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The Quite Moody HP Scanjet G4050 Photo Scanner

When I first put my hands on my new, shiny HP Scanjet G4050 I was sure my whole world was going to change. I was done with film scanning at the lab, and my life would be so much easier! That's what I thought. In fact, this not-so-little fellow is quite moody and a little hard to deal with.

Image from www8.hp.com

The HP Scanjet G4050 is a flatbed scanner with a backlight for scanning negatives/slides (in addition to images and documents, of course). It supports 35mm and 120 film and has an optical resolution on 4800 dpi. It’s described by its manufacturer as: “Industry leading color accuracy using world’s first 6-color, 96-bit scanning. Capture colors that are 40% more accurate than other scanners, for true-to-the-original scans.”

But I must disagree with Hewllet-Packard.

G4050 Photo Scanner just loves super saturation, specially if we are talking about whites. Sometimes, a very sharp negative turns out into a flat white-y image. Shall we see a few examples? I got the following photos developed at the lab and scanned the prints myself at home, using a very old Canon Scanner.

The same photos, with their negatives scanned by HP Scanjet G4050:

See what I mean? The difference is quite clear. TOO clear, I’d say. It seems like my photos got bleached. I’m aware most of the labs have amazing equipment and software to render our photos as vivid and clear as possible. Even though, that’s not an excuse for giving me that kind of results, HP Scanners.

Talking about software, HP Scan leaves much to be desired. I like its scanning tools for documents and images, but it could be a lot better for negatives and slides.

And here comes the most difficult / annoying part: scanning cross-processed films! It took me quite a while to figure out how to get decent scans, as HP Scanjet G4050 gives you this kind of things when you try to scan cross-processed slide films as negatives:

In order to get reasonable images, you have to scan your x-pro slide film as slide and then invert the colours on Photoshop. Not very practical.

Although HP Scanjet G4050 offers a good resolution (up to 4800 dpi), it tends to add a lot of grain to the photos, which means (at least to me) web-quality only – I wouldn’t print my scans.

I guess you know what I’m about to say, but I would advise you NOT to buy the HP Scanjet G4050 Photo Scanner. I only got it myself because it was one of the two photo scanners available in my country (the other one was a even more basic HP Scanjet model). So, if you are in the same situation as me, I’d tell you to save a little more money (it’s not that much more) and get yourself a good — and imported — photo scanner.

written by paulabridi


  1. amann


    does anyone recommend the scanner v300 from epson?
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. ester_s_ch


    and epson v600???

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. amann


    for epson v600 i've been reading only positive things, but is much more expensive than v300 (at least at brazil). v300 is cheaper than hp g4050 and other newest versions of epson scanners. if someone uses the v300 scanner, please post something here! ;-))
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. schemerel


    I had a HP scanner with a slide for 35mm negs and it was awful, so I bought the epson v600. I payed €200 which I think is ok and definately worth it. I spend some time looking around for the cheapest one on the internet, because on the Epson site in Europe it was €300!
    If you want indormation on the v300, try flickr for information, and google of course :) good luck !

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  5. schemerel


    @ester_s_ch the last 6 albums in my home are scanned with the epson v600, take a look and decide for yourself

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  6. schemerel


    and thanks for the article paulabridi, knowing what scanner NOT to buy is an important way to save money

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. vicuna


    I'm staying to the Canon Canoscan 8800F ( and following models) as it always gives me very satisfying results! :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. pixiele


    i used to use an epson back home in Australia (sadly it's in storage now). i can't remember which model, but it was really good and definitely a worthy investment. Thanks for letting us know which brand not to waste our money on!
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  9. toycamaniac


    I agree with this review. The g4050 is a very bad scanner to scan negatives and the hp support is useless.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  10. suizidekid


    epson v600 + silverfast software is amazing ! (didn't like the epson software)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  11. munkejens


    I've got the little brother, the HP Scanjet G3110, and my experience was the same as yours. The hardware is quite decent but the software is horrific. I cannot understand how they can make such crappy software. Using the independent scanning software VueScan, the results were dramatically improved. So there's still hope for us poor HP customers.
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  12. simonh82


    @amann I wouldn't recommend the v300 simply because you can only scan 35mm film. Even if this is all you shoot now, the price of medium format cameras is so cheap that you will find you own one soon. Also if you want to scan sprocket holes you need something that can scan medium format. Look for a v500, it is essentially an identical scanner to the v600 but says it can scan a slightly shorter length of medium format film. In reality both can do the same, it is only the film holders which are different and this can be fixed with the Lomography digitaliza. The v600 is slightly newer, but there are still v500s about.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  13. megustastu


    I have the g4050, same problem with the software. I highly recommend to purchase Silverfast software to operate this scanner.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  14. in_memoriam


    The Epson v700 does all you want in the way you want it to be done. Always depending on the software of course... I've recently experimented with SilverLight versus the Epson Software, and to my astonishment, the Epson software manages some particular situations quite a lot better than SilverLight as well as the other way around. Either way, the Epson scanner has not yet disappointed me one single time - money well spent. My personal opinion of course!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  15. ester_s_ch


    Gracias @schemerel

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  16. hadiatt

    I think paulabridi is anti hp and does not know how to work with hp 4050 scanner and these photos are not acceptable if some one wants to check hp 4050 scanners real quality only check in flicker as i feel Lomography is anti hp.
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  17. aleatorylamp

    Hi everyone! I was just as disappointed with the G4050 scanner when I bought it. It´s a pity that HP supply such ruinous software with this machine. However: There is a very good alternative software alternative named ViewScan x 32. This programme turns the scanner into an extremely useful, effective tool both for scanning negatives and positives in B/W or colour. Results are excellent and I can strongly recommend the scanner using ViewScan x32.
    5 months ago · report as spam
  18. Wenda Gaile Bailey

    I too use the G4050 with Vuescan 8 to scan large format and medium format negatives, as well as photos for local historical foundation. The HP software is really bad, but, with Vuescan you can select numerous prescan options. I use Lightroom 5 for most of my post scanning processing, with, I believe good results. The photos from large and medium format negatives at the below website were scanned with the G4050 using Vuescan; they were scanned at mostly 800dpi (pretty low) to TIFF (12-20MB files) and converted to JPEG for upload to website. http://berriencounty.smugmug.com/Latest-Uploads/Jamie-Connell-Photographs/Jamie-Connell-Photograph/20802142_83vZdx#!i=3703488550&k=F43BFsv
    2 months ago · report as spam