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Jumbo Scan, Lumiere Technology, compared with Cruse and BetterLight Print E-mail

We corresponded with one company that was considering a Jumbo Scan from Lumiere Technology. FLAAR has been evaluating reprographic scanners for nine years now, so a lot of libraries, museums, archives, and giclee ateliers write us asking for suggestions.

But we have not seen any Jumbo Scan Lumiere machine at any trade show in the US or in Europe: not in ten years!

We will check if they appear at any show during 2008. Since these giant units are obviously not portable it is a challenge to have an opportunity to test them, but we tested the Cruse both here at BGSU for several years, and then tested a new generation model at SIGGRAPH '03. As a result the new model was installed at the FLAAR facility in 2007.

Cruse, Jumbo Scan Lumiere Technology
Nicholas Hellmuth, Hermann-A. Cruse, Kurt Egger, Mandy Daniel in the Cruse flatbed reprographic scanner booth at FESPA 2007.

I have also been testing the BetterLight for eleven years. This is another option for using on a copy stand. Several of the leading giclee ateliers in the US use BetterLight scanbacks (Squirt Printing and Fine Art Impressions). Other leading giclee studios use the Cruse system: FLAAR has both because our job is to test, evaluate, review, and compare. We also use medium format, such as Phase One P25+. So when libraries, museums, universities, archives, corporations, government agencies, photo labs, giclee ateliers write us, we offer them FLAAR Reports based on our personal experience.

If we have never seen a system, if it never appears at a trade show, or appears only once and then disappears (such as Metis), then it’s not realistic for us to gain awareness of that system. So the result is that the people who end to write us, tend to opt for BetterLight or Cruse.

BetterLight has been making innovative tri-linear scanning backs since the 1990’s, in other words, Michael Collette has more experience than any of the other tri-linear scanback systems that I am familiar with. I am familiar with his experience since I have visited his headquarters, demo room, and factory. I know his staff, including his capable color management guru, Robin Myers.

BetterLight, tri-linear scanbacks
Here is Nicholas Hellmuth using the BetterLight in Antigua Guatemala (Capuchinas Monastery).

Cruse has been making reprographic camera systems for decades, before digital cameras even existed. I can still remember seeing a Cruse reprographic camera in Mexico City about 2000. This repro camera occupied two rooms! That was how big the camera was in those pre-digital years. Don’t worry, the digital version of the Cruse camera is of reasonable size, indeed they now have a special portable version.

In order to test the reality of using equipment in the real-world conditions, BGSU does scanning with the Cruse and CreoScitex for many commercial companies and the results are outstanding. At our office in Guatemala we use the BetterLight: and clients are happy with the results there too. The best way to evaluate digital equipment is to actually use it in a real-world situation. Unfortunately we do not have this experience with a Jumbo Scan from Lumiere.

We do not see any need to switch to any other brand, but we are always curious to know the pros and cons of every brand, such as Jumbo Scan from Lumiere Technology, so we can better inform our readers. France has capable engineers and obviously a country with its French art heritage knows cultural heritage management.

But I have visited so many places that have a Cruse Synchron scanner, that I can document that the Cruse works, and produces quality scans that a library, museum, university, GIS map institute or commercial customer expects. The Cruse is especially good for photographing oil and watercolor paintings for giclee.

We also like the ability of the Cruse to scan objects up to 4 inches in depth. Although all digital cameras have limited depth of field, and although closing down the aperture in the lens does not produce the same results with trilinear scanning backs that it did with regular film, you can still tweak slightly more depth of field from the Cruse system than from some model 8000 scanning backs.

Compared with flatbed scanners or drum scanners

Since FLAAR has over 50,000 negatives to scan in our own archive, I have spent years studying how best to scan negatives, chromes, and slides (of all sizes: 35mm, medium format, and large format).

One result of 11 years of research is, use a good flatbed scanner or a good drum scanner. Don’t try to use an overhead scanner to scan negatives or transparencies.

Copy stands and reprographic stands: yes, they can “handle” negatives and transparencies, but they are not effective. Even though I already have a Cruse and a BetterLight, I do not use either for scanning negatives or slides.

I would suggest a Screen Cezanne, a Fuji (but they are not made any more), or a Kodak Creo/Scitex EverSmart Supreme.

We are completely content with our CreoScitex EverSmart Supreme. These are readily available from Kodak still today. So I would not advise any archive or photographer to try scanning negatives with any overhead device. Flatbed scanners are made precisely for scanning negs and chromes.

Further Research

In the meantime, for more information on the Cruse, contact: Mike Lind, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For years his company has been the sales and installation outlet for Cruse. I have visited him at trade shows year after year after year. I know the Cruse tech support installer too (since obviously he is the one who installed our two different Cruse scanners). FESPA Digital ’08, DRUPA ’08, and Photokina ’08 are coming up. I will be curious to see which companies will exhibit. Cruse will be at FESPA Digital and probably at Photokina as well. If Jumbo Scan from Lumiere Technology, or Metis, are at any of these trade shows, we can update the comparative comments on this page. I know that BetterLight is alive and well during 2008, since I inspected their headquarters in California a few weeks ago. This is how we do our evaluations: we visit the factories, the demo rooms; we do site-visit case studies (the same trip when I visited BetterLight headquarters, I also visited Squirt Printing, a giclee atelier that uses a BetterLight. I routinely visit Fine Art Impressions, a different giclee atelier that uses a BetterLight. And I am consultant for several giclee ateliers that use Cruse (in Canada, Monaco, and Greece). FLAAR works worldwide since the over 100,000+ readers of this web site are from every major country around the globe.

Most recently updated March 24, 2008.

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