Hardware

ImagePRO GxT42 (First Look Review)

2 Apr, 2007 By: Henrik Vestermark

Paradigm Imaging Group's new 42" scanner offers everything a CAD professional needs at a midrange price.


Paradigm Imaging Group, a major scanner distributor in North America for years, introduced its own line of scanners in January. The ImagePro Gx42 HD (high-definition) series, designed for the CAD, GIS, graphic arts and reprographics market, includes six scanner models that fulfill different needs. I had the opportunity to review the ImagePRO GxT42e HD scanner with ImageFLOW scanner software, priced at $18,895.

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Paradigm Imaging Group's first scanner, the ImagePro Gx42 HD series.

All ImagePRO scanners share the same hardware platform, although there are two variations. The GxT Thick series can scan material up to 0.8" thick, and the Thin series scans material up to 0.02" thick.

Paradigm ImagePro Scanner Models at a Glance

  MSRP (includes ImageFlow Software) Speed: Black and White (ips) Speed: Color (ips) Optical Resolution (dpi)
42" scanners (Thin series)
Gx42 M $11,995 6 N/A 1200x600
Gx42 C $15,995 6 0.75 1200x600
Gx42 E $17,995 6 3 1200x600
42" scanners (Thick series)
GxT42 M $12,995 6 N/A 1200x600
GxT42 C $16,995 6 0.75 1200x600
GxT42 E $18,995 6 3 1200x600

The ImagePRO 42"-wide scanner fulfills mainstream needs in the CAD, GIS and reprographics world. In the past, 36" scanners were the norm, but with improved technology and lower prices, the 42" scanners are becoming the default scan-width choice. The ImagePro's thin material scanning capability at a lower price point is a welcome option for the price-conscious CAD market.

The new ImagePRO scanners come standard with a two-year, on-site service warranty within the United States and Canada; each bundled package includes the ImagePRO scanner, scanner stand and ImageFLOW scan-to-file and scan-to-print software.

Flexible Configurations
Each scanner model comes in three different configurations:

  • M: 6ips monochrome scanner;
  • C: 6ips monochrome and 0.75ips color scanner; and
  • E: 6ips monochrome and 3ips color scanner.

If needed, you can upgrade the scanner on-site from basic monochrome to 0.75ips color or the 3ips color model or from the 0.75ips color model to the 3ips color model. According to Paradigm, the upgrade price is simply the difference in price between the models. This is one of the few scanners in the industry that lets you upgrade within one hardware unit.

New Digital Camera Unit Technology
In a large-format scanner, digital capturing of the image is typically done using separate cameras, lenses, filters and mirrors. With the ImagePRO scanner, Paradigm incorporated a DCU (digital camera unit) into a single black box unit not much larger than a hard drive. This approach is new for the industry. Each DCU is a modularized, mini-assembly of mirrors, CCD, micro lenses with coated optics and an infrared filter.

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The ImagePro's digital camera unit.

The DCU is capable of image capture at a significantly higher resolution than that of other scanners, 1200x600 dpi optical resolutions, in both 48-bit color and 16-bit panchromatic monochrome. It saves the very high 1200x600 dpi optical input resolution as a maximum 600x600 dpi optical resolution output.

The unit is considerably less prone to outside torsion forces that make most other scanners go out of alignment when scanners are moved around or exposed to temperature changes. The ImagePRO scanner uses five of these DCUs at fixed positions across the scan width of the scanner and a 250-line buffer for digital alignment.

Scanner Calibration
For optimal scans, you must calibrate your new scanner before use. The ImagePRO scanner comes with scanner calibration software and a calibration sheet that automates the process. The first step in the calibration process is to ensure that all five DCUs are aligned correctly. Although the DCUs are fixed, the firmware automatically stitches the camera electronically, creating a smooth transition between the DCUs. The next step is to normalize the scanner and calibrate the black and white points and the DCU-to-DCU calibration. The normalization process took me less than five minutes, the fastest I've found in the market.

ImageFLOW
All ImagePRO scanners come with ImageFLOW, Paradigm's new all-in-one software that helps you scan, preview, print and copy images. ImagePRO supports Windows image acquisition so third-party software systems can import images from the scanner. The interface is user friendly, with the buttons logically placed with a left side view, plus a preview and the right-hand side for controls. At the lower-right corner are the three main functions for scanning, printing and copying.

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ImageFLOW's friendly user interface.

ImageFLOW also supports scan-to-print operations for more than 550 printers, so you can quickly be set up and ready to work. Printing is organized around a RIP system, so you can create sets and manipulate the print queue. Another nice feature allows you to integrate prints from other software packages into the ImageFLOW printing queue so you can have a comprehensive company-wide ripping, queuing and printing system.

Scanning in ImageFLOW
Scanning with ImageFLOW is simple.

  • Select the scanning mode between color, grayscale or black-and-white.
  • Select one of the eight presets or click the Edit button to customize a scan setting.
  • Click the Size buttons for selections on scanning sizes.
  • Finally, click the Scan button and select file format and destination file.

ImageFLOW includes some helpful, time-saving features, such as the ability to track recent sizes you've used so you can quickly choose it again to save time. In the Document Size dialog box you can also use the automatic settings in the upper right so that ImageFLOW determines the actual document size. This feature is very handy when scanning in batch mode where drawings vary in the batch. If you select Automatic Deskew, the program automatically deskews tilted images and improves your scanning productivity. ImageFLOW also supports single and multiple page TIFF, PDF and Postscript files so you can batch scan drawings into the same file -- a welcome and convenient feature I haven't seen in any other scanning software.

Paradigm ImagePro Scanner Models at a Glance

Pros Cons
Complete scan, print and copy solution, all in one package

ImageFLOW software is easy to operate and offers touch-screen capability

Upgradeable from monochrome to color in three different configuration options

Two-year onsite service with single point of contact for support in United States and Canada

Supports multipage TIFF, PDF and Postscript

New product and scanning technology

No upgrade from thin media scanner to thick media scanner (Gx42 to GxT42)

Not Energy Star compliant

ImagePRO currently offered only with 42" scan width (a 25" and 54" scanner will be available later in 2007)

The Scanner for the CAD Market
The ImagePRO scanner with ImageFLOW represents an excellent value for customers. The combination of a stand, the ImageFLOW software, two years' on-site service in the United States and Canada, a 42"-wide scanning capability and a flexible configuration -- all at a midrange price -- makes this scanner a recommended tool for the CAD industry. Highly Recommended


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