Looking over my shoulder recently, I was surprised at how much I have come to depend on a scanner. Early on, I had a love/hate relationship with desktop scanners, mainly because of their early and fiddly operating software.
And don’t bring up the topic of dedicated film scanners!
I trashed my fax machine and its dedicated phone line a while ago time ago. Today, if I need to fax anything it gets scanned, saved as a JPEG or PDF, then attach it to an email. Easy.
My day-to-day scanner is now a desktop model, able to scan documents, flat art and film. I don’t expect to get Vogue magazine quality from the film scans but, with aiding and abetting help from Photoshop … I get by.
Enter the Canon Canoscan 5600F Scanner
The Canon Canoscan 5600F Scanner is one of many scanners on the market that can handle photographic prints, documents and film originals (slides, negs, colour, B&W). The resolution is 4800×9600 dpi resolution, with 48-bit colour depth. This one is a little different in that it uses LED as the light source, so offering high brightness and zero warm-up time when turned on.
The Multi-Scan mode can scan multiple images at once, then automatically detects, straightens and creates a separate file for each image. The film scanner can scan up to six frames on a 35mm film strip or four 35mm mounted slides. File formats include JPEG, PICT and TIFF.
Getting the scanner going was surprisingly easy: load the software, unclip the machine locks, place a graphic or film on the platen and kick off the MP Navigator application.
Fortunately, the trip was uneventful and quite enjoyable: you can go auto or manual.
Going with the auto approach all the brainwork is done for you and you end up with a scan in seconds; travelling manual, you engage with the scanner driver and deal with a whole phalanx of options — like resolution, output size required and settings concerned with FARE Level 3 scheme which minimises dust, scratches and fading. There appears to be no way to set highlight and shadow points.
I scanned a strip of stills made on a short end of old Eastmancolor movie film negative from the 60s. I set up the scan so that it would print out at 4800 dpi; this would result in an 86 MB TIFF file to print out at 37×57 cm. First a preview: from this it was obvious there was need for some correction to colour fading and a touch of grain reduction. All of this took around six minutes in the final scan.
The result was pretty good: colour saturated, definition OK. Of course some chemical spots would take a bit more treatment to remove but overall I was happy with the result and it brought a shot back from the dead!
I also enjoyed doing some OCR work: dropping a document in the scanner’s platen, it was simple to let the 5600F do all the leg work: the scan took seconds, as did the text translation and I ended up with a readable text file … no dealing with OCR software, the scanner handles the whole chore.
You can make life even easier by using the buttons set into the front of the CanoScan; these can take care of chores like copying and sending a document/image to a Canon printer, scanning a document and saving it as a PDF file, scanning and attaching a document to an email and more.
I enjoyed my time with the CanoScan and recommend it to anyone who can utilise the multiple modes it offers. Although the film scanning area is limited, you can still find uses for it.
Canon Canoscan 5600F Scanner Specifications
Type: Flatbed document and film scanner.
Scanning Elements: Six line colour CCD.
Light Source: White LED.
Optical Resolution: 4800×9600 dpi.
Scanning Gradation: 48-bit input/48 or 24-bit output (colour); 48-bit input/16-bit (film) or 8-bit output (grey scale).
Scanning Area: 216×297 mm.
Film Scanning (neg/pos): Six frames of 35 mm filmstrip; four mounted 35 mm slides.
Included Software: ScanGear CS 10.2, CanoScan Toolbox 4.8, Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0, and Scanning Guide for Windows and Macintosh; ArcSoft PhotoStudio 5.5, ScanSoft OmniPage SE, and other software for Windows; ArcSoft PhotoStudio 4.3, ScanSoft OmniPage SE 1.0 for Macintosh. All software for Mac OS supports Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later.
Dimensions (WHD): 272x491x97 mm.
Weight: 4.3 kg.
Price: Currently available at Amazon for $149 USD.