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Pacific Image Electronics Memor-ease

>> Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beyond these few basics, the driver adjusts all settings automatically, like a point and shoot camera. As soon as you position the film holder, you'll see a preview of the image, and you can watch the brightness, contrast, and other settings change until the driver is satisfied it's found the best settings. When the auto adjust finishes, all that's left is for you to give the Capture command. If you've turned on the option to adjust images after each capture, you may then choose from among nine variations, including lighter, darker, and various color adjustments.

As already mentioned, the camera like sensor gives the Pacific Image Electronics Memor-ease impressive speed. On my tests, the automatic adjustments typically took 6 to 8 seconds. The capture itself took just 1.9 to 2.6 seconds. As a point of reference, the Canon CanoScan 8800F is one of the faster scanners it have tested for 35mm film, prescanning and scanning one slide at 2.400 ppi in about 1 minute 30 seconds. Unfortunately, Pacific Image Electronics Memor-ease doesn't score as well on image quality as on speed.

The 1.800 ppi resolution is theoretically adequate for printing scanned photos at up to 8 by 10 inches, with a roughly 200 ppi image resolution at that size. But the actual ability to resolve detail is much less than with, for example, a 600 ppi scan of the same slides with the Canon 8800F. In one landscape scene, for instance, when it enlarged the picture enough, the scan from the Canon 8800F showed a hint of individual leaves where the scan from Pacific Image Electronics Memor-ease showed a solid smudge of color.

The relatively low resolution doesn't hurt the image much for printing at 4 by 6 inches, but it will make a noticeable difference at larger sizes. The automatic setting adjustment also compares poorly with the fully automatic modes in most scanner drivers. PIE is aware of the problem and is updating the driver to address it. PIE says the new driver will be available for downloading from the company's Web site, possibly by the time you read this.

The shortcomings in image quality make it impossible to give Pacific Image Electronics Memor-ease Digital Film Converter an unqualified recommendation. Still, if you're the sort of casual photographer Pacific Image Electronics Memor-ease is aimed at happy with snapshot quality (for lack of a better term) and not likely to print photos at sizes larger than 4 by 6 you might find the image quality acceptable, if less than ideal. Otherwise, wait for a later generation version that offers the same ease of use and fast image capture, but with better results.


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