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Phillyman

A3 Flatbed Scanner Recommendations

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Phillyman    403

Does anyone have any recommendations for an A3 flatbed scanner? I have quite a few larger format magazines that I would love to get scanned for Retromags, but my A4 scanner will just not cut it.

Looking at picking up one of these guys, unless someone has a better recommendation?

http://www.amazon.com/Mustek-A3-1200S-11-7-inch-16-5-inch/dp/B008Y8E1XC

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marktrade    614

I have the 1200HS and can confirm it is very bad at scanning neon colors. I can show you some example scans when I get home from work late tonight. It also quickly started developing long vertical scan lines which are not fixable without disassembling the scanner.

I bought it because I had to test for myself whether 1200 DPI added any benefit and it is impressive when scanning text or line drawings, like those little cartoons of "Max" the mascot for MacAddict. You can then and blow them up really big for desktop art or posters.

I also knew that I needed something to scan CDs and CD sleeve covers, and I still use it for that, despite the presence of scan lines. Something is better than nothing.

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marktrade    614

Alright I'm back home from work. I tried to research all this before buying my Fujitsu scanner. I would also be interested in finding a reliable A3 flatbed scanner someday, but I don't have much experience and still wonder if there really is one that justifies the investment. I can at least show you more of what you can expect, if you buy one of those Mustek scanners, though.

Here's a comparison image with a scan from my Mustek A3 1200HS on the left with a photo from my iPhone 5s camera on the right, which much more closely resembles the actual appearance. I thought the scan looked colorless at first and thought it just needed tweaking, more saturation maybe or using the "Color Matching Control" feature advertised by Mustek (which had a negligible effect, so negligible I'd consider the example image on their website misleading or false advertising), but none of that worked.

The scanner sensors just weren't picking up some colors. Oranges came out looking pink and bright yellows all but disappeared.

Mustek1200_HSvs_Camera.jpg

The large format Mustek scanners all use Contact Imaging Sensors (CIS) which are now a very old technology and I suppose that's why they're inexpensive compared to other large format flatbeds. When digital cameras arrived they used Charge-Coupled Devices (CCD) as sensors which were also used in scanners as an improvement over CIS but they're larger, more power-hungry, and more expensive. The sheetfed scanners that KiwiArcader and I use employ CCDs.

Although I did not scan this one, here is an image from a smaller Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M which also uses CCDs:

Screen_Shot_2015_06_02_at_8_04_13_PM.jpg

The iPhone 5s uses more modern CMOS sensors, which are well on their way to replacing CCDs in digital cameras, especially because of burst mode. There are also flatbed scanners that use CMOS but none are large format.

Large format flatbed CCD scanners start at something like $1,700 from what I can tell. I have no experience with them. Few people seem to own them which means they usually don't have customer reviews, and the ones I've seen are sort of odd, complaining about uneven surfaces and bevels and I just think, "what a hassle for such an expensive piece of equipment that takes a long time to scan."

I wish I could finish this post with a recommendation but my Mustek is a disappointment not just for the colors but for the lines appearing as well. Here's a scan of one of my Electronic Entertainment CDs. It's hard to tell from the thumbnail, but the lines pointed out by the red arrows appear in every scan as slight discoloration. I keep scanning because so far they're small but they only grow worse and more numerous. I try to be as clean as possible.

EE_20_disc_2j.jpg

Oh and the software that comes with the Mustek scanners is just awful. Very unreliable and slow, especially the Mac version. At least the Mac software allows you to scan at 1200 DPI. I know you're probably not interested in that, but you should know the WIndows software that comes with it will not let you scan that high, even though that's how it's advertised. That's Mustek for you, I guess.

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KiwiArcader    471

All I can say to purchasing a Mustek scanner is ... DON'T DO IT!!!!

Just about everyone I know who has had these things (myself included) has regretted their purchase as they are incredibly unreliable. You would be far better off with a Brother A3 all-in-one scanner in regards to reliability and scanning quality even if their ADF's are pretty crap and like every scanner other than a Fujitsu they do not handle fluro/neon colors very well. Better to spend a little more than use a Mustcrap IMHO.

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E-Day    698

Almost all scanners have trouble with the fluorescent colours, though a couple of years ago Kiwi mentioned one to me that did a good job with them. It also happened to be very expensive!

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KiwiArcader    471

Only expensive if you need bigger than A4 size scanning. If you can get away with A4 then a Fujitsu Snapscan iX500 should handle fluro as shown by marktrade's examples above. If you need A3 scanning then yes, it costs a lot. My Fujitsu FI-5650c is an earlier model of his FI-6670a. These are horrific prices brand new. I acquired my one through eBay for a bargain price but shipping to New Zealand was pretty expensive as I recall..

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marktrade    614

I would guess that A4 flatbeds with CCD or CMOS sensors would handle fluro as well as any Fujitsu that uses CCD, but I can't confirm that. I've read speculation on other forums that the poor reputation flatbeds have with fluro is because their light sources aren't uniformly white (to save energy) and that these flatbed light sources are actually causing different colors to be reflected off the fluro pigment than if you simply observed it in natural light.

I can confirm that at least for my A3 flatbed Mustek this is *NOT* the case. After testing it I felt a bit silly, but test it I did. I turned off all the lights late at night, took off the top of the scanner, and in a completely dark room ran the scanner light past the magazine with my iPhone camera running. My CMOS iPhone was detecting the orange perfectly well even under the light of the scanner, but it was coming through the scanner as pink and sickly.

MDS00001a.jpg

I really wanted to believe all that stuff about "48-bit color" but if you don't have good sensors then processing it in 48-bit doesn't mean jack.

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