Rollei Df-s 60 Se Software
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Rollei Df-s 60 Se Software
The scanner ships with a nice set of software on the accompanying CD, with good support of both Mac and PC computing platforms. Both Mac and PC users will find a copy of Adobe's excellent Photoshop LE, along with Canon's FilmGet FS acquire plug-in that operates the scanner. (The scanner is operated from within Photoshop, allowing immediate adjustment or editing of the images as soon as they're acquired.) Arcsoft's PhotoBase image database program is also provided for both platforms. For printing, the two platforms diverge slightly, with Canon's ImageBrowser offered to meet Mac users' printing needs, and Canon's PhotoRecord dedicated photo-printing package provided for Windows users. Of the two, PhotoRecord provides much more flexible printing capabilities, ImageBrowser being mainly intended for use as a photo-organizer tool. Still, it's nice to see support as well-balanced between Mac and PC platforms as it is.
Bit depth is another important parameter for scanners, as a measure of both color accuracy and the maximum density range a scanner can recognize. (8 bits per channel is average 10 better, and12 quite good. A few scanners are now beginning to appear with 14 bits per channel of digitization accuracy.) The CanoScan FS4000 captures a full 14 bits per channel, and furthermore allows you to import the full 42 bit image (14 bits in each of three color channels) into Photoshop.Special FeaturesWe've reviewed several scanners in the past that offer automated dust-removal systems. Some use purely software-based techniques that we've found to be of little benefit: If they remove the dust, they also remove most of the fine subject detail. If they leave the subject detail, they leave the dust too. The most successful methods use infrared light to generate a "defect mask" that then guides sophisticated processing in the scanner's firmware and software. The idea is that the infrared light passes through the film's emulsion layers more or less untouched, but is blocked by dust or scratches. We've found infrared-based methods to be quite effective in removing dust and scratches from your scans. (Note though, that since Kodachrome and black & white emulsions are largely opaque to infrared, these methods don't work with films of those types.)
Preview WindowThe Preview window is where the remaining scanning actions take place. At the top of the window are the Film Type and Color Mode pulldown menus. Film options include Color Positives, Color Negatives, and Monochrome Negatives. The software automatically sets the film type when the film tray is loaded into the scanner, but you can change it manually if necessary. Color Mode options include a 42-bit color setting, which records all 14 bits of data of all three channels, allowing you to save it in the TIFF or RAW format. Remaining color options are 24-bit color, 14-bit grayscale, 8-bit grayscale, and black and white. (Note that the TIFF format is a 48-bit format, storing 16 bits per channel. The data captured by the scanner is 14 bits "deep," so the extra bits are just padded with zeros.)
The next step in scanning is to establish the image dimensions and resolution. In the top left corner of the Preview window are five buttons (just beneath the Film and Color pulldown menus), which control the scan mode. From left to right across the top, the buttons are Custom, File, Text/Printer/Fax, Display, and Photo Size. In all modes except for Custom, the software allows you to control the file size, resolution, and display size, depending on the intended use for the scanned image. In Custom mode, FilmGet FS provides six presets. (The shot at right shows the panel with the custom button pressed.)
File ModeIn File mode, FilmGet FS allows you to set the Input resolution (top box), Output Resolution (second box), and the image dimensions. A variety of measurement units are available, including pixels, inches, centimeters, and millimeters. The file size is then automatically calculated so you have an idea of how large or small your scan will be. When selecting the input and output resolutions, you can either choose a preset value from the list or type in your own number. An odd quirk of the FilmGet FS software is that once you type in a value, you have to hit the Tab key on the keyboard for it to make the change. If you press Enter or simply click on another area of the screen, the change is not kept. The C/H/P/F button (labeled "F" on our screen shot) to the left of the image dimensions text boxes specifies the photo paper size, and mainly refers to scans from APS cartridges. The "C/H/P" refers to three specific photographic paper sizes used by APS: Standard, Hi-Vision, and Panoramic. Since we're currently in File mode, the photo size remains at "F." All of the mode screens feature the Add button at the bottom, with the exception of the Custom mode. Clicking on the Add button allows you to save a set of preferences as a preset, which will appear in the Custom preset list.
Under the Preferences option, FilmGet FS provides a few basic adjustments for operating the software. The Preview Size matches the preview window to fit the monitor that you are using, allowing you to select from a list of resolutions or select "My Monitor." Under the Scan section, you can set the maximum combined file size, useful when scanning batches of images, as well as set FilmGet FS to close automatically after the final scan (which returns you to Photoshop to view the scanned image). The final preference, under "Other," specifies whether or not the previous preview image remains in the preview area when the software is launched.
While it doesn't force you to do a fresh preview scan after each color/tone adjustment, the scanning software does take a while to recompute and update the displayed image after each and every adjustment, and the program makes you wait until it's done. This slows the color correction process a fair bit. (Note to the Canon engineers: Making the preview redraw interruptible would really improve the user interaction.)
Following are some typical times we recorded for various operations. In our testing, we had the CanoScan connected via its SCSI port to a slightly aging PowerMac G3 433 MHz CPU, with 192 MB of RAM, and the scanning software running in a 170 MB partition. Here are the times we measured for a maximum-resolution RGB scan of our black/white resolution target film:
The CanoScan FS4000US occupies an interesting position between the amateur and professional photographic worlds. It offers excellent value, combining advanced features like 4000 dpi resolution 14-bit digitization, and infrared-based dust-removal technology, but at a price hundreds of dollars below units with similar specifications. Overall, we found it had very good color rendition and dynamic range, and had a capable, easy to use software application. It's IR-based dust removal technology was unusual in the almost total lack of impact it had on image sharpness. - This is a dust-removal system you can easily apply to every scan you do, without having to trade off any aspect of image quality.
The CanoScan's software design permitted pretty good productivity, in that it let you do quite a bit of adjustment work with a single preview scan. (Some scanners require a new preview scan to see the effect of any color adjustment, greatly slowing the scanning process. Not so the CanoScan.) We'd have liked to see a faster and/or interruptible preview refresh after color/tone changes though, as we often found ourselves having to wait after even minor adjustments.
Overall, we liked the CanoScan FS4000US quite a bit. We'd personally like to see finer control in the software, with more resolution and a midtone slider on the histogram display, but think that the average user will find the software package very approachable and useful. Scanning speed is a bit slower than some pro-level units it competes with, but when you take into consideration that the FS4000US is a full 40% cheaper than those models, the longer scanning times become much easier to tolerate. If you're looking for a high-end "personal" scanner, or a high quality scanner for low-volume professional digitization (with an easy learning curve), the CanoScan FS4000US could be the unit for you.