Are scanners slow?

Subject: Are scanners slow?
From: Steven Oppenheimer <writer -at- writemaster -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 09:59:35 -0400

I just went out and purchased my first scanner. Rather than do a lot of research, I did the lazy (and cheap) route of going to Best Buy and picking up a bargain brand (the Microtek 4850) for $100.

I am surprised at how slow it seems to scan. To do a color scan (8 1/2 by 11 color magazine page) at 600 dpi takes over three minutes. A color scan at 300 dpi takes nearly two minutes. A gray scale scan at 600 dpi takes about a minute and a half. Gray scale at 300 dpi takes 40 seconds.

A color scan at 1200 dpi takes at least five minutes, if not longer. 2400 dpi takes forever. Of course, I'm not sure I really need to scan anything at 1200 dpi -- I'm scanning old ad copy to put in .pdf files to send to clients, and at 1200 dpi the files are already humongous. But it would be nice if 600 dpi scanning (or even 300 dpi scanning) was two or three times faster.

Maybe I'm spoiled by photocopiers and laser printers, but this seems like a heck of a long time. Before I return it to the store, though, and purchase another brand, let me ask the voices of experience: Do other brands (HP, Canon, etc.) do significantly better? Do I get dramatically better scan speed if I spend another $50 to $100? (The more expensive scanners seemed mainly to offer features like slide scanners that I don't need.) Or is this just the norm, that scanners are not fast like copiers or laser printers?

Steven Oppenheimer
Oppenheimer Communications
Technical and Business Writing: Making The Complex Accessible
writer -at- writemaster -dot- com (301) 468-9233


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