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“I bought the CS8600F to scan my collection of over...”

Written on: 21/01/2007 by BobTech (27 reviews written)

Good Points
This is more than just a flatbed scanner - it's also an amazing (old) photo restoration package. If you have a collection of old negatives, slides and prints you want to digitize at the highest possible quality, this is the scanner for you! It's easy to get going and fast thanks to its USB 2.0 interface. It can scan multiple photographic prints, or up to 12 negatives or 4 slides in a single operation, automatically cropping and displaying them separately and even digitally straightening the images for you. It digitally corrects for dust and scratches very effectively.

Bad Points
The ScanGear software is brilliant, but its user interface often seems to have a mind of its own. In the Advanced mode, you should recheck all your settings each time, because it has an annoying habit of applying your adjustments for earlier photos to the one you're currently scanning, and changing DPI etc when you didn't want it to.
In my opinion, the registration procedure for the included Omnipage OCR software is very privacy-intrusive. It demands to know all about you including your income, marital status and other personal information unrelated to simply registering it, which I refused to do.

General Comments
I bought the CS8600F to scan my collection of over 2,000 35mm B&W and colour photos which date back to 1972. All of them have faded and some are in fairly poor condition. After a bit of a learning curve regarding how the various settings and adjustments affect the final digital image, I was getting amazing results especially from negatives. Faded brownish old colour photos were looking like they were taken last week! I've had some reprinted by the local Fuji outlet with excellent results. Friends have been stunned by how good they look.

It takes a while to scan negatives and slides, like about one minute each at 1200 DPI. From reviews I've read of other scanners in this class, this is one of the faster ones. Photos and printed documents are scanned very much quicker.

The ScanGear software allows you to tweak every aspect of the scanned images to get them as close as possible to how they originally were, but you have to keep checking the settings as stated above. The negative and slide holders are very well designed, as is the whole package.

Of course it can't do the impossible. Some of my oldest negatives were originally under-exposed and have had severe fading and colour shifts in the 35 years since then. ScanGear does the best it can with them, but they still don't look right. People in those old under-exposed photos come out with uncorrectable brilliant red lips, for example.

It scans ordinary printed documents very quickly to produce very sharp clean images. The OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software seems to work OK, though it needs to be trained to recognize some characters.

The software package also allows you to turn scanned documents into .PDF files or attach them to e-mails, but I haven't tried out those functions. I prefer to do things like that in a less automated way.

Overall I'm extremely pleased with the CS8600F scanner and would thoroughly recommend it.

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