The context of this review is in relation to the variety of tasks normally undertaken at the Archive. The LiDE 400 is the successor to the LiDE 200 scanner used by the Archive for very many years.


PROs CONs    
Very accurate scanning Limited bundled software        
Fast 300dpi scans Poor book scanning        
High resolution scans up to 4800dpi No 3d scanning        
Light weight            
Powered from the computer's USB input            
Integrates with graphics and word processor packages            

The Canon LiDE 400 is a budget flat bed scanner with basic facilities. It is the scanning workhorse for the Archive. Black and White scanning at 300dpi is quick and accurate. For speed, scanning is usually done within the MS Paint application that comes bundled with Windows. MS Paint has most of the post-scanning features needed with the exception of straightening of the image and adjusting the exposure, which is performed by MS Photo Gallery.

This review mainly concerns the second generation LiDE400 scanner. The original LiDE 400 finally suffered a fatal breakdown after well over 150,000 scans.

The major advantages of this scanner are its small size, light weight and taking power from the USB connection. These allow the scanner to be taken along with a lap top to various venues to digitise documentation away from the Archive.

Overall this is an outstanding scanner at the price point.



Scanning Black and White documents
The default resolution is 300dpi. At this resolution an A4 scan takes about 10 seconds. There is good discrimination between light and dark and this can be over-ridden by adjusting the brightness and contrast to pick out black text on a grey background.

As scanning is done within MS paint, blemishes and over-scan material can be quickly removed before saving.

Resolution of half tones is very good.



Scanning Greyscale Documents
Grey scale resolution is excellent although the brightness and contrast will need modifying from the default. A value of +10 and +10 respectively has been found to be effective in removing bleed through from the obverse side when scanning and producing a good white page background.

Moiré patterning can be removed from B&W photographs within the documents by scanning at 317dpi. This resolution, however, significantly increases the scan time to about 25 seconds but for the highest quality results this time is acceptable.

Again scanning is done within MS Paint and the image can be easily edited post scanning before saving.



Scanning Colour Documents
The default setting for colour scans is useless. The resolution of 150dpi is too coarse and the default values for brightness and contrast leave the white background with a distinctly grey cast. The only instance where the default setting is used is for a quick scan of a colour photograph or a document where quality does not matter.

Individual LiDE scanners vary in their scanning performance. The Archive's original scanner needed a setting of +16 for brightness and +40 for contrast to produce a white page background with no bleed through and vibrant colours. The second generation version needs +10 and +10 respectively to achieve the same effect.

Scanning with a custom setup of 300dpi, +10 and +10 adjustments is fast at 10 seconds or thereabouts. Very high quality scans at 317dpi take 25 seconds similarly to greyscale scanning.




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