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High-End Scanning: Epson Perfection 3200 Photo

Speed

The Perfection 3200 is USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 compatible. Speed tests were performed in USB 1.1 and FireWire. One surprise was that outside the test environment, we noticed no difference in speed between these two interfaces. So there's no point in investing in an expensive card if you don't already have one, since your USB 1.1 ports will be just as fast.

Speeds with USB 1.1 :

Preview, 75 dpi, 300 dpi in small formats: the two scanners are neck to neck.

At 300 dpi large format and at 600 dpi, the Perfection 3200 Photo works twice as fast as the scanner in the CX3200.

Surprisingly, at 1200 dpi the CX3200's scanner is must faster. But as we saw above, the quality is nowhere near as good as that of the Perfection 3200.

As far as the comparison between USB 1.1 and FireWire is concerned, we found exactly the same print rates, with a single exception. At 1200 dpi, the digitization of a 10 x 15 cm photo takes 2 minutes 33 seconds in USB 1.1, compared to 1 minute 57 seconds with FireWire. On the other hand, when the object is smaller, as in the case of the postage stamp we used in testing at 1200 and 2400 dpi, the printing times were the same.

Conclusion

Perfection 3200 Photo
ManufacturerEpson
Price$399
Resolution3200 x 6400 dpi
Scanning resolution (colour) int/ext48bits / 48bits
Scanning resolution (black)int/ext16 bits / 16 bits
Optical density3,4 D
InterfacesFirewire, USB 2.0
Modules includedCache for 2 35 mm films 6 line alternated, 4 diapositives 24x36 mm, 1 film 4x 5 inch and 1 film 6x9 cm (max)

The Perfection 3200 is expensive but better and much faster than the most expensive flatbed scanners and, certainly, better than scanners that are part of a multifunctional peripheral. The differences in quality become visible at resolutions as low as 75 dpi and become progressively more apparent at higher resolutions.

Only users who make extensive use of scanners to digitize negatives, create slides, or enlarge photos will really benefit from the high quality. Any of the less expensive scanners will do for less demanding tasks, such as illustrating word-processor documents, reproducing photographs, or other everyday tasks.