Scanner Review: Fujitsu fi-6140

One of the nice things about working for Adobe is that occasionally nice things show up on my doorstep.

That was the case a few months ago when a Fujitsu fi-6140 scanner arrived. My test of this scanner was delayed as I waited for my new laptop to arrive . . . apologies!

Fujitsu fi-6140 scanner on Rick's desk
Fujitsu fi-6140 scanner on my messy desk.

Fujitsu offers an entire line of scanners from inexpensive personal scanners to heavy-duty departmental scanners. Many of their scanner offerings include Adobe Acrobat, too!

Need to learn about scanning and OCR in Acrobat 9? Check out my movie page to see how to use these features.

 

The Fujitsu fi-6140 is department-level scanner that is rated to scan 60, double-sided black and white pages per minute at 200 dpi and 40, double-sided color pages at 300 dpi. This kind of performance is about three times what you’ll find in a personal scanner.

The price is also about three times more:

  • The Fujitsu fi-6140 is about $1580 (CDW)
  • ScanSnap S1500 is a bit under $500 (CDW)

For a small firm that doesn’t do a lot of scanning, the Fujitsu fi-6140 might be overkill. However, if you have a lot of documents to scan, or difficult document types, this scanner has many benefits:

  1. TWAIN Interface
    Unlike the ScanSnap personal scanners, Fujitsu’s business
    scanners can interface to any software such as Acrobat. (You can’t scan inside of Acrobat using the ScanSnap, which is an annoyance).
  2. Scanning Options
    The fi-6140 TWAIN driver offers sophisticated imaging tools
    such as edge cleanup, hole removal, document numbering, etc. You can even have the scanner automatically scan the front of pages at one resolution and the back in another.
  3. Paper Handling
    The fi-6140 capably handles thick card stock and other tough to scan documents. I scanned a stack of credit cards and it worked fine!
  4. Speed
    The fi-6140 is fast, really fast. If you scan large stacks of paper frequently, you will benefit the most.
  5. Software Bundle
    In addition to Acrobat, the fi-6140 includes full versions of professional-level software such as Kofax VRS Professional and Fujitsu ScandAll Pro.
  6. Long Duty Cycle

In the rest of the article, you can read more about my overall impression of the Fujitsu fi-6140. In this review, I’ll cover how to use this scanner with Acrobat and access some extended functions.

Spoiler alert: I liked it! Read on . . .


Set-up

I was able to unpack and install the Fujitsu fi-6140 in under thirty minutes on my laptop. Basically, you unpack the scanner and remove several strips of tape securing moving elements of the device. The only thing left to do is to click the page feeder into place and you’re done.

Software installation takes some time, but is straightforward. Insert the installer CD into your PC and choose which software products you need to install. I installed just the ISIS and Scanner drivers. When you do this, you must also install the small program that stays resident in your system tray called the Fujitsu Error Recovery Guide. If the scanner were to malfunction, an alert pops up on the PC.

After a reboot, I plugged in the scanner which Windows Vista recognized right away.

Initial Impressions

I scanned a variety of types of documents including old typewritten pages on yellowed paper, card stock, magazine pages, etc.

Paper handling is strength of the Fujitsu fi-6140. I have had only one paper jam, and that might have been because I didn’t seat the paper properly.

Like the other scanners I’ve used, there is a lag between the moment that you press the Scan button in Acrobat and when the scan actually starts. On my machine, this is always about five to six seconds.

I ran several tests on the Fujitsu fi-6140. All tests were run on my Lenovo ThinkPad W500 with no other applications open. I tried to test the types of documents that legal professionals might use regularly.

Performance Tests

My tests included an old, ten-page typewritten document, a 78-page computer-generated document, and a 4-page color card stock file.

To perform the scanning, I chose File—> Create PDF—> From Scanner—> Custom Scan and set the page size to letter. Other choices such as resolution and color mode were set in Acrobat.

Document Type
# of Pages
Scan Time
Type and Resolution
Old, typed, stapled doc, hand markups 10 double-sided pages (20 total) 23 sec 300 dpi
BW
Old, typed, stapled doc, hand markups 10 double-sided pages (20 total) 21 sec 300 dpi
BW
Old, typed, stapled doc, hand markups 10 double-sided pages (20 total) 1:04 sec 600 dpi
BW
Computer generated 39 double-sided pages (78 total) 62 sec 300 dpi
BW
Computer generated 39 double-sided pages (78 total) 211 sec 600 dpi
BW
Color, thick card stock, double-sided 2 double-sided (4 total) 9 sec Color, 300 dpi
Color, thick card stock, double-sided 2 double-sided (4 total) 44 sec
(Memory Mode)
Color, 600 dpi

In my 2007 blog article Using Acrobat with the Fujitsu fi-5110C Scanner, I did some time comparisons between a few scanner models. The Fujitsu fi-6140 is clearly faster than the aforementioned scanner, and about on par with the Canon DR-2580C I reviewed about three years ago.

In the Canon article, I mentioned that I had to manually change the defaults for the scanner driver as the initial settings yielded slow scans. I did try quite a few options, but changes I made did not impact scan speed more than a second or two.

Quality

All the scans that I observed were very good quality, and gave good results when used for OCR.

I also scanned a color photo and compared the results to those obtained using my Brother MFC-6490CW. While nobody should mistake the fi-6140 for a standalone photo scanner, the results were certainly good enough for most legal professionals.

Adjusting TWAIN Driver Settings

Most often, I let Acrobat control the scanner. Acrobat’s interface is easier to use and frankly, a lot prettier!

For example, you can control many image processing aspects directly via Acrobat such as background removal, deskewing, noise reduction, etc. These options are pretty confusing to work with in the native TWAIN driver.

Still, there are occasions when you may wish to dive into the native driver to take advantage of features that aren’t available in Acrobat. For example, do you have to scan a whole stack of documents with hole punches? The native TWAIN driver can eliminate these during scanning. Below, I’ll discuss one example of functionality you can take advantage of in the TWAIN driver.

Note: Changes you make in the TWAIN driver are "sticky" and are retained for future scanning sessions.

 

Follow these steps to explore some features of the Fujitsu fi-6140 TWAIN driver.

Getting to the Fujitsu TWAIN Driver

  1. In Acrobat, choose File—> Create PDF—> From Scanner—> Custom Scan
  2. Click the Options button
    Getting to the options button
  3. The Scanner Options window opens. Change the User Interface option to Show Scanner’s Native Interface:

    Showing the native TWAIN inteface in Acrobat

  4. Click OK.
  5. Load a piece of paper in the scanner.
  6. Click the Scan button
Done with the TWAIN Driver?: Just follow the steps above and choose Hide Scanner’s Native Interface.

 

Making Change in the Native Driver

The Fujitsu Twain Driver window will appear:

Fujitsu Twain driver window

Clicking the Options button reveals several interesting features.

Let’s look at a couple of useful options.

Hole Punch Removal

If you have originals with hole punches, you’ll often see black circles on scans. By changing a setting in the driver, you can eliminate these.

Example of hole punch removal

Here’s how to remove hole punches . . .

In the Rotation tab, set the following:

  1. Adjust the menu for "Automatic Size and Skew Detection" to Set to Black Background.
  2. Adjust the "Hole Removal" menu to Fill with White
    Setting the driver to do hole punch removal
  3. Click OK

TIP: You can save groups of settings in the TWAIN driver so you can easily reuse them.

  1. Click the Config button in the main TWAIN window

    Config button

  2. Click the Add button in the Configuration window
  3. Name your new setting and save. It will now appear in a list of configurations at the top of the TWAIN window:

    Saving settings in the driver

Sometimes the driver does not appear to clear out settings, so you may need to double-check settings.

Further Exploration in the TWAIN Driver

There are other functions in the TWAIN driver that are interesting. I’ve found that you need to play with these functions to figure out what they do. The function labels and accompanying help can be a little cryptic.

Here are some other areas of interest in the Options area:

Cache Tab: Blank Page Skip

You can set the threshold for any dirt or noise which will tell the driver to skip the page.

Filter Tab: Border and Endorser

If you regularly see edge shadows around pages, you can have the driver fill in the area with white. Another option is the digital endorser which allows you to stamp the document during scanning. Both of these options slow down scanning somewhat.

Final Thoughts

The more I used the Fujitsu fi-6140 the more I like it. This scanner is flexible (handles many types of paper) and reliable (doesn’t jam). Those are two critical elements for me.

Pros

  • Paper Handling
    This scanner can handle various thicknesses of paper and other materials better than any other scanner I have tried.
  • 300 dpi Scan Speed
    Speed is very good at the resolution I most typically use.
  • Desktop Footprint
    The fi-6140 doesn’t take up a lot of room on my desk. When the paper shoots are closed, it is about the size of shoebox.
  • Unobtrusive Software
    Some scanners have a lot of software overhead including startup files and memory resident apps. These issues are minimal with the fi-6140.

Cons

  • The TWAIN driver window is straight out of Windows 95. While it is functional, I would appreciate a modern, fluid interface with less cryptic labels and functions.
  • 600 dpi Scan Speed
    The scanner seems a bit slow at 600 dpi to me. I wish it were faster. I’m starting to scan more at higher resolutions to take advantage of better results and file size reduction using Acrobat 9’s ClearScan technology.

I think any law office would be well served by the Fujitsu fi-6140. I’m not giving up mine any time soon!

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