Plustek OpticBook A300 - flatbed scanner
Manufacturer: Plustek USA Part number: 271-BBM21-C
- CNET Editor rating: Not yet rated
- Average user rating: 1.5 stars out of 2 reviews
- Book scanning has become a growing trend globally, especially in an age, where sharing information and making it more accessible to people is an important issue. OpticBook A300 was created based on the concept of book preservation, digitization of content and sharing of the book. OpticBook A300 is an USB 2.0 scanning device that can scan an A3 size ... Read more
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Expensive but with benefits over camera-based scanning
by cphilips2 on June 29, 2013
Pros: Fast scanning, thin inner edge for scanning close to book binding
Cons: Book Pilot/Pavilion software a little rough; expensive; platen occasionally freezes; color balance needs periodic refreshing while scanning.
Summary: I don't write many reviews but as a 3-year owner of this scanner I feel it deserves better than the 1/2 star in the other review. It's ...
Summary: I don't write many reviews but as a 3-year owner of this scanner I feel it deserves better than the 1/2 star in the other review. It's true this is item is expensive and that DIY camera-based scanners can be cheaper (but include the cost of 2 cameras in your comparison). I started out with my own DIY rig designed by me using one camera and shooting one page at a time. There are big challenges to camera-based scanning: (1) glare-glare-glare, very hard to keep all reflections off the glass (even a bolt or your arm can get in the picture); (2) need to center the camera for each size of book, zoom for maximum pixels per inch, focus the shots, and minimize barrel and other optical distortion from the camera lens (the more you use all the sensor to get the maximum pixels, the more likely you'll get curved outer pages from the lens' barrel distortion; (3) post-processing can be extensive to crop the images and make the pages uniform. I'm not against the camera-method and two things I like are being able to capture 2 pages at once and snap the pages slightly faster (only slightly) than the A300.
But after a year of camera-based book scanning I sprang for the A300 and I've stuck with it even though it's by no means perfect. The general advantages of using a scanner over a camera are: (1) focus is automatic; (2) squaring the book is easier by sliding it to the edge and the gutter of the book on the scanner, enabling: (3) easy cropping in the software so every scanned page is exactly the same pixels and should capture the book uniformly when the book is placed the same each time; (4) no optical (barrel) distortion; (5) no glare; (6) less post-processing time because pages are cropped, focused, unglared, fewer glitches to deal with.
Now the A300 specifically. I can scan a 300-page book comfortably in about 45 minutes on the A300 and if that's slower than camera-based I believe it's made up in less post-processing time. And I think the final product is likely to be higher-quality (no distortion, reflections, etc.).
There are several versions of the main Book Pilot or Book Pavilion software and I've had issues with each, but not to the point I haven't scanned hundreds of books and magazines successfully. One thing that happens after 10 or maybe 400 pages is that the scanner's auto color can drift into a severe high-contrast mode; I like to scan without auto color correction turned on because books don't have a full spectrum of color for the auto color feature to base it's balance on. For example if you scan a book with a black cover the auto color might see that as green because there's no range of color in the shot to help the software 'figure out' the color balance. That's not the problem with the scanner, that's intrinsic from my point of view. So I use the A300 with auto color turned off, and that's when, after a while (short while or long while) the pages can progressively become more high-contrast and lose their color gradient (I scan in 300 dpi color). This requires watching the scans on the computer screen and catch it when/if it starts to happen. Pressing the Preview button seems to rebalance the color for another spate of captures. The other problem that I have occasionally on my model (an early model) is that perhaps every 500 pages on average the scanner mechanism will lose its calibration and scan to the end of the scanner and vibrate or jam. It requires powering off the scanner and on again. It's done this as long as I've had it and might be a defect only in my scanner. Powering off and on is easy, but it does require restarting the software too. Sometimes doesn't happen for 10 books and then it happens. Third, even though the edge scanning is as good as it gets so far as I know what's out there on the market, it still is difficult when text is close to the gutter to press teh book in far enough against the edge to clear the text and get it all in the scan. While the scanner really does scan nearly to the edge of the scanner (2 mm), getting the book itself to flatten out up against that edge usually loses more mm that won't flatten without using too much force to be safe for the book or scanner. Finally the software is capable, rotating alternate pages 180 degrees so they all come out right-side up, but it could be more professional and smoother. For example the preview window is very small by the standards of today's large monitors, making it difficult to see the page large enough without opening the file in a separate file viewer, and the cropping controls are also zoomed out too far to make easily precise cropping. Also, saving presets to use again is not always easy or possible, depending on the version of the software.
With all that, I still use the scanner as the best solution I've found to date.
Slow, Overpriced, & Unreliable.
by NonPlussedTek on March 23, 2013
Pros: This scanner, like the "Opticbook 3600 Plus" I owned before it, functioned for 13 months, just long enough for the one-year warranty to expire. Then the CIS module (i.e., the light source) failed.
Cons: I had heard Plustek's customer service is poor and my personal experience confirmed this.
Summary: First, a Plustek representative attempted to charge me $400 to replace the scanner light source, a component that costs less than $200. When I requested the name of the third-party ...
Summary: First, a Plustek representative attempted to charge me $400 to replace the scanner light source, a component that costs less than $200. When I requested the name of the third-party manufacturer of the light source so that I could order the part directly, the Plustek representative refused to share this information and rebuffed me. When I asked to speak to a supervisor, I was informed that the Plustek General Manager was too busy to speak with me. So I threw the Plustek OpticBook A300 in the garbage and opted for a smarter, affordable book scanning solution.
I advise everyone reading this review not to make my mistake: do not waste your time or money on this or other overpriced, unreliable Plustek scanners.
I have since assembled a DIY book scanner based on Daniel Reetz's Open Hardware specifications. The DIY book scanner far, far outperforms the Plustek Opticbook A300 and does so for a small fraction of A300's price. Google it!
- Manufacturer: Plustek USA
- Part number: 271-BBM21-C
- Description: Book scanning has become a growing trend globally, especially in an age, where sharing information and making it more accessible to people is an important issue. OpticBook A300 was created based on the concept of book preservation, digitization of content and sharing of the book. OpticBook A300 is an USB 2.0 scanning device that can scan an A3 size page in just 2.4 seconds. OpticBook A300 also creates crisp sharp images of the pages, which can then be made into different formats. It has bundled with highly effective image processing, fast and secure PDF conversion, and highly accurate optical character recognition (OCR) software. OpticBook A300 scans thick books without unbinding or dismantling them, so it is a perfect solution for digitizing precious and valuable books. From the vertical market perspective, OpticBook A300 is therefore an ideal solution for libraries, schools, graphic designers, publishing companies, hospitals, law firms and even the financial institutions.
- Packaged Quantity 1
- Type Flatbed scanner - Desktop
- Interface Type USB 2.0
- Max Supported Document Size 12 in x 17 in
- Input Type Color
- Grayscale Depth 16-bit (64K gray levels)
- Grayscale Depth (External) 8-bit (256 gray levels)
- Color Depth 48-bit color
- Color Depth (External) 24-bit (16.7 million colors)
- Optical Resolution 600 dpi x 600 dpi
- Interpolated Resolution 1200 dpi x 1200 dpi
- Scan Element Type CCD
- Control Panel Buttons Functions Custom,
- Compliant Standards TWAIN
- Max Document Size 12 in x 17 in
- Supported Document Type Plain paper,
Bulk objects (such as books)
- Document Feeder Type Manual load
- Optical Storage None
Expansion / Connectivity
- Expansion Slot(s) None
- Interfaces USB 2.0
- Cables Included 1 x USB cable
- Microsoft Certifications Compatible with Windows 7
- Compliant Standards WEEE,
- Power Device External power adapter
Software / System Requirements
- Software Included Adobe Acrobat Reader,
NewSoft Presto! PageManager 7.10,
Readiris Pro 10 Corporate Edition,
NewSoft Presto! ImageFolio 4.5
- OS Required Microsoft Windows Vista / 2000 / XP
- Peripheral / Interface Devices USB port,
Dimensions & Weight
- Width 15.7 in
- Depth 24.5 in
- Height 5.2 in
- Weight 17 lbs