Scanners and printers have one thing in common. They typically use 3-color printing or 3-color scanning. This means that the one light source that is used to read the color information works on 3 separate visual frequencies, each of which is fallible because of the fact that the color spectrum they perceive is not quite smooth. The result is that you get colors that are not quite the same as your scanned photo, or not quite the same on print as your computer screen suggested it would be.
The $200 HP Scanjet G4050 Photo Scanner is the solution to mismatched color scans for every noble-intentioned scanner user out there. The scanner is like any other color scanner in its default 3-color scanning mode, but where it begins to solve the problem of false colors is in the 6-color scanning option it offers.
The way the 6-color scanning functions is rather simple. In place of one light source, the 6-color scan uses two light sources. These light sources run on different frequencies, meaning that each sensor is predicting a different color pattern. Then, the 6-color scanning takes the information of each sensor and overlaps the result to produce an integrated product that is much closer to the actual color than a 3-color scan result.
The consequence of such an efficient system is that the necessity to tune the scanner to each distinct type to assure color accuracy is made redundant. The end product is simple: scanned photographic prints come out excellent. Although the G4050, with its 4,800 pixels per inch, can’t quite match the sharpest detail of much more expensive scanners, its ability to hit the color on the head is a redeeming quality.
The G4050 can also scan film strips, unlike its less-expensive cousin the G4010. Also, the G4050 boasts built-in sensors to remove scratch and dust marks. In addition, the G4010 doesn’t have the transparency adaptor in its scanner lid that allows room for 16 slides to be scanned simultaneously. In the long run, the G4050 is quite the time saver. It can handle up to 30 frames of 35 millimeter film strips, 2 medium-format frames, 16 35 millimeter slides or one big 4×5 inch piece.
The only thing about the G4050 that can be bothersome is the slow software. It eventually gets the job done, but if time is of the essence, other software might be preferable. On the other hand, the Twain driver that the machine works with is simple to use, and is the secret engine that allows multiple photo prints or film frames to be scanned together.
The G4050 is an excellent machine, and just might be worth the 50 bucks more than the G4010.