After upgrading from Leica to Hasselblad to Linhof 4x5 to Linhof 8x10, FLAAR equipped itself with a Better Light digital system and moved into digital photography and imaging full time.

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FLAAR is a nonprofit educational institute dedicated to improving the technological quality of photography, desktop publishing, and prepress in museums and university level public education.

FLAAR office (jpeg)
FLAAR office in Florida
We just upgraded from a Linhof Technikardan to the Sinar X (considerable improvement). Calumet recently sent us a Cambo Ultima and a BetterLight Super 6000 digital scan back to evaluate.

Contact. If you need help with studio equipment, large-format cameras, prepress scanners, we will do our best to respond.

A reader responds to our e-mail: "Thanks for the response. Your info. has been very helpful and I will continue to surf your site before making ANY purchases."

However we are not the proper place to ask where to buy a $299 scanner or a point-and-shoot camera.

We do not list a phone number because we are usually photographing on location in Central America or in our German office evaluating large format digital color printers.

You can see the German office of FLAAR Digital Imaging on,, and see the equipment we are testing on a sister site

We attended DRUPA both weeks and Photokina all week as well. At the various trade shows you can leave a message for Nicholas Hellmuth with the BetterLight people at the Kodak booth.

FLAAR still maintains a studio in Guatemala and tests photography equipment on location throughout Central America, especially in Honduras.

Our digital studio is equipped courtesy of Apple Computer, QMS (laser printer), ProDirect (hard drives), Heidelberg CPS (Saphir Ultra2 scanner), EFI Fiery hardware RIP courtesy of Electronics for Imaging, Encad NovaJetPro scanner courtesy of Encad, HP DesignJet printers courtesy of Hewlett-Packard, Epson 7500 courtesy of Epson USA, a DisplayMaker XII courtesy of MacDermid ColorSpan and countless other accessories provided by their respective manufacturers. Additional equipment was purchased courtesy of seed money of $100,000 generously provided by a benefactor who wanted us to upgrade from traditional film into the digital world of the coming millennium. We also received considerable assistance from Japan's National Museum of Ethnology through Japan's Ministry of Education.

studio equipment
Studio with complete equipment

FLAAR has one of only five large-format digital panorama cameras in the world, the Dicomed Field Pro modified by Michael Collette with a Better Light turntable and Better Light pano software. FLAAR also has the last Seitz SuperRound shot 70mm computerized triple-mode panorama, linear, and turntable camera systems produced in Switzerland. This model is no longer made. This summer we acquired the newest version of the BetterLight digital panorama photography system.

By attending the main international trade shows (such as Photokina and CeBIT in Germany) as well as comparable trade shows in the USA, and by visiting the corporate headquarters to learn about the companies and their products directly, we are able to bring pertinent information to the Internet. We had an educational visit in Copenhagen with technical people of PhaseOne, Scanview, and Color Crisp. To learn more about laser printers we visited QMS headquarters in Mobile, Alabama. Our visit to Lexmark in Kentucky was part of our review of the Lexmark color laser printer. We also have visited the former Dicomed headquarters and naturally the headquarters of Better Light, indeed were personally trained to use these cameras by their developer, Michael Collette. We just returned from visiting the headquarters of Hewlett-Packard large format printer division in Barcelona, Spain. The week before we were at the headquarters of BEST color management RIP software in Krefeld, Germany. FLAAR editors recently visited ColorSpan in Minneapolis and Oce in Chicago. As you can see, FLAAR works hard to bring you the latest information on digital imaging hardware.

Most of our reviews are based on our visiting photo studios and asking working photographers what equipment works best for them. Same with large format inkjet printers and scanners. We just returned from India where we visited sign shops to see what equipment was being used there.

FLAAR maintains an office at Francisco Marroquin University (our photo studio in the museum on campus is pictured above). FLAAR recently set up a larger equipment evaluation facility at Bowling Green State University of Ohio. The Foundation for Latin American Anthropological Research itself has evolved from an institute dedicated to professional photography of ancient art. The FLAAR Photo Archive is is described on and


 Reports on scanners by the senior review editor, now available.
Just send in the inquiry form and the reviews will be sent to you by return e-mail.

Which scanners are best for digitizing your slides or negatives for digital printing, especially for large format inkjet printers. Includes mention of which digital cameras are best for direct digital photography.  No reports available on cheap scanners. If the scanner you intend to buy is sold by CompUSA then it is not covered in a FLAAR report.
 FLAAR report on drum scanners (in preparation but you can go ahead and order the work-in-progress version now). Discusses whether drum scanners are still worth the extra cost. Pros and cons of drum scanners vs flatbed scanners. Tips on whether you should buy a used scanner.  Drum scanners cost between $20,000 and $140,000. You can get an excellent drum scanner for $40K to $60K. The newest models are easy to use (yes, you don't have to have a technical background). Ideal for photo labs, museums, fine art giclee studios, and advanced hobbiests.
 "Overhead scanners," (repro stand scanners), a list of all the various combinations of copy stands, large format scan backs, or dedicated scanners mounted on a repro stand.  For museums to scan objects of any size or shape; for fine art giclee printers to scan paintings of any size; for technical photography; for general studio photography.
 List of the various wide format sheet-fed scanners which are available.  For scanning maps, large drawings, GIS, CAD; the better wide format scanners cost from $5,000 and up.

 Please note: no reviews on cheap desktop scanners; no reviews on HP scanners for example. No technical help on scanning available. We do not cover older, obsolete, nor used scanners. This free service is exclusively to assist individuals, studios, and companies who would like to know which of the new breed of scanners is best for your needs. Contact: Nicholas Hellmuth, e-mail

The FLAAR reports on scanners are suitable for photographers, artists, and pre-press professionals. The reports are suitable for beginners if you are prepared for the reality of professional digital imaging. FLAAR is a nonprofit research institute so there is no cost for the reports.


Aerial photography
Digital Photography menu
HP Marketing
Rollout photography
Circumferential photograph of a Maya vase

scanning from above, scanning from a repro stand

lots of links to information on desktop publishing hardware/software,

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Last updated July 27, 2001, links added Mar. 2002, Redesigned January 2004
FLAAR Information Network.
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