Digitizing documents using an obsolete Canon scanner and VueScan 9

Canon LiDE 80 and VueScan 9
As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I have a Canon LiDE 80 scanner that I bought in 2004 that still works when run under Windows XP but is unsupported on the most recent releases of Mac OS X. An annoying aspect about using the Canon scanner under Windows XP is that I will invariably encounter a ScanGear release lock error message that can take several minutes or more to resolve. The alternative to using the native Canon driver under Windows XP is to buy and install the VueScan application from Hamrick Software that can run under OS X, including Sierra 10.12. As a test, I tried a number of different scanning operations using VueScan 9 that produced satisfactory results in some cases, but not in others.

VueScan Setup

The VueScan application is designed around several menu tabs where you enter your setting preferences. The Input and Output tabs are where you will invariably focus most of your attention when using the software.

VueScan9 input menu

The Input menu is where you enter a majority of your image customizations, such as the Media type, Media size, Bits per pixel, and Scan resolution. The Input menu is also where you perform the Preview and Scan operations.

From the Output menu, you configure the program to save your scanned files in PDF, TIF, or JPG format (or any combination of those three).

In conducting my scanning tests, I left the other four tabs (Crop, Filter, Color, and Prefs) at their default settings.

What Worked

I was satisfied when I scanned plain text documents with VueScan. Using 300 dpi as my scan resolution, I found the results to be acceptable for printing and viewing. Moreover, it seemed that it took less time to scan text documents using VueScan than with the native Canon driver.

What Didn’t Work

In addition to its standard function as a flatbed scanner, the Canon LiDE80 is capable of digitizing 35mm negatives and slides with the aid of a film guide and small film adapter that connects to the back of the unit.

Scanned negative using VueScan 9I tried to scan both film types using VueScan and was disappointed by the poor results. In either case, scanned images would be marred by thin bands of black or colored lines. Moreover, unlike the CanoScan application, VueScan could not properly render color content from either negatives or slides when run under Sierra 10.12, as noted by this scan example (even running the Invert function in Photoshop didn’t help).

I then emailed the developer of the problem I was encountering and received the following response:

First, install the driver from http://www.canon.com that is for Mac OS X 10.6 (it will install on the latest version of Mac OS X). Then run the x32 (not x64) version of VueScan. You can download this from:

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the OS X 10.6 driver on Canon’s website, so I gave up on the idea of scanning slides and negatives using VueScan.

Mixed Results

If you just need to make a digital copy of a color document (such as a brochure) and the final result doesn’t have to be picture-perfect, then VueScan may fulfill your needs. However, just like with color negatives and transparencies, color documents digitized using VueScan will pick up and display dark bands or lines on the outputted image. These artifacts are even more noticeable when scanning color photographs, so I would continue to use the Windows XP version of the CanoScan program to digitize those types of documents.


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February 14, 2017 · 21:33

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