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I've recently purchased at HP4400C.
The reason for this choice as opposed to the other high end models of this same make is due to the fact that there was no noticeable difference (at the store) in scanning. the only difference they offered were faster scanning speed and some minor bells and whistles.
Taking my purchase home, I immediately put it to a test. I scanned several pictures and noticed some blemishes that weren't there. <see insert>
I've cleaned the glass to the point where I was afraid I'd crack the bloody thing.
I've also noticed that the scanner has quite a few tools I don't really think should be there.
Unlike the "typical" user (and most of us here are not "Typical" users) I prefer to simply have it scan without it's software doing anything "Special". That's MY job.
To sales clerk: "I don't care if it takes 4 hrs to scan. It's not a RUSH to scan items. I'll take a nap if I have to as long as the quality is good."
I figure that as more jobs I get, I can justify the cost of some better toys. (already have my eye on a scanner that does slides)
Do you think I simply got a lemon and try another of the same make and model, or simply bite the bullet and go a bit higher?
I have been nothing but disappointed with the HP scanners I've had (and my sister and mother have). My experience is that they create a lot of noise in the shadows and seem to be really good at picking up dust in the scans (or just "creating" dust). And I had a high-end (at the time) 6300. I actually got painful tendinitis in my index finger from clicking the mouse so much to clean up dust spots!
The higher-end models have a slightly better interface that allow you to set more parameters yourself, but it still tries to convince you that it's default settings are "better" than what you've chosen once you go to actually do the scan by popping up an "Are you sure?" dialog box. I find it incredibly annoying! The interface could be solved by using Vuescan, but in my experience, that doesn't improve the noise the scanner adds into the scan.
Personally, I would take it back and try a different brand. Unfortunately, I'm not that familiar with the low-end scanners, so can't really offer much advice.
My experience/opinion only. Your mileage may vary.
I would not call the scanner a lemon, but it's one of those machines that does not seem to have a real clear purpose. It provides 1200 dpi scanning...but who is ever going to use that much for a print?...and if it has a slide adapter, 1200 is still too small a resolution to get much out of 35mm.
As far as software goes, HP would be at the bottom of my list. From what I have seen and read (like Jeanie's description) the software is geared more towards beginners who do not want a complicated interface. Not a good thing! Obviously third party software, like Vuescan or Silverfast, would solve that problem but then you would be out another $40-$50.
One thing to keep in mind when cleaning the glass is to use a anti-static cloth. Sometimes, depending on what you use to clean with, you can build up static that will attract every little particle dust in the area. The harder you scrub the glass, the more likely static electricity will pull dust back down.
I was a diehard HP fan in the past, but their quality control has obviously taken a turn for the worst. The last three people I personally know that bought HP scanners all returned them because of "quality of scan" issues.
I purchased one for my office over a year ago and it too was a piece of junk. I learned my lesson and purchased an Epson 1640SU for my personal unit.
If I could get my old bones to do a back flip, I would! I absolutely love my Epson and the software is extremely easy to use. It allows an awful lot of flexibility too, as in I can scan with NO sharpening and do all my tweaks and adjustments in Photoshop!
Just my extremely biased opinion, of course!
DUMP THE HP!
As some of you may have found on the CD-writer thread, I too, am not an HP fan. (After finding out that HP rebadge CD-writers, I have to wonder what else they rebadge .) As Jeanie and Greg have mentioned the scanning software leaves much to be desired.
If I was in your shoes, I'd dump the HP and go for an Epson 2450.
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