A look at the latest trends in image capture and where the technology is heading.
By Jeff Dorgay
* Epson’s Perfection V700 Photo scanner features optical resolutions up to 6400 dpi (12,800 dpi maximum interpolated resolution), 48-bit scanning with 4.0 dynamic range for transparencies, and a dual-lens scanning system. It has an 8.5 x 11.7-in. maximum scanning area and three scan modes: high-speed, monochrome, and full-color. A Pro version of the scanner adds high-pass optics, a fluid-mount assembly to reduce scratch, Newton rings, and Monaco EZcolor software. Prices: $549 ($799 to $899 for the Pro version).
* Visioneer’s OneTouch 9520 Photo Scanner features pre-configured buttons "for easy, out-of-the-box scanning." The scanner offers 4800-dpi resolutions and 48-bit color data and is bundled with Corel Paint Shop Pro X, ScanSoft’s PaperPort, and a suite of software from ArcSoft. Price: $199.99.
And while the need for film scanning is on the decline, you shouldn’t necessarily rule film scanners out of the game either. While I haven’t shot a frame of film in years, I know a lot of photographers that still do. Now is a better time than ever to add a good film scanner to your toolbox, if you have the need.
For those of you with a need for a wide-format scanner, those units also are seeing some interesting changes in productivity and their ability to take on a variety of projects.
For instance, Colortrac’s SmartLF Gx 42 is a 42-in. CCD-based scanner that comes in monochrome, color, and Express Color models. It offers up to 9600-dpi resolution and 48-bit color data, and is capable of scanning media from 6- to 48-in. wide and handling media up to 0.02-in. thick in its Gx version and up to 0.8-in. thick in its GxT thick-media version. MSRP: $11,495 to $14,895, depending on model and media handling.
Meanwhile, Vidar has recently updated its entire line of seven rollfed wide-format color/mono scanners, enabling all of them to capture color at 48 bit and graytone at 16 bit. Each scanner is available in Base or Plus models, with the differences being speed and resolution. Base and Plus units offer true resolutions from 200 to 600 dpi; the Base units have an enhanced resolution of 1200 dpi, while Plus scanners have an enhanced resolution of 9600 dpi. These units can scan media up to 15-mm thick, have USB 2.0 connectivity, and offer Automatic Thickness Adjustment Control.
The promise of digital is finally fulfilled
Granted, there is always room for improvement, but whether you are talking about an inexpensive camera and printer or the most expensive tools for professional use, the image quality that you can now achieve surpasses what silver-based imaging offered not too long ago.
The color gamut is increased, the noise level is down, and this stuff has become pretty easy to use out-of-the-box-both on the capture side and the print side. It’s not as easy as dropping a roll of film in your SLR and handing it off to the lab, but it’s darn close and the results are much better. Today, anything I could have done with film 5 to 10 years ago, I can do better, faster and cheaper with digital.
Based in the Pacific Northwest, Jeff Dorgay (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a photographer, writer, and publisher who has been involved in the photography market for more than 25 years.