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Information, hands-on experience, and helpful product reviews of 35mm slide scanners, prepress flatbed scanners, drum scanners, laser printers, wide format scanners, large format printers, color plotters, and high-end large format digital scanning back cameras for desktop publishing, graphics design, pre-press. Evaluations including peripherals such as DVD-RAM, CD-R, RAID systems. Reviews 35mm cameras (Leica and Nikon), medium format (Rolleiflex and Hasselblad), and 4x5 (Sinar, Linhof, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, and Wisner) cameras. Covers photo studio equipment, especially lighting (studio lighting for digital photography and for conventional film photography).

Ample diversity of scanners at SGIA 2016 expo

Updated Sept. 23, 2016; first posted September 19, 2016

It was a pleasant surprise to see several nice flatbed scanners (and a roll-fed scanner) from ImageAccess of Germany, at SGIA 2016 in Las Vegas last week.

I was curious to see how many scanners are at Photokina 2016 the week after SGIA. So far we have found a modest booth of Cruse (but not with their big scanners). The booth of RENCAY has even more. But the old-fashioned flatbed scanners are almost nowhere to be seen any more.

At Tecnargilla 2016 (Rimini, Italy) Cruse scanner company has a booth.

Two of us from FLAAR will attend Tecnargilla 2016 and Sign Istanbul 2016. Three of us attended Glasstec 2016 in Duesseldorf. Presently three of us from www.digital-photography.org are at Photokina 2016 in Cologne.


Not much new in desktop scanners

Posted January 5, 2016

For flatbed scanners, for scanning slides and negatives, not much new and I do not expect much at Photokina 2016 this autumn.

I will not attend CES or PMA@CES since this is a Photokina year. PMA collapsed already several years ago. CES is worth attending but I have to attend SGI (aka Sign Middle East) in Dubai the same week.

I occasionally see roll-fed scanners at SGIA in the USA. These are not acceptable for giclee, since feeding can be iffy. You need a professional scanner for giclee, such as Cruse, or at least a Phase One system. The Italian competitor for Cruse is something we see, but only occasionally. Since we don’t have one, we can’t evaluate how it compares with Cruse or Phase One.

Most of what is new in “scanners” is in 3D scanners (which we cover on our 3D web site). We saw several interested technologies at SIGGRAPH 2015 and look forward to SIGGRAPH 2016 (if it is not same week as another expo that we also have to attend).

However realize that if on a budget, you can also scan into 3D using any normal DSLR camera. And you don’t need multiple cameras any more. Our 3D team does 3D scans with a single camera. You just need to understand and learn how to do it, and then use the appropriate software.


Photokina 2014 this autumn in Cologne

Posted May 13, 2014

Two of us from FLAAR will attend Photokina 2014. We attend every two years.

Photokina has changed a lot; ten years ago it had booths of most large format printer brands. But since FESPA and VISCOM exist throughout Europe, most brands with eco-solvent and UV-cured or textile inks exhibit elsewhere (and all brands exhibit at APPPEXPO 2014 in Shanghai; this is now a larger wide-format printer expo than DRUPA).

There are hardly any brands of scanners being manufactured any more. And we cover digital photography on our www.digital-photography.orgweb site.

So we are not doing much updating of this cameras-scanners web site. This was one of our first web sites, about 14 years ago.

But FLAAR is in full function; we have a staff of about 18 people, and we test digital photography equipment every week in remote areas of Guatemala. You can see the results on our www.Maya-ethnobotany.org.


A scanner is the next most useful accessory after a digital camera.

A scanner is potentially the most important computer peripheral you will ever decide to buy because you can "scan" all kinds of 3-D objects directly on top of your flatbed scanner. Use your scanner for much more than just scanning paper and pictures.

Flatbed scanners are gradually becoming a key part of anyone's office. At entry level we recommend the top of the Epson scanners or the Umax series of scanners as the most economical midrange scanners for office use and for the more experienced desktop scanner. For more sophisticated needs (research departments, institutes, museums, pre-press, and professional digital imaging studios) we recommend Screen, Fuji, Creo, and other manufacturers of high-end flatbed scanners. We will be reviewing selected high-end scanners shortly. Our initial "best impression" is Fuji C-550 Lanovia for flatbed style if you also need to scan 3D objects or surfaces with relief. If you need a professional quality flatbed scanner, high dpi, then the new line of Creo EverSmart scanners is a good choice. The advantage of the Creo scanners is that they come in a wide range of reasonable prices. The Creo scanner software is considered the best of the best.

At the right, this 36 x 42 inch poster was enlarged from a single 35mm slide? What scanner (and what digital printer) is capable of achieving this quality? (answer... Creo scanner and Hewlett-Packard DesignJet large format color printer). What about LinoColor Linotype-Hell scanners from Heidelberg? Professional scanner software is most important ingredient.

Pictured in this site, two of the outstanding Creo EverSmart flatbed scanners. Scan 48 slides all at once! If you need to scan thousands of sides this Scitex scanner is the scanner for you.

Rediscovering the ancient hieroglyphic writing system of the Classic Maya. With a rollout camera it is possible to record data on film that is difficult to see with the naked eye. AGFA 70mm film allows continuous images to be made of the entire circumference of any round artifact. Brought to you by archaeology professor Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth, a specialist in advanced digital imaging, and the Digital Imaging Technology Center of the Foundation for Latin American Anthropological Research (FLAAR Photo Archive).

Digital Picture of the Week
FLAAR Digital Photography Course



Camera: Picture taken with Phase One P25

Guatemala City, Flowers from family Liliaceae. Composition Photography is part of the photo course of digital imaging professor Nicholas Hellmuth.

If you want more information about photo course,
enter here

On line course

For more information about this course, enter here
Trade Shows 2005
New Technology: Scanners
PMA Trade Show 2005: This year, if you want to meet with Dr Nicholas Hellmuth, he is available at PMA trade show to anyone who signs up for the digital photography course.

This FLAAR course on how to select a digital camera, and how to improve your digital photography, is open to all ages and all backgrounds, anywhere in the world, since the course is available via the Internet. Then at PMA you can join Nicholas in person as he goes to each booth in the entire trade show, and learn about every single camera, lens, studio lighting, accessory, and digital imaging software.

There is still time to sign up for the course, e-mail digitalphoto@FLAAR.org . If you wish to have a private tour of this nature, and are not taking the course.

Fuji Lanovia Quattro scanner at DRUPA 2004Nicholas was pleasantly surprised to see that Fujifilm FineScan 2750 and Lanovia Quattro flatbed scanners are very much alive and well.

Creo sent a Supreme EverSmart Supreme scanner to FLAAR last month so we could experience it first hand. Since we don't have a Screen or Fuji scanner, we can comment primarily on our favorable experiences with the Creo.

We will be working with the Creo scanner all summer and autumn 2004 to show its capabilities for prepress and for photographers with archives of 35mm, medium format, and large format slides and negatives.

Creo is part of Kodak since 2005, so the scanners are now Kodak scanners.
If you are in any country, including outside the USA, and wish further information on these flatbed scanners, the e-mail is scanner@creo.com.

Creo EverSmart HP DesignJet Wide Format Scanner 4200
Creo EverSmart Supreme scanner at FLAAR
HP DesignJet Wide Format Scanner 4200
Creo EverSmart Supreme scanner arrives at FLAAR to be evaluated for pre-press and as a scanner for photo archives. FLAAR now has 42" wide format scanner full color to scan maps and drawings.
> Free Flaar Report, about: Be Successful & Profitable Producing Giclee ARt Prints Now available in FREE FLAAR REPORTS Scanning Everything FLAAR Premium Reports on SCANNERS, SEPTEMBER 2004
You can now order the report:
Scanning Anything and Everything Besides Negatives and Slides:
This brief FLAAR Fast Facts covers scanning prints, objects, medical x-rays, textiles, materials, etc. This report is free once you buy any other FLAAR Reports on scanning.

That comprehensive report is now available in the Premium Reports - Series on Scanners.
Printing Table Tops >Free Flaar Report, about: What are your Options for Inkjet Printing on Table Tops? Now available in FREE FLAAR REPORTS Creo scanner FLAAR Premium Reports for PHOTO-REALISTICS QUALITY
can now order the report:
Bo Scanner review at Bowling Green State University by Anne Behrnes 
That comprehensive report is now available in the Premium Reports - Series for Photo.
Printing onto a door with a wide format printer >Free Flaar Report, about: Printing directly onto a Door with a Wide Format Inkjet Printer. Now available in FREE FLAAR REPORTS Scanning slides and negatives FLAAR Premium Reports on SCANNERS, SEPTEMBER 2004
Also, you
can now order the report:
Scanning 35mm Slides and Negatives:
FLAAR has significant experience as consultant for scanning slide archives, such as for the Japanese National Museum. We are currently scanning several thousand 35mm slides in our own archive. This means our report on scanners is written from years of personal experience in scanners, scanner software, and the whole workflow process.
That comprehensive report is now available in the Premium Reports - Series on Scanners.

What we do offer on the pages here (www.cameras-scanners-flaar.org)
Information about Leica (cameras and S1 digital cameras), Nikon (cameras and dedicated 35mm slide scanner), tripods (Gitzo and Ries), tripod heads (Gitzo Big Ball, Manfrotto, Arca-Swiss, Kirk), middle format cameras (Rollei, Rolleiflex, Hasselblad), and large format (Wisner, Linhof, Sinar), and 70mm film (Agfa). Lighting is our speciality, and we review Hedler (for Europe), Videssence, Lowel, and Dedo Weigert studio lamps, as well as Smith-Victor and Bogen light stands.

If you want information on digital photography,

You can find plenty where you have landed here, but we do have a separate web site on Better Light, Phase One, Jobo, Leica SI, and other leading digital cameras photography equipment, namely www.digital-photography.org.

If you have landed on this page seeking information on Maya art and archaeology of prehispanic Mesoamerica, you probably were looking for www.maya-art-books.org or www.maya-archaeology.org. Those sites cover ancient art and artifacts of Belize, Mexico (Campeche, Tabasco, Chiapas, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo), Guatemala (Peten, Quiche), and Honduras (Maya ruins of Copan). Focus there is on Copan and Tikal as well as the Popol Vuh Museum. We also cover Olmec art and archaeology of Tabasco and Veracruz.

For accessories for professional photography
We cover Rosco, Macbeth (GretagMacbeth), Teufel (Nenil background materials).

If you wish information on what scanner is best for you just send us an e-mail.
We have additional information to send you based on our tests, evaluations, and our general experience with scanners in our own photo studio, digital imaging studio, and offices. Allow a few days for us to respond because we get lots of requests. There is no charge for the information (FLAAR is non profit). If you inquire about certain kinds of scanners for your particular needs we can obtain additional information for you by forwarding your e-mail to the best company that makes the specific scanner which is most appropriate for your needs. This makes it easier for you to receive the information.

FLAAR has plenty of experience with scanners of all kinds and we select only companies that have a good reputation for service and quality scanner output. We inspect the scanners at trade shows in the USA and Germany. When possible we obtain the scanner hardware and software and test them in our own office. Often the incoming e-mail contain helpful information on end-user needs (that is, the specific kinds of needs you have). Your needs help the scanner companies to recognize what features they need to add to their next new models.

Thus to encourage the scanner hardware and software companies to pay attention to your needs, we will forward your e-mail to the company that we have found is receptive to learning what people really want in a scanner.

In some cases the incoming e-mail are helpful for our own program of research on scanners, in which case we may quote portions of your discussion or observations in our web sites or in articles or the book we would like to publish on scanning. In return you receive the report of our senior review editor which summarizes the best tips plus our evaluations on which scanners are ideal for a wide variety of specific needs. Once you have a scanner you will need to figure out how best to store your images. Buying a Zip drive is the first mistake most people make (we made this mistake as well). To help you out on storage we recommend the same place where we buy our hard drives, DVD-RAM, RAID, CD-R and CD-RW burners. We will eventually forward your e-mail to the companies that can best help you on storage.

FLAAR is nonprofit and we are rather slow because our no-cost consulting services are popular internationally, and hence our staff is rather backed up with answering requests. For this reason we need to enlist the assistance of the various companies that make the better products so that they also can respond to your request for assistance. We feel that the more information a person has, the better they can decide what is the optimal make and model to obtain to provide a good solution at a reasonable price.


Seitz 70mm SuperRoundShot seamless panorama system
Noblux panorama cameras and panorama projectors (Noblux)
Linhof wide angle cameras
Schneider ultra wide angle lenses for large format cameras
Better Light panorama adaptation of the Dicomed Field Pro DDC
Hasselblad SuperWide C
Nikon extreme wide angle
"Be Here" seamless 360-degree panorama system

Summary: If you do not really need a complete 360 view, there are several Linhof cameras that will be ideal, especially with a Schneider ultra wide angle lens. If you want to go full 360-degrees, then the absolute best is the Better Light panorama adaptation of the Dicomed Field Pro. If you can only handle (or only afford) 35mm, then we recommend the Nikon 13mm and 15mm with any Nikon body.

Nicholas Hellmuth begins installation of reprographic copy stand digital photography in Museo Popol Vuh in Guatemala. This large format photography system will be used to photograph 7th century Maya ceramic funerary plates using a BetterLight Super 6K digital cameras (more info)When you are outfitting your studio for a large format digital scan back there are many new factors you have to consider. For example, how do you control fluctuations in your electrical current? All it takes is a copier or other motor anywhere in your building, and your digital images may be affected (and ruined by banding).FLAAR is expanding its photo studios at the Francisco Marroquin University. In addition, FLAAR is opening another evaluation studio for digital photography at a technical college within a state university in the Midwest. Reviews of high quality flatbed scanners, the Fuji C-550 Lanovia compared with the impressive Scitex EverSmart for professional prepress scanning

Brought to you by Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth , FLAAR

Updated May 13, 2014, redesigned May, 2014
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