Replacing the popular 8800F, Canon's CanoScan 9000F has been on the market for several years. In fact, a Mark II version was recently announced (although not yet in Australia), but the only difference is in the bundled software. Other specifications are identical in both scanners. Configured to meet the needs of most photo enthusiasts, the 9000F's maximum optical resolution of 9600 x 9600 dpi should be more than enough for most photo enthusiasts.
Angled view of the CanoScan 9000F with its lid closed. (Source: Canon.)
Before perusing this review, a word of warning: digitising images at high resolutions for either archiving or printing is very time-consuming. And, although the 9000F is faster than many enthusiast-level scanners, you will need to be patient when you ask it to extract the maximum potential quality from your original prints, negatives and slides.
Who's it For?
The CanonScan 9000F represents a good buy for photo enthusiasts with a collection of standard-sized prints and film images to scan. It's also a worthwhile scanner for rank amateurs who are getting into scanning for the first time and want high quality images to archive or print. Its straightforward control interface makes it easy to choose both fully automated scanning modes and user-controlled scanning.
The LED lamps in this scanner produce consistent colour rendition and Canon's built-in profiles do a good job under most circumstances. However, the ScanGear driver isn't as sophisticated as third-party software from SilverFast and VueScan so it can't quite match these applications' scan quality or colour accuracy, particularly with colour negative films. And it has a couple of other limitations for more serious enthusiasts.
Although Scan Gear allows you to add new settings to the Output dialog box, its fixed preview window size won't let you preview images that are larger than the non-adjustable pre-set. You can, however, crop preview images to eliminate areas you don't want to scan.
One feature that will deter professional users is that no facilities are provided for building a scanner profile that will allow it to be integrated into an imaging workflow. While, the built-in profiles work reasonably well, they are generalised for different types of film (colour/B&W, positive/negative) and can't be guaranteed to produce the best possible results.
Scan Gear isn't set up for scanning film originals in non-standard sizes, such as older B&W negatives and films shot with panoramic cameras. In the case of the former, there's no way to adjust the film holders if the negatives don't fit and you can't scan films without a film holder. But, even when the films fit into the holders, you can't over-ride the pre-sets. When we tried to set the image size to match negatives shot with a panoramic camera that used 35mm film, the message 'An invalid number was specified. Specify a valid number.' was displayed and the films couldn't be scanned.
Both these problems can be overcome by investing in third-party software, such as such as LaserSoft's SilverFast or Hamrick's VueScan (which is cheaper). We'll be publishing a review of SilverFast Ai Studio 8, used on the CanonScan 9000F, shortly.