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a guide to digital


The Epson Perfection 4870 scanner

Page 2.


First Scans

With the scanning software loaded, I am going to make a few basic scans so I can explore the Epson Scan interface.

You have the choice of three modes;

Fully Auto Mode - this mode takes the hassle out of scanning, just place your document on the glass and select Epson Scan in your Twain compliant application, the software takes care of the rest. There is no image preview in this mode, the software recognises the document source and type and performs a scan. Pictures that are not squared up are automatically straightened. If you have more than one item on the glass, Auto mode recognises this and will perform as many scans as images present, there must be a gap of at least 20mm between items. Clever stuff!

Although Fully Auto, there are a couple user options available. To access these you must press the Pause button whilst the scanner is doing its auto preview and document recognition scan. The two options are a choice of reflective or film and the resolution for each. The maximum dpi in this mode is 1200.

Auto preview and document recognition in progress

The Options in Full Auto

Scan in progress

Scanning times for a 10 x 7.5 picture in Fully Auto mode was 32 seconds. This was using the default resolution of 300dpi and produced a 18.7mb file. Changing the resolution to 72dpi produced a 1.33mb file in 32 seconds.

Epson Scan remembers your last sessions settings, all subsequent scans will be at 72dpi unless you uncheck the Options settings. To change to the next mode from you have to press the Pause button and then select Home Mode from the drop down list.

Home Mode - for people who have had some previous experience with scanners this is a good place to start.

The Home Mode gives enough options for most users

The interface now has more options, starting with the document type, you can select from a list of eight different documents; Photo, Positive film, Colour Negative film, BW Negative film, Illustration, Magazine, Newspaper and Text/Line art. Selecting any one of the document types will automatically adjust the settings to give you an optimum scan for your document.

Choose a document type

Selecting a final scan size

You can of course set your own custom settings for your particular document, Epson Scan remembers these but does not let you save them with your own choice of name. However, the predefined settings can be modified and these modifications are saved on exit. The settings can be reverted back to their default values in the Configuration box. Some of the choices are as follows.

Image type
, Colour, Grayscale and Black & White. You would use the Grayscale option for normal monochrome pictures. The Black & White setting is for copy work.
Destination, Screen/Web, Printer and Other. By default it is set to Printer at 300dpi. The Screen/Web is set to 96dpi (Windows screen resolution, although most of the web is 72dpi). On Other you can set the resolution to anything from 50 to 4800dpi. If you are intending to print your work on an inkjet printer then you should use a setting of about 200dpi. The Target size is also available now, select a target size from the drop down list then click the icon to see a marquee applied to the image preview. The marquee can be resized by dragging an edge, the scan size will be as indicated in the list. This is a convenient way to rescale or crop an image and yet still have the correct target size. You can add and save your own custom sizes to this list.

Image Adjustment, this opens a new palette where both Brightness and Contrast can be adjusted to -/+ 100, the preview window is updated in real time. The De screen, Colour restorationa and Digital Ice features are either on or off.

The floating Image adjustments panel
A handy densitometer

Preview and Scan and Configuration buttons

Colour management options

At the bottom of the screen is the Auto preview button, with this selected the preview image appears within six seconds of launching. The Preview button is also used for manually previewing your document. There is a small arrow to the right, this gives a choice of Normal or Thumbnail. For most purposes select Normal, but if you want to to multiple scans then select Thumbnail and a thumbnail is created for each document or slide. The Scan button does just that.

A useful extra is the Configuration button. This button enables you to set the preview window size, (Small, Medium or Large) and gives you access to your colour management settings. I will deal with this in greater detail as the review progresses.

In Home Mode a 10 x 7.5 photograph was previewed in 15 seconds, the full scan took 18 seconds and produced a 18.7mb file. This is fast but not as fast as the 3200.

Full preview in medium size

Preview of selected area (Zoom)

On the preview window you can select the Automatic image locater, this will put a marquee around your photograph. Marquees can be duplicated, handy if you are scanning in a collection of pictures, marquees can also be deleted.. The preview window has two tabs, Preview and Zoom. The preview displays the whole screen and the Zoom shows just the section within the marquee.

© Vincent Oliver 2004
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November 7, 2006

© Vincent Oliver 2008
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