Canon Canoscan 9000F review
The CanoScan 9000F mark II is aimed at the most demanding creative users. Its name suggests that it’s an evolution of the outgoing 9000F, but in truth the hardware appears identical to the previous model. There’s been a change to the bundled software, though, with the loss of Adobe’s excellent Photoshop Elements in favour of Canon software to handle photo organising, as well as text and facial recognition. You can also scan documents to the cloud.
The 9000F Mark II can handle either standard reflective documents at resolutions up to 4,800dpi or transparencies such as photographic slides or negatives up to an incredibly detailed 9,600dpi. Unlike cheaper scanners, it’s possible to output images with 48-bit rather than 24-bit colour, or 16-bit rather than 8 bit greyscale, which provides greater headroom and fidelity when processing or editing the results.
The backlight necessary for transparency scanning is provided by white LEDs built into the comparatively tall lid. When not needed, this is hidden behind a white backing board that clips into place. Canon supplies plastic frames for loading up to two strips of six 35mm negatives, four mounted 35mm slides or even medium format film.
Canon’s excellent TWAIN scan interface manages to balance in-depth control with ease of use. When scanning multiple negatives, for example, the software automatically generates a thumbnail of each frame which you can rotate or zoom in on, before scanning one or more selected frames in a single batch operation.
Auto scan mode detects the original document type and chooses suitable scan and file settings; it works surprisingly well
The 9000F is an incredibly fast scanner. It can scan an A4 preview or 150dpi A4 scan in only five seconds, and takes just 50 seconds to capture a postcard-sized photo at 1,200dpi. Film scanning at typical resolutions was similarly quick, with a 2,400dpi scan of a single negative taking only 53 seconds. At 4,800dpi, the same test took less than two minutes. However, the huge amount of data generated by scanning at the maximum resolution and colour depth may pose a problem for some computers. Our test laptop couldn’t cope with the 350MB generated by a 35mm scan at the maximum resolution and colour depth, and ground to a halt around a fifth of the way through the process.
You can configure the default behaviour for six of the scanner’s seven function buttons
We expected good results from this scanner, but we were surprised by just how good they were. Document scans were in perfect focus, while we were delighted with the degree to which subtle detail was preserved from our test negatives; in one photo, faint, wispy clouds were preserved in a bright blue sky, while blades of grass could still be picked out in heavy shade. Canon’s proprietary FARE system is a tool designed to scan film but not the surface imperfections of the negative, and it uses infrared light to scan the image as well as light from the visible spectrum. It roughly doubled the time taken to scan film, but it was quite successful at removing blemishes without softening or otherwise compromising the result.
The Canoscan 9000F Mark II is clearly over-specified for regular office or creative work, but it’s ideal if you have lots of film to scan and you need the best possible quality. It wins our Ultimate award.