• Price: 254 . 297 . 425

  • Company: Microtek

  • Pros: This high resolution flatbed scanner has Digital ICE, and a decent feature and software set. An attractively priced all-rounder.

  • Cons: It’s poor when it comes to 35mm film.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

The new Microtek flatbed scanner offers the high resolution and ICE dust-busting of its top i900 model but in a much more compact body that gets rid of the original dual ‘plates’ in favour of a conventional glass bed and illuminated hood. The Perspex and silver styling is more attractive than its utilitarian rivals and includes a small illuminated film viewer on the top.

There are three versions. SE has Microtek ScanWizard 5 and Lasersoft SilverFast SE software. The Silver version has additional SilverFast Ai software, and the HDR version has SilverFast HDR. An automatic document feeder is optional.

Film holders for 35mm film strips, 35mm slides, 120 film strips, and 4-x-5 inch film are supplied. Panorama films are supported too.

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The Digital ICE offers very effective and time-saving automatic dust and scratch elimination on colour film or prints. Microtek includes a faded colour restoration setting. 
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You can set up batches of images on the bed with different settings, then let them scan and save to disk unattended. It’s just as well – SilverFast is really slow for film – it takes up to half an hour for a 35mm frame, enlarged to 10MB with ICE turned on.
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The LaserSoft SilverFast 5 doesn’t access the ICE3, so you are depending on its own dust and grain elimination routines. However, it’s much faster than ScanWizard, especially for film scans. 
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Both USB 2.0 and FireWire400 ports are standard and scanning performance is good. Turning on the ICE3 slows the process down dramatically at high resolutions, though. 
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Despite the massive 9,600-x-4,800dpi optical resolution and 16 bits per colour, the i700 is not particularly sharp with 35mm film. It’s more than adequate for prints, though.
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A combination of Abbyy FineReader OCR software and decent 1-bit resolution makes the i700 very good for digitizing books.
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The Microtek i700 is certainly an excellent all-rounder for print scanning, OCR and Web-quality film digitizing. It faces a lot of similarly specified competition, but maybe its good looks will see it edge ahead.
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