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Imacon 646 vs Drum scanning?


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I am hoping for input from those experienced with both. I am shooting 4x5 and

6x17 transparencies and prodicing lightjet prints as large as 48x60 and 32x96.

Currently I pay to have drum scans done, which is costly, time consuming

(shipping back and forth), and thus limits the number of images I have

scanned. I would like to bring this process "in house". I am leaning toward

the Imacon 646 for ease of use, space consumption, and what sounds to be

professional quality for my output. I would love to hear any input from those

experienced with these, not theoretical input.


Thanks very much!



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I own an Imacon 646. For images as large as you want to make - drum scan to the correct file size. Or, find a used drum scanner. There are many available in the same price range as the 646.


I chose the Imacon because I don't have the space to setup a drum scanner. The 646 is a fine scanner, but you'll only be able to scan at 2080ppi for the 4x5 and 6x17. Not nearly enough pixels for the size images you want to make.

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"Oh . . I was unaware of the ppi restraint on the format. That is a big deal if you're printing large like that. You're going to need close to twice that resolution."


Yep. Actually I was wrong, I just fired up Flexcolor and looked at 4x5 - it's 2040 ppi and not 2080. Which is why he really needs a drum scanner. 6x17 can be scanned at 3200 ppi.

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I've not ever used an Imacon scanner so I can't speak directly to it's quality in comparison to a drum scanner. You migtht find this link useful in this regard:




What I can speak to is my experience with a used drum scanner. After a lot of research, good timing, and some luck I bought a used Optronics ColorGetter Eagle drum scanner on Ebay. Like you, I shoot 4x5 and 6x17 and can now drum scan them at any practical size. I just made a 40x60 print from a 4x5 at 360dpi (non-interpolated) that looked fantastic. Buying a used drum scanner on Ebay can be a crapshoot, so if you're risk averse I might suggest buying a used, refurbished, warrantied unit from Aztek that start around $6500. Even this price (more than 2x what I paid for my machine) is MUCH cheaper than an Imacon, with quality that is at least as good and is probably better.

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