Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thinking about scanner quality

Someone emailed me and asked about the different in scanner quality between an inexpensive and expensive scanner. Here's the analogy I included in my reply:
I have a digital camera that cost about $200 and takes great photos. A professional photographer friend just bought a camera for under $2000 that takes 10 megapixel photos that are of outstanding quality. Obviously, what he can do with his camera is more than what I can do with mine. Mine is built for a consumer who needs only a few options, while a $2000 camera is built for someone who needs lots of control and flexibility. I think the same is true when talking about the difference in digitization equipment.
If you have an analogy that you use when explaining the difference in equipment, please let me know. Analogies are often a great way of getting a point across.

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Josh said...

"What's the difference?" is really the wrong questions -- the correct question is "What do I need?"

I paid $60 for my first DVD player. I was looking for something that played DVDs, and that had a remote control. Sitting next to the $60 DVD player was a $130 DVD player, which also played CDs and mp3s, and could handle a direct line to a computer.

I just wanted to play DVDs; I already had machines that played CDs and mp3s, and my computer was 30 feet away in another room.

That $60 DVD player lasted 7 years, which is like a century in electronics years.

So, yeah, whistles and bells are nice, and if you need something that does more, fine, but it's not just the difference between inexpensive and expensive, it's the difference between what you need, what you want, and what you'll just never use, so why pay for it.

jge said...

And sometimes the most simple things cannot be done with expensive equipment. We were looking for a book scanner with TWAIN driver because we had to use a certain scan client. Two of the offered scanners did have twain drivers only in their software (which means: slower data handling). They were both very expensive -- and brought their own scan client. The manufacturers thought that nobody would need any other scan client than the ones included. So I agree with josh: know well what you need!