ArtixScan 1800f

You could be forgiven for thinking that the professional scanner market has stalled. As one of the more mature technologies in graphics computing, scanner developments are rare. Some manufacturers seem to have practically stopped development, but not so for Microtek. The company was around at the birth of desktop publishing, and it’s still improving its scanning products. The latest offering from Microtek is the ArtixScan 1800f, which offers incredible performance for a great price. Interface options are plentiful: they include FireWire, USB, and USB 2.0. It’s true that USB 2.0 isn’t a big deal for Macintosh users, but it does show that Microtek is keeping up with the times. The specifications are impressive, with a maximum density of 4.8D, and a maximum resolution of 1,800-x-3600dpi. Noise-correction
However, there’s more to this scanner than big numbers. For example, the issue of noise (grainy artefacts) in scans is a problem that can be solved with this scanner. You can tell the scanner to scan each line more than once, so that the noise is compensated for. This makes it slower to scan, but if an image is suffering from noise this will fix the problem. The method for scanning transparencies may be familiar. It uses a tray that holds them under the scanning head without encasing them in glass. This means that there’s no problem with Newton rings, which are caused by contact of oils on film touching glass and causing odd refractions and rainbows. Of course, hardware is only half the story when it comes to scanners. A scanner needs software to make sense of the images. It also needs to be OS X-compatible now, which thankfully it is. The 1800f ships with SilverFast, which offers extremely simple yet powerful scanning features. In our tests, among the transparencies and slides, I had an inkjet printout of a digital photograph that was taken with the wrong colour balance. Original artwork doesn’t come much ropier than that. Scanning the image using almost entirely standard settings Silverfast produced an image that was, frankly, better than the original. Colour issues
Obviously, printing an image on an inkjet printer isn’t the most sensible thing to do before scanning the image, so there was some degradation from that. However, the blue colour cast that was on the image was corrected perfectly. For colour calibration, there’s an IT-8 target and software. So, you can be sure that your scans are in tune with the rest of your calibrated workflow.


The ArtixScan 1800f gives amazing results – flawless in every way I could test for. There are more-expensive scanners around, but I’m not sure how much better scans can be. The price is high for an A4 scanner, but for the quality that this unit offers, it’s a fair price. The 1800f is head and shoulders above most of the competition. However, if you need even higher resolution (but lower density) you will need to look at the Umax PowerLook 3000, which costs considerably more.

Find the best price