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Automatic Document Feeder Scanner

$329
Automatic Document Feeder Scanner
Automatic Document Feeder Scanner
$329

Canon imageFORMULA R40 Document Duplex Scanner with Automatic Feeder for PC and Mac, Includes Scanning Software

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I bought Automatic Document Feeder Scanner after spending countless hours scanning our old piles of home paperwork on a Canon flatbed scanner. The fact that it can scan both sides of a document at once and automatically chuck out blank pages (such as sheets with text or images only on one side) is great. Overall it is a night and day experience for document archival, although if you have high-quality images or fine print (especially in pencil), a flatbed scanner will do a better job since those have at least double the resolution and better color handling (but they are so slow). Note that the fast 40 PPM scan is only available in low-resolution (200 dpi) single-sided mode…if you want to scan at higher resolutions (up to 600 dpi), or scan double-sided, it does slow down, but is still way, way faster than a flatbed.

The experience with R40 scanner weren’t without problems, however. First of all, the instruction sheet that is included was not super clear about removing all the protective elements…there was the usual tape and foam installed in the scanner to keep critical bits safe. However, the thing that threw me was the orange plastic insert in the feed port…I did not know this had to be removed via opening up the scanner (a simple job with a push-button access, so don’t worry about this). Still, with that orange guard in there, it would not recognize any documents I put in it.

The manual has a crappy black and white diagram with a tiny arrow pointing at this guard, but it did not explicitly say in words to “remove the molded orange plastic insert”, or something helpful like that. Thus I wasted 30 minutes trying to figure out if this scanner was broken or not. Still, this is a minor annoyance, and it isn’t the reason why I am taking off 1 star.This thing loses a star because the auto-page rotate feature just doesn’t work well. For those that don’t know, Canon advertises that the software bundled with the scanner will detect upside-down pages (via looking at the text) and rotate them to be right-side up. This is super helpful for when you are scanning huge packets of things quickly and don’t want to sort through each pile to make sure all the sheets are facing the same way.

The problem I found was that the auto-rotate feature only got it right about half of the time. I did a test and put an entire packet in upside-down, and it fixed about half of the sheets. So, I suppose if you have one or two random sheets that need to be rotated, you might get lucky, but if you have a bunch, you will still need to manually edit the .PDF file to fix this.

When spending over $300 on a scanner, you are essentially paying for smooth operation of not only the hardware but the software as well. In this case, the software was good, but didn’t quite live up to the advertisements. In other areas it was great (one-touch scanning, save to PDF, the overall image auto-adjustment quality, the quick and manual setting adjustments, etc, all worked great). But, for me, having to police every packet of documents I scan ahead of time for rotated pages is just too annoying. So, I’m dropping it a star…

Conclusion: The imageFormula R40 scanner is a great page-feed scanner for home or small office use. It is fast (at 200 dpi), scans both sides of the sheet, and the bundled software does a good job overall. Just don’t expect 100% success with some of the post-processing software features, like auto page rotate. Make sure to remove the orange page feed protector from the input side before operating the unit, or you’ll be scratching your head for 30 minutes.

Promised Review by Christopher Benamati
Pros
  • Easily convert your paper documents into searchable digital formats
  • Reliably handles many different document types
  • Fast and efficient
Cons