Shopping for a Scanner

duncan's picture

Hello Everyone,

I am currently in the market for a new scanner. The reviews at online shops haven't really been helping me much because I am not really sure where my standards should be set. Ultimately I want to be able to scan photos, patterns and textures for design projects as well as font sketches for typeface development.

I was interested in the Microtek s400, but then I read some reviews that called it slow and one even said that it doesn't work with Mac OSX.

Does anyone out there have any advice on what I should be looking for? What do you use? How do you like it? How much should I expect to spend? Do certain brands work better with Macs and Adobe CS?

I really appreciate any advice or guidance you may have,

Duncan Robertson

jupiterboy's picture

On the top of the consumer end, I would look for something that is bundled with SilverFast software. Stay away from the vendor code.

Also, Firewire is good. Nothing will be fast at high resolutions. There is another scanner thread that is recent you might look at.

duncan's picture

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Something I don't see on the other thread is "vendor code." What is that?

pattyfab's picture

I like Epson scanners (although not their printers)

lapiak's picture

I recently bought an Epson Perfection 3490 scanner, and it's very good. It recieved a lot of positive reviews, and I have no complaints about it so far. I don't know if it meets all of your needs, though, but it's something you could look into.

duncan's picture

Epson scanners do seem to be the most popular.

Does anyone out there have a MicroTek s400 or i800? I like what I have seen about these 2, but since they are not as popular it is difficult to get input from someone other than marketing writers.


dylan's picture

I have a Microtek, but wouldn't recommend it due to software issues. Had to buy Vuescan software in order to use the scanner. Three years later, I'm not aware of a software solution from Microtek that's OS X compliant. Hope that helps...

jupiterboy's picture

Vendor code. Sry to be cryptic. Talking about scanning software that is created in-house by the manufacturer of the scanner. Many scanners bundle software with scanners that is buggy, and if it does work they may not support it so it may not work with the next OS upgrade.

SilverFast is very powerful and can make the best of a lower end scanner IMO.

duncan's picture

Well I found a pretty good deal on the Microtek s400 at the store today so I went ahead and got it. I've got it hooked up to my PowerBook and everything seems to be running nicely. For now I am using the "Vendor Code" along with Photoshop and my test scans are nice and clear.

I looked into it and SilverFast is available for the s400. Based on jupiterboy's opinion and other reviews I read online I am planning to buy SilverFast in the near future. Sounds like that should prevent software problems in the future and it should help me avoid "buggy" bundled software issues.

Thank you for your help. I'll definitely post updates if I run into any note-worthy problems or magnificent revelations.


duncan's picture

One more question. Does SilverFast completely replace the software that comes with the scanner?


pattyfab's picture

Very Gilbert and George your avatar, Duncan.

duncan's picture

Gilbert and George...? I had actually never heard of them before. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

jupiterboy's picture

It's a good thing. They are great.

SilverFast is a relaitvely deep program. Where most scanners lack is in the ability to pull out details in shadows. SilverFast allows you to do all your correction that you might do in photoshop directly in the scan. With some practice you will be able to get as much dynamic range as you possibly can out of your hardware. Yes, it completely replaces the native software, comes with custom transforms for your scanner and interfaces with photoshop. It also has little how-to videos that can be activated at various stages to help on the learning curve.

duncan's picture

Thank you for the avatar compliment, jupiterboy. And thank you for introducing me to Gilbert and George. From what I've read they sound like artists I would like to know more about.


shawkash's picture
  • XEROX 4800 onetouch:
      ( The scanner I use )
  • Good things:
    It is working fine with colored pictures.
    It is also fast!
    Not expensive.

    Bad thing:
    Not bad and Not very good in black & white.
    I am not sure if it will live for a long time!
    Doesn't scan slides.


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    oldnick's picture

    Another venerable thread, resurrected by spamming! Cool!

    Joshua Langman's picture

    Well, since the thread's back, I might as well note that I use an Epson Perfection and it works very well for scanning documents and photos, even at obscenely high resolutions. I regularly scan at 2400 or 48oo dpi.

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