Canon's cleanup scanner

SAN FRANCISCO (09/22/2003) - Canon Inc.'s new US$400 CanoScan 9900F is a powerhouse flatbed scanner that captures crisp, colorful images from film or prints--and can automatically clean up old, damaged photos.

In addition to solid 48-bit color depth and high 3200-dpi resolution, the 9900F has an improved version of Canon's built-in photo restoration feature, dubbed Film Automatic Retouching and Enhancement (FARE). This impressive technology--part hardware and part software--includes options for correcting fading and graininess, as well as for removing dust and scratches.

Although using the FARE tools does slightly increase the length of time the 9900F takes to complete a job, the scanner still operates at a relatively brisk pace through its USB 2.0 interface (the unit also has a FireWire port). For example, with FARE, my shipping unit took approximately 3 minutes to produce a 10MB, 1600-dpi scan of a 35mm negative--still far less time than it would take me to make such corrections manually using the bundled image editor.

The 9900F handles text documents and performs optical character recognition, too; but it targets users who demand high image quality. If you're primarily interested in basic document scanning, consider lower-priced options.

The new Canon measures up to similarly priced scanners from Epson America Inc. and Microtek International Inc., and its powerful, versatile photo-restoration capabilities make it a fine choice for anyone serious about scanning.

Canon CanoScan 9900F

Top-notch unit for serious users.

Price when reviewed: $400.

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