I had written some time ago about getting a new scanner to replace my aging relic. However, the old one was working well enough, I just never had the heart to replace the thing. I mean, why spend money on a new scanner when the one I have does just fine?
Well, last month, when having a conversation with my father-in-law about older photos and distributing digital copies to family members, I decided that getting a newer, faster scanner was the thing to do. The old model would be just too slow to make that sort of thing practical. He seemed to agree that the next time Angela and I visited, we should digitally archive all the old photos we could get our hands on. So, I started looking for new scanner that would fit the bill.
Well, I did some research online and had made my mind up. Unfortunately, by the time we had went to CompUSA, they didn’t have the model I had decided on. However, Angela and I ended up stumbling upon the Canon CanoScan LiDE 500F. Sometimes, luck is all you need.
This thing really does it all and does it quite well. It isn’t the cheapest scanner we could have bought, but we paid extra for portability since taking it on trips was (oddly enough) going to be one of the things we’d knew we’d be doing with it. As a matter of fact, it even fits inside a Extra Large TimBuk2 Laptop sleeve. With only a USB cable for data and power, it’s very portable. It’s also much faster than our old scanner. However, it’s not just in the scanning speed. It’s also the improved scanning software. Lay on a couple of different 3“x5” photos and the software will pick them out individual and scan them into two different files. The four auto-scan buttons (scan, copy, .pdf, and e‑mail) are pretty customizable and make the scanner even more useful.
The scanner also has a cool lid that will is double hinged for thicker items and can dislocate (like an action movie character’s shoulder) to lay completely flat. This makes scanning in books much easier. The included OCR software, OmniPage, does a much better job than what I remember older version doing. Of course, it’s still only good for flat, clearly typed pages. You’re probably not going to be doing your own Google Print projects with this thing. Still, just one more feature that makes it a solid package.
I’ve used the film scanning attachment and was impressed with the results (some examples of photos taken with a disposable camera). However, it’s a pretty slow process and scanning from prints is much faster and seems to produce similar quality results, provided the prints are clean (let’s face it, negatives tend to be in better shape than prints).
I’m really pleased with this new scanner and I think that it will make my and my father-in-law’s project feasible, with the addition of Angela’s iBook (Canon has Mac software as well) and our external hard-drive.