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© Vincent Oliver 2004



Canon 9950F

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Canon 9950F scanner
Page 16

Conclusion

Despite a few problems en route we have finally arrived at the last page in this review. In this day and age of digital photography scanners are rapidly joining the ranks of outdated hardware, I suspect that once all our favourite pictures have been scanned then the scanner will join the record player in the loft. Yet there is still a market for a quality machine. When I first saw the Canon 9950F and heard Canon say that this scanner was so good that they felt it would replace their dedicated film scanner, I became excited. Yes this could be the answer for all those dusty old transparencies and negatives, I could finally scan the lot and be done with film - my darkroom was dismantled this time last year.

The 9960F produces exceptional scans of prints and other art work, in operation it is a quiet unit. At the front of the scanner is a set of EZ Buttons, these will allow you to instantly use the scanner for copying, Scanning, Scan to file or Scan to e-mail. The scanner on/off button is hidden away under the buttons. The scanner is built to a very high standard with good quality materials used throughout. I would have liked the power supply unit to have been incorporated in the scanner case, there is enough room in there to put my lunch box too. I liked the sprung Film Adapter Unit, the lid won't crash down if you let go of it. Someone at Canon has put a lot of thought into the film holders, they worked very well and kept the film flat at all times. However, I did have a couple of 120 films which were too tight, the twin strip 120 holder will prove very popular with the professional and serious hobbyist.

The EZ Buttons won't work unless you have the CanoScan Toolbox installed

 

There is also a good selection of bundled software given with the scanner, although I don't know why two similar packages are included - Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 and ArcSoft Photostudio. Anyone buying this scanner will be productive without having to make an extra trip to PC World. I would have liked to seen an alternative to ScanGear (I have said enough about this software), I know LaserSoft are working on SilverFast for this unit, although I don't know when this will be ready. VueScan would seem to be a good alternative for the time being, although I did find a problem using it with the Canon 9950F.

For 35mm film scanning the 9950F is a pace nearer, but still not there. The scans were far too soft. However, with careful use of Unsharp Masking in Photoshop (or Elements) good quality scans can be achieved. If you only intend printing 6x4, A4 or A3 prints, then the quality will be more than sufficient. For high quality magazine standard scanning you are still going to have to look elsewhere. With medium and large format film, this scanner produced outstanding quality, I would not have any second thoughts about using this scanner for my professional work flow (I stopped using film four years ago).

Scanning times are very fast and especially when using the FARE dust removal facility. I have been used to waiting for anything up to 12 minutes when using Digital ICE. FARE took approx 2 to 4 minutes max.

I have said enough about ScanGear in my review so I am not going to add anymore to this, only to say that this scanners full potential can't be fully explored with this interface. The scanner is an excellent unit but held back by ScanGear.

Would I buy this scanner?

Even after all the problems, which have been resolved, I would still go out to buy this, if only for the medium and large format film scanning capability. For 35mm work I will hang on to my dedicated film scanner for the time being.

Verdict.

Canon have some stiff competition from Epson with their similarly specified 4870, but Canon is ahead by a whisker with their 9950F. I am sure this scanner will be a success.

Pros:
Excellent build quality
Choice of film holders
FARE 3 technology
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0
Price (£339)


Cons:
ScanGear scanning software

Scan quality 8/10
Features 9/10
Ease of use 8/10
Design 9/10
Software 7/10
Value 8/10
Rating 8/10   Highly Recommended

www.canon.co.uk 

 


28 May, 2005

© Vincent Oliver 2008 www.photo-i.co.uk
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