• Price When Reviewed: £150 plus VAT

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Crisp colour scans that accurately represent the originals help lift the CanoScan 5000F USB above many competing models. In our print and on-screen tests, this scanner reproduced colour, contrast, brightness, and saturation – including proper skin tones – exceptionally well, and produced excellent shadow and highlight details. The noticeable sharpness of the 5000F’s images can be credited to its Unsharp Mask filter, which is on by default during scanning. Other scanners also offer this type of filter – which sharpens an image without affecting the brightness, contrast, or colour balance – but Canon is one of the few manufacturers that enable it as a default setting for most of its scanners. In addition to scanning reflective materials such as photos, the 5000F can process up to three frames from a 35mm strip, or two mounted 35mm slides at a time with its included transparency adaptor. Sturdy holders for filmstrips and slides are included. Test images made from 35mm slides showed accurate colour rendition and sharp details. Like most new scanners these days, the 5000F has an optical resolution of 2,400dpi, which is particularly useful for making enlargements from small images (such as 35mm slides) without losing quality. For capturing as much colour data as possible, the 5000F can scan – and save – 48-bit colour images. Earlier CanoScan models downsampled 48-bit scans to 24 bits, but Canon has since enhanced its driver, ScanGear CS, to include an option that lets you turn on 48-bit colour output. The option also lets you capture 16-bit greyscale images, but only from transparencies. Tested using its USB 2.0 interface (which is backward compatible with USB 1.1 connections), the 5000F wasn’t as fast as some other USB 2.0 units. For example, it took nearly twice as long (16 seconds) to scan a 4-x-5-inch colour print at 100dpi as the Epson Perfection 1660 Photo took to complete the same test (nine seconds). And even though it beat the 1660 Photo by a few seconds in a higher-resolution test (a 2-x-2-inch colour print at 1,200 dpi), the 5000F performed slower overall compared with the 1660 Photo, as well as with HP’s Scanjet 5500c and 5550c. Four buttons on the front panel let you scan, copy (with a printer), or send images directly to a file or email application. You can also customize some of the buttons’ functions (to change the linked applications, for example) using Canon’s utility, CanoScan Toolbox.