I have been asked to do some research into mid-level and high-end flatbed A3 scanners used for professional artwork scanning (think illustrations for children books). I am not acquainted with this market and have some hard time even identifying what brands to look into.

For an example of high-end: http://graphics.kodak.com/US/en/product/image_capture/professional_scanners/iqsmart_scanners/iqsmart3

Example of mid-level: http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&sku=E10000XL-PH

So right now I have Kodak and Epson. What other manufacturers should I look into?

  • I don't think that either answer is better than the other, but since the site needs accepted answers I chose horatio's one on the basis of his having less reputation overall ;P Thanks to both of you guys! – Mchl Jun 30 '11 at 8:08

Microtek has been in the professional market for some time, but may not be at the top of their game.

I frequently have to reproduce fine art (flat objects) and I use a digital camera and good photo lights.

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  • Ditto. Once in a while, you just need the extra resolution that only a scanner can provide, but that's almost always for transparencies or negatives, not larger artwork. – Alan Gilbertson Jun 23 '11 at 20:19
  • I have a huge file cabinet of 4x5 transparencies and I usually will rephotograph an item rather than scan the transparency. I get better detail and dynamic range and less grain. Depends on the transparency of course. – horatio Jun 23 '11 at 20:29
  • That's fascinating. How were you scanning, and how do you rephotograph? I've never seen a rephoto that came anywhere close to a drum scan, for resolution or Dmax/Dmin, although I've not tried it with a modern Leaf or PhaseOne. It's one of those things that was a waste of time back in the day, and I've never revisited it. – Alan Gilbertson Jun 23 '11 at 21:15
  • As you probably know, photographs are not always sparkling diamonds of greatness, so there's that. In addition, I am using a mid-level flatbed with transparency tray, not a drum scanner. Since my photo setup is 20 feet away and operated via a USB cable and a laptop, I can bracket like crazy. The resolution of my SLR is adequate for 11 x 17 or smaller, and I can see all the cracks and blemishes of a 19th century oil painting which are invisible from the transparencies. – horatio Jun 23 '11 at 21:26
  • also: polarizing filter – horatio Jun 23 '11 at 21:28

Definitely check out Contex. If this is relatively low volume work, Plustek makes an excellent A3 flatbed.

One technique that's very effective in this kind of research is to call around places that offer this kind of service and ask them what equipment they use. You'll quite often get a manager or a technician who has deep knowledge of the subject and will be happy to download years of experience.

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  • I would certainly do that, but surprisingly enough it seems that this kind of service is rare around here. Kodak does not even advertise their iqSmart line here. Thanks for the Contex link. – Mchl Jun 23 '11 at 20:21

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