The Canon CanoScan D2400UF Flat Bed Scanner

The Canon CanoScan driver software provides a generous self-sizing preview with both automated as well as a full set of easy to use manual adjustment tools to achieve optimum quality final scans.

Flat-bed scanners with a high-resolution specification are usually accompanied by a film scanning capability. Reflective scanning rarely requires much more than 600dpi, but film scanning demands much more resolution. With a hardware resolution of 2400dpi, the new Canon CanoScan D2400UF definitely is as much a film scanning as a print scanning solution. With an estimated street price of $499, this new CanoScan model offers high film scanning resolution at a level accessible to many digital darkroom enthusiasts. Capable of scanning a 21/4" square film frame resulting in a hardware resolution scan equaling a print image file size of 16x16" at 300dpi, this new D2400UF should fulfill the desires of many photographers with serious intentions. And, unlike a previous CanoScan model I reported on some time back, this new D2400UF model does 2400dpi film scans at a competitive speed, thanks to Canon's new Galileo lens that gets more light to its six line CCD sensor. The professional-level specifications also include both 48-bit input and selectable output of 24 and 48-bit color depth.

The Canon software that accompanies the D2400UF scanner includes a rather full-featured image-editing application called ScanGear. If a purchaser of this Canon scanner does not have an application like Photoshop, ScanGear will provide most of the functionality needed to operate a digital darkroom.

This new Canon CanoScan D2400UF scanner is a sleek, compact design. The film scanning light source Film Adapter FAU-S13 in its lid covers an area sufficient to scan one 4x5 film image. A set of well designed film holders for 35mm, 120, and 4x5 are included. The scanner has a USB interface and software driver support is included for use with both Apple Macintosh and PC Windows computers. The Canon ScanGear software included with the scanner also provides a basic, complete image-editing capability. The scanner driver includes Canon Data Compression Transfer technology, which speeds up the movement of the scan data from the scanner to the host computer and application from which the scanning is being accomplished. Another proprietary processing advantage included by Canon is FARE (Film Automatic Retouching and Enhancement) providing an efficient, easy way to output clean optimized film scans. This function utilizes an infrared light source and sensor to detect dirt and defects so they may be automatically replaced by surrounding image information.

Using The Canon CanoScan D2400UF
I put the Canon CanoScan D2400UF to work primarily scanning images from my library of film that I am gradually digitizing and archiving onto CDs. The particular part of the library I was working with at the time included many images from the oldest part of my collection, including transparencies and color negatives. In addition, I also made scans of a few current film images for comparative purposes, as well as some silver-based black and white film images made not long ago. This scanning was accomplished in part with the D2400UF attached to the new Sony Vaio Slimtop Pen Tablet computer I was evaluating concurrently, and also using one of my Macintosh workstations.

One of the first film images I scanned with the D2400UF was a 50-year-old, and very faded, Agfachrome CT-18 6x6cm transparency of a study of dead, dried banana leaves. I was able to adjust the preview in the CanoScan driver to obtain a full contrast and richly colored image restoring this abstract image to its original vibrancy.

Software Link
This newest CanoScan flat-bed works through Canon's ScanGear software in a much more straightforward and efficient manner than with the previous Canon flat-bed scanners I've tested. The driver interface is clean and efficient, affording an easy automatic scan adjustment in a preview that adjusts window size to the screen resolution you are using. The manual options, although not sophisticated, provide all of the necessary basic tools for adjustment of the preview to accommodate even the most difficult images. This results in predictable final scan image values.

With both the Windows PC operating system and the Macintosh operating system, the factory profiles were effective, providing a precise match between the adjusted preview and the final scan as it was opened in Photoshop. The good design of the film holders and the speedy efficiency of this new Canon flat-bed allowed me to do a considerable amount of full optical resolution scans of a variety of medium and large format film images in a surprisingly short amount of time. And, even though these scans were made of film that was old and that was not that great originally, and even had in some cases a fairly significant color cast from differential dye fading, very little post-scan editing was required. The major adjustment was mostly selective color in Hue &Saturation, necessary to eliminate mid-tone color casts.

One of my first successful portraits as a student photographer was this high-key pastel toned image of a pretty blonde, which in a 120 film transparency had a very short range of tones. The D2400UF reproduced in an image file that preserved all of the subtle values very accurately.

With some of the film, particularly the 40 to 50-year-old color negatives, I had serious doubts that I would get decent images. However, even with old Kodacolor and the Agfa CN-17 that had no dye base (just clear film), I was able to scan with surprising success. The clear CN-17 film base makes the use of the scanner software negative conversion ineffective because it assumes there is an orange-brown base color. It resulted in an excessively blue result that was too strong a color cast to remove successfully. The CN-17 required an atypical technique of first making a positive scan in 48-bit mode, and then optimizing the resulting image file in Photoshop, followed by the Adjust/ Invert command, and then optimizing the image with the Levels dialog.

I took particular pains to select black and white silver-based film negatives to test scan that included finely detailed subjects captured sharply with a Rollei or Hasselblad. This was in part to assure that I could evaluate scanning sharpness, as the old color films I was test scanning were not all that sharp even when exposed with the best optics. This revealed the only significant compromise in the affordable D2400UF. I found I had to apply somewhat more sharpening with Photoshop's Unsharp Mask filter post-scan than I liked to provide a crisp looking print image. Even then, with finer grain films, some of the subject detail was still not reproduced distinctly. It might be unrealistic, however, to expect that the CanoScan D2400UF would be comparable to scanners with the same resolution capability or greater and costing eight to 20 times as much.

Early in my experience with studio photography I combined my enthusiasm for photographing dancers with experimenting with lighting, in this instance using several flash heads with different colored gels just illuminating a plain white background. The CanoScan D2400UF did very well providing a clean representation of this transparency which lacked both a pure black and a clear white in the image.

Evaluation And Recommendation
I am sure there are a substantial number of photographers who would like to include in their capabilities both a reflective (print) and medium to large format film scanning capability. If your digital darkroom budget has modest room for a flat-bed scanner, but you still want to be able to make 13" wide prints from your images, this new Canon D2400UF will provide the capability without breaking the bank. In addition, it is an entirely pleasant and positive piece of equipment to use both on the hardware, physical side, and on the software side. The scanner and software are easy to learn and use effectively. The balance of performance qualities in film scans made with the CanoScan are really quite exceptional for a scanner at this modest price range, with little compromise made for its affordability. For more information visit the Canon Computer Systems web site at:

Kodacolor film of the 1950s was not the greatest then, and half a century later, getting a good scanned image was rather amazing. The CanoScan D2400UF restored a 21/4 negative made of my first impression of California's Lake Tahoe to a scene resembling what I saw years ago.

Technical Specifications
Scanner Type: Flat-bed
Scanning Element: Six line CCD
Light Source: Cold cathode fluorescent lamp
Optical Resolution: 4800x2400dpi
Selectable Resolution: 25-9600dpi
Color Scanning Bit Depth: 16 bit per RGB channel, 48-bit input, 24 or 48-bit output selectable
Gray Scale Bit Depth: 16-bit input, 16 or 8-bit output selectable
Preview Speed: Approximately 9 sec
Scan Speed:
More than 60dpi: 9.00 msec/line
Interface: USB 1.1
Maximum Media Size (Reflective): 8.5x11.7"
Dimensions: 11.3x18.1x3.6"
Weight: 7.5 lbs
Estimated Street Price: $499