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Canon imageFORMULA R40 document scanner review

The Canon imageFORMULA R40 takes multi-page duplex document scanning in its stride

Canon imageFORMULA R40
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

This desktop scanner takes all the hard work out of digitizing documents with speed and efficiency. With a 60-sheet auto document feeder and single-pass scanning for duplex pages, along with multiple output options, it powers through piles of paperwork in fine style. The companion app makes it easy to set up custom scanning options and assign them to numbered tasks for quick retrieval via a ‘Job Select’ button and single-digit numeric display, although a ‘proper’ information display or touchscreen would have been better.

Pros

  • +

    Fast automated scanning

  • +

    Single-pass duplex operation

  • +

    Customizable scanning options

  • +

Cons

  • -

    Unintuitive ‘Job Select’ button

  • -

    Lacks Wi-Fi/Ethernet connectivity

  • -

    No touchscreen

  • -

The Canon imageFORMULA R40 desktop scanner offers a quick and easy way of digitizing documents. Indeed, in an age where we do the vast majority of our ‘paperwork’ without using any actual paper and communicate electronically, it can be highly frustrating every time a document drops into our physical mailbox. This document scanner aims to automate the process of turning paper documents into data files, so we can store them on computers or in the cloud, where they belong.

Specifications

Scanner type: CMOS CIS
Max resolution: 600dpi
Max speed: 40ppm/80ipm
Auto document feeder: 60-sheet
Light source: RGB LED
Operating system: Windows 7 SP1>, macOS 10.12>
Interface: USB 2.0
Power supply: Mains PSU
Dimensions: 291 x 250 x 245mm
Weight: 2.8kg

Key features

Many of the printers that we use in the home office or larger workplace nowadays have a built-in scanner, which might make the ImageFormula R40 seem a little superfluous. However, if you regularly need to scan multi-page documents, especially double-sided ones, you’ll know what a time-consuming chore it can be. This Canon scanner’s key features include a 60-sheet auto document feeder coupled to a motorized transport system that feeds a 600dpi CMOS CIS (Contact Image Sensor) at a rate of up to 40 pages per minute for mono and 30ppm in full color. What’s more, the device can scan both sides of each page simultaneously, in a single pass, equating to 80 or 60 ‘impressions’ per minute respectively.

Automation features include size and color/greyscale detection for documents, along with auto resolution adjustment, de-skew, text enhancement, auto simplex/duplex sensing and the option of removing blank pages from multi-page documents.

Canon imageFORMULA R40

The companion CaptureOnTouch app for Apple and Windows computers is pretty intuitive, enabling you to select and customize the scanning method and output destination, and to create shortcuts. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Using the CaptureOnTouch app that’s supplied with the scanner you can access fully automatic scanning and set up many and varied options for tailored scanning tasks and output destinations. The scanner itself features Start and Stop buttons, plus a ‘Job Select’ button, to which you can assign up to nine of your favorite shortcuts. The only catch is that, unless the app is visible on the screen of the linked computer, you have to remember what each number refers to. A more informative display screen would have been more intuitive than the featured single-digit display, and a touchscreen would have been even better.

Canon imageFORMULA R40

You can create up to 99 numbered shortcuts, defining scanning and output modes for each, but only those numbered 1 to 9 are available from the scanner’s onboard ‘Job Select’ button. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Unlike the smaller and fully portable Canon ImageFormula R10, the R40 is a more power-hungry beast and has its own mains power supply unit, rather than being USB bus-powered. Even so, it only consumes 22W or less when running full-pelt, and just 1.4W in sleep mode.

Build and handling

Sturdily built, the scanner weighs 2.8 kg but doesn’t demand much desktop real estate, with a width and depth of 291 x 250mm when the output tray is retracted. The overall depth increases to 600mm when the scanner is open for business, with the output tray extended. Indeed, it’s very much a desktop scanner, with a single USB 2.0 port for connection and no built-in Ethernet or Wi-Fi connectivity.

Although the scanner isn’t Wi-Fi enabled in its own right, you can scan direct to cloud-based storage as well as email attachments and other options, with plenty of ‘output method’ settings. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Handling is good overall and the scanner proved consistently reliable in our tests, although a DFR (Double Feed Release) button is on hand in case of incorrect feeding of two sheets of paper simultaneously. A release catch at the top enables the main body of the scanner to be opened in case of more serious paper jams.

Adjustable paper guides enable scanning of pages from 50.8-216mm in width, and 54-356mm in length. The feeder also accepts business, membership and loyalty cards on plain or embossed card, but not embossed plastic cards. If you fancy going large, you can also scan banners of up to 3m in length, using the ‘long document’ mode.

Performance

For document scanning, the speed and quality are very impressive. Fully automatic duplex scanning for a color mixed text and graphics page took just 4 seconds in our tests, and less than 2 seconds for greyscale output. Even at the highest-quality setting for an A4 color photo at 600dpi, the final JPEG was available in just 20 seconds. Although fast, however, image quality for glossy color photos tends to look overly high in contrast and saturation.

Canon imageFORMULA R40

Scanning speed depends largely on the resolution/quality setting. There are four levels available from 200dpi (speed priority) to 600dpi (quality priority), as well as an auto-detect option. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Verdict

The Canon ImageFORMULA R40 achieves its ambitions of making complex and typically time-consuming scanning tasks quick and easy to complete. The range of presets and options for setting up tailored scanning routines are similarly simple, via the companion CaptureOnTouch app for Apple and Windows computers. The onboard ‘Job Select’ button and its single-digit display is comparatively rudimentary but, all in all, it’s a classy bit of kit.

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Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 


His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 


In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.