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Recommend a scanner?
Old 08-11-2010, 03:39 PM   #1
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Recommend a scanner?

I would like to get rid of all the paper I have in the office, especially things like receipts for tax purposes.

Does anyone here just keep scans of these? If so what kind of scanner do you recommend?
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:50 PM   #2
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I hope you get some good replies, mine is old,old,old, but cranks along for what I need, but I'll need to buy one of these days.

Something to watch out for last time I researched it - my old one (cold fluorescent tube to light it), has a good 'depth of field', and some of the new ones do not (but I never see a 'spec' for this, and reviews don't always mention it, so it's tough to determine.

With a good depth-of-field, you can lay a book or magazine on it, and get a usable scan even if you can't get the pages perfectly flat. I once had something I needed to scan, that was glued into a frame. I was amazed to see a crystal clear scan, even thought it was 3/8" from the scanner glass. Some new ones would have given you a unusable blur.

Maybe this has changed for the better since I last looked?

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Old 08-11-2010, 04:03 PM   #3
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Get an all-in-one printer or scanner at a garage sale for a few bucks. I'd say that of every 6 garage sales, one has a printer or scanner for sale.
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:33 PM   #4
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It depends on what you want to do. I am big on scanning and have had one for years and do scan most everything.

In buying a scanner, btw, shop carefully. The scanner I recently bought had a slightly less featured model that was $379 at Office Max. Next door at Best Buy was $399. I bought mine from buydig for $278 with no shipping and no tax.

1. Do you want an automatic feeder? I highly recommend this since it really speeds up scanning. However, they can be touchy and many of them easily jam. I just got a new printer scanner - HP 8500 Premier - and so far it is feeding really really well with no jams.

2. Do you want to be able to scan on the glass. Some scanners have only the automatic feed and you can't scan on the glass. This is a problem for things that can't be fed through the feeder. I would never have one of these.

3. Do you want to be able to scan 2 sided documents. Most scanners don't do this. It is a nice feature to have but not one I really tried to get.

4. How large a scan? Do you want to be able to scan documents longer than 11"?

5. Do you want it to scan to pdf (a must in my opinion)? Do you want to be able to directly scan to a computer file from the scanner (rather than having to scan from the computer)? This is a convenience as well.

6. Do you want it to be networked? Wired or wireless?

Prices have come down a lot on these. The one I have I paid $278 and it is also a printer and fax and does great color printing and has 2 paper trays and also acts as a copier. Of course not everyone needs or wants those things.

Before this one I had an Epson Artisan 800 and it was a wonderful printer (really great on photos especially) but jammed a lot as a scanner and was constantly losing it settings and having to be reinstalled.
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:19 PM   #5
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Allow me to present the incredible Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500:



The S1500 is the version for PC, 1500M the one for Mac. Mark Frauenfelder loves it.
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:19 PM   #6
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I have a fairly expensive Scanner (Microtek i900, in case you're interested) primarily because it scans film without a sheet of glass between the subject and lens. It, also, has a 8 x 14 bed for Legal-sized copywork.

Nevertheless, the "best" scanner for what you are trying to accomplish -- meaning most "bang for the buck" -- is a plain ol digital camera -- even a cell phone would work. If you think about it a Scanner is nothing more than a digital camera with a fixed focus lens. There are so many cheap/free programs that will turn JPEGs into PDF documents that dedicated software is "money down the drain," also.

I could explain this more thoroughly but I am a little pressed for time... and besides, you are probably way ahead of me, anyway.
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:24 PM   #7
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I scan a lot of documents (letter-sized usually), so high scan speed and an automatic feeder were top priorities when choosing a scanner. I went with the Xerox Documate 510.

Very zippy, scan quality good to excellent.
Automatic feeder or scan on glass
Scan 2-sided documents
Scans up to A4 format (slightly larger than letter)
Scans to PDF
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:42 PM   #8
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I have a Lexmark X7675 wireless printer.scanner and fax . I bought in at Amazon for jsut over $110 and it is the best printer and scanner I have ever had . I love this printer . I had an HP multifunction Office jet . I gave it away because it drove me nuts .
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:27 PM   #9
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Probably a bit more than you need just to scan documents but I love the Canon 8800F. My main purpose was for digitizing thousands of 35mm slides from the past 30 years and this scanner did a great job.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:33 PM   #10
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Nevertheless, the "best" scanner for what you are trying to accomplish -- meaning most "bang for the buck" -- is a plain ol digital camera -- even a cell phone would work.
I did this recently, when my scanner driver wasn't supported by my OS upgrade and I hadn't found the work-around yet.

It works, it makes sense, but it wasn't all that easy for me. I had to fiddle with the lighting (flash washed it out), had to play with alignment (adjust the keystone-ing in an editing program) to get it to look even close to what a scanner gave me. Maybe there are better ways to do it.

Had to look it up - my scanner is 11 years old, I use it only occasionally, but it worked recently (supported under Linux just fine). Paid $100 at the time. Good thing USB 'caught on' or it would be a relic

-ERD50
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigger View Post
Allow me to present the incredible Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500:



The S1500 is the version for PC, 1500M the one for Mac. Mark Frauenfelder loves it.
Do you have a scansnap, and does it work as well as in the video?
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:06 PM   #12
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Do you have a scansnap, and does it work as well as in the video?
I haven't used mine much so far, but it's easy and FAST! I've had no jams.

I did do something stupid though: I wanted to be cheap and bought it on eBay at reduced price, not realizing that it was a version without the normally bundled Acrobat software. Maybe I should contact Fujitsu or a distributor and see if they can get me the normal installation cd.

So far I have only done scans without OCR so I can't comment on the quality of OCR. (and maybe that depends of Acrobat, which I don't have)

But it's a pleasure to go from paper to pdf in a matter of seconds. I just drop a letter in the machine, push the big button and the pdf shows up on my pc. The way I've configured the software, I have to click only once for the result to be saved in a default directory (mine is "Scanned - to be filed"). With Acrobat that one click can maybe be eliminated too.

If it tempts you, take a look at the reviews on Amazon. The overwhelming majority is very enthousastic, but many people do mention things they think could be improved.
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:11 PM   #13
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xerox documate base model - looks lke a special at newegg.com that will take 125 off $315
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:06 AM   #14
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I have an older version of the ScanSnap and for me, the great value is in the OCR software which works brilliantly when combined with Google Desktop search: Google Desktop Download.... which can also be pointed at your fileserver.

My main reason for scanning is that I am a packrat and love to archive... for this many scanners would do. But the OCR software and search combo are amazing for answering retrieval questions eg searching for one line item across 10 years of Visa statements.
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:01 AM   #15
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You guys rock! Thanks for all of the great suggestions. I will be sure to check out each one.

Quote:
My main reason for scanning is that I am a packrat and love to archive
Me too, but my filing is taking too much of my time these days. I also think I might have a dust allergy so all of these old papers have to go.
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Old 08-12-2010, 03:01 AM   #16
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Scanning documents is the easy bit.

(Well, it is these days, now that the scanners will generate a PDF for you - back when I had a scanner, it was a nightmare, you got this slow picture on the screen, chose one of 300 formats, waited half an hour for it to be resized, etc. Now I scan documents at w*rk and e-mail the PDF home. RonBoyd's suggestion is good, too. It's surprising how many documents either aren't a simple flat 8x10 or A4 sheet, or are sufficiently fragile or valuable that you aren't prepared to insert them into a machine with a motor and rollers.)

The hard part comes with labelling the documents so you can find them later. Typically you won't be using optical character recognition, so you can't look into the document.

My low-volume solution for that is to have a GMail account and send myself a little mail with the document attached, as if I was sending it to the people who will ultimately use it. ("Hi Nick, here is your 2009 tax return".) That ends up labelling it naturally, using the words which I will be using when I try to retrieve it. GMail gives you 7GB of storage and you can search the text of all of your e-mails with all the Google search tricks which you already know (or none; it finds everything anyway). I wouldn't use this for my only copy of a document, and if I had hundreds of documents I'd want to structure them with my own keywords etc, but as a backup of paper it works pretty well.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:19 AM   #17
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Whatever you get, I'd recommend a flatbed scanner so you can do books or irregular sizes of paper.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:38 AM   #18
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The speed thing is nice.

The problem with my HP setup is that the interface is poorly designed. For example, I can't set a default scanning resolution, so every time I scan something I have to go in and set that the way I want it.

However, I use a Macro Express macro so that one keypress will do it all. If I press Ctrl-Shift-F1 it will open Paintshop Pro, scan an image, and prepare to save it in the medical expenses folder for the current year. But it takes a while for the scanner to warm up etc. Good thing I'm retired!
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:20 PM   #19
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Whatever you get, I'd recommend a flatbed scanner so you can do books or irregular sizes of paper.
We did this about five years ago with an Epson Stylus Color CX4600.

Eventually the inkjet colors started to die from clogged nozzles, so I complained to Epson and was rewarded with a CX4800.

Eventually the inkjet colors started to die from clogged nozzles, so I complained to Epson and was rewarded with... yet another CX4800.

Eventually the inkjet colors started to die. You can see where this is going. A whole after-market industry exists to sell products to unclog dried-out inkjet nozzles.

Today I use the CX4800 as a flatbed scanner, a task at which it works just fine. The spare CX4800 sits in a closet waiting for the scanner to die, but it could go for another decade (or until its drivers no longer work with Windows/Mac software). However it no longer prints even black ink, so it can't be used as a copier. I have to scan to the computer and print from there.

My advice would be to get a single-purpose scanner. If it has to print (like a copier) then go with B&W or possibly a laser.

I used to look to a scanner to offer a fax capability. However I haven't sent a fax in over a year, while most of my signature pages go as PDFs attached to e-mails.
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:50 PM   #20
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Lots of folks have weighed in with good suggestions and so I'll just add my 2 centimes.

If you have 20,000 documents to scan, forget this and read no further. If you have a couple of hundred or even more that you don't mind placing one at a time on a flat bed ( I never close the lid), I'd highly recommend this one.

Highly Recommended One

I like it because:
1. I can put it in my backpack with my laptop and take it to the library.
2. It has the easiest interface I have found, called CanoScan Toolbox.
3. It does PDF, etc by pushing a button on the scanner itself.
4. It is high resolution. Document look super crisp and OCR very well.
5. It is decent speed even at high rez color.
6. It will **Excellently** make one PDF of everything that you scan at one time. So you get something and then just call it "April 2010 scan"
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