View Full Version : Aztek Premier Scanner- any experiences?

25-Jun-2005, 14:27
Has anyone had any experience with the Aztek "Premier" drum scanner? If so, how does it compare with the Heidelberg (or others)? Thanks-

Quentin Bargate
26-Jun-2005, 16:00
Its based on a Howtek drum scanner. Essentially Aztek have taken over Howtek's drum scanner business. It should be very good. I suggest you canvass more opinions on the ScanHi-End yahoo group where Aztek reps and many others can offer views.



Bruce Watson
26-Jun-2005, 18:29
I run an Optronics ColorGetter, but I've been following the scanner forums for years now. I can tell you some of what I've learned.

First, the Premier has a 3 micron minium aperture. Aperture size directly effects optical resolution. In scans of a 1951 Air Force resolution test chart, the Premier rates above 7000 ppi of real, optical, resolution. This is impressive. It means that the Premier can pretty much out-perform the film it's scanning. You might want/need this level of performance for small and medium format films, but it's less important for 4x5 and larger formats.

Aztek's DPL software has an excellent reputation, in particular for negative films (color and B&W). People complain about the price, but once they've bought it, they rave about it.

What I've read about users' problems with these units seem to be mostly mechanical and indicate that they are developed on the older Howtek mechanics. They seem to need more maintenance than some of the other drum scanners - the drive belts need replacing, drum wear pads need replacing, rotary encoders get dirty - that sort of thing.

But again, I don't own one, nor have I ever had the chance to drive one, so I may well be wrong about any of this. IOW, YMMV.

For reference, the Tango scanners were developed for service bureau work and are optimized (scanner and software) for trannies -> magazine and advertising work (small enlargements). Their 11 micron minimum aperture would work just fine for this service. But if you are looking for a high end fine art machine for making big enlargements, you might find better scanners out there for your needs. Like the Premier and the ICG 380 (if the software will give you 16 bit scans, that is) if you want a new scanner.

Alternatives include refurbished and used Azteks and ICGs (you can still get service and parts for them). Also the Optronics ColorGetters, the Scanview ScanMates, and Screens like the AI-45, all on the used market - you'll have to service them yourself and search out parts from the used pre-press dealers and other users (unless Screen USA is still offering service - I've heard rumors, but nothing confirmed).

My ColorGetter has worked out fine for me, but some people are uncomfortable running equipment without corportate backup. Again, YMMV.

And... what Quentin said. You might want to peruse the archives for the yahoo scanhi-end group and see for yourself what users say about these units. There is also a yahoo group just for Aztek scanners, but I don't remember right off what it's name is. Might check there also.