64bit + Canon Lide 30 + Vuescan 8.5

It works, and I should be really pleased, and I was until I clicked on ‘Purchase now’. There are two versions of Vuescan: standard or professional. Pricing is essentially half the price of a new scanner, or almost full price of a new scanner. To offset the cost, I believe that you get a five license package so that the software can be used on multiple computers on a home network for instance.

But there are compelling reasons to buy new

  1. New versions of support programs like photo editors, OCR’s etc.
  2. Quieter operation.
  3. Faster scan times.
  4. Higher resolution.
  5. The warranty.

All good stuff but consider the reasons for not buying new..

  1. Some people are still using Paint Shop Pro 7 for photo editing, and why not. It works very well. For basic stuff like red eye removal, the free Windows picture viewers do a decent job too. OCR software may have improved since I last tried it but it sure was hit and miss back then.
  2. Noise can be a problem, but unless you are scanning an entire book, the buzz saw sound is never that bad.
  3. Scan times as advertised can be misleading because they really only apply to the default resolution setting which is generally the lowest available.
  4. Usage at higher resolution other than the default results in slow operation and huge file sizes.
  5. The GREEN issue. It will be one less perfectly good scanner in the landfill site. 

Unless you are looking to buy a scanner which has more advanced features, a transparency adapter or maybe a auto sheet feeder, the only obvious benefit to a new one is that it is new and you get a new warranty. Scanners can break of course. The band which pulls the scanner head can let go and/or the circuit board can shut off power to the scanner light or refuse to tell the host computer that it is available for use, but the chances are low if the scanner is not used very much.

Like many others, I face a dilemma to which I would normally answer ‘Go buy a new one and get over it. The reasons for buying new are obvious’. Then again, the reasons for not buying new are quite compelling too. In the case of old ‘parallel’ scanners, there was a very good case to dump them, but the case for USB scanners is not so clear cut. I think that I would be more amenable to paying for Vuescan if my scanner was a much better model than the Lide 30, but we are talking ‘budget’ scanner here.

The parting shot: Vuescan 8.5 does as it claims and does it very well. The control panel is just like the original and the scanner even seemed to be quieter in operation. I can’t fault the program at all, and wish that my scanner was worth the outlay. If it was, I would definitely have a licensed Vuescan running on this computer right now.

As it stands, I still have a computer running a 32bit OS, so I will hold off making a decision for now.

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