Sunday, November 20, 2005

Scanner

I recently bought an Epson Perfection 4990 scanner. I am remarkably happy with it. It has high resolution, reasonable noise, scans quickly, and it can handle paper, photos, and film. The scanning software does a wonderful job at correcting the color of yellowed old color photos. So far it has only crashed about half a dozen times in around a thousand scans, unlike the crashy crapware provided with many scanners. It simply works, and produces good results. The automatic stuff generally does a good job, and is trivial to turn off when it gets confused. Preview scans, are fast, and you can interactively crop the desired images out of the preview window.

It does have several problems. One complaint is that while the scanning software can record and save 48-bit scans, none of the included software can do anything useful with them. This makes the scanner considerably less useful for enhancing old snapshots with deep shadows or burned-out highlights.

Another is that the scanning software makes extremely poor use of memory. While scanning and compressing images, it constantly accesses the hard drive, whilst hundreds of megabytes of RAM sit idle. Very short-sighted. Bad Epson, no biscuit.

Finally, an irritation is that the Epson scanning software allows you to save and recall commonly-used settings for resolution, color depth, and so forth, but not using your own names. No, they're only listed as "Setting 1", "Setting 2", and so forth. Once again, a superb piece of electromechanical engineering screwed up by some troglodyte programmer drooling into his keyboard.

Here's a sextant I scanned out of an old book.
sextant
(Image hosted by Flickr.)


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