Setting up the 7600i SE is very quick and simple. Both the scanner and its software are compatible with all recent versions of Windows as well as Mac OS 10.3.9 or higher. In Windows, plugging in the USB 2.0 interface brings up the New Hardware dialogue, and the drivers and utility install quickly and cleanly from the supplied CD-ROM. The 7600i comes with two CD-ROMs, one with the SilverFast SE Plus 6.6 scanner utility software that is the main program used with the device, and another with the scanner driver, QuickScan utility and two additional programs, NewSoft Presto! PageManager and Presto! ImageFolio, which are supposed to be a document management program and an image editor respectively.
The SilverFast software works extremely well and is easy to use, but the two NewSoft programs are not so good. They have ugly and clumsy interfaces, crash repeatedly for no readily apparent reason, and have a limited range of features. Fortunately if you already have Adobe Photoshop installed you can use the scanner without these programs. Thankfully this also halves the number of ghastly CompoundWordsWithCapitals that you have to look at.
The scanner has two scan buttons on the front, one labelled IntelliScan and the other labelled QuickScan. The first starts the scan process and automatically launches the SilverFast software. The other launches a utility that sits in the system tray, and quickly performs a standard automatic scan. The parameters of this scan can be pre-set by right-clicking on the system tray icon (Mac users presumably do something else), and include setting the scan resolution (up to 7200dpi) and selecting which program will be used to open the scanned image. The program can export direct into Photoshop, which saves a lot of messing about and avoids the need for the terrible NewSoft programs.
For more sophisticated scanning the SilverFast SE Plus 6.6 software offers a wide range of image processing options, including colour curves, histogram adjustment, hardware-based infrared scratch and dust removal, colour space adjustment, multi-exposure for increased dynamic range and a wide range of output resolutions. The workflow can be set up as a semi-automatic process using the user-configurable ScanPilot utility, which sets the steps in the scanning process that you want to apply and runs through them in sequence. Also included are built-in QuickTime tutorials explaining how to get the best out of the software at every step of the way. There are further tutorials available on Plustek’s website, and the scanner also comes with a good manual in PDF format.
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