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If you don't see it here then check out our Electronics Shop or our Office Supply Shop.
Scanners Buying Guide
How many times have you wished you had an electronic copy of that special photo? How often have you had to laboriously type in an important business document that only existed on paper? A scanner can help you bridge the gap between the hard-copy and electronic worlds. Forget typing in documents by hand; with optical character recognition software, your scanner can convert hard-copy documents to text in the blink of an eye. You can also e-mail scanned photos to friends and create professional-quality newsletters, calendars, cards, and more. Scanners are now affordable enough for home users as well as business professionals.
Flatbed scanners make up the bulk of the general-purpose scanner market. These models usually deliver the best combination of quality and flexibility, and have only recently become available at affordable prices. To use a flatbed, you typically place your original under a flip-up cover; a moving scanner arm does the work while the document stays put. If your scanning needs involve a mix of photos, text documents and business graphics, a flatbed is the way to go.
Sheetfed scanners are most often used for desktop document-management tasks. Sometimes available in very compact and portable cases, sheetfed scanners can automatically feed one or more pages. Sheetfed scanners come in many styles, with some models offering functionality and quality similar to photo scanners. Sheetfed scanners also frequently come with document management softwareto manage digital versions of your documentsas well as outgoing fax drivers and optical character recognition (OCR) applications. Many sheetfed scanners detach from their feeders to become hand scanners that you can use to swipe book pages. If you're going to be mainly scanning text, a sheetfed scanner can offer you more portability and a lower price than a flatbed.
CCD technology involves a precise arrangement of light source, mirrors, lenses, and the CCD chip itself. The light is bounced off the original document, directed through a lens, and focused on the CCD chip, which digitizes the image. When calibrated properly, this approach works wellit's still used in the vast majority of scanners on the market. However, its complexity adds bulk and requires significant power to drive the light source.
CIS technology eliminates some of these hassles by combining a series of closely placed LED light sources next to a row of tiny sensors. Unlike a CCD configuration, which focuses an entire line of the scanned image onto a small chip, the CIS models use sensors that run the width of the page. The bottom line on CIS is that it allows for smaller and lighter scanners that require less powermaking portable models more feasible. While CIS is a significant innovation, its scanning quality is still not quite up to par with CCD. For now, it's a choice between image excellence and design convenience. As CIS technology improves, however, look for it to compete head to head with CCD in the quality arena.
Scanning area usually differs according to the type of scanner. The most affordable flatbed scanners, for example, only handle originals up to 8.5 inch x 11.7 inches, though some models can accept legal-size documents. Sheetfed scanners, on the other hand, have a distinct advantage in that they feed the paper through and therefore aren't so limited when it comes to paper length (although the width is fixed). They usually handle at least legal-length originals. Photo scanners are a mixed bag in this regard. While most feed the originals like sheetfeds, some have more limited width.
There are two types of scanner-resolution ratings optical and interpolated. Optical resolution is the most important figure to compare while shopping, as it indicates the hardware-level resolutionthe actual scanning density. Interpolated resolution takes the results of the optical scanning and performs predictive software techniques to create estimated dot values between those that were actually scanned. While interpolation can improve the quality of many documents, the optical resolution of a scanner determines its true accuracy.
Look for an optical resolution of at least 600-by-600 dpi. Many units feature 600-by-1,200 dpi resolutions, which offer some additional image improvement. If you're going to be scanning mostly text and not photographs, you may want to opt for a 300-by-600-dpi model to save money.
Transparencies and slides
Sheetfed scanners cater to a different audience, mainly business users and home users looking for a way to fax documents from their computer. Sheetfeds typically come with fax and copying utilities, as well as document management and optical character recognition (OCR) software to help create a "paperless" desktop (OCR software converts a scanned image into a text document). Some sheetfed models include photo-management software as well. Flatbed scanners frequently offer a mix of all these types of software, as they're used for a wide range of photograph and text scanning.
All categories of scanners come with basic image-editing software. While scanners will work with other applications you may already have, it pays to do a little research into the software bundled with a scanner before you buy.
Most drivers offer a preview windowa picture of the scanning area that lets you specify the region to be scanned and preview a thumbnail version of the final image. This preview feature is often used to automatically adjust the scan size to avoid useless white spaceand wasted time. Good drivers also offer plenty of adjustment options, letting you set brightness, contrast, color levels, resolution, and color depth.
Welcome to another year of cyber shopping at CassBeth. We organize and humanize access to shopping on the entire web, like no other portal on the web. Please don't forget to tell your friends about our special place. Thanks and enjoy your visit.
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