Author Topic: Scanner help  (Read 1539 times)

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Offline Sskessa

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Scanner help
« on: December 23, 2004, 06:42:33 pm »
Well, like I posted before, my scanner broke. So I want to get a new one soon, but my problem is that I really don't know anything about scanners. Honestly, I didn't know anything about the one we had before! So I'm looking for a lot of help. Here's what I'm looking for:
I can probably spend $100 on a new machine. I'm looking for quality, not for something cheap that will break in a year like this old one did. It has to have good resolution, at least 2400 dpi. Speed is not an issue, I don't care if it's the slowest scanner in the world. And no extra software included, just the driver.
But wait! That's not all! Some specs I've found on different scanners are "bit depth" and "flatbed" and "digital". Could someone explain these to me?
I know I'm asking for a lot, I don't want to waste money on something so expensive. Any information is helpful. Thanks.
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Offline Nocte

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Scanner help
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2004, 07:43:32 pm »
I can't recommend any specific scanner, although I've had a HP Scanjet 2300c for quite a while. (Most pictures in my gallery are scanned with that one). But I can recommend you not to look too much at the numbers the manufacturers give you.

You won't get 2400 dpi on a flatbed scanner. I have yet to see the first consumer flatbed that can go beyond 600 (and even then, with the quality of the sensor, the effective resolution is probably even less). What a manufacturer means if they say their scanner is 2400 dpi, is actually that for every pixel it scans, they pull an extra 15 pixels out of nowhere.

The bit depth indicates how many different shades of red, green, and blue it can distinguish. For a color depth of 8 bits, you have 256 shades (2 to the power of 8). Normally, the manufacturer will give you the total of all channels, and this is usually 24 bits; 8 bits for every channel. Some claim 36 or 48. Again, this is a rather meaningless number, for more or less the same reason as the dpi is meaningless. Don't expect more than 6 bits per channel effectively.

A flatbed scanner is the type where you can put a whole page under a lid. This is probably the one you're looking for.

Every scanner is "digital", so I have no clue why they feel the need to put this on the box like it's some special feature. '<img'>
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Offline siiwolf

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Scanner help
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2004, 05:53:17 am »
Quote (Sskessa @ Dec. 23 2004, 6:42 pm)
Well, like I posted before, my scanner broke. So I want to get a new one soon, but my problem is that I really don't know anything about scanners. Honestly, I didn't know anything about the one we had before! So I'm looking for a lot of help. Here's what I'm looking for:
I can probably spend $100 on a new machine. I'm looking for quality, not for something cheap that will break in a year like this old one did. It has to have good resolution, at least 2400 dpi. Speed is not an issue, I don't care if it's the slowest scanner in the world. And no extra software included, just the driver.
But wait! That's not all! Some specs I've found on different scanners are "bit depth" and "flatbed" and "digital". Could someone explain these to me?
I know I'm asking for a lot, I don't want to waste money on something so expensive. Any information is helpful. Thanks.

make sure it has at least 42 bit color (I think they are up to 48bit now), that's what they mean by bit depth I believe. I have a 42 bit Visioneer scanner I got on ebay for like $35. It scans fast, scans often, and has lasted for over two years with no sign of quiting, so price is not always the best inidicator of what you get. I have no idea why you would want to scan something at 2400dpi, printing is 600dpi max so anything higher is overkill (600 probably is too). Just don't get OEM, make sure it comes with the power cord, drivers and USB cable and if it's not specifically stated as coming with the package, assume it doesn't and move on.

Flatbed just refers to the style of scanner. Typically they are the narrow wide ones you can set on top of your desktop tower if you don't have room. I don't think I've ever seen a scanner that wasn't a flat bed. As far as I know all scanners are digital.... o.O They may be referring to the interface (ie like a touch screen) in which case that would be rather pointless.

EDIT: Damn, overlooked Nocte's post and they beat me to all the info!  ':dead:'





Offline Sskessa

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Scanner help
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2004, 01:56:49 pm »
Quote
You won't get 2400 dpi on a flatbed scanner. I have yet to see the first consumer flatbed that can go beyond 600 (and even then, with the quality of the sensor, the effective resolution is probably even less). What a manufacturer means if they say their scanner is 2400 dpi, is actually that for every pixel it scans, they pull an extra 15 pixels out of nowhere.


Ah, I see.  '<img'>
So the specs they give you are basically meaningless, and Siiwolf says not to decide based on price to much. So now I'm more knowledgable, but still lost on what to look for in a good scanner.
Thanks for your help, and any more info is still appreciated until I actually buy the thing.
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Offline Nocte

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Scanner help
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2004, 04:20:08 pm »
Quote (Sskessa @ Dec. 24 2004, 7:56 pm)
Ah, I see.  '<img'>
So the specs they give you are basically meaningless, and Siiwolf says not to decide based on price to much. So now I'm more knowledgable, but still lost on what to look for in a good scanner.

Indeed. You cannot make a good decision based on the information they give you. (And this isn't just the case with scanners, but also digital cameras, audio equipment, etc.)

Even if you had all the relevant specs, I don't think there would be much of a difference between all flatbeds below $100. (I have never seen any real measuments, but it would be interesting to see if there really is a difference in image quality.)

So the only thing you can look for is a scanner that doesn't stop working after a few months. My Scanjet has served me for 3 years now, so I guess it's a good bet, just like Siiwolf's Visioneer.
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Offline Ulario

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Scanner help
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2004, 04:49:35 pm »
I may be a bit biased... but I have a canon "canoscan".  I've had it four about three years, and it has worked well for me since I bought it.

I had a few scanners that were pieces of crap too.  As much as I love Compaq Computers, never, ever buy on of their scanners.  My Compaq scanner broke within 6 months after I got it (and some of my friends told me similar stories.
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Offline Cesarin

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Scanner help
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2004, 07:31:27 pm »
I had a hp3200C , and like all people said.. I recommend you go for speed rather than "resolution"
I dont think you will need anything bigger than 600 dpi.
rarely you will want to scan a 150 MB 1200 dpi file :P

I am using a CANON 3200F wich works preety fine, and scans way fast.
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Offline Sskessa

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Scanner help
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2004, 07:44:07 pm »
Quote
As much as I love Compaq Computers, never, ever buy on of their scanners.  My Compaq scanner broke within 6 months after I got it (and some of my friends told me similar stories.


I wish I had known that a year ago, because that's exactly what we had bought! And it did break!
BTW, the reason I need high resolution is to send high-res pictures to Deviant Art in order to get prints made.
And like I said, speed means nothing to me. I'm used to slow computers, I can always go do something else while a picture scans.

So Canon, Visioneer and Scanjet have worked well for people and lasted long. I guess the decision will be made based on what's availible at the store then. Thanks everyone.
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Offline CarLOS

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Scanner help
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2004, 08:11:09 pm »
I'm in love with my HP 3400C '<img'>

Agfa's have fair quality, but their software is unsound (I used to sell them Good scanner, but had to replace *every* disk in the lot-run '<img'> )

Color depth - Unless you are scanning stuff for for billboards, anything above 24-bit is downright dumb.

Offline Nocte

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« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2004, 06:38:01 am »
Quote (Sskessa @ Dec. 25 2004, 1:44 am)
BTW, the reason I need high resolution is to send high-res pictures to Deviant Art in order to get prints made.

You will get a very good print with 600 dpi. I think DA recommends 300 dpi for "excellent quality".
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Offline CarLOS

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« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2004, 08:53:38 am »
Good point. I have a HP842C which is 300x300, software forceable to 1200x1200 (four passes per line), but even at 300x300 and photo-paper, the "dots" are indestinguishable by eye and at 600x600, indestinguishable under an 8x eyeloupe.

Offline Sskessa

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« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2004, 07:56:41 pm »
Quote
You will get a very good print with 600 dpi.


Ah ok. I must have been confusing dpi with something else when I was looking at the numbers.
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