There comes a time in every artist's life when they want to toss their scanner out the window because it's such a pain to scan large paintings into the standard format 8.5x11 Inch scanners. The pieces don't fit together right, the exposure between passes are too different, and it's such a time waster to have to sit and stitch them together in Photoshop. The problem becomes compounded when we go shopping for a large format scanner that can process anything larger and we find that such scanners cost in upwards of $2000!
In my journey to find a solution that wouldn't cost me selling my kidney on the black market, I found a humble scanner called the Mustek Express A3 Pro USB Scanner with a scanning area of 11.7x16.5 Inches (29.7x42.0 Centimeters) at the equally humble price of $150. I bought one from Newegg, which had a comparable price and 30 day money back guarantee. So with little ado (and my love of lists), I present the Pros & Cons of the Mustek Express A3 1200 Pro USB scanner.
|The Pros||The Cons|
|The large format is a dream. All that lovely scanning space! (11.7x16.5 Inches total)||The scanner is all you get. There are no quick buttons for you quick button fiends out there.|
|Seems to pick up a decent amount of detail and is particularly effective at picking up color luminosity.||Subtle tones are somewhat lost in the scanning. But you can pop those out again with post-processing.|
|Compatible with Photoshop import options (which is the only thing I use)||Like most new scanners, this one is finicky about anything that is not pressed flat against the glass. Anything raised from it will be out of focus.|
|Scans up to 9600 DPI|
|Very affordable price tag at around $150|
|Cover is removable with no lip around the glass, which is handy for scanning oversized pieces.|
I currently use an Epson Workforce 500 as my main scanner and will continue to do so unless I need to scan larger format work. Though the Mustek is decent, it does not pick up the more subtle details that my Epson does. I have also been told by my publisher that the Epson is about as close to print quality as can be.
The Mustek is by no means a bad scanner, but it does have its minor shortcomings. However, for the low price, it's a pretty sweet deal if you're in search of an affordable deal on a large format scanner with decent scanning quality.
EDIT: It's also come to my attention the company is no longer making updated drivers for this device! In essence, it can only be used with Windows XP machines, for now.
EDIT 2: They finally came out with a new driver for this one! You can find it here.