The Perfection 4490 is the latest addition to Epson’s scanner range and is a semi-professional model aimed at expert home users. The design is robust and the 4490 is well built, if bulky. However, the main reason for the unit’s size is the additional light source for scanning transparencies that’s built into the hood. There are four shortcut buttons on the front: one for scanning direct to PDF, one for email, one for copying and one for scanning.
Scanning an A4 page of text and graphics at 300dpi, a high enough resolution for printing, takes 54 seconds. However, if you switch to low resolution – for example, if you want to scan a document to read on screen or put on the Web – an A4 page takes just 11 seconds to scan. Preview scans are also very fast at under six seconds.
When it comes to photo scanning, a 6-x-4in photo takes 23 seconds to scan, and the quality is excellent. Colours and detail are accurately reproduced and consistent across the whole scanning area and skin tones remain natural. If we have any criticism it’s that there is slight evidence of noise when scans are viewed at high zoom levels. This would rule out the scanner for professional use, but it’s perfect for its intended market.
A 35mm transparency at 2,400dpi takes just 1 minute 15 seconds to scan. Image quality for transparencies is as impressive as for photographs, something that is often not the case with home transparency scanners.
The large additional light source allows up to 12 frames of 35mm film to be scanned simultaneously, as well as 35mm and medium-format slides. Transparencies are scanned by removing the backing from the scanning hood, placing the media into the appropriate slot in the bundled guide and choosing the transparency option in the print driver. The driver automatically recognizes and crops images and allows you to scan or manipulate as many of them as you like at a time.
The Epson Scan driver is suited to all levels of user, featuring three easily interchangeable modes: Full Auto, which does what you would expect, automating the scan process; Home mode, which provides basic control; and Professional mode which gives you a high level of control over scanning.
Epson is always generous with its software bundles and the pack that comes with the Perfection 4490 is no exception. In addition to the standard scan driver, Epson Scan, it comes with Epson Creativity Suite, Epson Copy Utility, Epson Easy Print module, Abbyy FineReader 5 OCR software, Presto! Bizcard and a copy of Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 3.
The Perfection 4490 is a semi-professional scanner with a price tag to match. But you get excellent scan quality for photos and transparencies, plus a good software bundle and a flexible scan driver.