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Scanning Speed

Measuring the scanning speed is like writing an essay on a topic you’re free to choose yourself: the result will largely depend on the writer’s personal tastes and prejudices. Sometimes electronic and paper mass media adjust their test results to suit the potential advertiser. That’s of course unacceptable – they’d better just publish the specification rather than mislead the reader. As for the Scanjet 8200, there are numerous reviews calling it “exemplary fast” and “outstanding”, but it’s not so well in reality. This model isn’t a fresh-new product, so some users have already bought and used it for some time. And I can quote a reader (probably, the head of an IT department) who had bought this outstanding and fast scanner for his office needs, basing on a review from some paper news source:

“After the purchase of a HP Scanjet 8200 we found out that the standard software was so unhandy as to ruin the purchase completely. My users are complaining that this super-fast and super-expensive model works much slower than the older HP Scanjet 5p, and only because the program asks too many stupid questions and warms the lamp up for a whole minute!”

Among the criteria for choosing an office scanner the speed characteristic is foremost, of course. But how is this speed measured? Many manufacturers measure it from the moment the head starts to move and to the moment it returns to the default position. This approach isn’t quite correct with respect to the customer who’s comparing the speed characteristics of scanners by their specifications. Another method – measuring the time it takes to perform a certain scanning task – is more correct and doesn’t put an emphasis on some single step of the scan process. The end-user isn’t interested in how much time the scanner takes to return the head to the initial position. The user is much more concerned about how much time he/she will have to wait for the digitized image to become ready for further processing, as an image in image-processing software or in a file. I’m measuring the speed according to the second method. I even try not to quote the speed characteristics declared by the manufacturer – I’d better measure it myself. I perform this test on a standard 152x102mm photograph, an A4 sheet of paper, and 35mm film (if the scanner comes with a slide-adapter).

So, let’s get to the tests. First I want to inform you that the Scanjet 8200 takes very long, 2 minutes and 45 seconds, to wake up fully from the standby mode. That’s too much, especially for an office machine. And I want to remind you that the scan preferences aren’t saved from the previous session, so you’ll have to spend some time to enter the required parameters.

I didn’t scan the photograph at the scanner’s optical resolution (4800dpi) – the wait wasn’t worth it.

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