been collecting parts for a while and have a spare machine (with a dead MLVA) in storage to pull parts off of.

A dead MLVA head will cost at least $16K to repair if it goes bad.  Not a good situation.

I'd wait for a 32xx series machine if I was you.  Parts available until 2015.

What are the prices for the two machines ?

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Many thanks for the helpful replies. Quite a surprise, I had it in my head that the 2901 was wider, but probably inferior in print quality - so, is the 2901 an older or later machine than the 3001? I thought laser was the newer technology?! Don't the latest machines use a laser, or are they MVLA?

The 2901 is offered to us at £6800 UKP, just been working in a high street/mall photo shop. Dont know much about it's history.

The 3001 is offered at £7500 UKP, but it comes fully serviced and with a new laser for good measure.

(current exchange rate to USD is about 1.60 so prices are $10,800 & $12,000)

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The 3001 is the older model but there are a number of good 8" machines made since then, all with laser technology.

I can't remember too many Noritsu digital machines before that, maybe the 2711 which was a complicated 12" machine.

The 3001 was the first user friendly machine in my book but only 8". And it was only maybe $200,000 instead of nearly double for the 12" machines.

The MLVA technology was developed and made by Konica and as Konica is no longer, the MLVA technology has also gone.

Some would argue that current laser technology is better than MLVA and that might be so but it wasn't the case with 2901 vs 3001.

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Thanks for that.

I think things are swinging towards the 3001. If our services are a success (which I think they will be because we've had a really good take up on just plain simple film processing only) then we can think about upgrading the machine in 9-12 months for something 12" - and the 32 is sounding very well recommended.

And if we have bought a 3001 with a new laser and all nicely serviced then I'm guessing selling it when we come to replace will be a bit easier.

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Actually a 3001 is newer than the 2901 so is the laser technology, the higher the model number generally the newer it is.

The 2901 is a great machine and I too like the quality, however it is getting rather old now and getting parts is becoming increasingly difficult. Also the the lamps are approaching GBP200 each which is just ridiculous.

The 3001 is a very well made little machine, laser repairs are not a problem now thanks to the independent companies that repair them. Parts availability is easier than for the 2901.

In terms of quality it's really down to personal preference  between the 2 technologies.

The MLVA is 400dpi and the 3001 is 320dpi. The laser is much sharper than the MLVA but because of this the prints can look a bit artificial. The MLVA is much closer to an analogue printer in it's output.

However you can tone down the sharpness and contrast etc if you want to on the laser labs.

I personally would stick with a laser engined machine as opposed to the MLVA. As if the MLVA head does fail basically the machine becomes uneconomical to repair.

If you really want a 12" machine you really can't get much better than the 32 series.

Another 12" machine to consider is a 3101, also laser based and very reliable, however this a high output machine so is a bit big in size for most labs.

The 27 series was the very first digital machine from Noritsu. It used MLVA technology a bit of a nightmare machine if truth be told! Then came the 28 series (6" width machine) a bit of an odd machine this one! It used DLP technology, but to be honest the quality was poor on the bigger prints, but it was extremely quick at printing 4x6 prints. This machine died due to Texas Instruments stopping production of the DLP chip. The next printer was the 29 series using MLVA technology a million times improved compared to the 27 series.

Next came the laser printers

3001/3011 8" machine

3101 12" machine high capacity

32 series 12" machine (direct replacement of the 2901)

33 series 8" machine (direct replacement of the 3001)

34 series 12" machine (direct replacement of the 3101)

35 series 8" machine (direct replacement of the 33 series)

37 series 12" machine (direct replacement of the 32 series)

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I understand that Ede & Ravenscroft have bought 4 of the newest largest Noritsu's just recently (or are in the process of doing so). They are best known for making Barrister's wigs and academic gowns, but they also have a photographic division covering graduation ceremonies etc.


(the Noritsu's will be in addition to some Frontiers they already have)

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