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Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:50 pm
by MrAl

Anyone know where to get a really fast scanner, for scanning documents into digital 'photos' ?
The scanner i have not only has a parallel interface which are being phased out, but it is so
darn slow it makes scanning a very difficult task. It takes about 40 seconds to make a single
scan and that is at 'regular' resolution of only 150 DPI. It's readable so yes it does in fact work,
but that time length is just unbearable when you have to do 100 documents.
I scanned one of my old notebooks in and it took a week to get all the pages! Terrible.

What i need is one that could scan in maybe 2 to 5 seconds, sort of like a copy machine
would do, but of course have it come out as a digital image like any other scanner would.

I've also considered using a high res camera like 10Megapixel, so has anyone tried that yet
and if so how do the text pages come out looking?
I would rather have a really fast scanner instead though.

Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:34 pm
by Janitor Tzap
Hey MrAl,

Well I have a HP ScanJet 5300C myself.
The problem isn't the parallel interface, but the mechanical imaging part.
Before I got the HP, I had a Logitech Scanner it was only 300 dpi.
And unfortunately there was no real difference in how long a scan would take,
even in just 150 dpi with either scanner.

I have yet to come across a fast flat bed scanner with a fairly fast scanning mechanism.

You can try using a Digital Camera.
But having it the right distance from the page.
Image is sharp and focused.
Having enough lighting on the page for good picture.
Making sure you have no shadows on the page, or reflections from pictures in the magazine.
This is a real hassle, compared to having to wait for the flat bed scanner to finish a scan.

I scanned in a bunch of old N&V Mags, and it took me about 18 months to do one years worth of some of the larger size magazines.
They were 14"x18", so I had to scan a page in twice.
First the top of the page, then the bottom of the same page.
Then stitch the two scans together to make the one page.
The smaller 8"x11" aren't so bad, and took only about 6 months to do a years worth of them.

No matter how you look at it.
This is a long, and time consuming project.

What are you planning on scanning?
Some one might already have it transferred to CD's.

Signed: Janitor Tzap

Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:45 pm
by CeaSaR
I hear ya MrAl! My old Acer 620U Prisa is darned good USB scanner, but it takes a good 25+ seconds to
do a 300 DPI full color scan. I do love the way it works and am going to use it for as long as possible. At
least my use is low volume, so the wait is not as annoying. What's funny about it is every time you open
the lid, you see the sticker "Get Ready For Windows 98!". Makes me laugh every time I see it.

The kids' school sent a HP F4280 series All In One Printer/Scanner/Fax/Copier for them and it is actually
pretty fast at making scans, probably on the order of around 15 seconds or so. I'll have to do a timed test
to determine its speed. I do recommend that if you are doing a lot of scanning, go with a dedicated flatbed
unit. They are usually optimized for the job and do it well. Plus, should anything happen to it, only the
scanner will be down, not all 3 or 4 "things". Can you tell I'm a proponent of separate components? :mrgreen:

I did try the camera route several years ago for 24"x36" prints and while it worked, the results were less
than stellar. I could have used a good fixed mount for the camera, but there wasn't one in the office, let
alone something to improvise with.


Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:55 pm
by MrAl
Hi Ceasar,

Yes, i wanted a flat bed scanner and i thought i saw one on the web a few years back
that scanned in about 4 seconds or something like that. Dont know what happened to
it now though.
I guess i could try a camera first, but dont want to spend too much money just to find
out if it works or not. I wouldnt mind using a tripod i guess as i have a couple around
here...big and small. I'd even make a wall mount if that was necessary. The big
issue though is just how good would the 'scan' come out with a camera. Do you have
any samples that you already did that maybe would give me an idea how well this
idea works?

Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:26 pm
by CeaSaR
I'll have to look around and see if they are still here. Back to ya later.


Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:25 pm
by reloadron
I don't know what you have in mind for cost but this creature looks interesting. Actually has an automatic document feeder and will do two sided scans. I don't do much scanning but have a Canon CanoScan 8400F that has worked well for years here. I have also played the shoot images with camera on tripod and shooting straight down which, with good lighting works but even with a good camera doesn't always results as good as scanning.


Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:02 pm
by haklesup
I did a quick google search for "high speed scanner" then used a typical shopping site to look at a few.

There is an interesting matrix of price/speed/resolution. As you would expect, the low cost scanners <$150 are reasonable performers with 12-15ppm and overall high resolution (9600DPI). For really fast scanners the price goes up to $1000 really quickly and interestingly the resolution drops to 600dpi but usually include some sort of sheet feeder.

I conclude that high speed and multi function don't overlap very well. If you want a scanner to do photos and text you will probably want to compromise on speed but if you want an office quality scanner then you will give in on resolution and price.

Photo scanners are a third class and generally low priced and high rez but don't handle letter sized sheets.

I guess it all depends on if you want just a fast scanner with rez to match a laser printer or something more multifunctional and inexpensive. I didn't really look at any all in one scanner/fax/printers but you should do essentially what I did until you can build that price/performance matrix that helps you make the correct descision.

I have a moderally slow multifinction flatbed Canonscan D1230U which isn't particularly fast. I just got a negative scanner but its not a line scanner but a 5MP camera in a box with a 35mm negative and slide holder. Now thats about as fast as a camera but very limited on media it can handle.

Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 2:05 pm
by MrAl
Hi again,

I'd be very interested to see some document you have photographed rather than scanned
if you can find something you dont mind sharing. It doesnt have to be a full text page,
just a few lines would tell me i think. From what Ron says though it doesnt sound good
so far for this technique. I have a low res camera and a low res web cam but that's not
a good test at all, and im not into spending $150 just to find out if this works or not :smile:

I am not sure i want to spend that much though, and i dont really need automatic feed and not
sure if that would work for my purposes anyway.
Thanks for the info about the camera technique, and it sounds like that probably wont give me
good enough results. I think i need a fast scanner. I want to be able to scan text in and
have it very readable with little or no effort, just like reading a real book. If it ends up being
too hard to read, or maybe even a little hard to read, it may make using the scanned in material
difficult to use later on when i go to read it for some purpose.

Oh yes ok i did a search too and found a bunch now too. I didnt realize that they could cost
that much. Not sure what i am going to do yet ha ha but i know i dont want to spend 400 bucks.
That's probably more than double what i was hoping for.
I think i would also be willing to give up on super photo perfection scanning in favor of pure
document (text) scanning, and i was also surprised to find now that some of them will scan
into pdf format, which could be pretty handy. I'll have to think all this over now ha ha.

Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:01 pm
by reloadron
OK, did a minor experiment. First I removed the dust off the scanner which hardly ever sees use anymore. My scanner is maybe 3 tears old I guess and is a CanoScan (Canon) model 8400F. It offers a wide range of scan resolutions and does have the .PDF option that I never used.

So I open the Canon toolbox and choose PDF. I had two options for the resolution of 300 & 400 DPI so I chose 300 and did a scan of a beef brisket recipe lying here. I then did a 400 DPI scan.

300 DPI took maybe 10 to 12 seconds and the PDF file is 568 KB then the 400 DPI scan took maybe 12 to 15 seconds and the file size was 984 KB. Looking at both files in Acrobat Reader I am hard pressed to see any difference at 100%. Naturally if you bump the size up the 300 DPI starts showing grain and poor image quality before the 400 DPI but at 100% I can't see any difference using a good monitor to view the files.

Next I did two scans using what has to be an 8 year old version of JASC Paint Shop Pro 8.0 (before Adobe bought them). Opened PSP and chose Import using a twain device (the scanner). I did the first scan at 300 DPI and saved the image as a .jpg file. Then another scan at 600 DPI and saved the image as a .jpg file. I used .jpg just to keep things common and uniform. The 300 DPI rendered a 910 KB file and the 600 DPI rendered a 2.83 MB file. Both images looked considerably better than the .PDF files.

Overall scanning into a photo program yielded better results from what I see here. I chose .jpg for simplicity. Had I chosen .tif there is no doubt the files would have been gigantic and for a document how good do you need. I did a scan at 1600 DPI which yielded an 11.3 MB file in .jpg and took about 3 plus min. Just a waste as a document isn't very exciting at 1600 DPI. However if I magnify it I can see how lousy the print quality actually is. :smile:

Maybe this weekend I'll take a few pictures.

One merit I see to using .PDF is you can scan multiple pages into the same document with a single name.


Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:59 pm
by MrAl
Hi Ron,

Thanks very much for all the information. That will be very useful for me as i was thinking about all this
stuff and trying to decide what would be best for me. Add to that my next mother board will not have
a parallel interface so my current scanner will eventually become moot anyway (see how old my scanner
is ha ha). Actually i could not find a new mother board that had a parallel interface, and i dont think
they make them anymore (?).

That's interesting about the pdf files too...maybe it sounds better than it really is. I dont mind scanning
into photos either though, and i have done a lot of that in the past. I have some material that has
text plus rough hand drawn graphics but low res (150dpi) seems to work ok and the text comes out
very readable so i wont complain about low res. 75dpi isnt high enough however, i tried that.

Would be nice to see some photo shots too if you take some with your camera. I'd like to see how a full
page like 8.5x11 inches (standard notebook paper) would come out, as well as 3/4 of that page and
1/2 of that page. I guess if it was fast enough to actually perform the camera trick maybe even
scanning in 1/2 page at a time would be worth it even if one page came out to take two files (assuming
we dont want to take the time to copy and paste one into the other to make a single file).

Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:39 pm
by haklesup
I did a little experiment too this morning. I scanned one simple text page using pretty much default settings for text B&W 300dpi

While the scan itself took about 12-14 seconds it took a whopping 45 seconds at the beginning while it informed me it was "adjusting the lamp" and another 6-8 seconds resetting after the scan. All told over a minute (1:05) for a single page. I don't think they publicize those other large delays and just focus on the scan itself.

The second page took about the same amount of time (maybe 6 seconds less to adjust the lamp). A third page took about 10 sec less

Next I tried 32b color 720dpi (not the highest setting but it barfed on 1200dpi 42b color). lamp adjusting suprisingly took only 15 sec but the scan lasted about 6 minutes

Watch that overhead, it can be a killer. Once you narrow the field to a few models, look around for user reviews to toss the inefficient ones.

Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:56 pm
by MrAl
Hi again,

Wow, that's very interesting. I wasnt actually thinking about the overhead until now.
That could play a big part in the total time. I am also a bit skeptical about the
actual scan time vs the published value. I read a couple reviews on one scanner
but none of the people bothered to post any scan times! That didnt help for that
brand. They just say, "Oh yeah it's fast", or, "Oh yeah it's really fast", which
doesnt tell me jack :smile:
They did talk about some of the faults but I am hoping some of the other reviews are more
informative about the speed itself.
I wish i could go to a store and try one out first, that would tell the whole story right there.

I'll check for some more reviews...

After looking at some more reviews, i dont think i am going to be able to find a scanner
as fast as i want really. That means a camera may be the only way.

Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:12 pm
by CeaSaR

I want to make sure the machine that the new scanner is on has the same "picture" program installed as
the older machine. That would be IrfanView. Reason being that I want to minimze any differences possible
between each scan other that the scanner themselves.

I will do a total of 3 scans each (150, 300 and 600 DPI) on each scanner in both color and grayscale. I will
then try to get a decent picture with my Fuji FinePix A330. It is only 3 Mpxls, but decent enough. I won't
try for straight B&W scans, as my experience has taught me that far superior results can be had scanning
in greyscale and converting to B&W in through a photo program. For example, my wife's job requires that her
receipts be scanned for safety until they are verified as being received at the main office. I use IrfanView
to scan them in at 300 DPI greyscale and then Resize/Resample to 100 DPI (preserve the aspect ratio) and
set the size to whatever they are in inches. Then I reduce the color depth to 2 (B&W) and all the text and
whatever graphics that may be included show up fairly sharp. Once saved, I insert the picture file in a Word
document (borders set to 0), center justified, and when all necessary pictures are inserted, I print to a PDF
using PDF995 (you might recall this from another thread). It may take longer, but the results are worth it,
in my opinion.


Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:53 am
by haklesup
Imaging with a camera should be quite possible, afterall spies have been doing it with film as small as the micronox since the 50s spy days. That film was smaller than 110 format and maybe smaller than those crappy disc cameras. But I do forsee a few issues.

One would be file size. The JPGs you get from a camera will likely be far larger than an equivelent PDF. Compression will help but you would need to play around with the camear aseeting. particularly the Fine/normal compression.

The particular camera optics will play a roll. One of those tiny fixed focus cameras might be hard to focus but a better camera with 3x or 5x soom and macro mode will work well. Just a tripod and good lighting will suffice but if you had a lot, you could build a box to hold it all as a copy stand.

Another issue is file type. You'll get JPG from the camera then you will need to process that again into a PDF. that could be lossy, you'll have to play with the PDF converter settings to find a good combination of resolution and file size. I have no idea if OCR would work under those circumstances.

Camera resolution is an obvious question. For less dense large type a 1.3MP camera (VGA) would do but for a typical novel page with <10pt type, I would want at least 3MP and maybe more. 5, 7, 10MP cameras would be unchallenged and they have many settings typically you can use to optimize image quality/file size and compressability.

If you can keep most of the image evenly lit, it should compress the whitespace well but unevenly lit won't be comprressed unless you can find some sort of graphics filter. Maybe turn the white balance way up to wash out the background. That plus some overexposure. Its trial and error at that point.

Re: Really Fast Scanner?

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:59 am
by CeaSaR
The biggest hurdle to overcome is how to digitally capture bound material without the spine curve. I think
you get better results with a scanner, but only tests will tell if you must dismantle the binding.

*My testing to be done this weekend sometime...