Why would you want to buy a slide scanner?

Well, why did I buy a slide scanner? I decided to buy one, because I was looking for a combination of SLR (Single Lens Reflex) capabilities and the ability to retrieve digital images. I could have chosen a digital SLR cameras, but they are 7 to 10 times the price of an analog one.

Buying a scanner as addition to my SLR camera would then be a logical alternative, but I was just getting a bit weary over normal film and wanted to move to slides. Slides in my oppinion do resemble better that what I see when I take a picture. The colours are just more vivid.

So a slide scanner it was going to be. Good slide scanners, according to the magazines are expensive (about 900 euros), while the cheap ones (about 200 euros) just don't cut the cheese (But I just want them to scan slides.). Enter the BENQ Scanwit 2740S. I must admit that buying this slide scanner was a bit intuitive. The salesperson I spoke had quite some knowledge about the subject and I decided to take a chance and bought it. But on the internet too, the BENQ Scanwit 2740S gets high praises.

When I got home and started scanning, I immediately noticed the high resolution images the scanner produces: roughly 3600 by 2400 pixels with a maximum of 48 bits colours per pixel! Also the Scanwit 2740S has an infrared channel, which is used to filter out dust and scratches from the final result. If the dust or scratches aren't to big, they're just gone. Not too bad for a scanner priced at about 450 to 550 euros.

Of course the Scanwit has it's weak points. First of all, when you search on the Internet, you see a lot of complaints about the software, Mirasoft. Being a beginner, it didn't immediately occur to me, until I tried Ed Hamrick's VueScan. VueScan certainly gets the colours right the first time, while Mirasoft did not. VueScan sets you back $40, but for that you certainly get value.

Another weak point is the slide holder, which can hold 4 slides at a time. The springs (two per slide) that must hold the slide look fragile and they are. After scanning about 300 slides there is not one pair of springs that is intact. Actually it is easier to insert slides with just one spring remaining, but with none left, it's useless. BENQ offers new slide holders for $19, two for $30, but I'd rather look for sturdy alternatives. If you know a good alternative, please let me know: m.krijgsman@NOSPAMtiscali.nl (remove NOSPAM).

But besides these problems, it is fun to work with the Scanwit 2740S. For example: I scanned some of my mother's 30 year old slides. Despite their age the Scanwit quite nicely filtered out artefacts that had developped over the years.