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How To Buy
You can have the best equipment in the world and still have scans that are less than stunning. If you heed the following advice, though, you can expect consistently super scans:
-- A scan is only as good as the original image. Whenever possible, choose images that provide clear focus, clean lines and good exposure. To avoid moire patterns, don't use halftone images or photos from a printed source (such as a magazine)
-- Tailor your resolution setting to your output method. To do this, find out the lines per inch (lpi) capability of your output device and multiply it by 1.5 or 2. For example, if your monitor displays 72lpi, you'll want a resolution of about 144dpi.
-- Familiarize yourself with the various file formats to which you may want to save scans. Nearly all commercial applications support TIFF and PCX formats, so they're safe to use. You should use EPS for vector drawings but not for line art. PICT is for line art with limited color (256 colors), while PICT2 is the choice for 8-bit gray-scale and 24-bit color images. You want GIF when compressing images for the Web, but it doesn't work well if the image has complex color and shading. JPEG may degrade image quality, but works well for compressing large color and gray-scale files. Adobe Photoshop users should save to the PSD format.