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Keeping Scanners in a Closed Loop

Don’t spend too much money on a flat bed or film scanner if your goal is to send files to an out lab service for printing. After interviewing several commercial lab owners, I found that many would not even accept files that were scanned by the customer. The following reasons are listed:

1. Scanning parameters vary from system to system
2. Dust cannot be controlled in a home environment
3. ICC profiles are inconsistent
4. Scanner glass is not clean
5. Unwanted document textures are picked up in a scan
6. Reflective spots on paper surfaces scan as green or silver
7. Moire patterns occur at varying resolutions

Try using your digital camera on a copy stand or tripod. You can use creative lighting to eliminate three dimensional textures. Be sure and use the correct white balance setting on your camera. This approach allows for the copying of any size original at high resolutions. Most labs are proficient with the camera ICC profiles and the captured images are cleaner.

Low end film and flatbed scanners are good for building web galleries and making small prints. Resolution is not an issue and dust is not noticeable on smaller images. Using scanners for these applications can save time and money. If you are using a film scanner, be sure and magnify your image 200% to check for dust before wasting your archival inks on a large print.

Labs would prefer you let them do your film scanning for any work to be enlarged or archived at their facility. They have state of the art clean rooms and color managed profiles. I spent time touring the local Dallas labs and couldn't help but be impressed by their workflow and environment. For archiving high resolution files on images that are really important, they are your best bet.

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