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Re: filmscanners: Acer Scanwit 2720s vs 2740s vs HP s20

I recently bought the Acer 2740S to scan hundreds of old slides and
negatives that haven't been well stored. I've been an enthusiastic amateur
photographer all my life, but I'm fairly new to filmscanning. I like the
2740 but I'm not nearly as critical as most of the others on this list. I
don't mean critical in a bad way. I've gotten many decent, but not perfect,
scans from my 2740 that I'm happy with. For me this is a hobby, but many of
the list members here are pros who demand perfection in their work, thus
they're much more aware of a scanner's faults than I am.

Having said all that, I can agree with most of what's already been said here
about the Scanwits, and I'll add a few comments of my own:

* The 2740 does occasionally have a problem with exposure in dark areas of
the slide -- and Lynn pointed out that the 2720 does as well. You can
correct this to a large extent using multisampling. From what I understand
this is a fairly common problem with many brands of film scanner; thus all
the manufacturer bragging about dynamic range and so forth. It hasn't been a
huge issue for me, but maybe I've been lucky or I'm not as picky.

* Acer's TWAIN scanner driver, MiraPhoto, is mediocre. When it works it does
an OK job. For me it doesn't work at all unless I turn digital ICE off,
which defeats the entire purpose of buying a 2740. Instead I use Ed
Hamrick's VueScan, which does an excellent job, has many more options than
MiraPhoto, and is faster to boot. I've moved my 2740 over to my new Linux
box and use VueScan there, then I use GIMP and/or ImageMagick for
adjustments, although I still copy the files back to a Win2K machine and use
Paint Shop Pro or PhotoShop for finer adjustments, probably because I don't
know the GIMP all that well yet. Acer claims to be working on an improved
version of MiraPhoto, but I have heard nothing from them about an expected
release date.

* Acer tech support is horrible at anything except helping you get it
running out of the box. They seem completely unaware of anything like SCSI
problems, TWAIN incompatibilities, DLL conflicts, etc. On the plus side,
their support is 24x7 and it's free, and the Scanwit has a good warranty
with (I think) next-day replacement, which I have not needed to use.

* If you have any quantity of negatives that are scratched or dusty, spend
the extra and upgrade from the 2720 to the 2740. IMHO the Digital ICE works
miracles. It does add some very slight overall softness to the image when
viewed on a monitor, but on paper I can't see it. It takes me a half hour or
more to remove defects manually. Digital ICE does it in seconds, at the
price of an additional pass over the film. Nikons do it without the
additional pass, but they cost much more and have their own problems too.
ICE was in fact the main reason I bought a 2740.

Basically, if you have $1,000 or more to spend, or if you look at your
images very critically, you can get another brand and end up with better
output. For $600 or less it's hard to find a better deal than the Acers.
Definitely get a copy of VueScan to go along with it. You should also know
that the Scanwit product manager, Honda Lo, is a member of this list and is
very responsive; he's gotten me some advice directly from Acer's engineers
and also says that Acer is working on fixing MiraPhoto and improving the
quality of their tech support.

If you have any other questions, fire away. Most people on this list have
the 2720; AFAIK I'm the only one here with a 2740 (apologies to anyone if
I'm wrong and forgotten about you!)

    -- Todd

Todd Radel - thr@schwag.org

SCHWAG.ORG - Where Freaks and Geeks Come Together

PGP key available at http://www.schwag.org/~thr/pgpkey.txt


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