What is the speed of the scanner? This is probably the most common question asked in the microfilm conversion industry. And the answer can also be the most misleading in terms of measuring the true performance of a microfilm scanner.
What then is (or are) the questions which can truly help evaluate a film scanner’s performance?
First, you should know the microfilm scanner features you will need:
- Will all your scans be done at the same reduction ratio (original document to size on the film) 24x?
- Will all of your jobs be “A” size?
- Is quality at 200 DPI bitonal adequate?
- Will all your scans easily OCR?
- Will all your jobs be only fiche or only rollfilm?
- You will NOT require image processing (gamma, auto-contrast, filters, etc...)?
- Your output format is always TIF?
If your answer is ‘YES’ to all of the above questions, then all you need is the cheapest, fastest, low resolution scanner that you can find.
Almost half the scanners available will give you about 300+ pages per minute for an “A” size original at 200 DPI. Interestingly enough, most of them actually scan at much lower resolution than 200 DPI (for faster rate) and then interpolate the data to 200 DPI. This is fine if you have only very good quality original bitonal images.
SunRise Scanners are NOT designed for faster operation without the features you need – but total overall very high performance at ANY resolution, and for ANY original size document. If you are scanning images that were captured from varying size originals, or are of poor quality, or have artifacts, then a low resolution, high speed scanner will be completely inadequate for the job.
In fact, SunRise scanners are the only solution for conversion jobs that require flexibility and challenges of digitizing poor quality images which just cannot be handled by simple bitonal scanning. Newspaper and historical archives are a good example. In such cases and even originals, which have only text, but the quality is very poor, the only option is to use grayscale.
When grayscale requirement becomes necessary, the SunRise scanners outperforms virtually any other machine. Why? The SunRise scanners have a large sensor and a 12-bit A/D converter, which translates into the highest digital image quality of any scanner. Scanners designed to give speed at low bitonal resolutions will be significantly slower when you use the grayscale option. And even then, you will not get the same high dynamic range because all other scanners use a 10-bit A/D converter!
Next time you are evaluating a scanner, don’t just ask for the speed at 200 DPI for “A” size bitonal image. Ask for all the speeds for the full spectrum of the various microfilm that you are likely to be handling.