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FARE Level 2 Technology

As I wrote above, the scanner features FARE Level 2 technology (Film Automatic Retouching & Enhancement) whose purpose is to automatically eliminate dust and scratches from photo film. To do that, the scanner is equipped with an additional, infrared light source. When scanning film with FARE Level 2 activated in the driver, the scanner first creates a “shadow map” for the surface of the film and then performs the scanning proper. When the scanned image will be opened in an image-editing program, you’ll see no traces of dust. It means you’ll have to spend less time to post-process the scan. We’ll see in the next section of the review how this technology works in practice.

Testbed and Methods

We test all scanners on the same testbed:

  • Intel Pentium 4 3.00GHz CPU
  • 1GB DDR SDRAM
  • Intel Bonanza D875PBZ mainboard
  • ATI RADEON 7000 graphics card
  • IBM Deskstar DTLA-307015 hard disk drive
  • Samsung SyncMaster 757NF monitor
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1

Digitization Speed

Speed is one of the most important characteristics of a scanner and each user expects the scanner to do its work quickly. However, the manufacturers do not always put the speed characteristics into the specification and even if they do, they use some incomprehensible measurement units. Of course, there are a lot of various factors that determine the scanning speed like the whole processing power of the computer, the amount of system memory and of free disk space. The capabilities of the scanner itself matter much, too. The main speed-determining factor is the time the mercury-based lamp (lamps of that type are used in a majority of SOHO scanners) takes to warm up: about 20-25 seconds are necessary for the mercury to change its state from liquid into gas to ensure the required uniformity of the lamp’s spectrum. The CanoScan 5200F can automatically calibrate the lamp before scanning which brings about a considerable reduction of the total scanning time (the white point for the current state of the lamp is set up on this step). Moreover, as I mentioned above, you can choose the time interval before the lamp turns off. You can make it longer to avoid the necessity of warming the lamp up before the next scan operation. But the most important innovation – thanks to which the scanner is ready to work almost in an instant – is the improved optical system of the lamp. It leads to a threefold reduction of the lamp warm-up time!

I measured the digitization speed in three basic resolutions (300dpi, 600dpi and 2400dpi) and with two standard originals. I turned my stopwatch on the moment I pressed the Scan button down and stopped it when the scanning carriage returned into its initial position.

The total scanning time is going to be longer for transparent originals if the dust & scratches removal technology is enabled in the driver. In this case the scanning is performed in two steps: 1) scanning in infrared light to identify defects and 2) digitizing the film. So I give you two numbers for the 35mm film (slide) – with FARE Level 2 on and off.

 
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