About buying a scanner and getting the best results
Which brand of scanner to choose
Choose the brand that offers the best service package. Pick the brand that is renowned for quality. Canon swept all the Hardwarezone.com awards for scanners in 2000.
How to pick the right model
- Decide if you need high speed or high quality scanning most of the time. If you need high quality scanning, opt for a 1200 dpi scanner. If your scanning needs are pretty basic, a 300dpi scanner will do.
- Do you need to scan films frequently? Then you need a film adapter unit (FAU). If you don't need to use the FAU regularly, choose one that comes with a detachable FAU rather than one that comes built-in with the scanner.
- Do you need to scan frequently? If not, get a printer with sheet-fed scanning options or a multifunctional fax that has printing, faxing and scanning functions.
- Do you need to scan from books frequently? If so, get a scanner with Z-lid double hinge cover which allows you to place the page of the book flatly onto the scanning unit.
- Check which interface your PC is designed for. The scanner has to be compatible with your PC.
- Do you need to scan on the go? If so, choose a portable bubble jet printer that has a scanning option.
How to get the best scan
- Make sure the scanning glass is clean and free of dust.
- Ensure the document is flat against glass for optimal sharpness.
- Use USB whenever possible for faster scan speeds.
- Ensure scanner settings is correct for image type (e.g. colour or b/w).
- Get the scan right the first time : No amount of Photoshop magic can fix a botched-up scan job.
- Scan at proper resolution for maximizing scanning speeds - you don't have to use the full 1600 dpi quality stated in the specifications because you would need more RAM and it takes up more time in scanning. Speed of scanning is highly dependent on he computer that you are using. See Point 5 for the optimal resolution size.
- Get the colour calibration right : Scanned job look different on the screen of different monitors because of different colour calibration.Use a proper CMS (Kodak's CMS and Apple's ColourSync for monitors) to overcome this niggling problem.
How to obtain the fastest scan
- The speed of scanning depends on the computer that you are using.
- For faster scanning speed, users should always try to use a faster PC with more memory / RAM and work with as little data as possible.
- Choosing a scanner with a fast preview speed will also help.
- Scan at the optimal resolution which means depending on the type of printout you want, the scanning resolultion differs. Check Point 5 for optimal resolution size.
- Narrow down the area for scanning during pre-scan stage so the scanner will not need to scan the entire document.
What is the optimal resolution size
- If the image you want to scan is meant for screen display (like PowerPoint, web or email attachments), an image at 72 dpi is sufficient. This is called screen resolution. With this size, it will not take long for visitors at your website or your audience watching your PowerPoint presentation to download the graphics.
- To scan a document for archival purpose, 150 dpi will suffice.
- To scan bar charts and newspaper clippings for business reports, a 200 dpi is a nice compromise in file size and resolution. But if you want to print out the document in good quality, scan it at 300 dpi.
- To scan and print high quality images and photographs, do it at 600 dpi to ensure enough data and details are captured. If you plan to enlarge the printout, then scan the original document at a higher resolution of 1200 dpi. But do bear in mind that a higher resolution requires a larger storage space. So do ensure that you have sufficient free hard-disk space and memory. Also, close all other programmes to avoid any software crashes. You may also want to narrow down the area for scanning during the pre-scan stage so that the scanner need not scan the entire document, taking up precious space.
What are the differences between CIS and CCD scanners?
With Canon's innovative and patented CIS technology, the SlimLine N-Series of scanners are extremely slim and compact, making it suitable for both offices and homes. The extremely low-power consumption of the SlimLine scanners makes it possible for the USB-models to be powered by the USB cables alone, eliminating the need for a bulky A/C adaptor which takes up another wall socket. The latest SlimLine N-Series comes with 3 EZ-Buttons (tm) to simplify tasks like multiple photo-scanning and scan to e-mail, to one-touch operations!
CCD scanners such as Canon's D-Series scanners have the ability to scan three-dimensional subjects, making it convenient to scan small objects on the scanner. In addition, most of the D-Series scanners have optional or integrated film scanner adapters, so users can scan their negatives or film directly. With the two technologies and various levels of resolution, various levels of users can select the models most suitable for their needs. Featuring both CIS and CCD technology, there is a Canon scanner for everyone!
Is USB 2.0 (Full Speed) truly USB 2.0?
- USB 2.0 is forward and backward compatible. This means that USB 2.0 products are able to work in PCs with USB 1.1 or 2.0 interface. As such these products can be operated in 3 different specifications.
- USB 2.0 Low Speed - USB operation at 1.5Mb/s (same as USB 1.1 normal transmission speed)
- USB 2.0 Full Speed - USB operation at 12Mb/s (same as USB 1.1 maximum transmission speed)
- USB 2.0 High Speed - USB operation at 480Mb/s in PCs with USB 2.0. Its maximum speed is only 480Mb/s, which is 40x faster than USB 1.1. And the normal transmission speed is 60Mb/s, which is 5x faster than USB 1.1.
Due to the above information, there are vendors who have changed their upcoming USB 1.1 products to USB 2.0 full speed instead. In fact, these products are actually operating at the speed of USB 1.1 and not the actual speed of USB 2.0. Therefore, you may wish to double check if the product you're buying is certified as USB 2.0 high speed.