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( 169 customer reviews )
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352 of 356 found the following review helpful:
Why I returned the Canoscan 8800f and re-purchased the HP g4050Aug 30, 2008
I am a husband and father of 3 young children with lots of pre-digital photos of our children, along with perhaps a couple of thousand old family photos dating back to the 1930s. Like many, I narrowed the search for a scanner to the Canoscan 8800f, The Epson V500, and the HP G4050. There have been a number of reviews that have focused on scanning negatives and slides. My review will focus on scanning photos.
There are numerous reviews of these 3 scanners. Throwing out the highs and the lows, the Epson generally gets excellent scan quality reviews, with some mention of buggy drivers and flimsy slide and negative accessories. The Canon gets pretty good reviews on build quality and photo scan quality and most people seem to think its software has a cleaner interface. The HP is seen as the most ruggedly built and the largest in size, but is viewed as performing slowly and having software that is either difficult to make work under Vista (apparently that has now been fixed by HP with full drivers being released) or buggy with a lot of effort with HP tech support being needed to fix things (though once fixed) the scanner gets excellent reviews on photo scan quality.
I saw the Epson, Canon, and HP scanners at a couple of local retailers and had the opportunity to at least compare their build quality. The Epson feels inexpensively made (very much so), the Canon feels fairly well made, and the HP appears to be the best built of the 3 scanners, by a fair margin. The HP is big, but it has a slightly larger scanning area to allow for 4 4x6 photos to be scanned at once. Plus, photos from my parents and grandparents are all odd little sizes, so having a little extra space on the glass is helpful when trying to scan multiple photos. I
My system: AMD 4000 dual core, 3 gig of ram, a 500 gig hard drive and a 320 gig hard drive, standard video card, running XP. A decently powered system, but not super fast. I am a fairly experienced computer user and have really gotten into Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements over the last year or two. They are not commercial applications, but over the past year I have come to see they are pretty powerful programs and allow the home user to get genuinely professional level results for family projects.
The comparison: the Epson, Canon, and HP are in the same price range, but they can very by more than $50 depending upon sales, rebates, and promotions. It seems to be generally accepted that the next step up is the Epson V700 or V750, about $500 and $700, respectively.
I purchased the HP, returned it, purchased the Canon, returned it, and then re-purchased the HP. The Canon was not a bad scanner and is in fact pretty speedy. The Canon and the Epson use LED lighting, which is quicker than the HP lighting. This does make a definite difference, but fast or slow is a subjective opinion for these scanners. I use my scanner at night when the children are asleep. I am scanning and restoring family photos; so, I am in no rush. I don't want to have a scanner that is super slow, but I do not mind if the scanner is not fast. That is a good thing, because the Canon is quick and the HP is definitely not. The Canon software is a bit easier to use, but the HP, while not super easy is fairly straightforward to use once you play with it for a bit.
The HP is noisy, though. Will it wake my children and wife? No, but both HP scanners (the one I returned and the one I kept) from different sellers sounded the same. The output from the scanners also is the same, which at least says something for manufacturing consistency.
The scan quality is what did it for me. To compare I scanned a few old black and white photos and a few color photos, in particular a few wedding prints that have a slight matte finish. As most people know who scan photos matte finishes make the resulting scan noisy and "speckly" to a varying degree. I found the HP scanned matte photos significantly better than the Canon--the difference was fairly substantial. I also found that I preferred the HP scans. A few reviews on the web have stated the g4050's scans may be a bit oversaturated in terms of color, but I feel the scans are quite good and often are actually an improvement from the picture without actually taking anything away from the picture in terms of detail or resolution.
I found the HP and Canon scanned the black and white photos comparably, but the color scans are what made me decide to return the Canon.
I have had luck with HP products. I have an HP B8350 wide format printer. It is an excellent no frills genuine professional quality printer. I also have an HP Officejet multifunction printer/scanner/fax/copier. It is a few years old and continues to work extremely well. Having said that, I also have experienced buggy HP software, tech support that is obviously outsourced to India with both excellent support personnel and pretty poor support personnel. HP tech support, though, has pretty extended hours (both live by telephone and live chat) and while it can be frustrating to talk with someone who obviously is reading from a script I have found on the few occasions I have called that my problem gets fixed and most tech support personnel are nice and genuinely want to help resolve the issue.
As I have become more serious and discriminating in my photo and video work wherein I really am looking to get as high quality output as possible I think I have come to be able tell the difference between good quality and excellent quality at the hobbyist/prosumer level.
Photo scanning is a niche product line. Most people are happy with their multi-function devices and are not looking to output professional level work. As such, while frustrating, it is not surprising that Epson, Canon, and HP have cut corners in their scanning products in terms of software and support. None of the scanners, especially at this price point, is without a compromise. I felt, however, that the HP g4050 was the best built unit, and while a bit slow, produces great scans. The HP software is not quite as new or fresh, but it works for me and the scanner is very well built (at least the parts I can see and touch!!) and the resulting scans truly are excellent.
Oh, the 6 color scanning is extremely slow and does not produce in my opinion any discernable improvement. That makes some sense, though, since I have read that the 6 color scanning feature is for use when scanning photos printed from ink jets or items such as ribbon or artwork. This because these items are produced with inks and materials that are not as easily scanned by traditional scanners.
I did not try the Epson, but for me the HP was a winner over the Canon.
Good luck in your choice.
I continue to really enjoy this scanner. It is not made for a high volume environment, but rather the serious hobbyist/prosumer in particular looking to scan old photos for retouching, family photos, home projects, etc. You can obtain legitimate professional results in this area. I am sure that getting a much higher end scanner may enable you to obtain some additional range to parts of photos (like shadow detail--but the HP is quite good in this area), but I think if you were doing high end professional/publishing work you likely would be looking at the more expensive Epsons (i.e., V750) or a dedicated slide scanner.
I use Photoshop Elements, though may upgrade to CS4, but I think Elements and this scanner make a great combination and will allow you to really do some nice projects.
The build quality of the HP is significantly better than the similarly priced Canon and Epson models.
I am still very happy I made the choice to stick with the HP.
********************UPDATE JULY 10, 2009***************************
I continue to enjoy the scanner. It has worked very well. It works with Vista 64 Home Premium without any problems. It also works well with Photoshop CS4.
I have been scanning slides for a friend for a "family picture" project. I have scanned 16 at a time (the max you can scan at one time) and the scanner works extremely well. On my new Intel based 2.67 ghz Quad Core with 8 gb RAM slide scanning is reasonably speedy. A high end dedicated slide scanner might have some more depth in the shadows, but I am very happy with the results.
I simply do not think any other scanner can touch the G4050 for the price.
84 of 86 found the following review helpful:
Using my G4050 for scanning slidesJun 26, 2007
By D. Corbishley
I've been using my G4050 on a Vista system for about a month and it works great. Looking at some of the negatives other reviewers have listed, I have to say it works great with Vista and does remember settings (if yoy tell it to). If your scanning slides like me, be sure to preview and edit the scan area as the default scan can miss the image a little. Just don't take all of the highest resolution settings, for slides they are a waste. I have a brand new Duo Core system and it took 45 minutes to open a slide because it had so much detail. At 2400 and with the 6 color scan I have no such problem. Enjoy!
51 of 52 found the following review helpful:
HP ScanJet G4050. Slow but good.May 01, 2007
By Mark BrandMunicipal S. Corp
I've been using it for about 2 months. Initially the G4050 had problems with color tint. With help from HPs tech support, a newer copy of their software resolved the problem. HPs tech support is fairly easy to get to and they try to be helpful. Only negative of this product is that the scans runs slowly.
A comment on their OCR software. Its the first time I've tried such software. It does a good job of creating text from the images.
39 of 39 found the following review helpful:
The Best for the BucksSep 03, 2007
By Robert H. Mcdonald
Totally pleased!!! I was looking for a scanner to digitalize over 4000 slides and family photos. After looking narrowing my choices to Canon, Epson, and HP from online reviews I went to a local store to look at the scanners. Most of the "professional reviews" seemed to favor the Canon or Epson. But for me, the quality of construction of the HP was evident from my hands on inspection. And best of all the HP is set up to scan sixteen 35m slides at a time. To save over fifty dollars over the store price, I ordered the HP online.
When the scanner arrived, I did the recommended set up and it was easy and smooth. I found using the HP scanning software (HP Solution Center) to be simple enough. Be sure to recognize that if you have other HP products, they will also be in the HP Solutions Center and you will have to select the scanner tab. It took me several trys to find the balance between quality and speed that fit my needs. But once I locked the settings in my scanning has moved along nicely. You will be pleased with the quality and performance.
48 of 51 found the following review helpful:
Great scanner, great supportMar 21, 2007
I purchased this scanner for the purpose of digitizing our family collection of slides, photographs and other important documents that I want to save electronically. The setup was easy and the instructions were clear.
I encountered difficulty making the connection between the scanner and my computer. So after trying all of the suggested troubleshooting steps, I called the HP support line received excellent patient assistance which has resulted in wonderful scanning experiences.
I would make the same purchase all over again.
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