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Dare to Digitize

(December 2012) posted on Mon Dec 10, 2012

Large-format, flatbed, film, and specialty-scanner solutions.

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No, digitizing files hasn’t completely gone the way of the dodo. There are still those clients that will provide you with photographs, slides, and other types of artwork that need to be scanned. Plus, some jobs just lend themselves to utilizing new scans. Perhaps a history-focused project involving photos or slides that have resided in a shoe box for the better part of 20 years or more, or maybe it’s a case where a fine artist or photographer needs his work scanned for the first time (or was never happy with the scans he had produced a few years ago). Or the client wants to reproduce a particular stone pattern or wood grain for her wallpaper or tiles.

In all of these cases, having a scanner in-house can prove to be a time-saving and profit-making device, allowing you complete control over that process, including any necessary fine-tuning. If you’ve decided that the time is now for a scanner purchase, keep in mind that scanners are of various types, including:

• Large-format: Capable of handling originals 24-inches and wider, these machines are typically sheetfed models that can accommodate relatively thin originals (some can accommodate thicker materials);
• Flatbed or desktop: Standard desktop models, which can usually handle prints/positives as well as slides/transparencies (the largest are typically tabloid sized);
• Film: These units are specifically geared to handle slides and transparencies; and
• Other: This group includes any other type of scanner, including overhead scanners (a camera-like scanning unit is mounted over a table that holds the original), drum scanners, vertical flatbeds, hybrid units, and others.

To help you in your scanner quest, we provide the following product-roster “thumbnails” of manufacturers producing professional-grade color scanners intended for graphics and/or photo reproduction. Keep mind that this sourcelist is intended as a starting point only, so specs are limited here – we’ve generally provided broad brushstrokes as to each company’s offerings.

Aztek’s Digital PhotoLab DPL2054 is a 54-in. wide-format scanner that can scan originals up to 0.6-in. thick. Its Premier drum scanner features a 12 x 12-in. scanning area, 16,000 x 8000-dpi resolution (optical step); it utilizes Photo Multiplier OptiVu technology, allowing the unit to manage and focus variable-scan capture spot sizes down to 3 microns (independent of resolution); Aztek Digital PhotoLab Pro software is included. Aztek also offers its TouchScan scanner line in sizes from 18- to 54-in.