HP 5550c vs Epson Perfection 3170


Mr. Grinch

I'm looking at these two scanners. The HP 5550c is 2400 dpi optical, and
has a sheet feeder. The Epson Perfection 3170 is 3200 dpi optical, no
document feeder, but it does have a slide / film scanner. Both are USB 2.0
and do 48 bit color.

Now what I want to scan is a bunch of old photos in various size prints.
Some are from 35mm film, some are from APS film. The prints are in all
sorts of sizes, but obviously sets of prints are usually the same size.

After scanning, I intend to print some of these out at larger sizes, like
8.5 x 11 inch color prints, using a Canon i850 printer. I don't expect
"professional" results but I'm trying to get the best I can given the
limited quality I'm working within as far as working with the prints. I
may try to touch up some of the images before printing but I'm not really
skilled at it. Lots of software out there have settings to "auto adjust"
scanned images for printing but I'm skeptical as to how much they really
improve. Some of them trade off image quality for contrast, etc. If there
are suggestions for something that is basically good, I'll consider it, but
for the most part I'm guessing I'll send most prints to the printer as-is.

I'm curious about the HP 5550c because I'm wondering if the document feeder
will work with a stack of same-sized photos. If it's intended for paper-
only OCR use it's not much help to me, but if I can stack in 35 photos of
the same size and get them all scanned quickly, that would be an obvious
time saver for me. Question is, will the document feeder work with typical
photo prints.

Otherwise, I might be tempted to spend less and get higher dpi optical with
the Epson scanner.

If people think I should be looking at some other scanner better suited for
this task, let me know. I have this old USB 1.1 Mustek 1200CU. It works
but it's slow. I've had to take it apart to fix some things and I'm not
sure how much longer it's going to last. If I can spend a little extra on
a scanner that will automatically scan in photo prints that are same-size
that would save me a lot of time.

Picture quality is a concern, but I'm assuming everything in this range
will be of similar photo quality, and probably much better than my old
scanner. If there are some that are notoriously bad that I should stay
away from though, let me know.

Thanks again.



Mr. Grinch

I've done some research and found some online reviews. Sounds like the
Epson comes with software that fewer people have problems with. The HP on
the other hand seems to get a lot of complaints about the software, even
though the hardware is considered good. I'm still uncertain if the HP
document feeder is capable of scanning multiple photo prints. One review
suggested there are two models of 5550c and one can, one can't. I only see
one model on HP's website. Hmmm. But regardless, the complaint was that
unless your photos of are the same size specified by the software that
there are real issues with batch scanning. So much for that idea.

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