HP Scanjet 8200 scanner

The Scanjet 8200 is more business scanning machine than strictly a photo scanner, you can even buy it with an additional automatic document feeder, by having said that it can scan A4 documents on the A4 plate, negatives (four frames on a strip) and slides (as negatives or just three if mounted) via the built-in transparency scanning adapter.

Software installation is easy and once the thing is connected to the mains and your PC (it has both USB2 and SCSI compatibility) you can quickly get scanning. You can scan by pressing one of the shortcut buttons on the front (more of which shortly), scanning directly via the supplied HP Scan Pro or HP Image Zone software or through a third party TWAIN complaint program such as Photoshop.

Those aforementioned buttons total 12 in all and include shortcuts for most frequent scanning tasks. These include scan to document, picture, scan to file, to OCR (text edit) scanning, to email or to a scanned copy. Other buttons allow you to adjust the number of copies, colour or black and white direct scanning, a destination button (to send scans to a specific folder on your hard drive for example) and of course the on/off button.

The scanner itself is a predominantly grey metal and plastic machine that has flip up lid aligned along the longest edge and so this is an easy to use “office” beats but not so suitable for those with limited desk space, as this configuration is easier to use but more desk space hungry.

There’s some nice tool on board such as auto sharpening, colour restoration, scratch/dust removal processing and the like. But these all just slow down scanning times, which are otherwise very nippy indeed.

I have a couple of issues though. First, the HP Scan Pro software looks simple to use but is actually quite counter intuitive. Adjustments to resolution (which runs from a possible 12ppi to 999,999ppi), colour mode, dust and scratch processing have to be made separately for each scan preview. You are not told this in the manual or elsewhere that I could find. The software makes it look as though adjustments made are carried across all potential scans, particularly when scanning slides for example. This is slow and frustrating.

Also, the scan quality is not actually that good. Colour restoration works nicely, so does sharpening and dust/scratch removal (though there’s always a bit more tidying up required on any scanner), the problem here is annoying banding on all my scans. Be it a paper original on the A4 platen or a slide or negative, banding is evident. Add to this the somewhat expensive looking £437 price tag and it is not exactly great value for money either.

Verdict

For document scanning and the like, the 8200 excelled, but the limited support for multiple transparencies (a paltry maximum of just three mounted or four unmounted originals at a time) and the problems with banding (please see the sectional enlargement of a scan from an old family slide I’ve scanned to restore) on all my scans leaves me worried indeed.

Now, I realise the 8200 has good networking capabilities not the preserve of your “normal” consumer led flatbed scanner and it has a suite of excellent (though flawed) software, which is good too.

But I cannot see why the 8200 has that whopping, on the way to £500, price tag.

If you buy the additional auto document feeder, you’ll pay even more as well, £787.25 for the 8270 variant. Ouch!


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