This is an interesting device. No, really. Acer has managed to incorporate film scanning alongside traditional 1200dpi flatbed scanning by using a novel approach. Most manufacturers can supply an additional scanner unit that usually plugs into the rear of the scanner and replaces the lid with a bulky film scanner unit. These generally add considerably to the cost and are usually restricted to smaller film formats.
Acer’s solution is to build the film scanner light source into the existing scanner lid. Unclip a simple cover plate on the inside of the lid and you reveal the film scanner. It’s no simple 35mm unit, either; the size enables film stock as large as 5-inch x 4-inch or half plate to be scanned, making it the ideal choice for photographers using larger formats. Connection is via a USB port and so the scanner will work on both PC and more recent Mac platforms. This is a useful feature and does mean that you can move the scanner between different machines with the minimum of fuss.
Acer provides a Quick Start guide to get you up and running, alongside a decent manual for more technical information, and the company also supplies a reasonable selection of software. The main TWAIN driver is MiraScan, and once installed it enables any TWAIN-compliant applications to work with the scanner. This includes the ability to switch between transparency and reflective scanning methods depending on the type of item you’re scanning. Other software includes Ulead’s PhotoExpress for general image editing and FineReader, a surprisingly competent OCR package.
In use the 1240UT is relatively quick, but you have to remember to reset the resolution after scanning smaller film documents – an A4 sheet scanned at 1200dpi could well fill up your hard drive. Image quality is high, with a good level of detail. Colour rendition is always down to personal perception but the scanner produced well-saturated colours across the board. Default contrast is on the low side but this is correctable in the software and colours tended, if anything, towards the cold end of the spectrum. This is probably preferable to bright vivid colours and does produce a very natural colour scan.
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