I got a new HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e All-in-One to replace my old Epson MFP. In all honesty, I use a MFP far more for scanning than for printing, given the price of ink. However, I am not totally happy with the scan quality of the new HP, using the included HP Smart software, as compared with the old Epson. There's a lack of features, such as despeckle/descreen when scanning halftone images, and I find the scanner is not capturing the tonal range of black and white printed (halftone) images as compared to the old Epson. Scanning an 8.5 x 11 image at 600 DPI, I am noticing a blowout in very light highlight areas of the image.
Looking at the original with a magnifying glass, I can see the halftone goes all the way across the highlight areas, but, blowing the scan up on the screen, I see it is losing the halftone in the lightest highlight areas, and is even introducing artifacts that are not present in the original.
I called HP support and they said the scan function of the HP Smart app uses Apple's Image Capture algorythm on the Mac.
Next, I tried scanning directly in Photoshop Elements. The first problem is I see no weay to tweak the sensitivity of the capture such as with histograms, curves or whatever. The second problem is that I see no built-in descreening function. The old Epson applied descreening during the scanning prrocess, which seemed to produce much better results than trying to do it after the fact.
I am attaching a couple of screenshots of an image scanned directly into PE. In the one, at 100% magnification you can see that some highlight areas have been blown out with no halftone dots at all, even though on the original I can see with a magnifying glass they go all the way across even the lightest highlight areas. On the other, at 400% the halftone in some areas appear kind of bluish and as if there are JPEG or compression artifacts, even though the screen image is what was scanned directly into PE without saving the image yet.
What I am wondering is if there is a way to tell if these imperfections are software or hardware related.
Thanks. I tried VueScan but the results were WORSE, with the halftone even looking purplish in places (screenshot attached ). I also tried HP's standalone scanning software HP Easy Scan, with results similar to the HP Smart software.
I think I am familiar enough with the scanner that I can eke the very best results out of it possible. I am attaching a side-by-side image of the same area of the same image scanned with my new HP compared to my old Epson MFP. You can see the grays are much smoother and less contrasty. I haven't even tested it with real photographic prints yet.
I kind of need to replace my laser printer and could get a Epson MFP but I wonder if the scanning hardware is still up to the same standards as the old model. I know that when one company starts cutting corners the rest tend to follow suit.