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mp-microtek.jpg Microtek Announces ArtixScan M1 4800-dpi Scanner
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 12:14 EDT)

Touted as the successor to the i900 and featuring the same dual-bed design, the M1's increased resolution makes it a film scanner that can do reflective art, too. At $699, release is scheduled for February.

When we spoke with Microtek's Parker Plaisted about the M1 a few days ago, one of the first things we asked him was, "So what's wrong with the i900?" If you read our review (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/MI9/MI9.HTM), you know we liked it a lot. How could the M1 improve on the i900's dual bed design with enough resolution to scan 35mm film and 4.2 Dmax to see what it's scanning?

Three ways, he said.

About a year ago, the engineering team began upgrading the internal circuit design to handle more data at faster speeds, so the next generation scanners from the company would scan more quickly.

Secondly, that (and the expiration of certain exclusive supply agreements) allowed the next generation to enjoy higher resolution. At 3600 dpi, the i900 is no slouch when it comes to scanning resolution, but the M1's 4800 puts it in competition with Epson's V700 (6400 dpi) with the unique advantage of what Microtek calls its EDIT architecture. EDIT is, simply, the dual bed design Microtek first made famous with the Agfa Duo Scan. It uses a tray below the scanner's glass plate to scan film, eliminating the glass from the optical path (like any other film scanner). Flatbeds that scan film do so with the aid of a transparency adapter that illuminates the film from above as it sits on the glass plate.

Thirdly, the M1 will feature autofocus rather than the fixed focus of the i900 to provide the best visible scan, small depth of field and ICE for film (which, it occurs to me, is a fourth way).

Parker said the company was working with Kodak to develop the film version of Digital ICE. Microtek partnered with ASF (subsequently bought by Kodak) to develop the reflective version of Digital ICE, using opposing lamps to map defects in the surface of a print. The film version will use infrared LEDs focused on a different plane to do the same thing but it's still in development.

At $699, the M1 is priced about as much as an entry-level dSLR to appeal to enthusiasts with a large collection of film to scan. The new film holders, which slip into the film tray, are similar to the i800 holders with their tension technology in film sizes above 35mm to flatten those typically curved sizes.

The name, Parker explained, was derived from the Artix brand for its film scanning capability, the M from Microtek and the one to indicate a new series.

Beyond the name, it isn't yet clear what the scanner will include. A standard and Pro version are possibilities, with various combinations of Microtek and SilverFast (SE or Ai) scanning software in addition to other bundled software. It's also possible the scanner could ship with a second set of its new tension holders to increase scanning productivity. And transmissive and reflective targets are also a possibility.

But the company has until February to sort all that out.

Original Source Press Release:

Microtek Extends Renowned Line of High-Value Scanners with the ArtixScan M1, Featuring Exclusive Emulsion Direct Imaging Technology

Microtek ArtixScan M1 follows the Microtek ScanMaker i900 as the next-generation film/flatbed scanner featuring E.D.I.T. for scanning film

CARSON, Calif. (October 24, 2006) -- Microtek, a world-leading manufacturer of digital imaging products, announced today that it is developing the ArtixScan M1, a combined flatbed and film scanner for 35mm, 6cm, and 4x5-inch film formats that also offers additional functionality to scan reflective art or prints as large as 8.5 by 14 inches. Microtek will preview the ArtixScan M1 at the Photo Plus Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York on November 2, 3 and 4. Equipped with Microtek's patented Emulsion Direct Imaging Technology (E.D.I.T.), 4800-dpi optical resolution, 16-bit digital output per channel, auto focus, and new film holders with tension technology, the Microtek ArtixScan M1 offers extraordinary value to photographers, photo enthusiasts, and graphic designers in need of high-quality scans.

"The Microtek ArtixScan M1 is first and foremost a film scanner that offers outstanding image quality to photographers who want to breathe new life into old images shot on film," said Parker Plaisted, Product Brand Manager for Microtek Lab, Inc. "With our patented glassless scanning architecture called E.D.I.T., the Microtek ArtixScan M1 matches or exceeds the performance specifications of dedicated film scanners, while offering better value and additional functionality."

New Emphasis on Film Scanning

The Microtek ArtixScan M1 is the first in a new line of flatbed scanners from Microtek that will deliver outstanding images from both film scans and reflective scans. The reflective scanning capability of flatbed scanners has been outstanding for several years, but the film scanning capabilities of flatbed scanners lagged behind the dedicated film scanners. By advancing the optical resolution to 4800 dpi with the E.D.I.T. scanning architecture, the film scanning capability of the new flatbed scanners from Microtek will surpass the film scanning capability of dedicated film scanners while maintaining outstanding reflective scanning capability. Excelling at both film and reflective scanning, these new flatbed scanners will offer greater versatility and value to photographers, photo enthusiasts, and graphic designers.

Emulsion Direct Imaging Technology (E.D.I.T.)

Like its predecessor the Microtek ScanMaker i900 - a CNET Editors' Choice award winner - the ArtixScan M1 features Microtek's patented E.D.I.T. architecture. E.D.I.T. is a unique technology exclusive to Microtek that allows the optical system to scan the film emulsion without looking through the glass plate that supports reflective materials on the flatbed scanner. With E.D.I.T., the film is supported in a tray inside the scanner below the glass plate. The glassless scanning enables clearer scans of the film because it avoids the optical distortions, aberrations, and dirt that can appear in a scan that passes through the glass plate of a typical flatbed scanner.

High-performance Scanning Capabilities

With 4800 dpi optical resolution and 48 bits per pixel, a scan of 35mm film on the Microtek ArtixScan M1 will produce an image file that is equivalent to an image file from a 34-megapixel digital SLR camera. The resulting detail in the scan of 35mm film will enable prints up to 16 by 24 inches while still holding 300 pixels per inch at that print size. Large-format prints from 35mm scans can be made up to 24 by 36 inches while still holding 200 pixels per inch at that print size. Professional photographers and photo enthusiasts will be able to fully utilize the printable area offered by their photo printers from scans of 35mm film and larger film sizes.

Software and Color Management

Continuing a strong partnership with LaserSoft Imaging, the Microtek ArtixScan M1 will include the popular SilverFast software offering an intuitive user interface and professional controls over the scanning parameters. One of the many outstanding features of the SilverFast software is fully-integrated color management based on ICC standards for positive film and prints and the excellent NegaFix technology for negative film.

Pricing and Availability

The Microtek ArtixScan M1 is expected to be available in February 2007 for a suggested retail price of $699 through distribution, mail order, specialty camera stores, selected retail stores, and Microtek's retail Web site (www.store.microtek.com).

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