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:



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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Overall score: 2.5 (out of 5)


  1. Marc says:

    I did not have any of the issues the Mr. Glover had.

    I installed all the software on a Windows 7 PC and all of the functions work correctly including sending the scanned image directly to Evernote or just to a local drive.

    The Push Button on front of the Scanner works everytime and the images are as good as the originals.

    The best feature I have found is the Auto-Skew. No matter how the paper was scanned, the Capture software displays the image perfectly square.

    Before Mr. Glover does another critique, I suggest he gets his IT people to look at the PC he is doing his testing on.

    The Canon DR-C125 is fast, accurate and the size is a perfect fit for a small desk.

    I do agree that getting Adobe Standard would have been nice but since our office is a mix of PC and Mac, it was nice getting all the software included other than having to purchase a separate MAC Version like you have to with the Scan Snap.

    Both Scanners rate very highly in my book but the Canon had the size and features that I needed.

    • Sam Glover says:

      If it requires an IT staff to install properly, I don’t think it is a great fit for most lawyers.

      • paulp says:

        I think his point is your PC may be corrupted by incompatible drivers, viruses or bad software that could explain your troubles. What you describe doesn’t sound at all normal and I think your review has been biased considerably by a potential problem with your PC that most people would never experience. Get a clean PC and try again, then update your review is my advise.

        • Sam Glover says:

          There was absolutely nothing wrong with my computer when I did this review.

          • paulp says:

            Hi Sam,
            I actually purchased the wireless model of this canon unit an can confirm your problem is because you likely did not reboot the machine after the installation. Registering “handlers” for the scanner doesn’t occur automatically and when I tried to run the program without a reboot I encountered the same issue and had to do clean reinstall as it would not “fix” itself. I also confirm that certain programs like ABBYY fine reader encounter problems if the antivirus kick in while scanning is happening (reading the temp directory kills the scan as it locks the temp files) Although the current software is not CapturePerfect I agree with the statements around canon’s software quality, or lack there of. It really could not be any worse, I’ve raised several defects to Canon support months ago and had no success getting canon to fix any including the software not working with Mavericks on dual screen setups. You really must use a good program like ABBYY to get any archival results with this unit (which cripples the hardware recognition!!) and the scanner does crazy things like auto splits pages why detecting images with no ability to override this. I’ve had to fall back to an old scanner to recognise large left bound manuals simply to get around the hardware “intelligence” that stuff up the scanning thinking the manuals are made of of many little pages.

            I won’t not go the basic snapscans simply because they are not TWAIN compatible which is a big limitating factor but certainly would not recommend the canon either. Perhaps the more expensive fujitsus is the next best option though a bit tricky to find in my area of the world.

            Ironically, canon has moved away from CapturePerfect but canon themselves suggested I go use CapturePerfect instead of Capture on Touch.. very sad indeed.


  2. Reza says:

    Hello Sam,

    First off, I would like to thank you for taking the time to review pretty much every document scanner on the market! You really are a Godsend!

    Now, I am on the verge of purchasing a document scanner and am unsure as to which would produce the best-quality monochrome and colour scans for archival purposes (i.e. whereby the originals are shredded after being digitized, so colour accuracy and scan quality are more important than scan speed). It is important to note that I already have the best OCR software on the market (including Adobe Acrobat Pro, ABBYY FineReader Pro, Kofax VRS, and Kofax Capture) to use with either of these TWAIN-compatible document scanners, which is why the highly praised Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 is simply is not an option for me at this time.

    Therefore, between the Canon ImageFormula DR-C125, Brother ImageCenter ADS-2000, and Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 which you have reviewed, how would you rank their picture quality (in order from best to worst)?

    Again, I want to point out that the software bundled with each scanner (i.e. OCR, business card management, document management, etc.) is not important to me since I already have what I need, and I am quite tech savvy so unintuitive button labels and arduous driver installation procedures do not bother me either. However, once everything is installed, configured, and ready to use, I DO want the model which has the fastest, most easy-to-use, and most stable scanning utility and TWAIN drivers for both Windows and Mac OS.

    Therefore, how would you rate the intuitiveness, stability, and performance of the scanning utilities and TWAIN drivers that each of these document scanners came with (in order for best to worst)?

    I believe that A LOT of other potential buyers of these units are also seeking the same answers, so you would be guiding them as well in making the right decision. Finally, even though you have included a sample scanned document in your reviews of the Brother and Canon models, both of the files look like they were from different sources (i.e. one is a page long and the other is two pages long), so I cannot judge whether the slight blurriness I see on the Brother document is from the source, or if the added sharpness and contrast in the Canon document are indeed a result of the scanner’s superior image capture capability.

    I look forward to your prompt response (especially since I need to get one of these models ASAP at my office), thank you in advance for your kind assistance and cooperation, and wish you the very best in the New Year!

    Thank you,


    • Sam Glover says:

      Any of the scanners will work just fine for documents. If you have special documents that need to be archived at high resolution with some accuracy, I don’t think you should be using a document scanner. I think you should be using a very high-quality flatbed scanner.

  3. Rob Jones says:

    One very important note: Any and all ScanSnap models do not include any ability to directly scan to TIFF. This is a *huge* problem for any environment that uses a TIFF based image/document archival system (which is the industry standard).

    If all you ever want to do is pop out quick PDF’s, yes, the Fujitsu ScanSnap is great (I have one), but it’s completely handcuffed for use in the enterprise environment by the lack of TIFF output.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The DR-C125 also comes with Capture On Touch now, not CapturePerfect, so this review (in addition to the user-errors of the reviewer regarding the software) is further inaccurate.

  5. jameskatt says:

    The huge advantage of Canon Scanners is that scanning to an OCR’d PDF takes the same time as scanning to a plain image PDF. The ScanSnap has to OCR after the scan. This prolongs the scan by 3X the time.

    • Sam Glover says:

      I don’t think that’s right. Or if it is right, it doesn’t make much of a difference. I didn’t notice any additional OCR speed while using this scanner, and if I recall correctly, it still grinded while doing the OCR after the scan.

      Plus, ScanSnaps now have an onboard processor to handle OCR, so there isn’t much post-scan OCR time except on longer documents.

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