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Microtek ScanMaker 8700

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  • $499.99

Pros

  • Fast IEEE 1394 connection;
  • glassless transparency scanning.

Cons

  • Bulky and expensive.

Microtek's ScanMaker 8700 is designed to handle high-volume, high-bandwidth scanning requirements, thanks to its fast 400Mbit/s IEEE 1394 (FireWire) interface. This 1,200 by 2,400dpi, 42-bit A4 scanner provides transparency scanning as well as paper documents. It's large for an A4 unit due to the space needed for the transparency trays, and is a significant investment at £680 (ex. VAT, or £799 inc. VAT).

The ScanMaker 8700 has both USB and IEEE 1394 interfaces, but an IEEE 1394 adapter card is supplied with the unit, so unless you don't have any PCI slots free, you can use the faster connection method. Note that the adapter currently only works with Windows 98 SE, ME and Windows 2000. Microtek is keen to emphasise the speed of the IEEE 1394 interface (400Mbit/s), and makes claims as to how much this speeds up the scanning process. Of course, FireWire can only accelerate data transfer between the scanner and your PC, so although you may receive the end results somewhat faster, you're not going to see vast improvements in overall scan time, especially when using higher resolutions.

This is a CCD-based scanner, which accounts for some of the unit's 15.8cm height. It also means that you can scan three-dimensional objects with some success -- something that's not possible with cheaper contact image sensor-based scanners. To assist with this and the scanning of thick books, the ScanMaker 8700's lid features a hinge that allows it to lift up to two centimetres from the scanner base, and can detach completely if necessary.

Several transparency trays are provided with the ScanMaker 8700, which allow the scanning of slides and negatives. The use of trays to hold transparencies means that there's no glass present between the scanning element and the film where dust could gather. The trays can hold 35mm film strips, mounted 35mm slides and 4 by 5in. transparencies. The trays slot into the front of the unit, and scanning proceeds as normal.

Microtek ScanWizard is supplied, which provides standalone and TWAIN-compliant scanning capabilities. This is a simple-to-use application that provides limited image adjustment, and can save images in a number of formats.

If you want more control over scanning photos, an extra £100 (inc. VAT) buys you LaserSoft's SilverFast software. This high-end scanning module is available both as a TWAIN plug-in and a native Photoshop plug-in. Silverfast provides very precise control over your scans, including colour correction.

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Adobe Photoshop LE is supplied with the ScanMaker 8700, allowing you to edit the images you've scanned. You can use ScanWizard or SilverFast with Photoshop LE, depending on the option you've bought.

A limited OCR (Optical Character Recognition) package called ABBYY FineReader Sprint is supplied with the ScanMaker 8700. This provides basic scanning and character recognition, and can save the scanned documents as text or rich text format (RTF) files. It doesn't provide any advanced features such as column recognition or suspect word detection, so if you want to do anything other than trivial OCR, you'll have to buy more capable package like TextBridge or OmniPage.

This isn't a cheap scanner, and the faster interface isn't necessarily going to make a vast difference to your overall productivity, so think carefully buying the ScanMaker 8700. If you're prepared too pay the price, you get a very well-featured scanner that performs admirably.

Specifications

General
Max Supported Document Size Legal (8.5 in x 14 in)
Media Handling
Max Document Size 8.5 in x 14 in
Supported Document Type Transparencies, plain paper, slides, bulk objects (such as books, magazines and other bound materials), film
Document Feeder Type Manual
Miscellaneous
Compliant Standards FCC Class B certified, CSA, EN 60950, UL 1950
Included Accessories FireWire controller, film holder
Software / System Requirements
Peripheral / Interface Devices CD-ROM
Software Included Drivers & utilities, Adobe PhotoShop Elements, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microtek ScanWizard 5, KODAK DIGITAL SCIENCE Color Management Solutions, LizardTech Genuine Fractals
Interfaces
Interface FireWire, USB
Qty 2
Connector Type 6 pin FireWire, Type B
Scanner
Optical Resolution 2400 dpi x 1200 dpi
Interpolated Resolution 9600 dpi x 9600 dpi
Type flatbed scanner
Interface Type FireWire, USB
Form Factor desktop
Scan Mode single-pass
Input Type color
Scan Element Type CCD
Document Size Class Legal
Max Supported Document Size Legal (8.5 in x 14 in)
Max H-Document Size 8.5 m
Max V-Document Size 14 m
Grayscale Depth 14-bit gray
Color Depth 42-bit color
Color Depth (External) 42-bit color
Max H-Optical Resolution 2400 dpi
Max V-Optical Resolution 1200 dpi
Max H-Interpolated Resolution 9600 dpi
Max V-Interpolated Resolution 9600 dpi
Lamp / Light Source Type cold cathode fluorescent lamp
Scan Density Range 3.4D
Supported Document Type bulk objects (such as books), film, plain paper, slides, transparencies
Document Feeder Type manual
Compliant Standards TWAIN
System Requirements
OS Required Apple MacOS 8.6 or later, Apple MacOS 9.x, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP
Environmental Parameters
Min Operating Temperature 50 °F
Max Operating Temperature 104 °F
Humidity Range Operating 20 - 85%
Header
Brand Microtek
Product Line Microtek ScanMaker
Model 8700
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility Mac, PC
Expansion Slots
Type none
Cable Details
Type IEEE 1394 cable, USB cable
Form Factor external
Included Qty 1
Dimensions & Weight
Width 15.2 in
Depth 22.3 in
Height 6.3 in
Weight 25.57 lbs
Software
Software Included Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe PhotoShop Elements, KODAK DIGITAL SCIENCE Color Management Solutions, LizardTech Genuine Fractals, Microtek ScanWizard 5, drivers & utilities
Slot Required
Type PCI
Total Qty 1
System Requirements Details
Operating System MacOS 8.6 or later, MacOS 9, Windows 98/2000/ME/XP, Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP
Processor Type Pentium, PowerPC G3
Min RAM Size 64 MB
Comments FireWire, USB

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