View Full Version : flatbed scanner advice please...

20th August 2001, 11:46
my old (win2k-driverless) spot scantak 12p stopped working (seems like the cable is broken, but it cannot be changed) - I need a new one fast, but cannot spend too much money on it...



usb/parallel (no firewire, no scsi)
good scan quality (photos)

thinking about:

Epson Perfection 640U
Microtek ScanMaker 4600
HP Scanjet 3400C

suggestions, advice, bad experiences?


Dr Mordrid
20th August 2001, 12:09
Rule of thumb;

You can rarely go wrong with an HP, Epson or Canon scanner.

That said, given your list this is the order I'd place them in;

the Epson 640U is a VERY good scanner.

the HP 3400cse is a step down from the Epson in scan quality.

the Microtek 4600 isn't worth considering in this group.

My alternative pick considering your price range + a fudge factor;

Epson 1640SU ($175.94 @Amazon.com). 1600dpi optical, 42 bit, 8.7ms/scanline. Once you use USB for a scanner you won't care about parallel. Weakness: USB doesn't work in WinNT4.

My alternative pick not considering your price range:

HP Scanjet 7400c ($499). DAMN nice scanner.

Dr. Mordrid

20th August 2001, 15:45
good advices already given by Doc, I just wanted to throw UMAX (http://www.umax.de/eu/index.htm) into the ring, as I recently found an excellent offer for their Astra 4000U (http://www.umax.de/eu/Scanner/astra4000u.htm) (only 299 DM/~140 US-$) ... :)

Excellent scans with a maximum optical resolution of 1200x2400dpi, very comprehensive interface, easy PnP via USB, but unfortunately not very fast (a bit below 1 MB/sec).

The package came with Photoshop 5.0 LE, as opposed to the announced PhotoDeluxe :) and all included drivers worked flawless so far.

20th August 2001, 15:55
I have the Epson 640U personally and I'm very happy with it (both Win98SE and Win2k), speed and quality are good and I think quality/price ratio is excellent.

EDIT: Epson's software, however is a bit, hmmmm "gewöhnungsbedürftig".

20th August 2001, 16:12
UMAX is an interesting idea, but the shops I usually visit don't sell their products :(

but a website (http://www.flatbed-scanner-review.org/Index.html) gives them interesting ratings.... really depressing that they call a 2000$ scanner "mid-range".... (ok, they are testing professionell equipment...but.. :( )

thanks for the help so far!


20th August 2001, 16:26
I have an UMAX Astra 2200U, USB, and i`m very satisfied with it ... colors are good, plus it has a ... whats it called ... to scan slides or negatives? I dunno, i never use it ... but its there ;)

20th August 2001, 17:12
I'm very satisfied with my Canon N650U USB-Scanner. It's a smart device, no power supply, just an USB-cable :)
42bit color depth, 1200dpi resolution, stable drivers and very fast at all. It also consumes not much desk space, it's really worth to think about this scanner. It will set you back $130/270DM, that's not too much.


20th August 2001, 17:52
I like my UMAX Astra 3400, USB, 600x1200dpi, 42 bit color scanner that I got for $9.95 plus tax after instant savings and rebates.


20th August 2001, 19:32

I'm still using my old UMAX 1200S. I finally got it to work with a Adaptec 2906 PCI SCSI card since the 815 mobos don't have ISA slots.
It was one of the few SCSI cards with the external DB-25 connector on it.

Still runs great even seems a bit faster with the PCI SCSI card.


20th August 2001, 22:33
good quality inexpensive scanner is an Agfa E series. The E20 that I have is a small step down from the E50, but it was only $120 canadian. I am more than happy. It scans objects extremely well. I scanned my keys in(just put em on the flatbed and scanned em) and when the pic was veiwed, it was like my keys were behind the monitor glass. Some of the other lower priced scanners were not like this. Best of luck.

21st August 2001, 02:00
Oh and definitely choose the USB variant over the parallel one. There IS a difference.

21st August 2001, 07:32
Hi Wulfman,

I can definately recommend the Plustek Scanners. About two years ago, the Plustek 9636T scanner won the c`t scanner test. Too bad they didn`t test their scanners since that time ...

IMHO the new models like the U12B that I have for example are even a big step forward (I had the 9636T and I have the new ones). Plustek`s support located in Germany is definately good, there are Win2k drivers for all their new scanners and even some with linux drivers. If you like you can check http://www.plustek.de !

I bought my scanner in Lichtenberg near Linz at EV-Web, owned by Dipl. Ing. Volker Engel. He even has a web-shop at http://www.ev-web.at/ and I paid about the same price (öS 1490,- inkl. MwSt. und deutscher Urheberrechtsabgabe an die VG Wort, der Scanner läuft also mit voller Geschwindigkeit !!) I would have to pay for a direct order at Plustek Germany.

Plusteks scanners have excellent picture quality, are reliable and fast and I would definately go with Indiana`s recommendation to buy a USB scanner. They are a tad faster and the CPU load is by far lower compared to a data transfer via the parallel port.


MK :)

22nd August 2001, 14:04
Wulfman - which scanner did you buy ?


22nd August 2001, 14:13
none yet - I try to find a cheap source for the Umax Astra 4000U (thx maggi :))..

Plustek is interesting too - but that seems to be the same as with my last one - it won a CHIP test 2 or 3 years ago... and then I was not able to get win2k drivers...

so: well known brand-name scanner this time :)



22nd August 2001, 16:06
I tried a UMAX and brought it back to the shop the next day. Aber die Geschmäcker sind verschieden ... :)


22nd August 2001, 16:15
Originally posted by MK
Aber die Geschmäcker sind verschieden ... :)


Genau ... ;)

22nd August 2001, 16:36
The lowest model that HP has to work with W2K is the 4300CSE. The 3400, while it may be possible to get working with W2K (had about 50% success rate in W2K), it is not worth the hassle. HP, as a company, is going to hell in a handbasket, and their scanner software programmers are leading the way:mad:

22nd August 2001, 17:33
About scanners, I´ve got the Epson 640u and I´m not to thrilled about it. The scanning quality is very very good, but the speed is not that good IMHO. Previewing is amazingly fast, but once you start scanning something higher than 150 dpi or true color on a whole A4 page it´s not that fast. Epson software *IS* a joke. The OCR stuff seems preety accurate but it´s useless because it crashes like 75% of the time (at least on win2k). I´ve seen it at least with two different systems.

Plustek scanners have fair image quality, reasonable speed, but they are unreliable.

22nd August 2001, 17:50
OCR ... Try ABBYY FineReader ... Its the best around or so i`ve been told.I never used other OCR programs except the one bundled with the scanner, but that one ofcourse is pretty crappy and i couldnt get it to recognize Cyrilic fonts ...
That being said, ABBYY just doesnt work anymore ... Just starts, shows the splash screen and exits. Must be something i installed afterwards. And i really needed to scan some 5-6 pages of text ... oh well, i guess i`ll have to type it then ...

22nd August 2001, 18:54
Nuno - I second that. I have not only been working on different HP models, but also on Musteks, UMAXs (the software I got with their scanner was an impudence !), AGFAs etc. and I always found some bugs (or features ? :)).

Concerning the price / performance / quality ratio Plustek is definately unbeatable. Additionnally I didn`t had any trouble with them so far, the drivers are excellent, the support too and the quality and speed satisfies me completely. And I love the usability of the scan interface.

If you have a look on their german homepage, they offer Win2K drivers even for some of their discontinued models and for all the other models, even when they are 3 or 4 years old.

Just my 0.02c

MK :)

14th September 2001, 13:57
got the UMAX Astra 4000U, had an interesting afternoon until it was running.

If somebody else faces the problem: ignore the install cd, head directly to their .com domain and grab the latest ENGLISH drivers... (24megs) - anything else crashs as soon as a real full quality scan starts (prescan was fine, but the rest...)....

got it working and I have to say I am really happy & impressed now.

greets & thx to everybody