Artist Review: Canon LiDE 400 flatbed scanner

The Canon LiDE 400 is the new flatbed scanner that replaces the LiDE 220 that was released years ago. All the scanners I've used in the last few years were the LiDE scanners from Canon. They perform well and are affordable, which is why I use them.


In addition to the LiDE 400, there's also the LiDE 300. The LiDE 300 is cheaper and has fewer document scanning features. In terms of image quality, you can expect them to be similar so if you're on a budget, you can consider the LiDE 300 over the LiDE 400.


The LiDE 400 uses a USB Type C to Type A cable while the LiDE 300 uses the typical USB Type A to mini USB. Canon's documentation says that the LiDE 400 cable cannot be used for other purposes but you most certainly can. That cable can be used to charge phones and transfer files. And if the cable is damaged or lost, you can get a replacement easily.


The new design is a bit blockish. I love the texture on the cover.

My review will be from the artist perspective so I'm not going to talk much about the document scanning features. In the photo above, those shortcut buttons are for scanning documents. There's the ability to create PDFs automatically, scan and email, scan and save to cloud, auto scan with auto crop and rotate and more. These shortcut buttons have auto-correction applied to the scans so the scans will be alter to look "nicer".


A detachable stand is included so that the scanner can be propped up and use less space on the table. I prefer laying the scanner flat on the table because I want to press down on the paper or sketchbook to get a proper scan.

This scanner uses Contact Image Sensor (CIS) technology for scanner. This means whatever you are scanner should be in contact with the glass surface. If the paper is just 1mm off, the scan will be blur.


This scanner can only scan up to a maximum size of A4. If you need to scan larger, you will have to scan multiple times and do the stitching yourself. There's auto-stitching functionality in the driver, but there's some auto-correction applied too.

If you scan large often, consider the Epson 12000XL-GA which is priced US $2000 and upwards. Unfortunately, high quality A3 art scanners are rare, and Canon doesn't make them.


The lid can be raised to scan thick books.


Here's an example of a scan. This scanner can capture whatever it's scanning accurately.

By the way, you can download the high resolution scans I've made by clicking on the pictures.


This was scanned using the scanner driver's ScanGear feature which allows you to scan without any auto-correction and edits. Note that the scanner was able to capture the texture of the watercolour paper.


This was scanned with the Auto-Scan feature. Note that the paper texture has been "erased".

To scan artworks, you should use the ScanGear feature from the driver. ScanGear is only available on Windows driver. For Mac users, to scan without auto-correction, use Image Capture instead. Image Capture comes pre-installed with Mac OS. Just do a search for it.


One area where the scanner may have issues is when scanning off white paper. Shown above is paper that is off white, creamy. But the scanner still does a good job scanning it as it is. ScanGear did not apply auto-White Balance to make the paper white.


Here, I tried to scan a A4 spiral sketchbook. With the spiral, the whole sketchbook is actually larger than the A4 scanning area of the scanner. Hence some parts of the paper are off the surface, more specifically, I wasn't able to get the bottom part to fit in.


The bottom part appears blur because it wasn't in contact with the glass. So to scan something like this, I would need to scan twice and stitch.

Misalignment problem


Someone contacted me and told me this Canon scanner and some scanners from other brands have this misalignment problem that can be seen when you scan in high resolution and zoom in close. You've got to scan at at least 1200 DPI for you to have enough detail to zoom in to see for yourself.

In the 2400 DPI scan above, I was able to spot the misalignment at different spots on the scan. The misalignment runs on the long side (the length not the width). It's difficult to spot at 100% zoom which was why I failed to spot this problem in the first place. When you zoom in several times, you can definitely see the misalignment. It's like the scanner missed a few vertical lines of pixels while scanning.

So is this a problem? Depends. If you're using the scanner to archive art or prints where you need the accuracy, then this scanner may not be up to that standard.

Nowadays I scan at 600 DPI for my artworks and it's really difficult to spot so it's not really a problem for me. I can also scan at higher resolution and downsample the scan later and that would remove much of the misalignment to the extent they are not noticeable even when printed.

But of course it sucks to have this misalignment problem in the first place.

Scanning speed

The scanning speed for 300 DPI is quite fast. It's around 8 to 10s. At 600 DPI, the speed drops to slightly more than 30s.

When it's scanning fast, it's loud. If you use the scanner in the office, your colleagues nearby will be able to hear you. If you scan at 600 DPI which slows the speed, it's significantly more quiet.

The Canon LiDE 400 can scan up to a maximum resolution of 4800 DPI. LiDE 300 scans up to 2400 DPI.

To scan at the maximum resolution, you have to do it through ScanGear. When you open ScanGear and look at the resolution drop down menu, you will see that there's no 4800 listed among the option. Well, you just have to type in the numbers yourself. The driver will also show you how large that file size is going to be. For a 4800 DPI scan at A4 size, the file size is 6.4GB.

Conclusion

The Canon LiDE 400 is a fantastic scanner for scanning artworks. It's able to capture scans accurately. Price is not too high so overall, it's really worth the money.

If you already have the previous LiDE 220, there's no need to upgrade since the image quality is similar. And if you have limited budget, the LiDE has similar image quality as well.

Availability

Check more out reviews on Amazon via the direct product (affiliate) links below.

Canon LiDE 400
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.com.au | Amazon.co.jp

Canon LiDE 300
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.com.au

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8 Comments

Hi Teoh,

Hi Teoh,
I'm thinking about buying a new scanner, maybe this new Canon would be a good option.
I’m using a multifunctional printer but I’m not getting the best results. The final image always looks a little bit weird/sharped. I understand the multifunction printer shouldn’t be as good as a stand-alone scanner, but it is not only about the optical resolution, right? Right now I can scan 1200 dpi with my printer, but it still looks a little bit pixelated. I’ve tried to investigate it, I think it could be a colour depth issue, but I’m not sure… When I research about it and try to know the colour depth of a multifunction printer, the information never appears. So I’m not sure what should I look for… :/
I’m a little bit scared of buying a scanner and still can not get the quality I want. My illustrations are made with graphite pencils and have a lot of grey shades and details.
Do you think this new Canon is a good option to scan the little details?
Thank you!

Hi Teoh

Hi Teoh

Excellent review. You mentioned that this is Contact Image Sensor (CIS) and if its 1mm off the glass it will be blurred. How do you manager this with watercolour paper is not likely to be 100% flat due to the paper buckling a bit. Even the best of the papers like Arches will eventuate is a surface that is not 100% flat.

Tina

I've been using my friend's

I've been using my friend's LIDE 220 and it has a particular problem. One part of the LED arm is now grinding against the glass, so it is getting noisier, and there's a scratch getting more visible every time (started as hairline). I suspect this is has to to do with years of pressing down the lid during scanning.

In any case, I will be buying a new one, just because the quality is so good. I'm just trying to decide between the 300 and 400 models.

Just how loud is the 400? Is it much louder than the 220? I work in libraries so this is a concern.

Also, I'm scanning magazines for a research project, but my default (both for space and speed) is just 300 dpi/color. How fast does the 400 feel next to the 220?

Lastly: is the stand useful in any way? It doesn't seem practical at all!

Thank you for your reviews.

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