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WinLab Reviews
Head To Head: Scanners
Scanners Take Slides In Stride

-- by Serdar Yegulalp

Scanning slides on a flatbed scanner is about as easy as juggling pebbles. Same goes for scanning batches of business cards or 3-by-5-inch photos. It's a tiresome and repetitive process; slides usually require special attachments.

Enter two new scanners designed to tackle these jobs. The Kodak Snapshot Photo Scanner 1 (designed for home and light office use) accommodates photos, business cards and other materials up to 4 by 11.5 inches. The Microtek ScanMaker 35T Plus digitizes mounted and unmounted 35mm slides, aiming to please everyone from graphic artists to desktop publishing professionals.

Both units are small: The Snapshot Photo 1 measures 2.3 by 6.5 by 6 inches, while the ScanMaker is only 5.1 by 7 by 9.84 inches. The Snapshot required clearance behind it to let photos pass through, while the Microtek did not.

The ScanMaker snaps up 1950 dots per inch from any film up to 36mm square, and with software interpolation it can achieve a resolution of 3900dpi. Software bundled with the ScanMaker 35T Plus includes a limited-edition version of Ulead PhotoImpact 3.0 (including PhotoImpact itself): a Photoshop-grade image editing tool; the PhotoImpact Album and Explorer for image sorting and cataloging; and the PhotoImpact Tour and Scanner Tour, for quick introductions to both hardware and software, all part of the PhotoImpact package.

It doesn't take a lot of effort to scan a slide with the ScanMaker. A socket in the scanner's top holds the slide. When the TWAIN driver is launched, the slide is slowly lowered into the scanner and processed. The slide pops back up upon completion. Strips of unmounted slides can be placed in a provided mounting frame and inserted through the side of the unit.

The ScanMaker's principal drawback is that only unmounted slides can be batch scanned; you can't mount a carousel or cartridge of slides.

Kodak's Snapshot Photo 1 is a consumer item, and the software that comes with it establishes it firmly in that category. You can also operate the Snapshot Photo 1 as a business-card scanner. It's fully TWAIN 1.6- compliant and uses 32-bit Windows 95 drivers. Unfortunately, the TWAIN driver only allows the scanner to be used at a preset 600dpi resolution-its maximum optical resolution.

The Snapshot Photo 1 plugs directly into a computer's parallel port and comes with a pass-through printer plug on the provided parallel cable. Only Windows 95 drivers are currently available.

Whether you want to work with slides or snapshots, both the ScanMaker 35T Plus and the Snapshot Photo 1 give you what you want, more quickly and easily than a flatbed.Pop a slide in the top of the ScanMaker and get images of up to 3600dpi.

W Info File

Microtek ScanMaker 35T Plus
Price: $799
Pros: Stellar quality; 16- and 32-bit drivers
Cons: Can only scan unmounted slides in batch
Platforms: 95, NT
Microtek Lab
800-654-4160, 310-297-5000
WinMag Box Score: 4.0

W Info File

Kodak Snapshot Photo Scanner 1
Price: $199
Pros: Simple to use
Cons: Fixed scanning resolution
Platforms: 95, NT
Eastman Kodak Co.
800-23-KODAK, 716-724-4000
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

Copyright 1997 CMP Media Inc.

(From Windows Magazine, January 1997, page 146.)