scans a snap
by Alan Zisman (c) 2003 First published in Business in Vancouver
Issue #727 September 30- October 6, 2003 GearGuide column
New products from
Nikon, Epson and HP offer innovations
Two months ago,
column looked at five-megapixel digital cameras. At the time it seemed
like users could get a lot of pixels or get a big zoom. Too late for
that roundup, I got my hands on Nikon's Coolpix 5700.
For under $1,500, this camera combines the power of an eight-times
optical zoom lens (the real thing) with the ability to save images up
to a full five megapixels in size.
While the camera won't fit in your
it's got an attractive (and surprisingly small and light) black body
that fits nicely in your hand. The flip-out LCD viewfinder makes it
easy to compose shots from a wide range of angles. Image quality and
colour balance are good. The big zoom can be addictive. Remember that
you'll get sharper photos if you can get closer to your subject and use
less extreme zooming.
Like other manufacturers, the storage
that Nikon includes is too small for practical use. Best to budget for
a couple of high-capacity memory cards.
If the original that you scan is
faded or has
tears or blotches, your scanned image will accurately reflect those
flaws. Many users have software that can be used to clean up the
digital copy, but often, users don't bother or don't know how to do it.
Epson's new Perfection
Scanner (under $200) cleverly builds the fix into the scanning
software, restoring faded colour and removing dust to make your scanned
images look like new. Installation is a snap and its USB 2.0 connection
makes for fast scans. A transparency adapter for scanning slides and a
snapshot feeder making it easy to scan bunches of photos are both
built-into the lid. In Full-Auto mode, it's easy to digitize a pile of
prints quickly, with the software automatically scanning, cropping,
colour-correcting and saving each image.
ArcSoft PhotoImpression photo editing
Abbyy FineReader Sprint optical character recognition (OCR) software is
Users needing to scan lots of pages
may find its letter-sized scanning tray and lack of a full-sized
document feeder a drawback, however. And oddly, the automated
dust-removal feature seems to only work when scanning slides. But the
Perfection 1670 provides good value for users who need to digitize lots
of snapshots or slides quickly.
-- Early in September, HP
blitz of over 150 consumer products. Among them, the $300 Scanjet
4670 scanner features an unusual vertical design. Looking like a
Lucite picture frame, it's about the size and shape of a spiral
notebook balanced on its spine, minimizing the space it requires on a
desktop. It will also work in a more conventional horizontal
Like Epson's model, it includes a
adapter for scanning slides and photo negatives, includes entry-level
photo editing and OCR software and uses USB 2.0 for fast performance.
Included ArcSoft Panorama Maker software allows users to scan large
originals in pieces, using the software to "stitch" the pieces together
to reassemble the original image.
Both scanners and the Nikon camera
can be used
by both Windows and Mac users.