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DuoScan T2000 XL is flexible and fast – Agfa DuoScan T2000 XL

DuoScan T2000 XL is flexible and fast – Agfa DuoScan T2000 XL – Product Announcement

Ben Long

Dual-lens setup creates two scanners in one

Graphics professionals looking for a high-end, large-format scanner will find that the DuoScan T2000 XL has a lot to offer. A souped-up version of the excellent letter-size DuoScan from Agfa, a division of Bayer Corp., the T2000 XL uses the same Dual Plate technology, which provides separate scanning beds for reflective and transparent originals. The T2000 XL improves on the original DuoScan with a new dual-lens system and an 11-by-17-inch scanning bed. We were very impressed with both the scanner’s high-quality scans and its reasonable $8,995 price.

The T2000 XL is very large, measuring 20 by 30 by 10 inches. As with the DuoScan, transparent images are placed in a special tray that slides out of the front of the scanner. Because the tray sits below the scanner platen, the T2000 XL can scan transparencies without the added distortion caused by scanning through glass.

A holder in the transparency tray keeps transparencies and negatives in place. Holders are included for mounted and unmounted 35mm, 6-by-9-cm and 4-by-5-inch transparencies; they are well-designed and make it easy to load transparencies without having them buckle.

The T2000 XL has an 8,000-element CCD and Agfa has created a very clever dual-lens system that lets you get the highest optical resolution for the type of image you’re scanning.

Because transparencies and negatives are typically much smaller than reflective images, you usually want to scan them at much higher resolutions. For this, the T2000 XL has a special lens that can scan a 4-inch-wide area at up to 2,000 dpi. For larger images, the scanner uses a second lens that can scan the entire 11-by-17-inch bed at up to 667 dpi. The appropriate lens is selected automatically based on choices you make in the scanner’s software.

This dual-lens mechanism means the T2000 XL can behave as two different scanners: a small, high-resolution scanner and a very large, 667-dpi scanner. In both cases you get transparency or reflective scanning.

Both lenses also feature an apochromatic lens coating that provides sharp focus through the full color spectrum.

FotoLook 3

Agfa’s FotoLook plug-in for Adobe Photoshop provides an easy interface to the T2000 XL’s many scanning modes as well as powerful color correction and descreening controls.

You begin using FotoLook by selecting the part of the scanner’s imaging area that you’d like to see. When you press the Overview button, the scanner performs a quick gray-scale scan of the indicated area. You then use the marquee controls to select the area you want to scan and press a button to see a color preview. Once the preview is displayed, you can use the software’s color correction controls to adjust the image and then press the Scan button to perform your final scan.

While this may sound like an awkward way to preview and scan, it has several advantages: You get the largest possible preview image with only two quick scans, and you can easily rescan the same area with the same settings when performing batch scans.

FotoLook offers an excellent curves editor for making color corrections; it also has very good automatic levels adjustments.

We were particularly impressed with the software’s extraordinary descreening control that can automatically descreen previously halftoned images. To use it, you select the approximate line screen of the image you’re scanning. In our tests, descreened halftones had a slight problem with aliasing along jagged lines, but we were still amazed by the image quality.

Agfa’s Total Film Scanning technology gives FotoLook a pop-up menu of film stocks from which you can select the film type on which your image was shot. These profiles let the program automatically compensate for the characteristics of a particular film. You can also easily create a profile of your own from within the driver. We found that changing the film type didn’t always make a difference in scan quality, but it certainly improved the quality of poorly exposed images.

Although the T2000 XL’s versatility, engineering and software are very good, the scanner’s image quality makes it worth the price. With a dynamic range of 3.3 and extraordinary sharpness, we were impressed with the detail and color fidelity of both lenses in either transparency or reflective mode.

We were also pleased with the scanner’s speed, although switching between the two lenses can take extra time because the scanner must recalibrate the lens each time you switch. The lens can also take up to three minutes to warm up. This was not usually a problem, although on one occasion we did find a streak characteristic of a cold lamp.

Conclusions

The DuoScan T2000 XL is a fine solution for graphics professionals who need large-format scanning. A few thousand dollars more may get you a higher-quality transparency scanner, but the T2000 XL’s price/performance ratio and its versatility make it a great product.

Agfa, a division of Bayer Corp., of Wilmington, Mass., can be reached at (978) 658-5600 or (888) 281-2302; fax (978) 658-6285; www.agfahome.com.

Score Card 4 stars DuoScan T2000 XL

Agfa

List price: $8,995

Hits: Dual-lens system; separate transparency tray; FotoLook software.

Misses: Switching lenses can be slow.

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