capsule review

Microtek ScanMaker 6100 Pro

At a Glance
  • Microtek ScanMaker 6100Pro Flatbed Scanner

Microtek ScanMaker 6100 Pro
Photograph: Rick Rizner

The Microtek ScanMaker 6100 Pro is a solid flatbed scanner that handles both printed material and transparencies. Its most noteworthy feature, its high 3200-by-6400-dots-per-inch optical resolution, is particularly useful for making sizable enlargements from small items, such as a 35mm slide or film negative. As with previous ScanMaker models, the 6100 also has a front panel full of quick-start buttons for common scanning tasks.

The ScanMaker 6100 Pro rated very well for overall image quality. It scored better than all but the HP Scanjet 5590 when scanning color photos at maximum resolution; and it ranked first among the SOHO scanners for its prowess in reproducing on screen the geometric patterns, lines, and small fonts in a complex black-and-white test pattern scanned at maximum resolution (in this case, 3200 dpi).

In our speed tests, the 6100 delivered mixed results. Though the 30 seconds it took to scan a 2-by-2-inch color photo (at 1200 dpi) was faster than all other scanners in the SOHO group (generally by at least several seconds), this scanner was considerably slower than competing models in most other tests. For example, it took 23.6 seconds to scan a 4-by-5-inch color photo (at 100 dpi), nearly twice as long as it took the fastest SOHO scanner, the Epson Perfection 2480 Photo (12 seconds), to complete the same test.

To beef up the 6100's film-scanning features, Microtek includes a pair of templates: one holds two 35mm filmstrips, and the other accommodates four 35mm slides and/or one 120mm film transparency. Because they're sturdy, the templates hold transparencies firmly, which makes it possible to scan film with greater precision than with most previous ScanMaker models. You can also scan up to six 35mm frames (from two film strips) at a time, which is more than you can do with some other SOHO scanners (such as the Epson Perfection 2480 Photo). A third template is provided for scanning larger transparencies up to 4 by 5 inches. The small but useful light box built into the lid for previewing transparencies is also convenient. In informal tests, film scans made at various resolutions generally looked very good, with pleasing colors and crisp details.

The 6100's generous software bundle includes an image editor (Adobe Photoshop Elements 2), an image manager (Ulead Photo Explorer 8 SE), an OCR application (Abbyy FineReader 5 Sprint), and a color management utility. The 6100 package also provides two scanning drivers: Microtek's own TWAIN driver (ScanWizard 5) has a streamlined interface that's easy for beginners, as well as a more sophisticated mode with lots of manual controls for advanced users; and LaserSoft Imaging's SilverFast AI includes a wealth of additional controls for choosing film type and exposure, and for removing scratches and dust in scans of both prints and transparencies.

One consideration, especially for novice users, is that Microtek provides only six months of free technical support for the 6100, unlike the full year of support many other SOHO scanners include.

The Microtek ScanMaker 6100 Pro's high resolution, versatile transparency adapter, and powerful scanning software make this unit well suited for serious users who are more interested in image quality than in speed.

Microtek ScanMaker 6100 Pro

USB 2.0, 3200 by 6400 dpi, 11.5 by 19.0 by 3 inches (width by depth by height), 6.8 pounds, 8.5-by-11-inch scanning area; includes transparency adapter, no automatic document feeder. Six-month warranty; technical support for 10 hours on weekdays (calls are not toll-free).

Richard Jantz

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At a Glance
  • Microtek ScanMaker 6100Pro Flatbed Scanner

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