Specs from some high-end (meaning expensive) drum scanners:
- Dainippon Screen SG-8060P Mark II – 1200 dpi, Hi-Q Xenon lamp, 25 apertures, 2 micron
- Aztek Premier — 8000 dpi, halogen lamp, 18 apertures, 3 micron
- ICG 380 — 12000 dpi, halogen lamp, 9 apertures, 4 micron
n 1995 there were a number of mainstream companies that manufactured drum scanners, including Danagraph (Scanview), Dupont/Fuji, Howtek, Isomet, Linotype-Hell (Heidelberg), Itek Colour Graphics (ICG), Optronics and Screen.
Today in 2003, drum scanning is alive in a niche market where new and used models are still being sold. However, there are only a handful of companies that sell them, such as Aztek, ICG, Heidelberg and Screen.
The price of drum scanning has dropped significantly since the first drum scanners were marketed in the 1970s and 1980s. There was a time when the cost of a fully outfitted drum scanner was upward to $500,000.
So, who remains since 2003, the date of the above optimistic sales pitch (broadsheet review)? You will have to buy used equipment. In addition to the scanner and associated supplies, you will have to have a computer capable of running the scanner software.
- Aztek is now a call me services.
- Itek Colour Graphics (ICG)
- Heidelberg — many used units.
- Screen is now reorganized, primarily providing coating equipment, and scan arrays for scientific/medical purposes. Film scanners are historical PDFs.
- Hasselblad Flextight (not even mentioned by the pitchman quoted above. probably because it was never intended for the reprographics markets) Oh. it isn’t a drum scanner, but it is certainly still in production.
Why did the high price scanners die off? What was the event that sealed their extinction? It was the progression of digital capture. The need for commercial photo retouching meant that the image had to be a ‘file’ — wide spread adoption of Photoshop by retouchers meant that the scanner was the bottleneck in production for magazines, catalogs, not even mentioning the rush to an online presence for everything commercial.
Resolution requirements went down; Impression went up. The output was to be digital, why not the input?
Flatbed scanners are easy for a casual user to maintain — that is what you probably have. There are other ways of digitizing, but those are homebrews — most not being significant improvements over cheap and easy.\
So, what, how will ‘scanning’ be done in our immediate present: digital using commercial systems based upon software collection, analysis, distribution and storage.
Copystands have never left the scene, they have changed and in that have changed the scene of reprographics. The central tenet is that the back can change, evolve as needs and ability change; lenses will change to match needs of the sensor systems. Currently, lenses designed in the 21st century are capable of exceeding the current 50 & 100Meg) sensor systems. Film was satisfied by lenses of the previous 75 years.