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Under Scrutiny: Four 1200 dpi Scanners

Epson Perfection 1250

Our favorite scanner used to be the Perfection 640, but it disappeared from the shelves this fall and was replaced by the 1250, with an improvement in optical resolution from 600 to 1200 dpi.

The Perfection 1250 is a good product but, in our opinion, not as good as its predecessor, the 640. We liked the previous model for its exceptional speed as well as for high and low resolutions. The greatest differences are at 75 dpi, a resolution at which the 640 was at least three times faster than the 1250. There is nothing to compensate for this loss of speed either, although scanning is slightly faster on this new model, there is no noticeable improvement in the quality of the scan. The interpolated 1200 dpi of the 640 was only as good as the optical 1200 dpi of the 1250 - in short, a disappointment.

Leaving the 640 and taking a look at the 1250 and its 1200 dpi rivals, the results are no better. Even if you take no account of the super-fast Canon D1250U2 because of its USB 2.0 interface, Epson's1250 is four times as slow as the Astra 4500 at 75 dpi. The difference is not as great at 600 dpi, though the Umax is still faster, even then. In short, only the HP scanner works as fast, and that is not necessarily a compliment.

The scan quality is reasonable but, yet again, not outstanding. The color-rendering is slightly better than that of the Umax model, but it is not as good as that of the HP and Canon scanners. In short, the1250 is accurate but not very interesting in its stripped-down version. The 1250 Photo is preferable; it is only slightly pricier and has a backlit module for scanning film.