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Scanning transparencies
March 29, 2014 3:30 PM   Subscribe

This seems to be a harder problem to solve than I expected. My venerable Umax Astra 4450 scanner has a transparency cover -- it has a large area which lights up to scan transparencies and such -- but it doesn't have drivers newer than Windows XP. Running XP is less and less of an option these days. So, I'm shopping for a new scanner with a transparency cover...and I'm not having much luck. Suggestions?

I like the Astra 4450 scanner because it's a regular letter-sized flatbed scanner the rest of the time, and I can scan anything transparent that fits in the lighted portion of the cover (glass magic lantern slides, medium-format negatives) that "negative scanners" can't handle.

In fact, I already have a Kodak scanner that does standard slides and negatives, but my transparency needs are greater than this.

Where did the transparency covers go? It seems like the only thing I get when searching for such things are photo-scanners -- nothing that does a regular sheet of paper.

So, does a letter-sized (or A3, that'd solve a less-pressing problem, too) scanner with a transparency cover -- one that doesn't limit options to 35mm in or out of a slide frame -- still exist?

(Yes, I know "Astra 4450 Windows 7 drivers" pops up a lot of results -- they are all incorrect. I tried. Umax support says, no, there will not be windows Vista/7/8 drivers for the 15-year-old scanner)
posted by AzraelBrown to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This might be more involved than you'd be willing to go through if you aren't already familiar with the technology, but you could try running a Windows XP system within a virtual machine.
posted by XMLicious at 3:44 PM on March 29


Microsoft provides Windows XP Mode for Windows 7 (unfortunately, not for the home version. Only Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate versions of Windows 7).
posted by ShooBoo at 4:39 PM on March 29


Just looking around the internet- Would it be an option to find an updated driver? I'm looking at http://www.hamrick.com/ "VueScan is an application for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux that replaces the software that came with your scanner." Might be worth a try, especially because "analog" accessories like that are going by the wayside with the rise of digital.
posted by Kestrelxo at 4:45 PM on March 29


To my surprise, the Astra 4450 isn't on Vuescan's list of supported scanners. But it's free to download and try, so it'd be worth checking out anyway, just in case the 4450 is compatible with any of the scanners that are officially supported.

If it doesn't work, check out the Epson Perfection line of scanners. I believe the ones with "Photo" in the name are what you're looking for -- letter size flatbed scanners with transparency lids. I have one of the older models, and it works great.
posted by hades at 5:06 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Your scanner seems to have a SANE driver, meaning that you could use it in Linux.

http://www.sane-project.org/cgi-bin/driver.pl?manu=Umax&model=Astra+4900

If you have a few hours to spare you may want to try running Linux off a USB and see if it can get the scanner to work at an acceptable level.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:33 AM on March 30


OK, I feel like the background info blurred the question:

I am looking for a new, or at least with Win7 drivers, flatbed scanner like my Astra 4450, with a transparency adapter that will scan something bigger than 35mm strips or slides in frames.

Thank you for all the suggestions for ways to keep my current scanner going, but I assure you I've analyzed all the possible hacks.
posted by AzraelBrown at 5:59 AM on March 30


Then check out the Epson Perfection Photo flatbed scanner line I mentioned. They are what you describe.
posted by hades at 6:53 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Yup, thanks Hades - I was waiting to see what other suggestions came in before marking bests and so forth. The Epson Perfection line -- particularly the recently discontinued 4870 and 4990, used ones are pretty cheap on eBay -- looks like my best bet. Thanks!
posted by AzraelBrown at 5:15 AM on April 1


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