So I went and picked up an Epson Perfection 4490 Photo scanner. It was the other model CompUSA sold for doing slide/photo scanning. The HP had higher density scanning but, as my previous review says, its software sucks.
Epson is different but not nessarily better.
Let me lay out the differences:
The Epson is cheaper. It has a narrow window on the top of the scanner for shining light through the slides while the HP has a full size window. Thus the Epson can only scan 4 slides at a time while the HP scans about 20.
The slide holder for the Epson is different in that you just lay the slides within the 2×2 holes. The HP has the slides sit a little above the glass resting in a 2×2 well but with the edges supported. The result is that on the Epson you are much more likely to get the scanning glass dirty with your fingers than with the HP and since you can only scan 4 at a time on the Epson you will be changing slides about 5 times as often.
Epson installed flawlessly – but to be fair, I had fixed my CD ROM cable so I had fully functional hardware when doing it.
The Epson driver at first glance was superior. No splash screen, much faster loading and not a bunch of optoins you don’t need. The Epson driver comes up in three possible modes: Fully Automatic, Home, and Professional. I like the idea! Each mode exposes progressively more options – see the pictures.
No crashes were observed but here are the basic differences:
The Epson defaults to 300 dpi while the HP defaults to 200 dpi.
When you start a scan you get a similar popup dialog to the HP where you specify your target files and resolution, etc. The file prefix for the epson IS remembered while the file target directory is NOT remembered – opposite of the HP – so neither got it completely right if you don’t do the default settings.
In pro mode you can save your settings into a template – but the name of the template cannot be specified but it is remembered so once you get pro set up the way you like it you can just stick with it.
The Epson was better at locating the slides than the HP but it can still miss it once in awhile.
The Epson gives you a choice of target size but doesn’t tell you the file size that will result.
The Epson in Auto mode is really clean and easy and it remembers the resolution (though not the target directory) so you can do your 4 slides at a time pretty easy.
The Epson seems to scan a little slower than the HP but this could be due to its default resolution of 300 vs 200 for the HP.
The Epson is much quieter when scanning – but I think slower.
I think I am going to go with the HP simply because it has a higher top resolution possible and is faster scanning. The software sucks but it can be gotten used to and I can do 20 slides at a time which I think will be faster if I don’t try to get too fancy.
I guess its time to take the Epson back.