Epson Perfection 3200 and 4870 scanners ocr


J

Jonathan Berry

In 2003 I bought an Epson Perfection 3200 PHOTO scanner and have been
pleased with the unit over-all, and especially with its new (to me)
ability to scan negatives and slides. One part of the software,
however, did not please me.

In Jan 2004, Epson replaced the 3200 with the 4870. One big difference
seems to be that with the 3200, you had to rely on the Epson SmartPanel
for OCR. Although this is reportedly based upon the ABBYY engine, and
produces excellent results, the user interface provided by SmartPanel
seems designed to frustrate the user and wear out the scanner. Among
several bad design choices is the one that makes the preview disappear
before each column scanned. So to scan 3 columns in a page you have to
go Preview - draw box - scan - Preview - draw box - scan - Preview -
draw box - scan. That's six scanner operations for a single page! If
they had required four scanner operations (one preview and three
scans), I would have considered them pretty close to brain-dead. I've
written to the SmartPanel (what an ironic name) people a couple of
times, but no response on this and other design flaws.

This was not a $49 scanner. The EpsonScan and SilverFast software that
came with the 3200 have been kept up to date frequently, and at no
charge.

The 4870 PHOTO comes with ABBYY FineReader Sprint, which I've never
used, but I assume that it has a better user interface. I still have
the 3200. It's difficult to justify the $300 price of ABBYY FineReader
7, so I wish that I could use the engine that came with the 3200 with a
sensible UI, or even apply it to saved TIFF files. I'm thinking that
maybe I'll save up all my occasional OCR needs and use the time-limited
ABBYY free trial furiously for a couple of weeks.

I suppose the bottom line is that companies such as Epson can respond
to software drawbacks in a sensible way.
 
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?

-

Can't you buy the light version of Abby as a stand alone? There are other
OCR packages out there that also might meet your needs. Additionally, if
you have the full version of Acrobat on your PC, it has an OCR module. I
seem to remember a few sharewares out there too.

Doug
 
C

Charlie Hoffpauir

In 2003 I bought an Epson Perfection 3200 PHOTO scanner and have been
pleased with the unit over-all, and especially with its new (to me)
ability to scan negatives and slides. One part of the software,
however, did not please me.

In Jan 2004, Epson replaced the 3200 with the 4870. One big difference
seems to be that with the 3200, you had to rely on the Epson SmartPanel
for OCR. Although this is reportedly based upon the ABBYY engine, and
produces excellent results, the user interface provided by SmartPanel
seems designed to frustrate the user and wear out the scanner. Among
several bad design choices is the one that makes the preview disappear
before each column scanned. So to scan 3 columns in a page you have to
go Preview - draw box - scan - Preview - draw box - scan - Preview -
draw box - scan. That's six scanner operations for a single page! If
they had required four scanner operations (one preview and three
scans), I would have considered them pretty close to brain-dead. I've
written to the SmartPanel (what an ironic name) people a couple of
times, but no response on this and other design flaws.

This was not a $49 scanner. The EpsonScan and SilverFast software that
came with the 3200 have been kept up to date frequently, and at no
charge.

The 4870 PHOTO comes with ABBYY FineReader Sprint, which I've never
used, but I assume that it has a better user interface. I still have
the 3200. It's difficult to justify the $300 price of ABBYY FineReader
7, so I wish that I could use the engine that came with the 3200 with a
sensible UI, or even apply it to saved TIFF files. I'm thinking that
maybe I'll save up all my occasional OCR needs and use the time-limited
ABBYY free trial furiously for a couple of weeks.

I suppose the bottom line is that companies such as Epson can respond
to software drawbacks in a sensible way.

The 4800 or even the 3200 Epson are both far better scanners than you
need for great OCR. A cheap 600 ppi scanner is all you really need,
with decent OCR software. Neither of those top of the line photo
scanners were intended for OCR work, so it's not surprising that Epson
chose not to further increase the price by including good OCR software
with the bundle.

Either spring for the ABBYY (which most people seem to think is the
best) or spend $100 for a copy of Omnipage Pro 14 which is pretty damn
good OCR software (http://www.scantips.com/).
Charlie Hoffpauir
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~charlieh/
 
J

JWSM

You can search out the .exe files for each programe in Smart Panel
(photocopier, scanner, OCR) and put them on desktop as short cuts, or in a
folder of your choosing, or Start...
 
J

Jonathan Berry

Can't you buy the light version of Abby as a stand alone?

I don't see it on their web site. The cheapest I see is the $300
version. There is a $150 upgrade version. Don't know if that would
apply to my EpsonScan version.
There are other
OCR packages out there that also might meet your needs. Additionally,
if
you have the full version of Acrobat

No I do not.
on your PC, it has an OCR module. I
seem to remember a few sharewares out there too.
 
J

Jonathan Berry

Charlie:

Epson did provide excellet OCR with the 4870, somewhat correcting the
mistake they made with the 3200, furnished with a version of ABBYY
which was hobbled by the SmartPanel interface. So I don't think that
Epson agrees with your logic, in the long run.

Presumably, they *did* have to pay ABBYY for what was included with the
3200, so why not provide it in a form that works for the end user?

Omnipage--aren't those the same people who used to sell Pagis Pro?
They're not getting any more of my money:
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/comp.periphs.scanners/msg/70e8006eb8a22929?hl=en&
although perhaps I could make a limited install of Pagis 2; it did have
a fairly sensible interface.
 
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J

Jonathan Berry

You can search out the .exe files for each programme in Smart Panel (photocopier, scanner, OCR) and put them on desktop as short cuts, or in a folder of your choosing, or Start...

I found the OCR binaries in
E:\Program Files\EPSON\Smart Panel

Name Modified Size
Fine32.dll 7/27/1999 2:21:36 AM 254.5 kB
FineOCREngine.dll 11/3/1999 5:19:30 PM 372.5 kB

The latter when viewed in binary mode has references to C:\FineReader4.

I don't see a way to access the ABBYY FineReader DLLs without using the
horrific Epson "SmartScan" interface.
 
J

JWSM

I have ABBYY FineReader 5.0, and the programme singularly is called Sprint;
found in the ABBYY folder. Just send a shortcut to desktop. I have never
used Smartpanel to access scanning, copying or ocr.
 
J

Jonathan Berry

JWSM - I guess something got lost in context cutting. I own an Epson
3200 Photo scanner. The OCR provided with the Epson uses the ABBYY
FineReader 4 engine in the form of two DLL files (and dozens of other
files with dictionaries etc), plus the very poorly designed user
interface provided by Epson Smartpanel. I was trying to see if there
was a way to access the ABBYY FineReader engine without going through
the Epson Smartpanel interface. I rather doubt it is possible. DLL
files on their own don't "execute".
 
K

Ken Weitzel

Jonathan said:
JWSM - I guess something got lost in context cutting. I own an Epson
3200 Photo scanner. The OCR provided with the Epson uses the ABBYY
FineReader 4 engine in the form of two DLL files (and dozens of other
files with dictionaries etc), plus the very poorly designed user
interface provided by Epson Smartpanel. I was trying to see if there
was a way to access the ABBYY FineReader engine without going through
the Epson Smartpanel interface. I rather doubt it is possible. DLL
files on their own don't "execute".

Hi Jonathan...

rundll32.exe ?

I have no way of knowing which of your dll's might be
the dependency, so from a dos prompt try:

rundll32.exe dllname.dll

naturally replacing dllname with the name(s) of your
..dll files.

Ken



Ken
 
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J

Jonathan Berry

Thanks, Ken.

for the rundll32.exe idea.

I tried some of the obvious ones like

fine32.dll
FineOCREngine.dll
OCRDLL.dll
OCRutil.dll
scan0.dll
myocr.dll
engine0.dll

and in each case a new command line appeared (which usually normal
execution), but nothing came up on the screen. Win2K cmd.exe console
window.

There's no reason this should work, the "Smart Scan" people probably
removed the ABBYY gui when they substituted their own faulty one.
 
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