Author Topic: I need a Scanner  (Read 8225 times)

salmp01

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I need a Scanner
« on: April 02, 2013, 11:14:18 AM »
Iím in need of a scanner and am hoping to get some recommendations.   My old scanner was an all in one HP scanner but it finally gave out.  I have another printer I can use but I need a scanner.  Iím a real estate agent and own several rental properties and scan multiple documents several times a week.   With my last scanner the output of the file sizes was larger than Iíd like it to be which ends up eating much of my disk space.  So if you can recommend a scanner that has clear output with small file sizes that would be preferable.   I would also consider a laser/Scanner combo as the printer Iím currently using is an inkjet printer.

igthebold

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2013, 11:19:10 AM »
I have been using a Fujitsu ScanSnap document scanner for a few years and have been very happy with it. My main problem is that I actually have to *do* the scanning to accomplish a paperless office, but that probably won't be a problem for you.

sol

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2013, 11:23:00 AM »
I've been using a free android app called camscanner that generates PDFs using your phone's camera.  I only scan a few documents per week, but it has worked great so far.  You trade the convenience of large document auto feeding for the convenience of portability and instant access to your scanner anywhere.

Jamesqf

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2013, 12:02:14 PM »
Depending on the scanner's output format, you can probably post-process the files to reduce the size considerably.

Daley

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2013, 12:39:46 PM »
Scanners are pretty much dime a dozen these days as long as they don't break.

As James pointed out, file size of the scans are a function of the format the scans are saved in, and can easily be remedied either through changing the default file save settings in the scanner interface or using an alternate scanner application with more features. PNG file format will probably be the best option to save in as it uses lossless compression by default. If you use JPEG with any real level of compression, you'll lose the sharpness of text and have artifacts as it uses lossy compression. Text documents probably don't need to be scanned much higher than 100-150dpi unless there's fine print involved, and use grayscale instead of full color unless you need the color in the documents being scanned.

Using a smartphone camera can be a good option in a pinch as Sol suggested, but it can also be a mixed bag with documents that use smaller point text and although it can correct for perspective, the document's sharpness might be uneven. It sounds like you need a proper document scanner in your office, as well as a good laser printer, given the line of work you're in.

Probably one of the best options for the money right now would be the Brother DCP-7065DN as this both satisfies your need for a scanner and provides you a laser printer that will help drastically reduce future office printing costs. Normally, I'm not a huge fan of AIOs, but there's something useful to be said of having a laser printer that can act as a stand-alone B&W copier in an office environment. The thing averages around $150 most places (Office Depot has it for $130 until the 6th), uses a separate fuse assembly from the toner cartridge making for cheaper toner cartridges and less overall waste, the consumables are reasonably priced, good duty cycle of 10k pages a month, network printer support, document feeder with flatbed scanner, the toner cartridge isn't microchipped (like Samsung does, for example) allowing for cheaper DIY toner refilling (if desired), low-toner indicator can be easily overridden until toner is actually used up, built well enough to last if taken care of, and is cheap enough that if something does break it won't be heartbreaking and you won't be left with consumables that are unique to only a couple other Brother models as the TN/DR420 and TN450 are pretty much universal parts across their entire laser printer line.

salmp01

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 12:46:08 PM »
Great info.  Thank you for the quick replies! 

Rural

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2013, 04:24:36 PM »
I've almost completely quit scanning and snap photos with a work-supplied iPad.

mikefixac

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2013, 04:53:15 PM »
I've been using a free android app called camscanner that generates PDFs using your phone's camera.  I only scan a few documents per week, but it has worked great so far.  You trade the convenience of large document auto feeding for the convenience of portability and instant access to your scanner anywhere.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZBGpqc3YMY">Here's a cool Youtube video about the camscanner</a>

$_gone_amok

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2013, 05:21:27 PM »
I have been using a Fujitsu ScanSnap document scanner for a few years and have been very happy with it. My main problem is that I actually have to *do* the scanning to accomplish a paperless office, but that probably won't be a problem for you.

+this

salmp01

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2013, 08:31:26 AM »
I went out last night and purchased a Brother DCP-7065DN.  The printing function work great and the sheet feeding scanner is fairly quick but the output sizes of the scan files (both pdf and png) are quite large.  I played around with the settings for the scanner and in order to get a legible scan I needed at least 150 x 150 dpi and most of my tests required 200 x 200 dpi (in gray error diffusion).  This produces a file size of about 75kb for a full page text document.   At my corporate job we have a larger scanner that can produce a great looking scan at less than 20kb.  So my question is does anyone know of a lower priced scanner that can produce smaller (and legible) scan files?

Daley

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2013, 10:01:18 AM »
I went out last night and purchased a Brother DCP-7065DN.  The printing function work great and the sheet feeding scanner is fairly quick but the output sizes of the scan files (both pdf and png) are quite large.  I played around with the settings for the scanner and in order to get a legible scan I needed at least 150 x 150 dpi and most of my tests required 200 x 200 dpi (in gray error diffusion).  This produces a file size of about 75kb for a full page text document.   At my corporate job we have a larger scanner that can produce a great looking scan at less than 20kb.  So my question is does anyone know of a lower priced scanner that can produce smaller (and legible) scan files?

Again, it's not the scanner, it's the file format... it's just a matter of changing the settings. Also, 75kb for a document scan isn't too shabby, but if you just have to squeeze it down to 20kb a sheet you should look at the color depth, resolution and file format of the scans coming off the other machine and have the Brother replicate that in scan settings.

Edit: I've been playing with resolutions and file formats, and have a feeling your corporate scanner's probably doing 300dpi, 1-bit color (monochrome) with dithering. If you're happy with the results, and saving 55kb a document matters that much, go with those settings.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 11:20:35 AM by I.P. Daley »

Jamesqf

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2013, 12:43:01 PM »
Again, it's not the scanner, it's the file format... it's just a matter of changing the settings. Also, 75kb for a document scan isn't too shabby, but if you just have to squeeze it down to 20kb a sheet you should look at the color depth, resolution and file format of the scans coming off the other machine and have the Brother replicate that in scan settings

You can also use file compression software (zip, etc) on the output files.  This is also useful for archiving collections of related documents into one much smaller file.

Daley

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2013, 01:28:29 PM »
You can also use file compression software (zip, etc) on the output files.  This is also useful for archiving collections of related documents into one much smaller file.

It's a clever idea in theory, and certainly useful for organizing files if you're not wanting to bundle the scans into PDF files, but highly compressed image files (and media files in general) aren't going to compress much further than they are already. You'd be lucky to gain much more than 1-2% file size reduction, and more likely would wind up with even larger than the original file archives. More here.

Jamesqf

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2013, 04:55:10 PM »
Agreed, IF the scanner output files are indeed compressed.  From what's been said about the sizes, they don't appear to be.  Even simple run-length encoding ought to crunch a black & white document into a pretty small file.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 04:57:03 PM by Jamesqf »

Paul der Krake

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2013, 05:11:07 PM »
Re: scansnap

It's great to use except when you need to scan a book or anything thick enough to not fit through the feeder. For casual use, I'd just go with a cheapo flatbed.

Daley

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2013, 05:24:14 PM »
Agreed, IF the scanner output files are indeed compressed.  From what's been said about the sizes, they don't appear to be.  Even simple run-length encoding ought to crunch a black & white document into a pretty small file.

I don't know what sort of file sizes or math you're using, but given salmp01 is working with at least 8.5x11 letter sized documents in grayscale at 150-200dpi and monochrome at likely at least 300dpi, we're talking about raw file sizes in the MB range... it's impossible to get those file sizes quoted without already using really good compression techniques via LZW in GIF89a or compressed TIF or DEFLATE in PNG file formats.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 05:26:04 PM by I.P. Daley »

salmp01

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2013, 06:45:23 PM »
FYI - I just attempted to zip a PDF and a PNG file with the default zip software for XP and Windows 7.  I was able to get 1% compression for the png file and 7% for a PDF file. 

Jamesqf

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2013, 11:33:02 PM »
I don't know what sort of file sizes or math you're using, but given salmp01 is working with at least 8.5x11 letter sized documents in grayscale at 150-200dpi and monochrome at likely at least 300dpi, we're talking about raw file sizes in the MB range... it's impossible to get those file sizes quoted without already using really good compression techniques via LZW in GIF89a or compressed TIF or DEFLATE in PNG file formats.

OK, we were obviously looking back at different posts.  I was thinking about the first post, which referred to large files - "large" presumably meaning at least a Mbyte or so - eating up all the disk space.  Getting that Mbyte down to 75K or so is pretty good.

bUU

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Re: I need a Scanner
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2013, 06:17:52 AM »
Updating this old thread. I recently bought a Doxie Go, and am pleased with the purchase. It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but was still a reasonably decent value, vis a vis the human cost of maintaining paper records. I'm using it to scan various items that I couldn't force paperless (this week: instructions for filing certain legal documents, paychecks, and notification letters from retirement plans that only provide statements electronically), which I thereafter shred.

The Doxie is very deliberately a solution for the occasional document you need to scan; it is not intended to be a path to paperless in the absence of eliminating most forms of paper distributions (as I have). I sometimes have to try two or even three times to get a clean scan, with papers that aren't in great shape or have very pronounced creases, but it takes less than eight seconds per page, so that's no problem whatsoever. The import works well, but I wish that I could zoom in on the pages before saving them as PDF, because some pages look the same at the zoom level that they are displayed at, and I don't like relying on my memory of the order I scanned things, especially given that I have dupes or triplicates in there (attempts to get cleaner, straighter scans).

Being able to carry this (comparatively) itty-bitty device around, cordless, is fantastic. Once I have a greater level of confidence, that advantage will really come into its own, as I'll feel more emboldened to scan and shred most (though perhaps not all) documents without even ensuring that the scan makes it to Carbonite first.

When we decided to go paperless, just switching to paperless for providers who offered that option, and switching to providers that did offer the paperless option, reduced the paper-clutter around the house by 90%. The Doxie Go is going to help us get us to a 98% solution.