Canon CanoScan 2700F

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Canon CanoScan 2700F 35mm/APS film scanner.

Of all of the devices you can connect to a computer to make digital photography possible, I find a scanner is the most essential if existing film images are to be used. Like many individual photographers, I want a scanner that will digitize my images to reproduce with the best possible quality, yet at an affordable cost. I also think I am somewhat typical, having more images recorded on 35mm film than any other format. This almost demands a scanner dedicated to 35mm and other small film formats, as only more expensive flat-bed scanners with transparency adapters or professional level film scanners have the optical resolution necessary to scan a 1x1.5" film frame effectively.

Canon's camera division recently ventured into this computer photography arena with what I consider a near ideal package; an affordable 35mm and APS format scanner with a 2720dpi resolution that sells for just under $700. The Canon CanoScan 2700F also has many other quality features in its favor, including capturing image information at 30-bit RGB color depth using a Xenon fluorescent lamp, and doing so quickly at speeds as high as 26 sec per frame of 35mm film at full resolution. The CanoScan 2700F is sold with a plug-and-play SCSI card for easy interface connection with a PC and software for Windows is provided on a CD (Mac software is also available as a download from Canon's web site).

The CanoScan ScanCraft FS software provides easy to learn and use controls to crop and select different Tone Corrections by clicking on variation thumbnails, or by selecting the "custom" button providing a manual curve adjustment dialog.
Photos © 1999, David B. Brooks, All Rights Reserved

Using The CanoScan 2700F. Although I did not require the use of the included SCSI card that comes with the CanoScan 2700F, that installation and setup, is however, what is now referred to as a good out of the box experience. That's a far cry from what getting a scanner going was all about just a very few years ago. Once the scanner is installed and the CanoScan ScanCraft FS software is loaded into your computer, the driver supports making scans with the ScanCraft stand-alone application or by activating the TWAIN driver from within a supporting graphics application like Photoshop, Picture Publish-er, or PaintShop Pro. Using the stand-alone Canon software, you can direct the final scan to be saved as an image file in several standard file formats, or you can also direct the image to be reproduced by a printer connected to your computer making the scanner function like a copier.

The physical attributes of the CanoScan 2700F are quite straightforward. In fact, the outward design appearance is not that dissimilar to several other 35mm film scanners. What distinguishes it physically is a well executed film handling design for mounted slides and strips of 35mm film. A special adapter insert provides access to scanning APS film. The 35mm film strip holder, in particular, I found is efficient to use, allowing easy access to different frames on the strip, and transports the frame secularly. The Xenon fluorescent light source, besides being sufficiently diffused to make scanning silver-based black and white negatives viable, provides a very constant and even source compared to some scanner light sources which deteriorate in time. This is significant to obtaining consistent image color qualities in relationship to output, avoiding the need to manually reprofile the scanner every so often, as is required with some scanners.

The high 2720dpi optical resolution of the CanoScan 2700F assures all of the image information in film images will be captured sharply. In addition, if very large reproductions of scanned images are required, the ScanCraft FS software supports interpolated resolutions up to 6000dpi. Good color fidelity and the preservation of subtle image tonalities is assured by the scanner's 30-bit color depth. Consistent WYSIWYG color quality is assured also when a Canon photo-realistic BubbleJet printer is used in conjunction with the scanner by Canon's ColorGear color matching incorporated in the ScanCraft FS software.

Brightness and contrast may be adjusted by means of two sliders providing an interactive change in the image in the preview window.

CanoScan 2700F Evaluation And Recommendation. The Canon CanoScan 2700F 35mm and APS scanner has been introduced into a market category where there is already a number of competing products.

Obviously to meet a competitive price objective, Canon could not include a level of performance specifications comparable to professional level scanners. What they chose to provide first of all is a scanning resolution that is at the professional level. This feature, added to an extremely well designed and well constructed scanner, makes an ideally balanced package. The test scans which I made with the scanner, including some scans of very full range Kodachrome images, indicated in the results all of the other dimension of performance are also of a quite high caliber, including I would estimate, a very respectable dynamic range.

For most, using the ScanCraft FS software will be found quite easy as any adjustments that need to be made on the basis of the large pre-scan preview display can be accomplished by selecting between thumbnail variations of differences in brightness, contrast, and color balance. However, accessing all of the adjustment facilities involves going to three different controls, which I found a bit annoying. Otherwise the ScanCraft FS software is ideally designed for easy learning by novices as well as efficient control by advanced users, including manual adjustments to the image curve. My impression was however, that the scanner is so good it really justifies having a truly professional manual color correction capability that also offers access to a raw scan, and the ability to custom profile the scanner for use with a color management systems like ColorSync 2.5 on the Mac or ICM 2.0 in Windows 98.

As usual, Canon has waited to introduce this scanner product until they could offer something with an unusual level of quality. In its price and performance category, the CanoScan 2700F is definitely a top choice. For more information visit Canon's web site at: www.usa.canon.com.

Technical Specifications
Canon CanoScan 2700F
Scanner Type: Desktop, moving film carriage
Scanning Element: Charge-coupled device, 3-line color image sensor
Light Source: Xenon fluorescent lamp
Scanning Resolution: 2720dpi
Scanning Modes: Color, gray scale, black and white
Scanning Gradation: 10-bit scanning to 8-bit output RGB
Scanning Speed: 35mm--positives 26 sec, negatives 26/52/78 sec (switchable)
Scanning Area: 35mm--24.2x36.3mm, APS--15.8x27.7mm
Focal Modes: Auto/manual
Interface: SCSI 2, with 50-pin full pitch and 25-pin D-sub
Dimensions: 3.3x12.6x5.8", 5.3 lb weight

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