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Which Scanner? 






How to pick a Scanner?

It essentially comes down to 5 questions.

1) Size; flatbed, 24",  36", 42", 44" or 54" wide?
2) Black & White or Color?
3) Speed?
4) Quality?
5) Which Brand?


1) Size; flatbed, 24",  36", 42", 44" or 54" wide?  Determining the size of the scanner depends on the size of your originals, how fast you want to scan them, and your budget.  You can run 24" x 36" originals through a 24 inch scanner in portrait mode; however scanning them through a 36 inch scanner will run faster in a landscape orientation, but the investment may be slightly higher for the wider model.

2) Black & White or Color?  Are you scanning just black images or do you want the capability to scan in color?

3) Speed?  How fast do you want it to scan, faster costs more?

4) Quality?  Advanced Technology, costs more?  

One of the leading factors when evaluating large format scanners is whether to consider a CCD (charged coupled device) or one that utilizes CIS (contact image sensor).

CCD technology is similar to the function of a digital camera. Photo sensitive pixels stacked on a semiconductor chip capture and digitize an image that passes through a lens and mirror optical system. A light source is necessary to illuminate the document enough to capture the image.  CCD is more precise with color sensitive applications, including graphics and photo work or any specialized media application. 

CIS technology was first used to make fax machines and is more compact, CIS has been used primarily for small format devices (scanners, fax, copiers).

However, there's more to technology than just “CCD” and “CIS”. The way in which each technology is applied to the scanner design dramatically affects the quality of the images.

5)  Which Brand?  Why consider a Contex Scanner?

Most of the wide format scanners in the marketplace have been manufactured by Contex; in fact, there are several other notable companies that private label the Contex scanner and sell it under their own label.  Why?

Quality. Those that purchase a less expensive device, often find that the total cost of ownership is actually higher in the long run, due to increased maintenance, repair, and downtime. it's important to purchase a scanner built with quality parts and materials. Look for devices that use durable materials to ensure long term reliability.  Also, customer replaceable consumables help reduce downtime and service costs. Contex scanners are designed with this in mind.

Contex scanners automatically self calibrate when the scanner is idle, so they don't suffer nearly as much degradation in quality.  Contex is the only manufacturer that offers an automatic Scanner Maintenance application that adjusts light profiles, aligns cameras, and calibrates color.

What to look for when comparing different scanners:
    Maximum Optical Resolution
    Bit Depth
    Spatial Accuracy

Maximum Optical Resolution usually ranges from 400 to 1200 dots per inch (dpi). This represents the physical capability of the scanner to view image details and is related to both the imaging technology, and the quality of the components used in that technology. This specification is often the first number that most seek to determine the scanner’s image quality capabilities – like MegaPixels on a digital camera. so, as the cost of storage space decreases, and as printing resolutions continue to increase, the demand for higher scanning resolution will also increase. But it is also
important to note that optical resolution requirements will depend primarily on the documents scanned and the application. There are pitfalls to scanning at high resolution too, we are happy to explain.

Bit Depth describes the range of colors a scanner can capture.  Contex scanners are at the highest; capturing images in 48 bit color for maximum precision and vibrant color, and capture monochrome images at 16 bits to bring out the detail and depth in the drawings.

When evaluating a scanner’s Spatial Accuracy, look for a minimum of 0.1%. It is important to verify that the stated accuracy is between any two points in the document, not just between the two outer most edges. Contex HD scanners use a patented technology, Accurate Lens Enhancement® (ALE) to assure that geometric accuracy measures the spatial accuracy of an image compared to the original.

Please take a look at the Contex Scanners page to narrow down the selection.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at (602) 224-9971 or by email.


Home Up AZ Overland Blueprint Marketable Prototypes Contact Us Open Account Site Map One Day Only