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Wide Format Scanning Technology - CCD vs. CIS

Wide format scanners have a variety of uses, ranging from scanning graphics and photos to scanning documents that will be archived. Different scanners specialize in scanning certain types of documents, and that all depends on the unit's scan technology. Before purchasing a new wide format scanner, consumers should look into key user requirements, image quality, and scan technology. Understanding how different wide format scanners work will allow professionals to purchase the right scanning equipment for their specific needs. Here, we look at scan technology and how these different options will affect the final product.

Wide format scanning technology evolves at a fast pace. Currently, there are two different scanning technologies: charge-coupled device (CCD) and contact image sensor (CIS). Both types have the same basic elements, including a light source, one or more image sensors and a lens system. However, each scan technology choice has a different scanning process and specializes in different types of documents. Understanding this scan technology is essential to choosing the correct wide format scanner.

Wide Format Scanners

In the charge-coupled device scanning method, the large format document's surface reflects light from the light source on to a mirror, which is then directed through a lens and received by the CCD. This process is also known as the "optical reduction method" because the CCD reads light that is reduced by the lens. This kind of scanning is typically used for graphic arts projects such as photographs and posters.

In the contact image sensor scanning method, the wide format document reflects the light from the three color LEDs. The CIS sensor within the large format scanner then receives the reflected light and performs the scan. This kind of scanning is also known as the "contact image sensor method" because the LEDs, lens and sensor are all combined into a single component. CIS scanning is typically used for detailed documents such as maps and government documents because of the scanner's capability to duplicate fine lines and small type.

Understanding your professional needs and what types of documents you will be scanning with your wide format scanner is crucial. Before purchasing a wide format scanner, you should determine your needs by testing scans on different scanners. Choose a variety of the documents that you would normally scan and check for quality differences. If there are not any noticeable differences, compare other factors like speed and cost before making the purchase.

Learn more about which wide format scanner is best for your professional needs by downloading the Wide Format Scanner Buyer's Guide now.

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