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HP PhotoSmart Photo Scanner

by Javier Henderson, 1997


The Hewlett-Packard PhotoSmart Photo Scanner is a compact unit that won't take too much desktop real estate, is relatively easy to set up, and produces great results.

As an alternative to PhotoCD scans, this is a great value. It's a rather compact unit that won't take a lot of desktop real estate, and it connects to your PC via a provided SCSI host adaptor (or you can just connect it to an existing one).

Easy to install and setup

The installation time is directly proportional to the amount of junk you have to move out of the way before you can open your PC's case. >From the time you open your PC, count on about 20 minutes. Then add some time to put the junk back in place. No particularly special tools are needed, other than a screwdriver (most PC's have Philips screws, though some HP's have Torx screws inside).

Installing the scanner involves a few steps, the exact number of which actually depends on wether you already have a SCSI host adaptor on your PC or not. I didn't, so it boiled down to:

  • Install the supplied SCSI host adaptor
  • Playing with hardware is my favorite thing to do, so this part was easy. It's a standard ISA 16 bit board, with a connector on the L bracket.

  • Plug in a cable
  • The SCSI cable is supplied. You can plug it into the SCSI host adaptor, or if you already have SCSI devices, on the last device on the chain. There's a rotary switch in the back of the unit to select the SCSI ID. The device is auto-terminating, so there's no need to add an external terminator even if it's the last device on the SCSI chain.

  • Load the drivers
  • When you power back your computer, after putting it back together, Windows 95 will detect the new hardware, and prompt you to load the disk with the drivers. Follow the prompts, reboot once more, run the install program in the supplied CD again, and it'll install the rest of the scanning software.

Scanning is easy

Basically, you insert the media, and a window pops up, prompting you to "click here" to start scanning. Once you "click there", the media is scanned at a fairly fast speed at a medium resolution, and it's presented on the screen.

You can now make some adjustments to color balance and exposure, choose the cropping size and scanning resolution, and if you inserted a negative strip, you can choose which frame to scan.

Once the above is completed, you select the output, and the actual scanning take place. The actual speed depends on the resolution. At 1200dpi, you can count on about 30 to 45 seconds for a 35mm frame.

Multiple input media supported

You can scan mounted slides (35mm, no glass mounts), negative strips (color or b&w, up to six frames per strip) and prints (up to 5"x7"). Unfortunately, only reflective media can be scanned at sizes other than 35mm. This means that you still need Pro PhotoCD scans for your beautiful 4x5 transparencies. A plastic pouch is provided to feed delicate media (an old photo that's falling apart or some really thin media, for instance).

Resolution is good

With negatives and slides, you can do up to 2400dpi. In the web world, pixels have more meaning than dots per inch, and at max resolution, you're looking at about 2000 x 3000 pixels for a 35mm frame, which rivals PhotoCD resolutions.

For a $500 scanner, quality is surprisingly good. The main problem I encountered is dealing with dust control. Using a can of compressed air and a fine camel brush helps a lot in this regard.

For photos that are destined to be displayed on the web, this scanner is a fine alternative to PhotoCD scans, though if the intention is to eventually output to a high end printer or film recorder, PhotoCD or FlashPIX are probably better choices.

The control software is user affectionate

I consider this somewhat of a hindrance. I suppose the original design criteria was to make it as easy to use as possible, but all the beeps get to be annoying after a while, and the slide controls for exposure and color correction don't offer the ability to enter discrete values. On the other hand, PhotoShop has lots of tools with which to manipulate a picture.

This means that while the provided software allows for minimal control of the basics, it doesn't have any advanced features, so you really do need some sort of image processing tool. Besides the above mentioned PhotoShop, which retails for close to $600 with sales tax, there are some shareware options like Lview. A copy of Microsoft's Picture It! is included in the package, though it's really designed for the very light user.

It's memory hungry

With 64MB, and only the scanning software plus PhotoShop running, I had a moderate amount of swapping activity at 1200dpi, and the system was almost impossible to use at 2400dpi. Increasing the memory to 96MB eliminated the swapping at even 2400dpi, so this is probably the minimum amount of memory recommended for high resolution scans. Fortunately, memory is relatively cheap these days.

After some experimentation, I found that a good compromise is to select a medium resolution that yields 900 x 600 pixels.

How to deal with the output

The scanning software can produce files in various formats (bit maps, jpeg, gif, tiff, flashpix, and one or two others), or you can direct the scan to PhotoShop, which I think is the most convenient way, since it saves an intermediate step. You can then manipulate the image as needed, and save it in whatever format you prefer (say, a medium quality JPEG for web publishing, and a BMP for archival).

One of the great advantages of PhotoCD is that each scan is stored into a single file of moderate size (around 5MB), which includes multiple resolutions between 192x128 all the way up to 3072x2048, with thumbnails. The supplied software, unfortunately, does not have a similar option, so if you want to have a given frame scanned into multiple resolutions, you will need to scan it one time for each resolution desired.

Speaking of file sizes, a 35mm frame scanned at the maximum resolution and saved as a bitmap file will take about 18 to 22 megabytes.

Another minor nit is the fact that if you want to scan multiple frames from a given negative strip, you need to insert the strip once for each scan. This means that if you happen to be really good at taking pictures and want to scan all four frames on a single strip at three resolutions per frame, you need to feed the strip twelve times. Rather annoying and time consuming.

Some technical details

The light source is a Xenon fluorescent tube, and pixel depth works out to 10 bits for each of the three colors. The unit weighs 6 pounds (2.72kg) and measures 3.5" (9cm) tall, 7.75" (20cm) wide and 11.5" (29.7cm) deep.

Summary

It's a great value, and if you expect to have a lot of scanning done, it's an economical alternative to PhotoCD.

The documentation provided is certainly adequate, and a multimedia CD with videoclips is provided. Pity that it's only compatible with Windows 95, and not available for Macintosh or Unix (I suppose asking for a VMS version of the software is too much...).

There's some third party drivers available, which reportedly work with Windows NT and Windows 98. They are available at http://www.hamrick.com.

Related links

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



J Greely , August 15, 1997; 11:49 A.M.

Be sure to grab the updated driver software. This plugs the memory leak that causes it to drag your machine to its knees.

Word of warning about six-frame negative strips: folks over on Usenet have complained about the first frame getting scratched or jammed inside the scanner; I haven't tried it myself.

For slide shooters, the biggest caveat is shadow noise. HP insists that unacceptable results only happen in the darkest shadow areas; my experience is that they become obvious a lot sooner than that. The only fix is to adjust the shadow slider down a bit.

J Greely , August 18, 1997; 11:23 P.M.

I decided to test the "six-negative scratching" problem that was alluded to on Usenet. The new driver fixes it...by quietly limiting the maximum length of a filmstrip to four frames. Longer strips (up to eight frames) must now be scanned by inserting the other end of the strip into the scanner and rotating the image in the driver.

Much like the undocumented "panoramic mask" detection, I could find no mention of this in the online help files.

Toby Weiss , October 04, 1997; 10:41 P.M.

My comments do not support the HP Photosmart help line for the scanner. There persistance that the problem can be bypassed by an adjustment is interesting. While I have been able to fix the "shadow artifact noise" by notching down the dark shadow slider in one slide, other slides seem completely uncorrectable. The noise branches off into sky tones in my skyward wide angle high-rise photography. The "artifact noise" tends to take on a green hue.

It is a shame. This is such a nice unit otherwise. I'm almost temped to start shooting only Royal Gold 25 and 100 just so I can have nice scans.

I've tried everything from multiple calibrations, calls to HP support, compressed air cleaning, covering the unit with dark cloth to block out light, scanning the slide emulsion side up and down, and bending head down about 90 degrees... on my knees... as the scanner takes yet another pass.

HP's response: we tried to make the scanner for a broad market appeal.....

Can't fault them for that. However, I sure hope they can fix it with a software patch soon.

Toby

Hans van Velsen , November 10, 1997; 04:55 A.M.

I have 2 issues with the scanner. 1. The driver is NOT supported by NT. When you try to install, the setup program tells you the scanner is only supported by Win95 and stops...:-( 2. If you want to scan a strip of negatives of 4, I find you have to reinsert the strip after each negative you've made a final scan of. Very frustrating! Questions therefore: 1. Has anyone seen an NT driver? 2. Am I stupid (Yes, but that's in the general sense), do I need to reread the manual or is there a fix. Otherwise, the scanner works just fine!

Earl Faneuf , Jr. -- , November 25, 1997; 10:55 P.M.

I am happy with the output results. I am VERY unhappy with the following things: 1. No Windows NT4 support 2. No auto scanning of entire strips I think they have failed us as customers for this.

Carl-Magnus Dumell , February 02, 1998; 04:29 P.M.

Considering the price, this is magic box. The problem with dark areas when scanning slides is the only quality problem, apart from that I can only complain about having to reinsert the strip for every frame I want to scan and that it can only scan mounted slides, not slides only cut into strips like all my hundreds of slides are. Perhaps the software will be updated to fix these two practical drawbacks. Even so, I already prefere my HP PhotoSmart at home to my Polaroid SprintScan 35LE at work although the SprintScan costs twice as much ... execpt when scanning slides.

Gordie Davidson , February 13, 1998; 09:40 P.M.

The HP Photosmart Photo Scanner is a great "HOME" use machine. I tried it, but did not keep it because of the awkward way one must load a negative strip, that is, without a holder and the difficulty of controlling dust. The software resizing/cropping tool was frustrating because it maintains a 3x4 rectangle perspective in either landscape or portrait orientation. You can not simply crop out a square. Otherwise a grea

Dominique BERTRAND , April 15, 1998; 10:54 P.M.

I use a HP photosmart for one year now. Appart that it is a good scanner, I find the twain driver looking a bit poor. I would like to use something simpler, like the nikon driver. Does it exist? Also, I can't save or grab in one time the 4 or 6 negatives that are being prescan. That would be very usefull to generate "contact". Is there a way to do this?

Thank-you for your kind answer.

Dominique

Aka Gvakharia , May 07, 1998; 12:48 P.M.

Regarding HP PhotoSmart and Windows NT... Scanner works great with NT. All you have to do BEFORE installing hardware create an empty text file in WinNT directory and call it hpi_dev.ini File should be empty. After that software is installed and works great. (Well, you still have to reinsert negative strips for every frame) Also, if you want a freehand crop be sure to use maximum resolution scanning. There also is a freeware patch that makes scanning all 4 images on negat. stip available. I have it but have not tried it yet. You can e-mail me if you need it.

Jeremy Tavan , July 20, 1998; 02:54 P.M.

About the lack of Unix support for this scanner: Although I do not own one (yet!), I will be buying one for use with my Linux-based computer. Driver software for this scanner (and many others) is available under the name "SANE" from here. Free software, even. And I'm told that it integrates well with The Gimp, a superb image manipulation program available at gimp.org.

Peter Thoshinsky , November 01, 1998; 03:07 A.M.

Let me start by saying I'm not a digital darkroon nerd. Just the names TWAINs and BITMAPS scare me. I'm still not sure what a DRIVER is. That said what I am is a traditional darkroom enthusiast who was looking for an easy way to "proof" my black and white work by scanning the image, tweaking it a little, and then deciding if it was worth hours in the darkroom to produce an 11x14 inch fiber print. I have never much cared for contact sheets or batch processing a bunch of 4x6's to evaluate six rolls of film. I gave up on labs years ago. Photo CD is great but expensive, and I hate sending film in the mail. I just finished my first evening with the HP Photo Smart. Scans are straight foward. I had to spend a little time researching the properties of file sizes. Turns out I could have avoided that and stuck with thePhoto Smart's recommendations. It asks you when you scan if the output is for monitor or printing, asks you what size, and then sets the highest quality for that purpose. It knows when to create a 5 mg file, and when not to. I told it I was going to output an 8x10 print and it set the highest standard and largest file size. When I told it I just needed a small web image it picked a small file size. File formats (jpeg vs. bitmap etc) are easy to pick, and pop up on the main menu/scan selections. Moving your image into any other photo manipulation software is a piece of cake. Just run the program you prefer in the backround and exporting the scanned image into that program is one click on a selection icon. By the way, I was thrilled with the quality of the scans (black and white negative). 8x10 output at 1200 dpi was virtually photo quality on a HP 722c. Drawback was Scala slides. The scanner thinks the slide mode means "color". To get black and white images from black and white slides meant a manual color adjustment or moving the image to another program and converting the image. In reality only a minor step. In fact the manual color adjustment was a lot like "instant" toning. Pretty cool (and much faster than berg toner solution and a fixer bath). Because the stripes of negatives must be reinserted for each scan, avoid this scanner if you do a lot (more than 100 per week) of scanning. IMHO: Overall it should suit the needs of all but the most serious digital darkroom worker and/or professional.

Gene Anderson , November 07, 1998; 02:56 P.M.

There are now NT 4.0 drivers available for the HP Photosmart Scanner. Unfortunately you can't just download them from the HP web site:

http://www.hp.com/cposupport/prodhome/pspscan.html

but must call an 800 number and pay a $2.95 processing fee:

"To obtain the Windows 95/98/NT 4.0 drivers from Software distribution, request part number ps140muc at the following locations: U.S.: 1-805-257-5565 Europe: +44 1429 865511"

Tiger Moses , November 10, 1998; 10:26 P.M.

The retail price these days is $399 and HP currently has a $100 rebate thru Dec 31, 1998. If you want a HOME photo slide scanner, its really hard to beat!

Staffan Johansson , December 12, 1998; 05:02 P.M.

The HP PhotoSmart scanner is fine in many respects. I have however found that the dynamic range seems to be too low. In dark areas of a slide I have found noise and some unpleasing regular pattern as if the scanning device has sensors of unequal sensitivity. A striped look is the result. This has been evident in slides where the contrast ratio is rather high. So my question is, do you find the HP device having good-enough dynamic range for serious work?

Andrew Kim , December 15, 1998; 03:05 A.M.

A note regarding lines in the images...

If you see lines that run horizontally (ie parallel to the feed direction), it may be that you have a CCD that has some problematic elements. I saw three distinct lines consistently in my images which were slightly darker than the surround scan, which no cleaning was able to get rid of. I just assumed this was the normal level of consistency among the elements.

Then, the feed mechanism of my unit died after 8 days of use, so I just got an exchange at the local CompUSA. Well, this unit is beautiful, no such lines! So, if you see such things, don't be shy about trying another unit.

Alan Campbell , December 22, 1998; 06:20 A.M.

All in all, I really like the HP Photsmart. However... I use slide film a *lot*, I develop my own film, and I *hate* mounting slides. So when I insert a strip of film to scan, I have to "invert" the scanned image. The HP insists on treating all strip film as negatives (sigh).

Lenik Terenin , January 07, 1999; 02:41 A.M.

HP PhotoSmart is a brilliant piece of equipment!

If you want to extend possibilities or get new software with additional features, you may visit HP PhotoSmart 3-rd party software page at:

http://www.mecc.co.jp/lenik/psmart.htm

William Baguhn , February 08, 1999; 02:18 A.M.

Yes, the HP Photosmart Scanner is compatible with Unix/Linux. Prospective users of this combination should probably avoid SANE-0.73, and jump right to SANE-1.00 or better. I have no troubles under Linux with an EISA Adaptec controller on a 486 with 32 MB ram, even for 2400 dpi scans from 35mm slides.

Jakob Kisslinger , February 16, 1999; 11:06 A.M.

I had quite a lot of problems with that scanner. I got my scanner exchanged twice. Due to the fact that the third scanner had problems again I returned it to my dealer. (to get an idea about problems that may occur have a look at the hp-userforum )

I had especially problems with slides. Negatives seemed to be ok.

Now I'm thinking about ordering the Nikon Coolscan III. Has anyone had bad experiences with that one ?

Andy BEALS , April 29, 1999; 05:42 P.M.

Something that cannot be emphasised enough: its film [strip] handling is positively awful. If your negative strip ends up going in skewed, it will get scratched when it gets ejected out the top, between the lid and the feed opening.

The software is not only lame, it's stupid: rotational controls readily available [admission that their film feed is awful?] but no controls to flip the image left-right if you happen to goof on the feed, no top-bottom flip either, at that [must rotate through, yuck].

Getting it to scan can be problematic. Sometimes when you push the film in, it scans, other times it simply sits at you. Sometimes it half-starts and won't let go of your film.

As a photo scanner it is truely awful. Lower resolution at "300dpi" than a HP 6200 flatbed at 150dpi.

That said, I am a total nerd and demand that things work, whether they're fancy or plain, and work 100% right at that. I fear that I'm going to have to spend a lot more in order to get a scanner that gives good results with the huge stacks of negatives [4 formats and counting] I've managed to accumulate. It probably is a good unit for someone who shoots a p&s 35mm and wants to shoot photos to friends and family across the web.

Jeff Putz , May 10, 1999; 01:01 P.M.

The free software from the Japanese fellow makes the scanner a much more useful piece. Gone is the strange banding generated by HP's dummy software.

The only thing I really miss about HP's software is the starting point for shading the photo. Some times it takes a lot of tweaking in Photoshop just to get to a good starting point after scanning with this software. Any suggestions? Is there a filter that can get you there more quickly?

Chris Bitmead , May 20, 1999; 08:27 P.M.

As the poster above mentioned, the PhotoSmart works on Linux/UNIX with the free SANE software. If you use it with the Gimp (UNIX's free Photoshop alternative), it will scan the image directly into the Gimp. Works well, and the xsane driver allows you to preview and adjust brightness/contrast etc just like the original driver.

Sudheer Prasad , June 03, 1999; 02:36 A.M.

I found these useful links for Photo Smart scanner, and also the new Photo Smart S20 scanner.

Looks like the S20 has solved most of the problems faced by the old scanner.
 

  • Photo Smart review by Steve Hoffmann's
  • s20 review by Steve Hoffmann's
  • PScan32 free software GUI for Photo Smart
  • HP PhotoSmart FAQ by Robert J.Niland
  • Dmitry Kohmanyuk , July 13, 1999; 06:51 A.M.

    What about Unix or Linux support for Photosmart S20 (one with USB)?

    Louis Giliberto , July 30, 1999; 02:23 A.M.

    I just bought the new S20 and have the following observations:

    1) It is extremely susceptible to dust. The roller mechanism used to feed the negatives and/or film strips attracts dust like a magnet.

    2) I'd rather use a carrier because I have already had one negative strip go in skewed and it got "eaten". I hope HP considers this.

    3) You now can scan a whole strip in one shot unlike its predecessor.

    4) For a $500 scanner, I am pleased with the results of the scans at 2400 DPI.

    5) If you only want to scan prints, you can get the same (or better) results with a cheaper flat bed scanner.

    I think it is worth the price and works as advertised.

    One thing I discovered because of this scanner was how the 1-hour shops treat the negatives. I never realized how mangled the negatives are when those places give them back to you. Part of it must be the machines because I can see scratches where their developing machines must have rolled them through, but there are tiny speck scratches on many of them (they must bang them around when they are still wet). Time to find some new labs...

    Kevin Liang , November 27, 1999; 11:35 A.M.

    It seems that the S20 has really improved on the original photosmart, which was pretty good to begin with. Now, I'm just wondering if there's linux support for it. I know there's never going to be Mac support...

    Wee Keng_Hor , November 27, 1999; 07:19 P.M.


    Kee Lai outside the tent in Karakul Lake, Xingjiang (China)

    I've been using the 24 bit Nikon Coolscan II until recently when I swtiched to the 36 bit HP PhotoSmart S20. It proves to be a better scanner at a much cheaper prices!
    The 24 bit Coolscan has problem scanning dark images and would have rendered the image as total black with details. For the attached image, the Nikon isn't able to pick up the tents in the background and the details inside the tent. And the black isn't exactly 'clean' too. But the 36 bit PhotoSmart does the job well! And the color setting is also precise such that I don't have to alter the color using Photoshop.
    And what's more, it also scans prints up to the size of 5R!
    I'm really satisfied with it.

    Todor Todorov , November 26, 2000; 03:56 A.M.

    Haven't use the scanner in over two years, but decided to scan some negatives a month ago. Here is what I learned:

    1. Call HP and get the new software ver. 2.50. It runs on 95/98/NT and 2000 (one will need 3rd party SCSI card, e.g. Adaptec).
    2. It realy is a magnet for dust! Open it carefully and clean it.
    3. Tried scanning some hardcopy pictures. Terrible results! Poor colors and an ugly line along the right side :( I opened the scanner and cleaned all mirrors with propyl alcohol. Be VERY careful! This gave much cleaner colors and the line disapered.
    4. It takes a lot of time to scan 11 rolls of film :( Ona have to reinsert, preview and rescan each slide. It turns out, it is a software limitation. HP software sucks!
    5. Found an automated scanner software at a Japanise site PSmart Scan32. It is fast, but produces poor colors compared to HP's. (Or I am too stupid to adjust it).
    6. Found much better software package called YAPSCU. It has a lot of options one can adjust to get a clean and correct picture. The nice thing is that one can choose to save those as a profile and use it when scanning new negatives. (Not even the HP software allows to save your settings). It can be fully automated - you insert the negative strip - it scans, calibrates and saves the images - you can now insert the next strip! Great :) With the HP software I could scan 35 slides in 90 min (and required more work) - YAPSCU can do this in 20 min!

    Conclusion:
    The $400 are well invested. It will do it's job and produce a very good quality scans. Get the new HP drivers and get 3rd party scanner software. Be prepared to fight with dust!

    Ronald Dalton , January 15, 2001; 04:58 P.M.

    I have used my HP Photosmart for about one year, 2,000 slides and color negatives, with little problem.

    But with antique (~>40years old) color slides, that I took and stored I find there is a serious fade / color fringe problem at the edges of lines that go through the scanner side ways, but not lines that are along the direction of film travel. I get a Cyan Yellow Magenta seperation of about -6 0 and +6 pixels.

    I expect that the cyan die layer has diffused normal to the film serface into the protective layer on one side, and the magenta had diffused into the protective layer on the other side. This gives a color separation when the line is viewed from the side, as in the case of a short focal length lense, but not when viewed normal to the film surface as is the case in the long lens projection.

    When I project the slides on a screen, and even when I capture the image with digital camera the color fringe is not present.

    When I scan the slide on a Nikon Coolscan III the problem is gone.

    I think that the problem is due to the use of a very short (1 or 2 mm) focal length, cylinderical lens in the HP scanner. I expect, from the size of the Nikon box that the lens is much longer a focal length, as is the case for the slide projector.

    You see the photos showing the fringe problem at:

    http://pluto5.nuceng.ufl.edu/daltons/Misc_images/Default.htm#fringes

    This is such a serious problem for me, that I am selling the HP PhotoSmart scnner (I also have a HP 6300 flatbed scanner) and am in the process of buying a Nikon 2710 Cool Scan for 35 mm film.

    Hope that this information may be of use to some of you out there.

    Dan Dresner , May 17, 2001; 12:44 P.M.

    A word of caution about HP quality:

    I have been a long-time user of HP products because I just couldn't get it out of my head that they produced excellent products - in spite of my real-world experiences. Well, I've bought my last HP product.

    PhotoSmart scanner: Very good results for the first 100-150 slides, then all of a sudden the color registration went south. Green, yellow, and red were separated by as much as 1/16" on my 15" monitor (without software enlargement). A call to the tech line revealed that the first xxxx machines had one of the elements glued in place and that the glue wasn't holding properly. They took my machine back and bolted the loose part down with metal straps. 50 slides later, the same problem reappeared: one slide was fine, then the next slide was way off. Another call to HP. "Turn the scanner ***upsidedown(!)*** and cycle the front panel control through the various media types several times", he said.

    <Clanks and clunks from the bowels of the scanner> When I wiped the sweat from my brow and tried scanning, the first 3 slides came out much better, but still with a noticable color separation. The 4th slide was completely shot again. Another call to HP (several months have passed now): "We have no record of any repair to your scanner - sorry. And our techs never heard of the bolt-down fix you described. But we'd be happy to repair it. For $240."

    For $240 dollars, it's going to hit the junk pile.

    My HP laserjet 4p crumpled every page that went through it. Turns out that HP had to issue a recall/repair on that model. That was 4-5 years ago. It started doing the exact same thing 2-1/2 years after the "repair" with only very light (non-office) useage in between.

    My HP ScanJet 4c has also received *very* light use - and every other day it sounds like it has thrown a rod when I turn it on. On good days (correlated with the position of Jupiter), it sounds fine.

    My DeskJet 882c has run perfectly. I'm waiting to be electrocuted one of these days when I turn it on.

    I take good care of my components, folks, and don't abuse them in any way. In all other respects, I check out to be fairly normal: I simply can't believe that my experience with HP products is aberrent. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the emperor really isn't wearing any clothes. Three out of four "well-built" products that turn out to be stinkers is just too far above the industry average to be coincidence.

    I know that when their products work well, they work "really" well. The problem is that purchasing them is just a little too much like Russian roulette for me.

    Count me out of HP's fan club.

    Fabian Gonzales , October 09, 2001; 12:39 A.M.

    I second Dan's comments. I recently wowed never to buy anything from HP again. I purchased the S20 scanner some months ago, and had problems from day one. I never could get the driver software to work reliably.

    After a lot of installing/uninstalling and tweaking I could somehow get the scanner to work, only for the driver to fail on me again the next time I used the scanner.

    I called HP tech support, which was a complete waste of time. In the end, HP suggested that my excellent Dell computer was at fault, because of an IRQ conflict or something else ridiculous.

    Caveat emptor. My recommendation: spend a little more and get a Nikon Coolscan instead. The scan quality of the PhotoSmart is mediocre at best anyway.

    john tanner , February 03, 2008; 01:07 P.M.

    I had used this scanner a lot and I recently added a new computer a HP and egads Vista will no allow this HP scanner and HP does not supply any drivers. I would say anyone who buys any HP product will reget it! I tried to call them and can not believe how bad the support is. HP is the worst tech copmpany there is! And they are far worse than Microsoft which is impossible!

    Dee Artagnanh , August 20, 2009; 08:18 P.M.

    There is a related discussion around this topic in the 'slide scanners' thread. Like the other thread, I noticed that it is old and outdated. I would have loved to see new information regarding this but couldn't find any in this forum. Thus, for anyone like me looking around for updated data on slide and photo scanners, the automatic ones specifically, I've found this automatic photo scanner site that provides complete information any professional or enthusiast would want.

    With regard to HP, I am also inclined to agree that their support is not that good. It's no wonder that a lot of their scanners' production have been discontinued, probably because a lot of users opted to outright return them instead of relying on support for help. Hopefully, they'll bounce back in better shape. After all, their technology is not that bad. It probably just needed the right people to put it to work.


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