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Complete directory, filled with pertinent links, to the best digital imaging equipment in the world.

In case you win a million-dollar graphics design contract, or win the lottery, or marry the boss's daughter, you will have the money to buy the absolute ultimate digital imaging system. After all, this is the heart of the American capitalistic system--work hard and you are rewarded in the here and now with instant gratification--in this case fabulous equipment.

But the rest of us have to be more realistic, so I design the dream outfit in several stages, from real to unreal.

These systems are based on visiting professional graphics studios (such as Digital Design Studios of Missouri, which does most of the graphics work for the entertainment industry of Branson, Missouri;). Andrea and I also visited a professional digital imaging studio in Columbia MO whose owner Roger Berg is highly sought after as a speaker on digital imaging. I also include one of the best equipped digital instruction campuses I have seen outside of the Rochester Institute of Technology, namely the Center for Advanced Imaging at St Louis Community College at Meramec.

FLAAR also evaluates all the equipment we use in our own facilities at Bowling Green State University and during the summer and winter at Francisco Marroquin University (where the climate is spring-like all year round due to being high up in the mountains). No snow ever.

Links in this vertical column are to gateways of links and/or detailed reviews, usually with color photos
Other alternatives, solid equipment and software, but not super expensive. More practical and cost effective, less frills but can still do an outstanding job.
Super-nice but not super expensive. In other words, if you work hard you just may be able to afford this system.
HIGH-end, but nonetheless a system that a normal mortal can actually use (in other words, no drum scanner or anything that requires a 10-year apprenticeship).
Color printer, dye-sub
Kodak dye sub (all their products are well made)
Kodak 8650 dye sub
Fujix Pictography (better than dye sub)
Color printer, laser
Tally, QMS or Xerox Tektronix 11x17
Tally,QMS or Tektronix 11x17
Xerox DocuColor 40 with RIP
B+W laser printer
QMS is much more flexible than Lexmark, HP, or IBM
GCC Technologies, 1200 dpi
GCCTechnologies, their 1200 dpi laser is great (it's the one I chose for my own office).
Rrecommended laser paper
Weyerhaeuser First Choice, Georgia-Pacific paper

Futura Laser in USA
Reyprint in Europe

Futura Laser in USA
Reyprint in Europe

Paper ideally suited if you need to fold your brochures
Microprint (for folding)
.
.
wide-format ink jet
Hewlett Packard DesignJet
Hewlett-Packard 5000
Iris, though there are now alternatives such as Ixia, ColorSpan or I-Jet
PostScript RIP
BEST, PosterJet
BEST, PosterJet, Onyx PosterShop
BEST, Onyx PosterShop, Ilford's RIPStar, PosterJet, Wasatch
wide format photo paper (media)
IJ Technologies
IJ Technologies
Rexam Graphics

IJ Technologies, Sihl,
Rexam Graphics

Special printers
.
.
Durst Lambda
Proofer
HP DesignJet ColorPro GA
Scitex Iris iProof
Pictography for ultimate prints
Color management
 X-Rite or GretagMacbeth
 X-Rite or GretagMacbeth
X-Rite or GretagMacbeth
Laminator
LEDCO or USI
LEDCO or USI
GBC, Seal, CODA
Computer, we have over 15 different computers in our facilities
Mac G4 though PCs are now faster and cost less
Apple stupidly dropped SCSI in favor of FireWire. SCSI is still faster for hard drives, thus we prefer a PC with internal SCSI
Still a Mac G4 or PC, Silicon Graphics looks nice but nowadays is a dead end for basic digital imaging; Sun is unnecessary for normal 2D graphics.
Monitors
Dual 21" or an Apple Cinema Display
One Barco 21" with one 24"
Dual 21" and also a 24"
RAID system
Seagate and other hard drives can easily be made into a RAID system
Hardware RAID
Hardware RAID, many are available from Megahaus, Snap! from Quantum
We switched to Quantum after Seagate Cheetah drives failed
Seagate Cheetah drives failed causing collapse of our RAID
Quantum (our Seagate Cheetah drives failed)
SCSI

Adaptec card
Ultra2 wide SCSI

Adaptec Ultra2 wide SCSI
FireWire in due time

Adaptec Ultra2 wide SCSI, Atto
FireWire in due time

Panasonic (best price, solid equipment)
Yamaha (wins most reviews)
Smart-and-Friendly 12x burn speed
MO or equivalent
..
..
.
DVD
We still prefer DVD-RAM over DVD-ROM
We still prefer DVD-RAM over DVD-ROM
Extra RAM
Maxed out
Maxed out
You can never have too much RAM
Nikon Coolscan 4000 ED
Nikon
6x6 slide scanner
not many to chose from
Heidelberg
Creo, Fuji, Creo
4x5 slide scanner
Imacon is not our favorite
Creo, Fuji, Creo
Flatbed scanner
CreoScitex, Linotype-Hell (Heidelberg), or high end Agfa, naturally 11x17 inch size. We like the Scitex EverSmart Jazz+
CreoScitex EverSmart Pro II, Linotype-Hell (Heidelberg Linoscan 2400), or high end Agfa, naturally 11x17 inch size
Creo EverSmart Supreme, Linotype-Hell (Heidelberg Nexscan), or high end Agfa XY-15 version of the Fuji C-550, naturally 11x17 inch size.
Drum scanner
Imacon, is not a drum scanner but simply a vertical CCD scanner. Howtek has not impressed us.
ICG model 360; I like the ICG since it offers the option of professional oil mounting or an alternative drum where you can slip the transparencies into a special holder...no oil needed.
ICG model 370; Fuji, Heidelberg are all excellent prepress scanners.
4x5 format digital camera
Better Light
Better Light beat PhaseOne two years in a row at the professional photography trade show comparison.
System for creating QTVR objects
Kaidan object rig
PhaseOne, though BetterLight has an object photography system in preparation. FLAAR now has the beta version
Basic digital camera for QTVR objects
Nikon CoolPix 950 took most of the equipment shots on this site
The Nikon D1 did not impress many reviewers.
medium format camera to hold a digital back
Rollei, I prefer their wider range of lenses than Zeiss. I have three Hasselblads and they are great, but would prefer a Rollei system now.
Probably a flexible body type, such as from Linhof or Arca-Swiss,
Same, but absolutely not any from Hasselblad, since you want a camera from a company that has already handled perspective control, tilts and swings: for 4x5 Cambo Ultima, Arca Swiss or Sinar X
Large format 4x5 camera to hold a scan back such as BetterLight, PhaseOne or JOBO
Toyo
Arca-Swiss, Cambo Ultima, Sinar X or Sinar P.
FLAAR itself uses the Cambo Ultima, which we found better designed and constructed than the Sinar X
Lenses
Rodenstock or Schneider but digital lenses
Rodenstock or Schneider but digital lenses
Rodenstock or Schneider but digital lenses


Preferred graphics card etc. still to come. Please let us know your likes and dislikes and what you would suggest. Our e-mail is ReaderService@FLAAR.org

 
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Last updated July 22, 2001, links added Mar. 2002,
redesigned January 2004
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