DocuMate 252/262 or fi-4120C2 for archiving documents?



I am converting my personal library books (1000+)/journals/my private notebooks
into electronic forms. I would like to share some of my experience. I hope this
may be helpful for those who are planning similar projects.
I am about to get rid of a bunch of my old books and have used a
bandsaw to cut the bindings. The problem with it is all the dust it
creates and I suspect some scanners (it seemed the fujitsu 4110
snapscan was prone to this) get gummed up and have lots of misfeeds.
My buddy is thinking of making a cutter for books. You can also go to
kinkos and they might cut the bindings.

The tools I use to cut the bindings are a utility knife and a heavy-duty rotary
paper trimmer. The rotary trimmer I have (Carl DC-210) can trim 30 sheets of
paper (or even more) quite easily. (Never use a Guillotine-style trimmer!!)
First cut the whole book pages from the front/back covers and the spine in case
of a hardcover book, or just cut off the front/back covers in case of a
softcover book, using the utility knife. At this point, all the pages are firmly
glued to a piece of cloth in case of a hardcover book, or to the spine itself in
case of a softcover book. Then cut off pages with every 30 sheets (= 60 pages)
in a group by the utility knife. The 30 sheets in each group are tightly glued
together. Insert each group of 30 sheets into the rotary trimmer and cut off the
glued part, about 5 mm from the edge. Now all the pages are clean separated and
ready for scan. The amount of dust created in this process is very small.
I am trying to decide between:
ScanPartner fi-4120C2
Canon DR-2080C 7862A002
Xerox DocuMate 252
Visioneer Strobe Xp450
HP ScanJet 8250

because they are all sheet fed duplex scanners under $1000 street.

Any suggestions or comments on the scanners or procedures for doing
this type of scanning would be greatly appreciated.

For archival purpose, the optimal resolution would be 600dpi in Black and White
mode, and 400dpi in Grayscale/Color mode. Moreover DeScreen is necessary for
color/grayscale documents. If DeScreen is not available from the scanner, the
choices is either use the well-known method of manual DeScreen (scan at a high
resolution, 600dpi in this case, blur, downsample to 400dpi, then sharpen) or
use a commercial DeScreen program. So I may have to scan color/grayscale books
at 600dpi for manual DeScreen. Thus I looked for an affordable (less than $1000)
sheet-fed duplex scanner, reasonably fast at 400/600dpi in all three modes. This
was a very difficult task because manufactures usually provide only scanning
speed at lower resolutions. So I bought a bunch of scanners, tested them, and
returned those did not meet my criteria. Eventually I tested all of the above
models except HP ScanJet 8250; instead I tested HP ScanJet 5590.

My conclusion is that the best scanner for all purposes is XEROX DocuMate 262.
DocuMate 252 is also good. DM 262 and DM 252 are identical except for their
performance. DM 262 is much faster than DM 252 in Grayscale/Color mode, but
costs more. The TWAIN user interface of these models is a crap. Use OneTouch
Buttons instead. Before installing OneTouch Buttons, you MUST remove the driver
of any other VISIONEER scanner; otherwise the two drivers would be tangled up
and it would become very difficult to rectify. There is no caution about this
point in User's Guide and no warning message will appear in the process of
installation! DeScreen does not work at 300dpi or higher in both models. Bright
thin vertical lines sometimes appear randomly in color images (like atomic
spectrum) in both models, but are noticeable only when background color is
present and only when enlarged. About 2mm of the top portion of the document is
truncated and instead a blank white space is added to the bottom of the image.
This is annoying for color documents with background color. Well, I have to
compromise on these matters because fi-4120C2 is nearly a lemon in Color mode so
that there is no other choice! I wrote more detailed reviews on these models at

DocuMate 252

DocuMate 262

There is little reason to choose fi-4120C2 over DM 252/262. fi-4120C2 is good in
Black and White mode, but DM252/262 shows much better performance. fi-4120C2 is
faster than DM 262 in Color mode, but the image quality is terribly bad and is
unsuitable for archiving. Moreover it costs more. As for Color/Grayscale modes,
each image has very dark part (as dark as 215 even for perfect white background)
and very bright part (255) that cannot be corrected by Levels Adjustment or
whatever tool I use. The scanner is designed to read thick cards too, which
causes small fluctuations of the distance of the sheet of thin paper from the
light source in the path and thus uneven brightness occurs in the image. FUJITSU
admitted that this is a structural flaw of the scanner. DeScreen works but is
mediocre. Manual DeScreen gives much better results. ADF is very reliable: I had
not a tiny problem in scanning 6000+ sheets. TWAIN interface is by far the best
among the scanners I tested. The footprint of fi-4120C2 is much smaller than DM
252/262. Despite of these superior points, I gave up fi-4120C2 to scan
color/grayscale documents. Please see my review on fi-4120C2 at
for detailed analysis.


The scanners to be avoided under any circumstance are CANON DR-2080C (too slow
at higher resolutions; no output tray; a very old (three-year old?) model),
VISIONEER Strobe XP 450 PDF (supports only simplex mode; too slow at higher
resolutions) and HP ScanJet 5590 (terrible ADF; extremely large and heavy body;
too slow at all resolutions; hard-to-use TWAIN user interface; I could not
believe that such a crappy machine is still produced/used and I had to
reconsider HP's technology!).

Just for reference, the scanning speed (letter-size documents, seconds per
image) at the resolution 200dpi, 300dpi, 400dpi, 600dpi respectively I measured
for each model is the following (in the descending order of performance), where
`na' means either I omitted measuring the speed for some reason (most cases), or
the resolution is not available in the scanner.

XEROX DocuMate 262: 1, 1, 3, 3 (Black&White), 1, 3, 4, 9 (Grayscale), 3, 6, 12,
25 (Color)

FUJITSU fi-4120C2: 3, 4, 9, 13 (Black&White); 3, 4, 9, 14 (Grayscale); 3, 4, 9,
14 (Color) (almost identical speed in all three modes!)

XEROX DocuMate 252: 1, 1, 3, 3 (Black&White), 3, 7, 12, 29 (Grayscale), 4, 8,
14, 31 (Color)

CANON DR-2080C: na, 7, 10, 18 (Black&White); 4, 7, 10, na (Grayscale); 10, 18,
27, na (Color)

VISIONEER Strobe XP 450 PDF: na, 5, na, 30 (Black and White); 4, 7, na, na
(Grayscale); 15, 32, na, na (Color)

HP ScanJet 5590: na, 15, 46, 46 (Black and White); 8, 16, 50, na (Grayscale); 12
23, 63, na (Color)

Finally the programs I found useful are:

ThumbsPlus Pro (Cerious Software; excellent image management program; supports
various tools in batch mode)

IrfanView (all-purpose image management program; supports various tools in batch
mode; free)

Adobe PhotoShop or PhotoShop Element 3.0 (for batch processing of levels
adjustment and color correction)

DeScreenIt (JetSoft/; for DeScreen in batch mode; this program works
as fine as manual DeScreen in many cases and saves me a lot of time)

I used to use ScanSoft PaperPort (also bundled with DM 252/262) for image
management but quit using it because of its proprietary format (.max) and its
crude user interface. Scanned images are archived in single-page TIFF Group 4
(Black and White) and single-page TIFF LZW or PNG (Color/Grayscale), in at least
two hard disks (hard disk failure would be disastrous!). To make these documents
into daily use, they need to be converted into searchable PDF (text under

image). For this purpose I use

Abbyy FineReader 6.0 or 7.0 Professional (the most accurate OCR program, in
particular for color documents)

Needless to say,

Adobe Acrobat 6.0 or 7.0

is an indispensable tool to handle PDF documents. I usually scan the front cover
of each book in a flatbed scanner, convert it to PDF and attach it to the PDF
file of the book. By doing so, the colorful book cover is displayed in the
thumbnail view of ThumbsPlus/"My Bookshelf" of Acrobat 6.0/"Organizer" of
Acrobat 7.0. Creating database of all the books/journals/references is a good
idea to manage the personal library. I am using

BibDB (BibTeX database management program; free. BibTeX is a part of the TeX
typesetting system)

Creating the index of PDF files is also a good idea. There are many free desktop
search engines for this purpose. My choice is "namazu".

(This message was originally posted as a reply to

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