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Let's discuss the kind of scanners you're likely to have access to and to use. Here before us we see three very common types of scanners. We have a flatbed reflective scanner, we have a dedicated film scanner, and then we have a multi-purpose scanner. There is a fourth kind of scanner called the Drum Scanner, we don't show you here and that's a very large and expensive scanner that you are unlikely to encounter. So we are going to focus on these three scanners here. Let's break down each one of these three and talk about how they work and what they are most likely to be used for. This is the flatbed scanner also known as a Reflective Scanner.
It's called a Reflective Scanner because of the way in which it works. A Reflective Scanner like this has three primary elements. It has a cushion top that holds the image in place. It has a glass platen on which you place your image to be scanned or your document page to be scanned. Then there is a scan element that's underneath that glass platen. And that scan element has two elements to it. It has a lighting element and it has an image capturing element. After you place your image on the scanner and you close the top that scan element moves underneath the image, the light shines, reflects off of the image and then it's captured by that same element that's moving across, hence the name Reflective Scanner.
This type of scanner is really optimized for doing this kind of scan. There are some options that you can get for this kind of scanner to extend its usefulness. One of those is you've got some film holders, this one holds slides, but you can also do this with negatives as well and these are holders that you can put inside and when you use these you take off that from top and then you see that there is another glass platen up here and there is another scan element. And the way this works is, when you close this scanner top, both of the scan elements move.
The top one provides the light and the bottom one provides the capture of the light, and this allows you to scan film of both positive and negative types. So the scanner then becomes a film scanner. It's really not optimized for this but it can be used for that. Some of these types of scanners you can also get them with a document feeder option which is similar to the ones that are built into the multi-purpose scanner, more on that in just a few minutes. But again, this kind of scanner is really optimized for scanning reflective art. If you are going to be doing primarily film then a dedicated film scanner is something you probably want to consider.
As you can see this is a smaller and simpler device. It works very simply, you put your film inside of a holder like this either positive or negative, then you slide it inside the scanner and typically fix into place and then you scan your image. Even though this is a smaller and simpler scanner, it actually results in higher quality scans, why? Because it's a very simple and elegant light path that your light follows, there is a light source which goes through the film and then it's captured by the capture device underneath. Unlike, for instance film scanning with a flatbed scanner like this where the light has to go through two glass area interfaces, two film area interfaces, and then two more glass air interfaces, that's a very complicated light path, and you can get things like dispersions, and reflections and things like Newton rings, dedicated film scanners typically don't have those kinds of problems or challenges.
So you can't do reflective art here. This is not a flexible scanner like this one, but it does a very good job of scanning film. Now the third kind of scanner is the multipurpose scanner. I call this a Swiss Army Knife of Scanning. This is actually a modified version of the reflective scanner, of the flatbed scanner. It has a cushion-top and has a glass platen like this. Typically, these don't have film scanning options. they are primary used for reflective work. But what they are really dedicated for is scanning documents.
That's what they are really optimized for. You can do an okay job, moderate quality in terms of graphics, but if you are scanning lots of documents and converting them into the PDFs and managing those documents that's what this kind of scanner is really optimized for, you would purchase that for. So your choices of scanners are basically these three in the graphic arts and business world. Which type of scan you get is really going to depend upon your scan challenges that you have, and of course your budget, that's always going to come into play. If you primarily need to scan a reflective art, like this, then flatbed scanner is going to be the scanner for you.
If you are primarily scanning film, then this is the kind of scanner. If you really want to mostly do documents, then this kind of scanner. Now most people have more than one thing they need to scan. So if you are primarily doing documents and modest quality graphics are okay, you can go with this device, but if you really need high-quality scans of reflective art, then this is going to be the scanner. If you need to do good quality of both, then you may really need to get both scanners. If you can do modest quality on your film, get good results but not the very best then maybe this is the scanner if you have budgetary issues.
By the way what are these scanners cost? Well, these scanners, depending upon your options are between $500 and a $1000 for the good quality ones. The dedicated film scanners are anywhere from like $200-$600 and then the multipurpose scanners are in the $100 to $200 category. Now if you are lucky just get one of each and then you have optimized scanning for all the things that you need. But otherwise you have to make a choice based upon your budget.
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