[ Go to May 1997 Table of Contents ]|
-- by Serdar Yegulalp
With its low price tag and high image quality, the 300-dot-per-inch HP ScanJet 5p will appeal to novices who need simplicity, but might disappoint experts who want customizability.
An action button on the ScanJet's front panel can be programmed to call up your preferred scanning application. Otherwise, the package's software, PictureScan Task Manager, asks what type of image you're attempting to scan-OCR text or fax, or a gray scale, line art or color image.
The ScanJet's TWAIN driver is primitive. You can't manually determine the resolution or other settings before you scan an image. Instead, you're restricted to specifying the height and width (in pixels) of the area you've chosen to scan from within the host application (e.g., Photoshop). While the lack of choices will undoubtedly reassure newcomers to scanning and image manipulation, it is liable to frustrate the more experienced user.
In fact, the ScanJet's lack of truly customizable settings made it difficult to test. For example, we were unable to properly scan the Ronchi test target that's used to determine a scanner's actual optical capacity. With no expert-level controls available in the TWAIN driver, we could not manually disable gamma adjustment for a selected area of a prescanned image; nor could we specify color correction curves. A menu choice allowed us to select an image's destination-the screen or certain printers-but we weren't able to examine or customize the settings for these options. There's no real way to wrest image quality control from this scanner, a capability that any experienced graphic artist needs.
Image quality is excellent. Even without running advanced testing procedures, scans from the ScanJet turned out vivid and sharp. Subtle gray shades and hard-to-reproduce spot colors on the scanned color test target were satisfactory. With software interpolation, resolution increases from an optical 300dpi to an enhanced 1200dpi.
Visioneer's PaperPort software and Corel Photo-Paint are bundled with the ScanJet.
We give the HP ScanJet 5p points for its extreme simplicity and ease of use. However, experienced users will find its simplicity is also its greatest flaw. Our WinList's Agfa SnapScan still offers better value.