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Testbed and Methods

The configuration of our testbed remains the same, so you can compare the results with those we got in our earlier reviews:

  • Intel Pentium 4 3.40GHz CPU
  • Intel Bonanza D875PBZ mainboard
  • ATI RADEON 7000 graphics card
  • IBM Deskstar DTLA-307015 HDD
  • Samsung SyncMaster 757 NF monitor
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP1

Scanning Speed

It’s not a big problem to measure a scanner’s speed, the only disadvantage for the hardware reviewer is that sometimes you have to wait long for the results. I measured the speed of the CanoScan 8400F by digitizing two originals of standard form-factors (a 10x15cm photograph and a 35mm slide) at four resolutions (300, 600, 1200 and 3200dpi). At first I scanned them choosing the Recommended settings in the driver and then with enabled FARE technology.

So, I start my stopwatch the moment I click on the Scan button and stop it the moment the scanned image is fully transferred into the control program (Photoshop). Here are the results:

*- the second value indicates the time it takes to complete the task with enabled FARE

Why it takes so much more time to make a scan with FARE? Because the scanning is performed in two passes. During the first pass the original is lit by an infrared light source that reveals surface defects; the second pass is a standard digitization operation. At high resolutions quite a lot of time is also spent for software post-processing of the scan by the driver before it is exported into a file or application.

It should be understood that the speed characteristics of any scanner depend not only on the scanner itself, but also on the configuration of the computer. If you want to have some comfort while scanning at high resolutions (when the image file may be over 100MB large), make sure you have enough system RAM to do all the operations without accessing the hard drive. If you use Photoshop, try setting the Memory Usage option at 100%.

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