Wide-Format Scanners

Colortrac SmartLF SC 36 Xpress Scanner

28 Oct, 2015 By: Curt Moreno

First Look Review: If you’re searching for a standalone scanner to augment your existing printer or perform solo, this is a quality choice.

Editor's note: This review is part of a Cadalyst Labs Report. Read "Color Wide-Format Printers for CAD" to learn more.

The Colortrac SmartLF SC 36 Xpress scanner is a standalone, independent scanner unit. Unlike the other three machines reviewed in this roundup, this device is exclusively for scanning documents, and as such possesses its own set of benefits and features.

Many wide-format printers do not have integrated scanners as a standard feature. For those who wish to augment an existing plot system and for whom space is not an issue, a standalone scanner might be the perfect solution. Colortrac offers a Repro Stand (high stand) for the SC 36 Xpress which allows users to slide their existing large-format printer under the scanner in a traditional MFP configuration (for a smaller multidevice footprint).

In addition, because standalone units such as the SmartLF SC 36 Xpress do not necessarily have to be paired with a printer, they are candidates for tasks such as large archive projects and scanning services.

Colortrac SmartLF SC 36 Xpress

Getting Started

Installation. The Colortrac SmartLF SC 36 Xpress software was easy to install.

Connectivity. I was able to connect the Colortrac SmartLF SC 36 Xpress directly to my workstation via the scanner's USB 3.0 port, providing very fast data transfers.

Media support. The Colortrac SmartLF SC 36 Xpress can handle a wide range of media sizes ranging from 6" x 6" to 36" wide. The maximum length of the scanned document will depend on the target format and software. The maximum media thickness is 2 mm.

Colortrac SmartLF SC 36 Xpress

Wide-Format Scanner

Grade: A-

Pros: Fast, clean scan performance; USB 3.0 connectivity; solid construction.

Cons: Lacks Ethernet port.

Price: Starting from $4,995.


Paradigm Imaging (U.S. distributor): 888.221.7226


Specifications for the Colortrac SmartLF SC 36 Xpress 36"-wide standalone scanner system are obviously different than that of a printer. For this scanner, I was primarily interested in the following specifications:

  • Scan speed of 6.5" 8-bit grayscale at 400 DPI
  • Optical resolution of 1,200 DPI

In production, I found that the plot rate was very fast. I am not able to say whether it is precisely 6.5" per second, but I can attest that the unit was very satisfactory in its scanning speed. Line drawing scans were not only quick, but also easy to load and very crisp with clean, dark lines. Color graphics are rated at 1.5" for 24-bit color at 400 DPI. Again, I was not able to accurately measure that assertion, but the performance was very satisfactory, producing bright images with deep, realistic color saturations.

Scan Quality

The Colortrac SmartLF SC 36 Xpress has an optical resolution of 1,200 DPI and a maximum extended resolution of 9,600 DPI. Scans were fast and easy, with no problems loading prints. Files can be generated in a multitude of formats including JPG, PNG, TIFF, and PDF. Multiple-page formats are also possible in PDF and TIFF format.

Other Impressions

The Colortrac SmartLF SC 36 Xpress scanner is a very satisfactory scanner with quick performance. The physical footprint is quite small, despite the scanner's 36" wide scan capacity, and the optional stand seems quite sturdy.

The USB port is essential to the performance of this unit. It would be nice, however, if the SmartLF SC 36 Xpress had an Ethernet port. As it is, it must be set up within a cable's reach of a workstation.

The SC 36 Xpress comes with a one-year on-site warranty.

Wrap Up

The Colortrac SmartLF SC 36 Xpress is a solid choice for any office opting out of a new printer's matched scanner system or looking to augment an existing printer system. Everything about the scanner seems to speak to a quality build with fine performance.

About the Author: Curt Moreno

Add comment

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!