computer/canoscan lide80.jpgThe price of scanners continues to drop while the quality improves. This $149 scanner offers 2400 x 4800 dpi scanning, an easy USB hook-up and great software. Instead of the CCD (charge-coupled device) technology, this scanner is based on the newer CIS (contact image sensor). This technology allows the scanner to be thinner and cheaper.

It also lets the scanner draw power through the USB connection with no chunky power block or power cable needed. Although the CCD technology is generally thought of as better quality, the CanoScan 80’s CIS produced consistently good scans.

Installation is easy. Just plug the scanner into the USB port on your computer, install the software and you are ready to go. The LiDE 80 comes with Photoshop Elements 2.0. ScanGear CS, CanoScan Toolbox Arcsoft PhotoStudio, ArcSoft PhotoBase, and ScanSoftOmniPageSE OCR, all of which run on both PCs and Macs. Installing all of these programs will take a little time, but together they make a powerful suite of applications. I liked the fact that the installation screen gave a description of each program and an explanation of what the program does so you can decide for yourself whether or not you want to install it.

This scanner is USB 2 enabled, so if you have a newer computer with a USB 2 port it will be quite speedy, showing a preview of scanned images in less than 10 seconds. If you have a computer with an older USB port, the scanner will still work properly, but will perform at the slower USB1 speeds.

This scanner is only about an inch thick. It can lie on the desktop, or be placed vertically on its side with the included stand. It was easy to place most objects to be scanned onto the platen with the scanner in vertical position, but books, unusual objects and multiple objects will require the scanner to be placed flat on the desk. The nifty Z-Lid expansion top lifts up to 1-inch high and stays flat for scanning thick books and magazines. The front of the scanner has four easy-access buttons; Copy, Scan, File, and Email.   These help to automate the scanning process. They also let you save images to PDF, make quick copies, and e-mail items quickly and easily. The spun aluminum cover gives the scanner a neat high-tech look, but it seems to be susceptible to small dents.

One of the neatest features of the LiDE80 is what it can do for older photos. My new granddaughter arrived about the same time as the scanner so we took a ton of digital photos. I then dragged out my old family photos to show my daughter how much the baby looked like her. Compared to the new photos, the old ones looked scratched, dull and drab. So I took a few and scanned them into the computer. The scanner automatically removed the scratches and dust particles and brightened the images. It was even able to automatically remove the white border on the old photos. The results were so outstanding that I have now started a new project to scan my old photos into the computer and store them on CDs. Not only will I have my old photos preserved, but they will look better than ever. The LiDE80 also comes with a film adapter that lets you scan negatives in single frames or strips. Unfortunately, the film adapter doesn’t accommodate single mounted slides, but it does a fine job on 35 film negatives.

This CanoScan also lets you scan multiple photos at once. This can save a lot of time on large projects. The "Multi-Scan mode" will scan all the pictures placed on the platen glass in a single pass, but it puts each photo in a separate image file. It will even adjust slightly misaligned photos. This is one nifty scanner. Not only is it slim and light, but it is smart enough to make your scanning chores easy


Manufacturer:  Canon

Price:  $149