I just unpackaged my new Epson 4490 flatbed photo scanner. I had issues installing it on my desktop (hopefully something I can fix). I did manage to get it installed on my wife’s laptop though. When I can get it to work it is really excellent. My only gripe other then not being able to get it to work on my desktop is that the included version of Adobe Elements (2) is rather limited, though it is still nicer then no editing program. I’ll probably give GIMP a try soon to see how good it is. Here is a comparison (small size still) comparing what the ancient Epson flatbed at work can do scanning a print compared to what the 4490 can do scanning the negative with digital ICE (click for larger version). A world of difference? I think so.
Epson 4490 Work flatbed
Work flat bed
Something else I have noticed is that the 4490, despite its ‘limited’ dMax of 3.4, does a much better job then the Kodak minilab equipment (at least the stuff from my local Target). Especially the shadow areas. The shadows/highlights from the work flatbed don’t show quite how nice the prints are, since the scan is so crappy, but the 4490 scans do pull a fair amount out of the shadows and a bit more out of the highlights. I am just throwing stuff out there, but I’d say that the 4490 can do maybe a stop better in the shadows and a quarter stop in the highlights from the negative compared to what the prints from the Target minilab.