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Scanner differences in scanning photos

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  • Jennifer Beatty
    I m considering purchasing one of the HP scanners, and am looking for recommendations. Is there an appreciable difference in the quality of the image captured
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 13, 2000
      I'm considering purchasing one of the HP scanners, and am looking
      for recommendations. Is there an appreciable difference in the quality
      of the image captured from the same photograph but with different
      scanners (assuming the same software)?

      Thanks for any advice,
      Jennifer
    • Steve Knoblock
      I think that most consumer scanners produce acceptable quality images given similar image sensors and software. I would stay away from unknown companies,
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 14, 2000
        I think that most consumer scanners produce acceptable quality images given
        similar image sensors and software. I would stay away from unknown
        companies, several scanner companies have gone out of business or make
        cheap mechanisms. These were some of the very inexpensive and "easy to use"
        ones that crowded the market last year. I forget the forgettable brands.
        Also, you should consider looking out for small potentially portable use
        scanners, which use an LED image sensor. The reports are that these do not
        produce the same level of quality as regular CCD image sensors. Some report
        streaking or banding with LED sensors. I believe the small Canon uses an
        LED sensor. I've seen this with a rebate as low as $50. I'd recommend this
        as a lightweight unit for going to reunions and travelling, but would
        suggest getting a CCD-based scanner for home use.

        Look for a sturdily built unit. Open the lid and peek down into the
        mechanism. If you see a lot of plastic used for the rack that moves the
        image sensor, I'd look for one that has more metal in it. I can't say how
        much this affects the output, but I'd prefer a well built model even if it
        is a bit heavy. If it looks cheap, it probably is.

        If you are looking to choose among HP scanners, you should choose based on
        image quality and features. Scanners with greater optical resolution will
        be more expensive, although you may not need any greater than 300 to 600
        dpi *optical resolution*. Remember, that you have to process all those bits
        and any time spent handling more information than you require is wasted
        time. It may be more than you need for you use. And it may be too much for
        your computer to handle.

        Most scanners are 36bit meaning they record colors or lightness with a
        greater number of levels than the older 24bit machines. This helps to
        improve the performance a bit, by giving the scanner more image information
        to work with. However, the extra bits are discarded when the image is sent
        to your computer. It may turn out that the extra bits are within the "noise
        level" of your scanner's electronics. I would not worry about the number of
        bits for most images. 24bits do fine, 36bits will probably look the same. I
        would not trade my solidly built but obsolete 24 bit scanner for a cheaply
        built new one with more bits.

        Quality of optics, optical resolution and a good solid mechanism capable of
        fine stepping and a vibration free platform are the factors most likely to
        affect image quality. I have prints made from box cameras that are sharper
        than ones from some new 35mm point and shoot cameras. You may also see
        digital cameras for $1000 with about 3 megapixels, yet professional digital
        cameras without about the same number of pixels cost $6000 or more. A lot
        of pixels without a good lens will not get you a better picture.

        In summary, I'd say that scanners vary in

        - quality of mechanism
        - type of image sensor
        - optical resolution
        - extra features, such as built-in transparency capability
        - bundled software, such as PhotoShop

        A good bundle can make a good scanner purchase into a best buy. A mediocre
        bundle should not decide your purchase for you.

        Steve


        > I'm considering purchasing one of the HP scanners, and am looking
        >for recommendations. Is there an appreciable difference in the quality
        >of the image captured from the same photograph but with different

        Steve Knoblock popular history
        editor@... of photography
        www.city-gallery.com and genealogy
        www.phphelp.com
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