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The Microtek V6USL USB/SCSI Scanner

Introduction

While Microtek is far from a new player in the imaging market, their presence in standard retail chains is still growing. At least in the midwestern USA arena, Microtek's products are too few and far between. Enter the bang-for-the-buck V6USL legal size scanner. Will this feature packed model be enough to open the sales floodgates? Considering the recently lowered to $149 list price, SCSI and USB capability and the LightLid (for various negatives), this scanner screams, "Buy me and you'll get a boatload of stuff!" While that may be true, I decided to compare the V6USL to my aging but still current favorite Visioneer 7600USB.

Factory Specifications
The Unit
  • Scans up to 8.5" x 14"
  • USB or SCSI Interface
  • 600dpi x 1200dpi Hardware Resolution
  • 9600dpi x 9600dpi Software Interpolated Resolution
  • 42-Bit Color Depth
  • All Accessories Included
  • LightLid for Slides/Film Strips
  • One Year Warranty
  • Web Price: $115 USD



http://www.microtek.com

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6/10 Rating

Description & Specifications

A few years ago, scanners were either SCSI, parallel or USB. This is the first model tested at TargetPC in which comparisons can be made across two interfaces.

The SCSI card included was a bit confusing. One sticker claims, "Adaptec AVA-2902" while Win98SE found an "Adaptec AIC-7850." After browsing Adaptec's site, I came to the conclusion that either model number was at least rated as fast SCSI or 20MB/s transfer rate. Remember that USB revision 1.0 is rated at 12Mb/s or 1.5MB/s.

The LightLid actually caught my attention first as I made a beeline to grab some negatives. Easily fitting slides and old-style filmstrips, a 35mm still camera negative required a bit of "futzing" before well aligned scanning could be accomplished.

The included software and accessories list is so extensive that I'll just point you to Microtek's site for those interested in all the details. Suffice it to say that I was surprised when a limited version of Adobe PhotoShop 5.0 caught my eye during installation. Considering the low list and web prices, the bevy of accessories is simply staggering and may prove to be irresistible irregardless of the actual quality of the unit itself. Kudos to the marketing people at Microtek for throwing all that stuff in the box and not forcing the wary buyer to search all over town to locate badly needed "extra" parts.

The 42-bit color depth needs some verbiage however. I'm willing to concede that there is quite a difference between 16-bit and 32-bit color as it is particularly noticeable when playing Unreal Tournament. BUT, when viewing 16-bit scans of human faces, there is not much improvement jumping to 24-bit "true" color. After researching color depths, it appears that most human eyeballs can distinguish 24-bit color, but only an excruciatingly small percentage of those can see any appreciable difference between 24 and 32-bit color. I've found no tests that confirm any detectable differences above 32-bit color. What this means to the consumer is that you shouldn't be taken in by such ideas that a 36 or 42-bit scanner will make any difference whatsoever. Here's a table denoting the various color depths and exact number of colors.

1-bit
4-bit
8-bit
16-bit
24-bit
32-bit
36-bit
42-bit
B&W
16
256
65,536
16.7M
4.3B
68.7B
4398B

B&W means black and white (no color), the M denotes Million, and the B denotes Billion.

 





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