Out with the old and busted... in with the HUGE!

by Bill Cable
on 2018-07-11, 07:56:50

Eight and a half years ago, I purchased an 11x17 flatbed scanner. It was a Mustek Scan Express A3 1200. I needed a large-format scanner for my C7-YB comic strips, which I drew on large paper. And the Mustek was my best available option. It set me back $336.28 plus shipping.

Last week, it died.

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It had been holding on for a while. Sometimes it'd take a few tries before it'd power on. Other times the drive belt would make horrible noises before resetting. But last week - nothing. So it was time to look for a replacement.

I did some shopping, and found a replacement Mustek of the same footprint was $292. Not a bad option... but after almost 9 years you'd think the economics of technology would have driven prices down a bit more. Moore's Law and all of that. But nope... just $40 cheaper. So I did a bit more shopping.

Most large-format scanner are priced astronomically. We're talking $2,000-$4,000!! That's insane. But I guess if you need top-quality flatbed scanning, that's the price you pay. What really surprised me though that the most cost-effective 11x17 scanner wasn't a scanner at all! It's a multi-purpose MONSTER!

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The Epson WorkForce WF-7720 scans 1200dpi at 11x17. It copies. It prints. It faxes... FAXES! It'll even email whatever it scans! It's half the size of a coffee table! This thing is a beast of a machine. And the total cost with shipping? $199.99. So for 2/3 the price of a dedicated flatbed scanner, I now have the office productivity power of a small 3rd-world country.

After I installed the drivers, I was able to scan directly into Photoshop, as I like to do. The quality was excellent. I can't really fit it on my desk, so it's sitting on the floor. But that's a small inconvenience. It's just baffling to me that something that possessed 5 times the features and weighs eight times as much as a flatbed scanner can cost 33% less. Maybe they hope to make back the difference on outrageously-priced ink...





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