Spotlight news

In review: HP Scanjet G4010

The G4010 is the first of the scanners I know of capable of generating scans from more than three colors. Most scanners have a lamp that illuminates an image or object, and a three-color RGB sensor (red, green, and blue). The G4010 also incorporates an RGB sensor, but if you select the six-color scan option in the scanner preferences then the G4010 will scan each image twice, using a different colored lamp each time to illuminate the subject. So, in addition to red, green, and blue, the scanner sensor captures what HP calls prime red, prime green, and prime blue.

The underlying idea is that just as the eye sees colors differently depending on what light is reflected off the object, the same also applies to the scanner’s sensor. By combining two scans based on two different colored light sources into a single RGB file, HP indicates that the scans performed by the G4010 allow more accurate color capture.

This technology is designed to gain an advantage in home applications where unconventional objects such as fabrics, flowers, ribbons (and especially objects with red elements) tend to be scanned beyond the capabilities of typical scanners. .

The downside is that this process requires approximately twice the time used by a conventional scan, more if we take into account that the scanner is already a bit slow. Using just three colors, the G4010 requires more than three minutes to scan a 10 x 15 photo at 600 dpi resolution and 48-bit color depth. Using all six colors, the scanner took almost twice as long to scan the same image with the same settings. In my tests with unconventional objects such as fabric or inkjet prints, I have hardly noticed any differences in the results obtained with the use of six colors.

On the other hand, only the three standard colors can be used in slide and film scanning, although HP has the G4050 model in which six-color transparency scanning is available.

Low profile and packed with features

This attractive device has a low profile design, in which it is very easy to lift the lid thanks to the handle that the unit itself incorporates. The scanner connects to the Mac via a USB 2.0 connection and incorporates four function buttons on the lid that allow you to perform automatic tasks such as scanning to PDF, negative scanning, or direct scanning to a printer (essentially functioning as a photocopier).

You can also customize the settings for these buttons through the preferences panel in the scanner software, which you can access through OS X system preferences.

The scanner ships with the HP Device Manager, Photosmart Studio, HP Scan Pro, and IRIS OCR software. While we ran most of our tests using Scan Pro software from Photoshop CS2, all of the software worked as expected. The Scan Pro software has some room for improvement. For example, each time you run the scanning software a window opens with different presets for the most common tasks. You will have to click on the Settings button to access a series of additional functions. After selecting the settings you will have to press the OK button. That is when the scanner starts to do its job; and when scanning from Photoshop, the Scan Pro software closes after each scan.

However, if you are scanning from Photoshop, the software does not save your latest preview, so if you are doing multiple scans of the same image while experimenting with different settings you will have to generate a new preview and reopen the settings drawer each time. occasion, which can be quite tedious. If you need to scan the same element multiple times with different settings then our recommendation is to do it from the Scan Pro software into Photoshop, rather than directly from Photoshop.

In the examination of negative strips we have verified that the software does not identify and crop each one of the images. What’s even worse is that the preamps on this media are small making cropping difficult without zooming in on the image, requiring additional pre-scan.

good results

In exploration tests on various objects I have found that the quality was very good in all cases; and although in some it showed a reddish cast, in the majority the color was practically identical to that of the originals.

Our transparency tests also showed above-average color quality, albeit a bit dark when we used the default settings. In our opaque resolution tests the results were sharp and showing an excellent amount of detail; however, our slide resolution test showed a lower level of detail.


The HP Scanjet G4010 Photo Scanner is a very capable desktop scanner with a comprehensive list of features, such as support for scanning transparencies (negatives and slides) and the use of six colors for scanning opaque. Apart from the resolution obtained in our slide tests, the rest of the scans showed very good color quality, but the scanning software can be improved and it is difficult to determine the differences between the use of three and six colors in the scans (considering Note that the latter also requires twice as long to complete).