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.
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.