So all flatbed scanners are grey monoliths with not a hint of style? One look at Canon’s latest CanoScan, the 3200F, may change your mind. Not only does it look good, it has a 1,200 x 2,400dpi resolution, works in 48-bit colour depth, produces scans without too much hanging about, can scan negatives and has a low price tag.
With its purple and clear striped lid and grey base, this is one scanner you won’t mind leaving on your desk, and since it measures a not insignificant 25.9 x 47.4 x 7.4cm, you are certainly going to notice it. It’s also no lightweight, weighing in at 2.7kg, so it’s not one you can cart around easily from desk to desk.
The lid has been designed to open fully, to allow for the thickest book or magazine to be laid on the scanner glass and close tightly to exclude any light leakage. The lid also houses the transparency scanner, which is a bit fiddly to use; you have to remove the protective cover from under the lid, which exposes a small area with a reflective coating. Scans are done by reflecting light through the negative rather than shining light directly at them. Canon supplies an adapter with the unit that holds 35mm negatives.
All the control buttons are housed in a panel in the front of the base unit and contain the usual suspects – Copy, Scan, File and E-mail – all of which can be individually configured to your own needs. The back panel contains the USB 2.0 and power adapter ports.
The CanoScan 3200F gets its quick performance from a combination of the USB 2.0 interface and its new, fast ASIC controller chip. Canon quotes 15 seconds for an A4 scan, something which our tests bore out. It’s also very quiet, even in standard mode, and if even this is too noisy for you there is also an optional ‘quiet’ mode.
Quality wise, colour graphics and photograph scans look like they were produced by a much more expensive unit; colours are sharp and clear with very little graininess. However, text reproduction isn’t as good, with text scans looking a little rough around the edges in places.
The CanoScan 3200F has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. Multi-photo mode allows you to create individual, de-skewed files from a single scan of photos that are arranged ad hoc over the scanner glass. Canon’s QARE level 2 software automatically restores photos to their original state by removing scratches and dust, reducing grain effects caused by film and resaturating the colour of the photo.
Packaged with the CanoScan 3200F are Ulead DVD PictureShow SE 2.0 Basic (which doesn’t actually create DVDs but rather creates CD-R and CD-RWs), ArcSoft PhotoStudio 5.5 (an image editing and management package) and OmniPage SE 2.0 for converting scanned documents into text.
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