Preview: Contex Wide-Format Scanners

1 Aug, 2006 By: Henrik Vestermark

Company upgrades entire product line, offering better scan quality without increasing prices.

Contex just released an entirely new scanner line, offering new features and enhanced performance and replacing its existing product line. New scanner options range from the 25" TOUCAN G25 to the 54" MAGNUM G600. Most of the new scanners are available now. Two copier scanners, the Puma and COPYmate, will be available in limited quantities until their successors are available in early October under the new names PUMA G600 iJET and COPYmate G18 iJET. New scanners are also available under the Contex brands GTCO Calcomp and Vidar.

All new products are compliant with Europe's RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) regulations as well as Energy Star guidelines. The RoHS manufacturing standard became mandatory in Europe on July 1, and the United States will soon follow with similar requirements. California is expected to mandate compliance by January 1, 2007.

In addition to complying with new environmental regulations, Contex has also improved its scanner controller technology, now in its eighth generation. The company is using new camera lenses that result in considerably fewer color aberrations, and it has improved its digital enhancement of image data. This is giving Contex scanners a boost in scan quality.

Products in the new series retained their previous names, adding G600, G25 or G18 to indicate new capabilities in image enhancement and speed. Some of the previous 36" scanners have been widened to a 42" scan width and enhanced to a higher optical resolution. With the exception of the 25" scanner, the new wide-format line has been aligned using the same CCD sensor and controller board and have similar specifications. Scanner speeds now reach 12"/sec in black-and-white and 3"/sec in 24-bit color. The 25" scanner tops out at 4"/sec black-and-white and 1.5"/sec color speed.

The new 42" and 54" wide-format scanners retain previous pricing -- meaning that in the case of the higher-speed and enhanced-optics black-and-white base version, you're actually getting better quality for the same money. Three versions are available for the 42" scanner:

The new PREMIER G600 42" wide-format monochrome scanner from Contex offers increased quality for the same price as its predecessor.
  • PREMIER G600 42 is a monochrome scanner ($9,900+)
  • CRYSTAL G600 42 offers moderate color speed of 0.6"/sec ($13,900+)
  • CHROMA G600 42 offers the fastest color speed and an optional PLUS version for enhanced speed and resolution capabilities ($19,900+)

The MAGNUM 54" scanner still comes in two different versions, a base and a plus model, with the base version starting at $27,900.

Contex has dropped the price of the low-end 36" HAWK-EYE scanner by $1,000, now starting at $9,900. The two new CHAMELEON and COUGAR scanners have retained their previous price points but now offer a significant boost in black-and-white performance. The CHAMELEON offers a boost in color speed from the previous 0.3"/sec to 0.6"/sec in the base model to 1.0"/sec in the Plus model.

The biggest change is in the 25" scanners. The TOUCAN has replaced the CHAMELEON. The new COUGAR 25" retains the performance of the previous COUGAR 25" at the price of the previous CHAMELEON 25" ($8,900+).

Keep your eye out for an upcoming edition of Cadalyst Daily newsletter, where I'll offer more information about wide-format scanners and how you can evaluate whether this increasingly popular hardware option is right for your company.

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