I've always admired in HP scanners is the monitor gamma adjustment. This utility
allows you to calibrate your monitor to the scanner so that the image is more
"WYSIWYG." The Visioneer lacks this adjustment and the Microtek
has improved theirs to the point of near perfection with their latest software.
Either one of two modes can be selected, but the "standard" mode
is what is installed first.
After a short monitor
and scanner calibration, all scans were for once, nearly perfect. Reds and
greens were so close to the original that unless you had possession of the
original, no defects were visible. To put it another way, if fifty dollars
is all that separates you from this kind of image quality, beg or borrow to
get this model!
Now that I've been evaluating
this model for several weeks, it struck me as odd that the cold cathode scan
bar doesn't have a sleep mode. Come back after 30 minutes or more of a non-scanning
session and the 4600 is still "on." Most models in the $150 price
class and up have a standby mode, whereby they save wear and tear and the
scanning element itself via a partial shutdown. The flip side to this feature
is that one may have to wait 60 or so seconds before scanning is again possible.
The 4600 has no wait time because it has no standby mode. This condition however,
may shorten the unit's lifespan unless Microtek has managed to manufacture
an extremely long life element.
Digital Camera Pics
Remember this is not the
megabuck, mega-pixel model that can take your next K-mart family genre pictures.
This is an inexpensive, entry level model that doesn't have a focus or exposure
control. With those criticisms out of the way, the MN100 does a more than
adequate job. Some of the shots displayed have been cropped but no images
in this review have been adjusted in any other manner.
Twenty pictures are possible
at 352x288 and in low resolution mode, one could cram up to 80 shots inside
the small onboard memory chip. The MN100 also does mini-movies that are a
few seconds in length. To top it off, full motion 30 FPS video is available
via the included USB cable. This is best use of $20 I've come across in quite
Quantity versus quality.
It's the age old conundrum that provokes many classic arguments. The 4600
has the most features of any scanner I've ever laid eyes on and all that quality
comes at a price that isn't out of reach for most finicky buyers. Available
with or without the camera, the Microtek pleasantly surprised one of the pickiest
people around...me. Out with the old and in with the new, the Visioneer has
seen it last days in my office, it is being replaced with a model that is
somewhat slower, but where image quality counts, the 4600 delivers. I guess
that I'll have to make an extra large cup of tea waiting for those 600dpi
scans to finish, but the benefits are simply too great to pass up. The camera
is one of those pieces that you wonder how they got it so cheap. It's functional,
very small and has several usable modes of operation. This combo is enthusiastically