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What is Drum Scanning?

Vocabulary

What is Drum Scanning?

The drum scanner was the first image scanner designed for use with a computer. ‘At the time of its creation in 1957 by the US National Bureau of Standards, the first scan had a resolution of 176 pixels for the long dimension.’ (“Image Scanner”) Modern drum scanners are now capable of scanning at over 12,000 un-interpolated pixels at a maximum of 200 Res/ 200 DPM (Dots per millimeter)/ 5000 DPI (Dots per inch).

Even though drum scanners were created before digital cameras, before Photoshop and before mass produced computers, this analog to digital technology output is the only digital file that can reproduce the latitude, contrast, and grain structure of any film.

The drum scanners at Duggal Visual Solutions can mount up to a maximum size of 11” x 14” on the drum. We have the option of wet and dry mounting and they work very well with both reflective prints and transmissive film.

In order to appreciate the quality of a scan, one must understand the technology that makes it possible. Any other image capture device uses either a CCD (charged-coupled device) or CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) sensor to translate visual information into an electrical signal. While this technology has grown over the last several years, it still cannot meet the exactitude of the PMT (photo multiplier tube) that drum scanners use. A PMT is capable of capturing the entire range of the Analog Signal.

What does this mean for your scan? It means the drum scanner is recording 100% of the possible information, in proportional balance and at a very high quality. Its data capture allows the artist the most flexibility to decide to put more detail into the shadows, to increase the mid tone contrast, and add saturation all without losing any of the subtle details in the original film. The final result is the closest representation to your original and is perfect for enlargements or for museum quality archiving of your precious images.

 

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