Your opinions on flatbed scanners (and their TWAIN drivers)

I’m in the market for an A3 flatbed scanner; I wanted to get HP -because I have an HP scanner at home and I find the driver is everything it should be (auto-crop, remembering last settings etc) - but it seems like they don’t actually make one (or if they do it is high-end).

I have a Canon scanner here at work (one of those slim all-USB-powered jobs) and it is, not to mince words, shite:-
-It is slow (I suppose this might be because it can’t draw a heck of a lot of current from the USB.
-It leaves vertical streaks on the scanned images (I assume there is some kind of sensitivity variance between individual sensor elements)
It produces poor scans with terrible colour reproduction (the lamp is an LED job that cycles between red/green/blue as the scanning head tracks, but this means that the bit it scans in red is not in exactly the same place as the bit it scans in green and the same for blue - this causes an effect that looks a lot like chromatic aberration.
The driver is buggy and reverts to the default DPI and other settings on every use.

These are the kinds of things I want to avoid this time around, so, please tell me about your experiences with various brands of scanner and their drivers.

Mangetout -
I don’t have much time, 'cause I am leaving work now. But Visioneer makes a good product. I’ve worked for them before, and my father currently owns the linked model. Runs pretty quick, TWAIN is understandable, and the Paperport software for managing scans is nice, too. This is an older model, that might be harder to come by, but if you find it, it will be cheaper. Try Sam’s Club or BJ’s for it.

I’ve got an HP scanjet 5300c (A4 size) and it’s great. It’s the cheapest on the market, but it’s entirely adequate. Good colour reproduction, not too slow, reasonable definition (though I’d say it’s more 600dpi than the advertised 1200), no lines or smears.

I use it with the Mac, and the driver doesn’t have ‘sticky’ settings unfortunately - it always defaults to TIFF @ 150dpi all the time. (I use the driver on its own rather than the “acquire” setting from Photoshop, mainly because I do image crunching on my PC, so just want to scan and transfer over). Not sure about whether the PC driver is sticky or not.

But for the money ~€100, it’s great.

Actually, it is starting to look as if the only A3 scanners in my price bracket are offered by Mustek, which is a brand I have been wary of in the past (although not for any reason I can name)

What model do you have, Mangetout? I got my folks a CanoScan 1240U for Christmas one year, and it seems to work great. I’ve been thinking about getting the latest model myself, but I’d appreciate knowing what model you’re having trouble with.

I think it may actually be the 1240U (I’m not at that office now for a couple of days, but I’m pretty sure it was exactly that model number). Try scanning a page with some colour and some BW text on a relatively low resolution (maybe 750 or 150 DPI, then zoom in on the BW text - there is a distinct colour shadow at the tops and bottoms of any black object. Or maybe I got a dud.

75, not 750 :smack:

I use a Vista scanner hooked to an old iMac. It’s USB, but has its own power cord. In OSX, I use Lemke software’s Graphic Converter to run the scanner. It works fine.

Slight hijack: when I had my last film developed I asked for a CD, thinking it would be less clutter than prints. It turns out that a) you have to get the film anyway and b) they burn 72 dpi jpegs onto the CD. I can scan better images at home.

[hijack] 11811, did you know that you’re the directory enquiries number in Ireland? There’s even a song about you on the radio. It goes “Eleven eight eleven, eleven eight eleven, eleven eight eleven, eleven eight eleven…” It is most annoying. [/hijack]

What do you folks think about the versatility and degree of technical control over the scanning process?

I am thinking about getting a scanner and want to make sure I can understand and specify what kind of interpolation, smoothing, and other weirdness it’s doing. I like knowing which pixel is which, and have done lots of programming and some optical design. Scanners I’ve used elsewhere (never owned one) generally leave me guessing and frustrated.
Also, does anybody use scanner software other than the standard package that comes with the scanner? For example, can you get a package oriented towards technical users?