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View Full Version : Computer & Related Equipment Review Brother MFC-3360c Multipurpose Prtr



glenbarrington
04-26-2007, 08:58 AM
This isn't really a photo printer, or photo scanner, but enough of us are trying to generate at least SOME income with photography, that I thought some of you might find this useful.

Brother MFC-3360c Color Photo Inkjet All-in-One

I think this is an excellent SOHO multipurpose device. It is a Printer, sheet fed scanner (no flat bed option), Fax machine, and copier. It comes with both PC and Mac versions of the software. I use a PC and can't speak to the Mac software.

I really like that it has a built in fax modem. That means it can function as a standalone fax machine/copier. you don't have to connect it to a PC to use it as a Fax machine. I wish it had a flat bed scanner option as well, but since I already have a good flatbed scanner, I figured I could get by without one. The fax machine is sopisticated enough to work with external answering devices, single line telephne set-ups and single line set-ups with 2 phone numbers attached. (unique-ring single line systems)

Text quality is pretty good. Photo quality is OK. Good enough for casual photo printing, but I think pros and advanced amateurs will want a dedicated photo printer. Being a sheet fed scanner, you may not want to scan photos with it because of the chance of potential accidents. I certainly don't. But any more, that is such a small portion of my scanning needs, that a sheet feed scanner is much more useful to me.

Very easy to set up. Instructions are well written and easy to follow. Whoever wrote the instructions has a detailed knowledge of English.

It comes with PaperPort SE with OCR and the device control program (Brother control Center 3)is very well designed and allows you to do all the things the device can do pretty easily. It also works quite well with the Microsoft Office scanner features. The OCR software is about average for OEM OCR applications

The PC software also offers some pretty sophisticated PC fax options in addition to the stand-alone fax features built into the unit itself. Including broadcast features. So if you want to make a total nuisance of yourself via the phone system, you can!

I think the paper supply cartridge is poorly designed. It is too easy to accidentally change the size of paper that you are using and this can cause paper jams. I think this problem can be minimized with practice, but if you have a spouse who is a technophobe, it could be a point of frustration.

I just got it, so I can't confirm this, but the manual claims the black ink cartridge can produce up to 900 pages of text, assuming an average of 5% coverage. If this is anywhere close to true, this means it is one of the most economical ink jet printers on the market.

Pros: Inexpensive
Built in fax modem
Sheet feed
High quality text/Ok photos
4 color cartridges
Claims economical operation

Cons: Poorly designed paper supply cartidge
No flatbed scanning

I paid $99 USD for this device, and for the money, I think it is a remarkable value.

OzRay
04-26-2007, 11:34 PM
I've been pondering getting an MFC, not so much for the fax capability, but moreso for the document scanning ability. I'd want one that converts the file automatically to a PDF. How does this one go?

Cheers

Ray

glenbarrington
04-27-2007, 06:48 AM
There are two ways to create a PDF. One is thru a button in Brother's Control Center3 software and one thru the PaperPort SE software.

The button on CC3 was originally set up to save to a jpg. But since I doubt I would need to save a scan from this device to a jpg, I changed the output file to PDF. That was the only parameter change I made to the button set-up. I scanned an old B&H invoice. The image was pretty sharp but the file size was 508kb. I think that is kind of big for a 1 page scan, but I thought the quality was pretty good. Tweaking other parms may improve the file size without degrading the image.

Using the OEM PaperPort SE software on the same source page, resulted in a usable but a bit 'fuzzier' image, however the file size was only 106 kb. One minor irritant, the two software packages default save locations are different, so I have altered the the CC3 save loaction to the PaperPort folder structure.

So once I learn the machine a bit better, I may be able to tweak my way into a good compromise setting.

The scan itself was fast, much faster than my HP flatbed takes on the same PC. The conversion to PDF went very fast as well. The whole process from scan to writing the file took maybe 2 - 3 seconds in both cases.

Gary_Berg
04-27-2007, 09:27 AM
Typically the sharpest and smallest B&W scan will be a 1-bit B&W TIFF; it's either black or white, no choices. This is good for doing things like scanning invoices or most other paperwork, and not good for pictures (of course).

I typically get under 100Kb TIFF files from this sort of thing using my scanner.

OzRay
04-27-2007, 02:44 PM
Thanks.

Cheers

Ray

glenbarrington
04-27-2007, 06:54 PM
Typically the sharpest and smallest B&W scan will be a 1-bit B&W TIFF; it's either black or white, no choices. This is good for doing things like scanning invoices or most other paperwork, and not good for pictures (of course).

I typically get under 100Kb TIFF files from this sort of thing using my scanner.

You are correct, I just tested the same page by creating a B&W image as a TIFF and as a PDF. The TIF came in at 64 KB while the PDF came in at 326 KB. I'd judge the image quality to be roughly the same.

glenbarrington
06-17-2007, 05:38 PM
Deals2Buy Sunday June 17 th 2007 web site reports that Staples is selling the MFC3360c with a $50 USD mail-in rebate with free shipping, for a final price of $49.88 USD. Pretty good deal!

OzRay
06-28-2007, 12:31 AM
I ended up getting the Brother MFC-5460CN at AU$139 (US$113 approx). It came with all the software to do proper document scanning etc and what a breeze to set up. Other companies should take note about how Brother does these things. I connected the device via a network cable and even the TCP/IP settings were created automatically. The beauty about the Brother products is that just about every model has network capability and provides all the necessary software to do the lot.

I've just tested the various options and things work a treat. I can document scan from the device straight into a folder in my PC, in just about any format from BMP to PDF. The PC on-screen control allows me to scan to an image/OCR/e-mail/file in one easy step. It's not the fastest off the block, but I can't really complain considering the price and features. Looking at HP/Canon et al, none of them seemed to have their act together as far as a complete package is concerned and their prices were much higher for equivalent devices.

Cheers

Ray

glenbarrington
07-02-2007, 12:53 PM
I just realized I have been using the Paper Cartridge imporoperly! So I would have to withdraw my complaint that it is too easy to cause paper jams by pushing the cartridge into the machine 'wrong'. My apologies. to you guys and to Brother.

glenbarrington
12-29-2007, 09:33 AM
This is an update for this combo unit. First the negative, then the positive. . .

My daughter asked me to copy some old photos for her and print them out for gifts. Since I was lazy, I did it with the Brother MFC3360C, and the results were unacceptable. The image was a bit 'fuzzy', and I could never get the colors adjusted correctly. So I got out the HP2400 flatbed scanner and everything was fine.

I can't account for the color anomalies, but I suspect the sheet feeder type scanner just isn't 'flat' enough for quality copying of photos. (perhaps it is just a 'cheap' sheet feeder, I notice that the faxes I send with it are acceptable, but they aren't the best I've ever seen).

Now for the good.

This is the most economical printer I've ever owned, I just replaced the four original ink cartridges that came with the device. That is 9 months of moderate use with the freebie cartridges!

Also, while I originally felt that the photo prints it made with Canon and Kodak paper were plenty good for casual printing, I have discovered that the image quality goes up when I use Brother Photo Paper. I'm not replacing my Canon photo printer just yet, but I thought the quality was pretty good, better than adequate. The biggest drawback is the limited selection of Brother paper varieties and the limited number of places carrying it.

I'd still recommend this as a good cheap multi purpose device, but I'm a lot less happy with the scanner portion of the unit than I thought I'd be. Try to use something else for your critical scanning needs.