Are you looking for the best large format scanner to add to your computer accessories to optimize your computer's performance? Or, are you interested in digitizing your oversized documents since storing them takes a lot of space and can crease and tear since they are fragile, can crease and tear? We got you!
We have researched and compiled the best large format scanners in the market today with their pros and cons. In this article, there is a buying guide to help you in the buying process.
What is Large Format Scanning?
Large format scanning is digitizing oversized documents using LFD scanners where the oversized paper documents are converted to easy to manage, access or distribute digital files in .PDF, .DXF, .TIFF, .DWG, and JPEG formats. There are two main paper sizes used worldwide: ANSI and the international ISO series.
ANSI is used in the United States, and anything classified as ANSI B or larger than 8.5" x 11" is considered a large format. Some common large-format documents include maps, circuit diagrams, manuscripts, banners, blueprints, posters, technical drawings like engineering and architectural drawings.
Best Large Format Scanners
1. Epson DS-50000 Large-Format Document Scanner
- Large-format scanning: scan documents up to 11.7" x 17".
- Minimize Downtime: 3-year limited warranty includes Advance...
- Achieve remarkable results: 4-line CCD sensor (RGB and black)...
- Integration: Compatible with your software - comes with both...
- Network Capable: Turn the DS-50000 into a secure networked...
Epson DS-50000 can scan documents as small as business cards and as large as 11.7″ x 17″, and this scanner has made scanning different documents easy. It features a 4-line CCD sensor that yields vivid, crisp and sharper texts, and it also has a software tool that allows you to upload your scans directly to cloud services.
The device can scan several documents simultaneously, and it creates searchable documents from which you can extract text, so if you have a lot of scans stored, you can search by content. In addition, thanks to the Network Scan Module, you can scan documents remotely, making it great for artwork.
Epson DS-50000 fits most workspaces, and it features a 600 x 600 dpi resolution which could be better, but it is enough to cover most needs. The device also has great productivity where it comes with a one-touch scanning option for creating 30-user programmable jobs and includes a lot of software to provide enhanced features.
2. Epson Perfection V850 Pro Scanner
- Pro quality color & detail - get unparalleled scans W/ 6400 dpi...
- Remarkable tonal range - 4.0 Dmax for smooth gradations & fine...
- Exclusive dual lens system - selects from 2 lenses for optimum...
- Operating systems: Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows...
Epson Perfection V850 is an affordable and power-packed scanner. A dual-lens system automatically switches lenses to match the scanning media to get maximum output quality. It comes with two sets of high-quality film holders, and it can scan up to 6400dpi and uses 4800dpi, mainly for scanning photos.
Epson Perfection V850 uses Digital ICE technology as a nifty feature to restore old photos and films and bring them back to their original look. It removes dust, fingerprints, imperfection, scratches from photos and films, and the 4.0 Dmax optical density will offer excellent tone reproduction.
The device offers a lot of value over other Epson scanners, and it's one of the best scanners, which is another thing that can start immediately. In addition, it warms up in a few seconds compared to other flatbed scanners.
3. HP ScanJet Pro 2500 F1 Flatbed Scanner
- Boost productivity with fast, versatile scanning. Produce up to...
- Scan pages up to 8.5 x 122 inches (21.6 cm x 309.9 cm) through...
- Don't wait for warm-up—instant-on technology lets you begin...
- Sharp images and powerful editing tools. Accurately capture text...
- Get sharp, true-to-life scans of documents, graphics, and photos...
HP ScanJet Pro 2500 is the best scanner when on a budget looking for decent image quality, and even though it will not be a lot, it gets the job done. It fits well at home or in your work and blends well with other gear.
HP ScanJet Pro 2500 is user-friendly and will execute routine jobs and execute large documents, and the settings will include options for frequent scan jobs. Its software can also make it easy to share documents to the different cloud destinations.
The device features a good image quality that is great for scanning documents and will, in some cases, enhance your scanned photos' image quality. In addition, it supports several paper sizes like business cards, letters, legal and can handle documents up to 122-inches saving them in different formats such as TIFF, RTF, PDF, Jpeg and Png.
4. Plustek A3 Large Format Flatbed Scanner OS 1180
- ✔WE SCAN SIZES - A3 11.69""x 17" Large Format Scanning
- ✔NO MORE WAITING - LED Light Source, Save Energy, No Warm Up
- ✔HASSLE-FREE OPERATION - Pre Set Function One-Touch Button for...
- ✔POWERFUL SOFTWARE BUNDLE - Enhanced OCR Accuracy with ABBYY...
- ✔SCAN MODE - 48 bit Color /16 bit Gray-Scale for Scan Art,...
Plustek A3 OS, 1180 flatbed scanners, are suitable for two things; book scanners and artwork where their primary use is book scanning. After it scans a book, it stores it automatically as a PDF and thanks to its large size, and it's straightforward to scan two side-by-side pages that save time. It
Plustek A3 OS 1180 is one of the best scanners if you want one that warms up immediately, thanks to its LED light source. The LED is one of its major features, and it's stable, ensuring every scan turns out perfectly and is recommended for offices, schools and libraries.
These large-format scanners have an impressive speed which, when set to 300 dpi, takes about 9 seconds to scan an A3 document in grayscale. However, the color scans have a slower speed at 15 seconds, which is not but and supports up to 1200 dpi. Notably, the scanning speed reduces at high resolutions.
5. Epson Expression 12000XL-PH Flatbed Scanner
- Professional large-format scanning — accommodates reflective...
- Extraordinary image quality — 2400 x 4800 dpi resolution, micro...
- Enhanced color with the colorful II imaging system — combines...
- One-touch color restoration — Epson’s exclusive easy photo...
- Included transparency unit — scans up to 48 frames of 35mm...
Epson Expression 12000XL flatbed large format scanners are designed specifically for graphic enthusiasts. Thanks to the Epson MatrixCCD technology, it produces large-format scans at an impressive detail and can scan documents up to 12.2″ x 17.2″ including negatives, slides and transparency strips.
Epson Expression 12000XL has a file scan resolution of 2400 x 4800 dpi, a 3.8 Dmax for clear images, and it's user-friendly, meaning it won't take up a lot of time. In addition, customers like its Easy Photo Fix technology which offers one-touch restoration for negatives and faded color photos and an automatic grain reduction and dust removal.
This Epson flatbed scanner has a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and an optional network adapter for connectivity. It is built well and will last long, even with heavy use.
Benefits of Large Format Scanning
An automatic benefit of scanning large format scanners is reducing the size with a large format. However, file scanning comes with other benefits also:
a). Boosts Productivity
Scanning is almost always quicker than printing, but if you scan to print, the scanner speed will not affect your work speed. In addition, it can be easier to find, store, send and access digital files, which saves you time because even 10 minutes of searching for paper files can add up and be a large amount of wasted time.
However, if you perform a quick keyword search, it can easily track down documents and thus save you plenty of time.
b). Central Storage and Indexing
As you use large format scanners to scan files, the new digital copies will be stored in central locations such as cloud platforms and other document management systems. In addition, since every document is indexed during scanning, you can sort them by the date created, the name, file type and other categories.
c). Simplified Storage and Management
Papers, especially the large ones, can be difficult to keep organized or managed and therefore, they are mostly boxed and stored in back rooms or other areas. However, with a digital format archive, your files can be safely stored in an easy-to-manage place like a cloud platform.
d). Keyword Search and Accessibility
Wide-format scanners help users find a digital format document instead of removing rubber bands to sift through papers. To find a specific document, you will need to use a simple keyword search on your device and have your scanned image or file.
e). Secure Backups and Archiving
Many large-format files need to be stored for long periods and when it takes a right-click to create a spare copy, you can easily and often back up your document to a separate server or drive.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Large Format Scanner
With plenty of large format scanners, the market is full of options ranging from small to large models, and it has different features, different speeds and grayscale to color. Some have been designed for easy usage, and some have been designed for high volume production.
This is the most important characteristic of a scanner, where the image quality of your scanned images or documents will be proportional to the scanner's resolution. Notably, the resolution is divided into three:
a). Optical Resolution
This is the exact number of pixels read by your scanner's sensor, which can also be defined as the measure of light intensity reflected from the scanned image. It is then converted into an analog voltage and processed to replicate your originally scanned image digitally.
Optical resolution is stated as a single number such as 600dpi, and it's related to how much detail the sensor will capture horizontally.
b). Hardware Resolution
The resolution is the pixels gotten by the sensor by double-stepping or quadruple-stepping of a carriage using the precision stepper motor. For example, a large format scanner will have a 600 dpi optical resolution and a 1200 hardware resolution.
This is because double-stepping the carriage increases the vertical resolution. In other words, hardware resolution is related to the detail quality captured vertically by increasing your carriage.
c). Interpolated Resolution
Interpolation is used to increase an image's resolution using a complex algorithm. It doesn't add further details to the original scan and only adds gradient pixels depending on the mathematical probability of the surrounding pixels vertically or horizontally.
Usually, the fancy resolution numerical you may see in the product description of many scanners is of the maximum resolution or the interpolated resolution. However, the interpolated resolution doesn't add a lot to your scanned files.
Connectivity is also crucial as you may need to connect your scanner to either your computer or other devices allowing you to have more ways to get scanning materials. So you should choose large format scanners with good connectivity options.
Some large format scanners come with USB ports, and others allow you to connect your scanner to cloud sharing platforms or software sharing solutions. On the other hand, some models can choose an optional network adapter, and some feature a built-in network interface. Ensure you check the specifications of every scanner to see what the available connections are.
3. Scan Area
There are two different scanners, including the special-purpose and general-purpose ones. If you intend to scan films, negatives, books or objects, you need a special-purpose scanner. However, if you want a large format scanner to scan documents like exam papers, blueprints or simpler papers, then a general-purpose scanner will be enough.
Ensure the scanner you opt for can scan the size of materials you will want to scan as there is no use purchasing an A3 scanner if you only scan A1 and A2 documents.
4. Dynamic Range
Dynamic range is the difference between the lightest highlights and the darkest shadows that any scanner can perceive. While shopping for the best scanners, you might have encountered the word Dmax severally.
Dmax is the maximum density rating of any image. A high dynamic range will result in high-quality scans with detailed highlights and shadows when scanned transparent media.
5. Scanner Flexibility
Some scanners include special features such as supporting color negatives like the 35mm negative strips to convert into digital photos. However, some scanners are built to support positive, transparent media such as slides and color transparencies.
In addition, some scanners have optional network cards, while some are already equipped. Finally, most scanners include a one-touch color restoration technology, so it's up to the customer's interest to choose a scanner according to their needs and liking.
Image Credit: overnight-scanning.eu