Ratings: Ease of Use, Performance: 23/25, Look & Feel: 24/25, Features & Software 24/25, How much I enjoy 22/25
The Microtek ScanMaker s450 is an affordable scanner for the home, photography amateur or professional who needs a great scanner at a reasonable price. The Microtek ScanMaker s450 is a great regular scanner with a large 4800 x 9600 resolution or 8.5 x 11.7 inch scanning area.
The scanner comes with its regular software and drivers as well as the power cord, power adapter, USB cable and film and negative holder. There is also a plastic sheet for regular scanning to block light from coming through the film strip light table feature of the lid. The lid also detaches easily to allow for oversized scans and attaches with a cable to allow for the light table feature.
The s450 scanner will take much more time to process the scans of larger DPI film strips and negatives so having a quick preview feature to see what you are working with and to be able to make quick adjustments is a very nice feature. The white light table feature on the lid allows for light to come through and you get a preview of the film strips and negatives quickly so you do not waste your time processing. The lid needs to attach to the base using a cable as there are electronics in the lid but it easily and quickly unhooks to remove the lid.
The scanner works very well and I had no problems at all using it for many scanning tasks. Here are some significant features from the Microtek website:
Affordable 4800 x 9600 dpi resolution and 48-bit color
Built-in 35mm transparency adapter scans entire filmstrips (up to five frames) or up to four 35mm slides at a time
Zero Boundary design (patented) enables scanning of bound pages up to the inner margin without distortion
ColoRescue automatic color restoration to revive faded color in photos and film
Eight Smart Touch buttons to automate scanning tasks
Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity
Comprehensive software bundle, including ABBYY OCR, and InterVideo MediaOne Gallery
Scanners are becoming simpler but there is another direction they are headed as well, the professional or amateur photographer. Digital photography is becoming not only the professional photographer’s medium of choice but the amateur’s preferred, cost effective solution.
I have been an amateur photographer for years and have learned not only digital photography but was doing my own black and white film developing years ago before digital cameras were affordable. Now you can not only purchase the digital camera equipment at reasonable prices you can also use those negatives and slides from 35mm photography to create beautiful digital pictures with the same quality and resolution that the more expensive image editing programs work with.
The Microtek ScanMaker s450 scanner is a great scanner but where it excels is the high resolution, large dots per inch scans that film negatives and positives such as slides need. If you take a film negative or slide and scan it at a regular scan resolution and dots per inch or DPI such as 200 to 300 DPI that normal scans use you will get a really good small picture. Blow that really good small picture up and you get a really bad large picture because the dots per inch of the small picture enlarged will be large dots of the same colors. Run the same scan at about 4000 DPI and you can blow that picture up to see all the detail and other features that the film negative catches.
The Microtek s450 is truly a professional photographer’s scanner with the ability to not only perform regular scanning but you also have the built in features of a film and negative scanner. The included film and slide holder holds and aligns the film strips and slides so you can scan film strips and slides quickly. The holder is made to hold a regular five picture film strip or four slides and aligns on the bed of the scanner using some simple marks for you to eyeball the setup.
Once you scan the film you then edit it using a good image editor such as Photoshop CS. The image for scanning film negatives or positives such as slides needs to be scanned at a high dots per inch so that you capture all the detail and color variations. The ScanMaker s450 scanner quickly and easily scans using these features for professional looking digital images.
Color is another area that I have recently been learning about and the s450 scanner will scan images at a high 48 bit color. This color bit is what you need to worry about when talking about scanning film slides and negatives into a scanner and using an image editing program. When scanning a negative in order to capture all the variations of color the higher quality of 48 bit color is needed for professional looking photographs. Also when editing you need to make sure that the image editing program you are using supports 48 bit color or your color will not be right for your photographs.
Scanning film strips is fun and I have really enjoyed the quality and ease of the ScanMaker s450 with some films and slides I have taken and not done much with in years. The s450 scanner is very easy to use with a simple interface and some easy to understand controls.
There are five areas for controls in the following sections: original material, type of color, what the scan will be used for, scale of output and adjustments. Original is the material or document you are scanning from such as picture, film negative or slide. The color is what color you want to output such as grey, black and white or true color. The purpose will scale the DPI or dots per inch in one of several preset formats such as ink jet printer, web site use, or custom to set your own such as 2400 DPI for film.
The scale of output allows you to increase or decrease the overall size of the picture you are scanning so you do not need to use an image editor to increase or decrease the size. The adjustments are all kinds of handy adjustments so you also do not need an image editor for some simple pictures but want to still do some corrections to; brightness, contrast, sharpness, color and saturation.
On the console there is also a reset that sets all the adjustments to a common setting and a preferences section that allows you to change some common features and the look of the interface page. The interface is all on one page with the sections of the scanning in pull down menus when you click on them with your mouse. There are quite a few settings here when compared to many other scanners and you can do a decent job of image editing for things like cropping, color correction and general picture quality using the on board controls of the ScanMaker s450 scanner.
Using the controls on the scanner itself you can control what you scan your documents go to such as the copy, scan, scan to PDF and setup/cancel buttons. These controls can be set once and used for your frequently used scanning projects such as scanning to a printer also known as copy function.
The ScanMaker s450 scanner scans in full 48 bit color and when scanning a full image in the 4800 x 9600 resolution or flatbed size you get really good scans. The scanner does not have a large edge lip so you can place images or documents directly on the scanner bed and scan images easily. Scanning oversized objects such as pictures or newsprint is easy as the bed of the scanner is flat so you have no bends or folds in the materials you place on the bed.
Using the close edge of the scanner you can easily scan book pages without too much distortion as you place one side of the book on the scanner and close the lid. You let the book lay open on the scanner with the other pages hanging off the scanner and the edge of whatever surface the scanner is also on. This allows for a pretty undistorted scan of the page and a much better image when scanned. You still have to hold down the book or lid as you will lose it on the floor or not get a good flat surface for the scan.
I tried scanning several documents and types of pages for things I have done while using my regular scanner over the years. The ScanMaker s450 does a very good job on all the things I tried but again it excels at the scanning of film strips and slides for digital photography work. I have created some very good pictures from negatives and slides using some older film and could not be happier with the results of the Microtek scanner.
The Microtek ScanMaker s450 is a great scanner for both regular scanning and for photography uses. The scanner comes with a nice holder and the preview light table feature works very well so you do not have to waste time adjusting your scanning materials before final scanning in large dots per inch.
I highly recommend the Microtek ScanMaker s450 as a good home scanner or a great film strip and negative scanner.