HP Scanjet 4070 Photosmart review

Price when reviewed

It’s safe to say from the outset that we were hugely impressed by the HP’s quality. A quick glance at the Quality scores on p128 reveals why – the HP scored nine or more in five of our six tests.

The 4070, like most of the scanners here, has an optical resolution (horizontally) of 2,400ppi. The sheer level of detail it can produce without introducing noise is very impressive.

Scanning our snack box at 600ppi revealed almost no clipping, while subtle colour gradations were faithfully scanned. Our mono image was superbly reproduced. The 4070 showed off a good dynamic range and captured more detail than Epson’s 2580.

The HP also has some tools for colour restoration. Although none are useful for mono or damaged photos, the 4070 successfully removed the red cast from our faded Kodachrome print.

There are some frustrating features. The transparency adaptor also holds 12 reflective prints to allow for quick scanning, but it covers about 10mm of the sides and the top of the prints. Not only does this mean carefully composed images will be cropped, it also means that you won’t be able to print 6 x 4in scans without stretching the image or leaving borders at the edges. The adaptor also has twin holders for negatives. You can scan two frames from each strip before turning them over. This is inconvenient, but faster than scanning single frames as with the Canon.

At least quality was good. A slight red colour cast prevented a perfect score, but HP’s Image Zone scanning software lets you adjust the brightness of highlights, shadows and midtones. The software annoyingly forgets your settings each time you close it, but once you’ve found optimum settings you can explicitly save them.

Disappointingly, there’s no auto-crop feature, so you have to manually select the scan area each time. There’s no way to scan multiple images at once either – only the Xerox shares this shortfall.

Speed was nothing special compared to the Canon and Epson scanners – the HP was slightly slower, but still took only 20 seconds for a 7 x 5in 600ppi scan. A preview took ten seconds, but scanning a 35mm negative at the maximum optical resolution took two minutes, 28 seconds.

We liked the HP for its image quality. But considering the aggravating features such as the photo holder and scanning software, as well as the slower speed, the similarly priced Epson is clearly the better buy.

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