- CCD Image Sensor
- 9600 x 4800 dpi 48bit
- USB 2.0 Hi-Speed Interface
Quality traditional CCD scanner from a good brand 09/26/2013
Stable LED light source that doesn't need warmup and recalibration. Power supply is embedded in the scanner itself for a compact setup. Compact software that occupies little space on disk and on screen; only the "driver" is needed for acquisition and basic processing. Software is compatible down to Windows 2000. Verified to work with the cover open for bulky documents like books. The cover has a retractable hinge to support thicker documents. As a CCD scanner, the unit has good depth of focus, and natural blurring of unfocused, distant edges.
All automatic correction in the software can be switched off to obtain raw scans of matching, reproducible color balance. Decent actual resolution at or slightly above 1200 ppi. Decent dynamic range for any type of reflective document, able to resolve both the darkest HQ print and the texture of the whitest paper. Greater than 24-bit actual precision. Decent on-the-fly "descreening" filter for quick moire-less copies, but not to be relied upon for making quality scans of printed artwork.
No significant cons for this price range. No larger than 35 mm transparent documents (film) can be scanned. Dynamic range and resolution might not be sufficient for some negatives. The power supply makes tweeting noises when the switch is off; switch doesn't fully disconnect power. Adjustment of contrast in ScanGear is imprecise because the histograms are small. Data is processed only at 24-bit at high resolution. With enough memory, 48-bit can be manually selected.
I have only tested reflective documents via the TWAIN interface from within Windows XP. The Navigator EX application is only needed to have the buttons on the scanner respond. When scanning documents that approach the amount of available memory (which is displayed in ScanGear), a small application like IrfanView will allow to make larger scans.
I've previously owned CanoScan 4400F. I was disappointed that I didn't get the elite-looking translucent USB cable with the 5600F. Resolution in this unit has increased slightly from around 800 ppi to about 1200 ppi. It also doesn't need calibration and compensation for a 'weaker' color (which was blue in the old model). All colors come out balanced by default without correction. I was able to obtain good partial scans of Vinyl artwork, which could be seamlessly rejoined in Photoshop. The ScanGear "driver" has changed little, and can be controlled precisely via TWAIN. It first starts up in simplified mode.
The 5600F driver allows to correct contrast on the fly, and performs some correction by default. However, when the resolution is increased to 1200 ppi, the transfer curves operate on 24-bit data only, and histograms come out with visible bands. Full 48-bit precision is used at 600 ppi and below. This is probably done to increase scanning speed when the USB interface becomes the bottleneck. Because of this, contrast adjustment on the fly becomes pointless, as one can use better preview facilities in a graphics editor to do it.
At 2400 ppi and a regular sized document the stepper motor had to pause because my computer's USB wasn't fast enough to receive the data. The scanner was able to restart, without backing up and without visible tears on the picture. The 2400 ppi resolution must be manually keyed in the dialog, and is of limited use since the scanner's optical resolution isn't that great. I was able to preserve a little more detail when digitally rotating a picture supersampled this way.
I was unable to verify whether the scanner can scan all money bills. It successfully scanned $10 (as a sample of detailed print without a halftone pattern) and all of my local currency, but I believe they don't have the special dot pattern. If the unit does have protection against scanning of money, I would deduct one full Egg from the score.
After I first installed the driver, the scanner would first refuse to make a full resolution Scan, but succeeded producing a Preview. I received an error message with code "95,0,0", directing me to turn off the scanner and follow instructions in the manual. The manual didn't explain this error code, and the error went away by itself after a few more attempts, without power cycling the unit. I suspect the driver wanted me to install the software in a particular order.
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