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Customer Guide to Flatbed Scanners

Flatbed scanners generally provide a combination of best quality, flexibility and usability for scanning. These can be used to scan various media, such as photographs and film (eg using a Transparent Adapter); OCR and document archiving texts; and can be used to scan materials of different sizes and thicknesses – from small postage stamps to large mechanical designs and 3D objects. To determine the needs of a flatbed scanner, this purchasing guide contains the specifications of the most important flatbed scanner you need to know.

Bit Depth and Gradient

Today's scanners have virtually one type of 48-bit color. The scanners that need three steps to get the full RGB (red, green, blue) color information from one picture one by one are tiringly slow. Too much for 24-bit and 36-bit scanners, which in the past proved to be sufficient to reach 68.7 billion colors.

Today's one-stop, 48-bit scanners are fast and theoretically able to capture up to 250 trillions of colors – clearly more than the human eye distinguishes, or the monitors and printers reproduce – but still impressive in the promise of color tones to get as close as possible and result in smoother color levels. Ignoring all but a passive scanner when buying a flatbed and looking for 48-bit color. Lower bit models (such as 42 bits) should only be tested if the selected scanner has other features where a higher bit partner does not have, for example, proprietary technologies and special features, that more than compensate for the lower bit depth. selected model.


The scanner resolution determines the level of detail to be captured; the higher the resolution, the sharper the scan. There are two types of resolution: optical and interpolated, and optical resolution is the most important feature, as it relates to the actual optics of the scanner and the amount of information they can try. The scanner's interpolated resolution is only useful in certain applications, such as scanning line art, where higher resolutions compensate for confusion and create smoother contours.

Most flat panel devices today have respectable qualities for optical resolution between 2400 dpi and 4800 dpi. Scanners with this resolution are a venerable choice, as these specifications are mostly able to provide sharp details or enlarge images for most print applications. Keep in mind that scanning scanner images at full resolution will probably result in unmanageable file sizes – without shipping – for any noticeable improvement in image clarity or quality. So forget the demolition wars of the past when the manufacturers printed their resolution specification to overthrow their nearest rivals. Instead, look for other features on the flatbed rails that are more important to your needs or consider the specification specification for these other features when choosing a flatbed.

CCD vs. CIS Sensor Technology

The image sensors of the flatbed scanners can be of two types: CCD or CIS. Scanners with a CCD (charged device) use a system of mirrors and lenses to redirect the light reflected from the original document to the CCD array. Due to the required optics, CCD scanners are more expensive to produce and result in larger CIS scanners compared to their CIS counterparts. However, the image quality produced by CCD scanners is much better than CIS scanners.

CIS or Contact Image Sensor technology is another development in which the sensor array is directly below the scanner bed, so the sensors directly reflect reflected light. Because CIS scanners do not require a complex optical system, they are cheaper to manufacture and smaller, resulting in portable, lightweight models that can be ideal for tight tables. CIS sensors also include on-board logic that consume less energy than the CCD. However, since the on-board logic uses a space that is commonly used for the reflection of mirrors and CCD lenses, scanning quality from the CIS scanner is lower. As a result, most people tend to give up the slight savings from the CIS scanner instead of the higher quality CCD models.

Connectivity and Interface

Most consumer-level scanners will now use USB ports – with newer models Hi-Speed ​​USB (USB 2.0) or former USB 1.1. Hi-Speed ​​USB is compatible with USB 1.1 and has a data rate of 480 Mbps (Mbps). Higher scanner models are likely to include the FireWire interface, enabling advanced, professional use of scanners, such as audio / video transmission and data storage. Scanners with a USB or Firewire interface can be swapped quickly, which means that scanners can be connected or removed from other devices they connect without having to switch off the scanners. Older scanners include SCSI or parallel ports, but they do not need to take these legacy models into consideration unless you connect the scanner to older computers. If you buy a flatbed car, you should buy any scanner with a Hi-Speed ​​USB port, but consider purchasing a model with two Hi-Speed ​​USB and FireWire interfaces to provide broader connectivity to many other devices and peripherals.

Scan Speed ​​

Speed ​​specifications in flat planes are difficult to determine – except the scanner manufacturer specifies the specifications or the exact conditions for scanning the material. Scan speeds can be run from seconds to several minutes, depending on many factors. For example, to compare the scanning speed between two comparable models, we need to know the size of the scanned material, the resolution setting, the interface used, and the speed and performance of scanning the computer. Check the speed requirements if they are made at all; can help you perform an actual or sample scan for the model of your choice and see if you are satisfied with the reason for the preview and the actual scan. You can also check if the flatbed model has been reviewed in computer journals or websites and the speed is evaluated, as benchmark tests can give you a more comprehensive picture of how fast the scanner works.

Size of the scanning bed

Most flatbed planes start with a default 8.5 "x 11.7" scanner approaching the font size or document size. From there, you can play various bed size configurations, including 8.5 "x 14" for legal-sized material, and 12 "x 17" for large, tabloid-sized scans. It is generally a good idea to have a flat bed that is larger than the minimum – in this case larger than 8.5 "x 11.7". Not only can larger materials be inserted into the scanner bed, but you can also group some small pieces on the scanner bed and perform batch tests (scanning in groups) to save time and energy.

Dynamic Range

The dynamic range of the scanner measures the ability to capture the tonal range of the image, from bright spots to dark shadows. The dynamic range is measured on a 0.0 (perfect white) and 4.0 (perfect black) scale, and the single number for the scanner indicates that the domain can be separated. The minimum and maximum density values ​​that can be fixed with the scanner are called Dmin and Dmax. If the Dmin value of a scanner was 0.2 and Dmax was 3.0, then its dynamic range is 2.8.

While the dynamic range is a frequently outlined expression, in reality, the spec is more important for film scanners used to scan slides, negatives, and transparencies – because these media types have BROADER tones relative to the images, and the higher dynamic range of a scanner may vary . Most flatbed scanners will have a dynamic range of 2.8 to 3.0, but will not be surprised if they are not found in the specifications, as this is not critical information that the average user needs to photograph or print.


When selecting a scanner of your choice, take note of the related software. The software always includes the scanner's own driver or scanner, as well as a number of additional programs such as image editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, to which the scanned image is attached; optical character recognition software such as ABBYY FineReader for Sprint for Scanning and OCR; color calibration software for higher scanner models; and even photo enhancement software like DIGITAL ICE. Also check for extras such as your own or exclusive technologies. For example, some Microtek dual-bed scanners (a flatbed scanner with a camera, a separate film reader) feature EDIT technology, which includes glass-free transparent scanning to eliminate objects such as Newton rings and improve image quality.

The driver or scanning software is a critical component of the flatbed device because it determines that it will be able to make readings easily and efficiently. Good scanning software offers quick previews, automated settings if you just want to use the operations, and has plenty of image adjustment or correction features to scale up or down the image size, calculate input and output sizes, adjust brightness and contrast, correct histograms , application filters, and so on. For example, Microtek's ScanWizard scanning software offers a standard interface for simplified and automated scanning and an advanced interface for more detailed and sophisticated control of the entire scanning process. Before you finalize your purchase, make sure you find out what the scanner driver and software packages are included in the scanner.


Flatbed beds are capable of extending their functionality and versatility when equipped with accessories such as a transparent adapter or automatic document feeder.

The Transparency Adapter, also known as translucent media adapter, allows you to scan film and transparencies for photos scanned by the flatbed device. The TMAs are easy to install, the flatbed scanner cover is completely removed and the TMA is in place. With its own activated illumination, the activated TMA can control the amount of illumination on the film to be scanned, preventing over-exposure of the film and ensuring correct image results. When purchasing the Transparency Adapter, you will usually have all kinds of film templates or holders for scanning various films, such as 35mm slides, 35mm film strips, 4 "x5" films, and medium format (6x6cm 6x17cm panoramic) movies . The package may include premium color targets for calibrating the scanner for optimal film scanning.

The automatic document feeder or automatic document feeder increases the document creation capability of a flatbed scanner. The automatic document feeder allows you to scan multi-page documents continuously – from 50 to 100 pages or more – for imaging or OCR. With the automatic document feeder connected to the scanner, you can easily insert a document pack into the automatic document feeder, start the OCR software for the scanner, and select the appropriate settings for scanning text pages. The pages can then be saved as a graphic or image file for reference and registration, or the pages can be created for OCR and other word processing.

When deciding on a flatbed scanner of your choice, see if you can insert the transparent adapter, the automatic document feeder, or both. The cost of additional options may be somewhat more costly, but it is worth the money if these accessories allow you to do much more with the flatbed machine, increasing its efficiency and extending the scanner functions.

Other Parts

The last item to consider when buying a flatbed scanner is service and warranty options. Depending on the scanner model price and level, service and warranty options may be free for a limited time. Most manufacturers offer a service and warranty plan; make sure they are appropriate and fit your needs. The best guarantee is that parts and labor are covered, and a shorter-term, more intensive warranty can be better than a durable but waterproof warranty. It's a good idea to check what type of technical support is available with flatbed purchases, and when online support, downloadable drivers, and update information are available on the manufacturer's website.

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