Scanning Page

What do you do if you have made notes, taken photo's (35mm variety) and have lots of slides and other bits of paper around that need organising. Easy, convert them to an electronic form and put the whole lot on one CD-R (or a DVD-R/+R which holds a huge amount of data!)

Originally the slide collection was scanned with a Canon D660U flatbed scanner which includes a backlight on it's lid for slide and film scanning, however the quality was not really brilliant and a more suitable solution had to be found that was not cost prohibitive. I have  now found 3 types of cost effective scanners depending upon the type of application. I also found one bargain on ebay and found it to also be a good unit. I have reviewed the units and put the results together on this page.

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1. PIE 1800U 2. Polaroid SprintScan 35 3. Canon D660U 4. Canon DR2080C
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The Canon D660U is the best all round scanner for standard flatbed photo and page scans. It works much the same as other units I've used and has some buttons which trigger automatic features like 'scan to printer' depending on how you have set them up.

Most documents (double sides) or notes (drawn on both sides) are easy to scan using the DR2080C which does full-duplex scanning. This unit is one of the cheap duplex scanners (I think it has now been superceded), but is pricey at around AU$1100.  The old model I use only came with a SCSI interface, however I believe the latest model has a USB2 interface. I used an Adaptec USB2XCHANGE which converts the SCSI to USB 2.0 for the laptop. Some of the old educational notes and workbooks have had their binding removed with a guillotine so they could be put through the DR2080C which basically works like a printer to feed the pages through. Watch out for dirt on anything put through this scanner - the automatic feeder can get dirty and also grit can scratch the glass scan head panels which can then leave a streak down the page (like when something get's on a fax machine scan head!). The heads can be replaced with spare parts from Canon, however the scan heads are around AU$250 each. It's one of the disadvantages of this unit being a 'contact image scanner'.

The slides in the collection here have all been scanned using the Pacific Image Electronics PrimeFilm 1800u USB slide scanner or the Polaroid SprintScan 35. I found the PIE scanner as a bargain one day at Harvey Norman (< AU$300) and actually had to take the display model, because there were none left. However, after working out some of it's quirks - it has become an excellent scanner for converting slides into an electronic form. Many users report that this is a dog of a scanner (as a result - there are quite a few appearing on ebay only after a short time). My experience is that the unit is USB 2.0 only much as the manufacturer doesn't think so. The Cyberview X drivers which come with it tend to crash on any PC with a USB 1.1 port, possibly because of buffer over-runs with the driver. Use a USB 2.0 port and the problem tends to magically disappear. The Polaroid SprintScan 35 was found on ebay a while ago and I ended up buying it because it was a bargain (mainly due to the fact that it didn't power up and came untested). After replacement of the fuse (it's that easy) and a suitable SCSI lead and Terminator (thanks to a good friend) - the unit was plugged into a SCSI card in a PC and got to work. The scan results are much better than the PIE scanner, probably owing to the InfraRed channel used to correct images - but these units can be hard to make work because the drivers aren't easy to install.

An excellent program to use is VueScan  which seems to be used by some professionals and it's easy to work out why after the first 100 or so slide scans! It can take a long time to scan, crop and save files with a standard TWAIN driver as supplied by the manufacturer. It costs AU$85, but is well worth it if you have a lot to scan. I was 'that' impressed by it!

VueScan Website -

A useful set of tips for scanning things - worth a read -