on December 25, 2006
My best friend bought me this scanner for Christmas (at my request). I picked this particular model because of the low price, high resolution, and it being a flatbed scanner that can also handle negatives.
I've been using it for several days now and I have to say, I LOVE this scanner! It has to be the quietest scanner I've ever seen. I was on the phone with my mom while scanning and she never heard it. It is also fast. At the highest resolution, previewing for negative scanning takes maybe 20 seconds. The actual scan takes less than two minutes. The quality of the scans is awesome, regardless of whether you are doing flatbed scanning, color negatives, or black and white negatives (true black & white at that).
Software wise, the TWAIN driver is very very nice with tons of options. It works perfectly on my XP Pro system with a fairly low end graphics card. The bundled PhotoStudio sucks, however, and I don't use it. I find Irfanview (available free on-line) works quite nicely for most of my needs, including acting as a facilitator for batch scanning to file. I have not tried the included OmniPage, however I have used an earlier version so I expect it will work quite nicely.
The other review here seems to dismiss this scanner as being more cheaply made. Personally, it seems nicely made to me. If you are abusive towards your equipment, then yeah, spend twice as much for something all metal. I, however, treat my equipment well. The plastic negative holder works just fine for me, and is very easy to use. I don't see anything wrong with the plastic hinge either. It works smoothly and seems well designed. Another nice thing about this scanner is that it doesn't not weigh much at all! I like this since I have a glass desk which can't hold a ton of weight. The design is nice too. It looks nice and sleek against my blue glass.
All in all, I would highly recommend this scanner for anyone looking for a good, fast all purpose scanner for under $100. Well worth the money (and the free super saving shipping is a nice bonus). Best Christmas present I got.
on September 23, 2006
Its difficult to find comparison specs between some of the new CanoScans. After looking at both the 4400F and 8600F, besides the 8600F's ability to scan medium-format negatives and being bundled with a lite version of Photoshop, the 8600 is also simply a more heavy duty machine.
A significant difference is the lid. The 8600 has metal hinges and adjusts vertically on metal supports. It will also stay open through 90 deg of motion. The 4400 has a plastic hinge. To accomodate books or thick materials, it has a "break-away" articulating hinge-- when you place something of thickness like a book on the flatbed the lid hinge snaps open to accomodate the item. The 4400 hinge will not stay open on its own.
Both lids are rather heavy and solid (the 8600's more so) which is nice if you scan books or things that need to lie flat. But since the 4400's hinge is all plastic and has a small piece of plastic that locks the articulating or adjusting part of the hinge, it does not really seem to lend itself to lots of book scans. It seems like this latch or lock will eventually break; as is, it sounds like its breaking each time it snaps open to accomodate a book. (Since I make a lot of book scans I decided that the 8600 was better for this, because of its lid's adjustment and hinge construction and because of its heavy lid, despite the extra money. If I was typically scanning from photocopies or thin origins, the 4400 would have been fine.) A last thing about the lid construction: the 8600 also has a heavy-duty cable to power the light in the lid, while the 4400 provides power to the lid by a thin tape cable that is visible in the hinge and seems somewhat vulnerable to heavy use.
Otherwise these scanners seem to have the same technology, with the except of FARE (film automatic retouching and enhancement) scratch and dust reduction filter on the 8600. The CanoScan Toolbox software works well. Both have programmable buttons which allow for semi-automated scanning. The multiple-page PDF scanning is great. (This was one of the main reasons that I bought one of these scanners.)
As to speed, although the scans are fast when they get going, it takes some time for the scan to actually get going. (How this compares to other scanners I can't say.)
A last feature is that the 8600 has an on/off switch, which the 4400 does not.
All in all, although the 8600 is billed as a scanner for photography professionals, it has some features that make it attractive to anyone who does a lot of scanning.
on January 3, 2007
I bought this scanner to replace my Canon Lide 35. I wasn't happy with that one as the quality of the scans seemed only adequate, but it was the only scanner I could find at the time that was the right physical size to fit on the sliding shelf of my computer cabinet. I had to compromise and give up an excellent quality scanner to get one that fit.
Although it only just arrived, I am already thrilled with the Canon 4400F. Not only is it smaller (narrower) than some of the other brands and fits on my shelf, I am extremely pleased with the quality of the scans at several different resolutions, color modes, and sources and with the speed that the scanner accomplishes each task. (The scans of negatives do take a little longer to complete.) I have already successfully scanned black and white documents, color prints, color photos, pages and images from books, and just had my first experience scanning negatives. I was shocked with the excellent quality and color of the scanned negatives and will now plan on getting them all scanned and saved on my computer in the coming weeks. I bought this primarily to scan sections of documents, artwork, and photos, and the negative scanner is an unexpected and very welcome bonus. I likely will not use the buttons on the front, preferring to use the advanced mode on the ScanGear software to have a little more control over the final product.
I did have some problems getting the scanner to work properly at first. After a few scans the ScanGear software and my photoshop CS software would both apparently crash requiring control-alt-delete to force quit the program. I went to the canon website and downloaded their updated driver and installed that and the problem only got worse. I then uninstalled the new driver and downloaded it again, installed it again and rebooted my PC again, and despite my best efforts to get the software to crash, it is working like a dream.
I am thrilled with this product because it works so well and am probably even more thrilled with it because it was relatively inexpensive. Definitely one of my better purchases.
on March 13, 2007
Needing to replace my really ancient Visioneer scanner for importing 35mm slides and negatives into CS2 at a higher quality, I settled on the buying either the Canon 8600F or the 4400F. As I see it, the 8600F is an industrial-strength version of the lightweight 4400F, but costs about $70 more. The 8600 is somewhat bigger and weighs 50% more than the 4400F, but otherwise they're pretty much identical in capabilities and operation. In fact, Canon's website shows identical sales blurb for both the 4400F and the 8600F. The supplied software (CanoScan Toolbox, ArcSoft PhotoStudio, NewSoft Presto PageManager, ScanSoft OmniPage SE) are identical for both the 4400F & the 8600F. The PS Elements 5.0 included with the 8600F was not important since I use CS2. The only unknown is what exactly is the difference between the 8600F's "built-in FARE Level 3 retouching technology" and the 4400F's "built-in retouching technology." I suspect it's nearly the same. So I bought the 4400F from Amazon (best price).
Installation was a snap and the first scan came out as expected. A bit slow, but all decent resolution scans are slow regardless of who makes the scanner unless you want to spend big bucks. The only negative is the lack of a power button on the 4400F (if you're like me, you'll always forget to pull the plug when you've finished scanning). Although it'd be easy to put a switch on the power cord, the switch would have to be located near the plug socket, so a switch really wouldn't be all that much helpful.
The net of all of this is that if you plan to do some really heavy-duty scanning and also would like to utilize Photoshop Elements 5.0 for image enhancing, go with the 8600F. Otherwise, use the 4400F.
My crude comparison of Canon's 8600F and the 4400F:
Weight:-------------------- 9.3 pounds---6.2 pounds
Height:--------------------- 4.9 inches---3.3 inches
Width:--------------------- 11.3 inches--10.2 inches
Depth:--------------------- 18.6 inches--18.7 inches
On/off button------------- yes------------no
Photoshop Elements 5.0- yes------------no ($43 @Vio)
Built-in FARE Level 3----- yes-------------?
Cost:---------------------- $160--------- $92
I have been toting around a shoebox of my dad's slides since he passed away. There are about 500 Kodachrome transparencies of family vacations, army photos, and all us kids at Easter and Christmas. Even without cleaning the slides, I am completely amazed at how good these are coming out! I was only able to see these in one of those little slide boxes you held up to the light--until today. I'm finding great early photos of my mom from the 40s wearing a fantastic print dress and big curls in her hair! So far I'm extremely pleased with how these are coming out!!!
The scanner is VERY easy to set up. I have an iMac running Leopard. I followed the quick-start guide, popped in the cd, clicky click click, plug it in, did a quick test with a cartoon, and worked like a charm. I mainly purchased it for scanning this bunch of old slides. It comes with a little plastic tray (for lack of a better term) to put 4 slides in. This tray is conveniently hidden behind a white plastic sheet in the lid of the scanner. This tray feels kinda flimsy, so I'm being very careful with it--that is my only concern so far.
With the $99 price, there is no great software for correcting the dust and fuzz. You can however, play a little bit with the image settings. For most of what I have scanned so far, I have only set the Backlight Correction setting to Low or Medium; and you can do this on a slide by slide basis or do them all on one setting. This has made some of the older dark photos look fantastic. I have also used the Rotate to turn the photo right way up or flip it over.
I'm really impressed with the quality and ease-of-use so far. My intention was just to get these into a digital format before they turn to dust, not do magic with them just yet. Like the Technicolor Ektachrome slides are red-red, and I'd like to eventually fix the worthwhile ones of those, as well as do the repair and hair removal needed on a bunch. Overall first impression is this is a great value, and the quality is better than expected overall. If you need to do a LOT of correcting of your slides/film/photos, you may want to jump up a few levels to one with a more advanced Photo-shop-like software to do this all at once.
I was in such a hurry to get slides digitized when I started using this scanner... Just wanted to pass on what I learned so far. I'm pretty impressed with the software that does come with it. At first pass it didn't seem all that impressive and I thought I was lucky that the slides scanned looked as good as they did! After taking more time--and slowing down to see what some of the other options really did in the panel after you have 'previewed' a batch--omg it does wonders!!! The Ektachromes that are way red, well now they look much more normal. I have gone back and rescanned a bunch of slides from the beginning mad rush I was in, and I have to tell you that they look even more incredible than before. A pretty good scan of a slide of my Mom dated May 1946 is brighter, skin color more natural... I'm very pleased with how this product is working, can you tell?!
Another crumb of advice, get a good quality photo brush to get the dust and crumbs off the slides--I'm surprised how much can get removed with the soft natural bristles. I also got a photographic emulsion cleaner and pads for some of the tough spots. Whatever is in that bottle has removed quite a few of those black spots that always show up on someone's forehead!
And I see the price dropped on this... I paid $99 and thought it was a good deal! Good luck!
on December 26, 2006
I just got this scanner about 10 days before Christmas. I've been very pleased - it exceeds all my expectations.
I got it for two reasons: (1) my old scanner does not work with Windows XP, and (2) I've been wanting a good scanner for slides and negatives for many years, but decided to wait until technology and price improved. Well, it was worth the wait! I've already scanned several dozen color slides as well as several negatives and other images. The quality of the slide and negative scanning was excellent! And the speed is great compared to my old scanner. I've not tried all the bells and whistles yet, but everything I've tried so far works very well. Using the slide holder is a little tedious, but for the price I am extremely pleased.
I did considerable research before buying this scanner, and quickly learned that Canon is definitely the way to go for quality film/slide scanners. I first planned to order a Canoscan model that I later found out was discontinued, but this one is a newer model and seems to be as good or better, from what I can tell thus far.
I'll supplement this review if necessary once I've used the scanner some more.
on November 12, 2007
BEWARE: Unfortunately Canon left out an important detail in the product specifications (and now I'm stuck with a scanner that does 1/4 of what it says it can do on the box).
Whatever is listed as the highest DPI in the listbox is THE highest the scanner will optically scan. For regular scans, it is LIMITED to 1200DPI. You can type in a higher number, but it simply scans it at 1200DPI then scales it up to the DPI you typed in (software interpolation is worthless, it just makes the image large and fuzzy). So if you are expecting this to scan normal documents at 4800x9600DPI (at this DPI, just a logo or something small) FORGET IT! Canon put a limitation in the scanner driver to prevent it from scanning higher than 1200DPI on normal scans.
*** It ONLY scans at 4800x9600DPI when doing film/slides (which isn't what I bought this scanner for). ***
I thought I was buying a Porsche and got a VW instead, sure it still gets me there, but it's not the same...
on February 18, 2007
I bought this scanner to replace my ageing Microtek Scanmaker E6 flatbed color scanner. The Microtek unit worked just fine after many years (6? 8? I can't remember!) but it was slow, required a big, clunky SCSI cable and adapter, and the software (TWAIN Drivers) was quite dated and still buggy. I knew they'd never update the drivers again, so I decided to get this Canon as a replacement.
I've been using it for about 2 months now, just for scanning documents, and a few photos. The scan performance seems fine. It's definitely faster than the older scanner, and it did plug and play just fine.
The software? UGH. Why do the Japanese seem to have a problem producing good-quality, functional, well-designed intuitive software? This isn't rocket science. It's just a driver, folks. The thing is riddled with stupid little annoyances that really detract from the otherwise pleasant experience. For example, each time you scan a page, it forgets the settings you just used, and starts again from the same set of defaults. You can save settings by name, but each time the driver starts up, you must reselect the group of settings you want. If you're scanning 10 pages, this gets old fast.
The integration of the front panel buttons with the bundled software is equally quirky and annoying. And, some of the applications that would normally be quite useful, aren't, simply because they failed to actually ask any REAL WORLD USERS for feedback on their stupid user interface designs!
All in all, a worthwhile purchase. Expect to be annoyed by the software, but you will find it useable. Canon, if you are listening, try beta testing your designs before shipping your product. A little bit of tweaking will go a long way towards making a better product. I'm sure that's how Apple does it.
on February 8, 2007
I love the one touch buttons on the front that loads software and scans all in the touch of a button. Excellent photo quality scans. The software for scanning color photos has a fading correction feature that works great. I never realized how much my old color photos had faded until I used this feature to correct for that. Excellent and easy to use other photo correction capabilities as well as many other scanning options. The lid for the bed has the ability to flex at the hinge pivot point to allow for placing of large books or photo albums. Easy to install software and hardware. Just plug the power cord and USB cord in, run the install and it's ready. Driver support for other software programs works well too.
All around, excellent price and quality!!
The only possible down side is the bed size is basically letter size, so scanning legal size documents is out. That's okay for me, just make sure it's okay for you. Canon has similar larger scanners that I would trust after using this one.
By the way, I had to call their support number because I thought an item was missing in the shipment (it wasnt, just my mistake in un-boxing the scanner) but they were ready to send me a replacement part right away. Excellent support!!
on September 11, 2007
The ability to scan four 35 MM slides at a time is nice. It takes about 4 minutes to do the scan and the software used to edit and clean the images up is very good but not as good as more expensive software packages. Occasinally it seems to fail to see the slides and generate images that are not useable or, it may see only 2 or 3 of the four slides. In these cases, it can usually be corrected by deleting the unuseable images and rescanning. The photographic scan and copy functions work very well.