The Canon imageFormula DR-C125 is a quick, space-saving desktop document scanner that is bogged-down by awful software. Skip it and get a ScanSnap S1500 instead.

Click through for the details and a video of the imageFormula in action.

Price and features

The Canon imageFormula DR-C125 is currenty about $405 on Amazon. Here is where it sits in relation to the competition:

Scanner

Price

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 $415
Canon imageFormula DR-C125 $405
Ambir ImageScan Pro 820i $358
Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 $325

It is competitively-priced if its competition is the ScanSnap, but remember that the ScanSnap comes with a copy of Acrobat. The imageFormula doesn’t.

The main feature of the DR-C125 is its small footprint, which pulls paper through the scanner and feeds it back out vertically, so you don’t have to make room for a traditional catch tray.

Otherwise, it scans at 25ppm/50ipm (just a bit faster than the ScanSnap), and includes TWAIN support. Like most scanners, it has multi-feed detection to make sure you don’t miss any pages.

Hardware and design

The imageFormula is tall, but the footprint is about the same as a ScanSnap S1500 or the Ambir ImageScan Pro 820i. The difference is that the Canon doesn’t have all the awkward feeder and catch trays to pull out. Most scanners — like most printers — look all nice and tidy when closed up, but you have to open them up and extend all kinds of feeder trays and catch trays to actually use them. Once you’ve done that, they take up a couple of square feet of desk space, and don’t look very pretty.

Not so the imageFormula DR-C125. You don’t really have to open anything up in order to use it. Just flip up the top, which closes to prevent debris from getting into the feeder, and scan. Paper is ejected vertically in front, so you don’t have to move your stacks of work paper out of the way just to scan something.

Apart from this neat design, the imageFormula DR-C125 looks perfectly nice sitting on a desk.

There are two levers on the front of the scanner that aren’t exactly clear. The first allows you to scan thicker things, and has the icon of a folder. If you engage this setting, the scanner won’t pick individual pages, but will pull the entire stack through. Maybe this is meant to be used for scanning passports and other things with pages you can’t separate.

The other lever switches between the vertical eject I described above and ejecting paper onto the surface in front of the scanner. If you are scanning stacks of paper, this is probably better, as the front catch tray won’t hold quite as much.

Software

The Canon imageFormula DR-C125 comes with software called CapturePerfect, which looks like the interface was designed for Windows 3.1 and hasn’t been updated in the intervening 20 years. The dialogs are holdovers from Windows XP, at best. It is a pretty terrible user experience.

The archaic feel carries over to the way the software functions. For example, TIFF is the default file format in save dialogs, not PDF, and I couldn’t find any way to change that. You have to manually select PDF every time.

Scanning utility software should be simple and stay out of your way until you push the button on your scanner. That isn’t the case with CapturePerfect. When I tried pushing the <|> button on the front of the scanner (although I have no idea what the <|> symbol is supposed to mean, it is the only button on the scanner besiodes the power button) after installing CapturePerfect, I got the following error message from the Windows Image Acquisition Service: “There is no application registered for this event.”

Since could not determine the reason for the error, so I had to do all scanning through the CapturePerfect interface. You may get better results, but it was pretty frustrating, especially since CapturePerfect is so unpleasant to use.

Performance

Software glitches aside, scanning with the imageFormula DR-C125 was perfectly fine. As you can see from the video, above, it scans quickly and efficiently, and the scans turn out well. (Here is a sample PDF scanned with the DR-C125).

However, I was frustrated by the inability to use the Scan button (I assume that’s what the <|> button is) on the front of the scanner, and the CapturePerfect software was slow and cumbersome compared to the other software I have used on document scanners. Not all scanning software is as easy to use as the ScanSnap Manager, but everything else I have used so far is better than CapturePerfect. That’s why, although the DR-C125 is quick, in real-world use you can’t scan anywhere near as quickly as you can with the competition.

Who should buy this?

For someone with limited desk space, the Canon imageFormula DR-C125 is a reasonable choice. But if you have large scanning jobs to complete, or you just want a scanner that is easy to use, the ScanSnap S1500 easily remains my top choice.

Summary

Canon imageFormula DR-C125
Reviewed by Sam Glover on .

Summary: The Canon imageFormula DR-C125 is a quick, space-saving desktop document scanner that is bogged-down by awful software. Get a ScanSnap S1500 instead.

Breakdown:

  • Price and features: 3
  • Hardware and design: 4
  • Included software: 1
  • Performance: 2

Overall score: 2.5 (out of 5)