Greater quality, larger range of services, better productivity – all with Scan Studio

FotoHub – the first user in the world to deploy Scan Studio

The task of digitizing their own stocks poses a major challenge to libraries especially when they have a wide variety of different originals and formats. The Zeutschel ScanStudio presented in the spring is designed for these requirements as an all-in-one solution.

The company is one of the most important digitization service providers in Asia. Based in Singapore, FotoHub works for the large libraries and archives of the city state.

Many different materials are digitized in the process – from historical books, large-format documents and magazines to films, slides and glass negatives.

FotoHub’s success is based on its superior quality by comparison with its competitors. To this end, the company maintains a digitization center for which the systems and solutions are selected in accordance with strict quality criteria. As well as overhead scanners, they have also been using equipment for making high-quality scans of slides and negatives.

Market in flux

But either the technology used in such equipment – such as the drum scanner – is obsolete and ill-suited to future needs, or compromises have to be accepted in process efficiency in practice.

But that must and will change in future as Vincent Tan, CEO and one of the founders of FotoHub, explains: “The market is changing rapidly. The demands made of the process of digitizing our cultural heritage are increasing, and the assignments have become more complex.”

He remarks that today, quality and productivity go hand-in-hand: “We are expected to digitize the exhibits with the highest level of image quality and at the highest possible processing speed.” Customers from the library and archive environment are also increasingly demanding scanning services for transparent materials such as film and slides alongside the digitization of books and other bound documents.

Quality standards exceeded

When Vincent Tan found out about Zeutschel ScanStudio, he was immediately excited. “We had long been on the look-out for a solution with which we could digitize a range of materials with the highest quality without having to change equipment. Zeutschel ScanStudio is the first and so far the only system on the market to follow this all-in-one approach.”

FotoHub has already experienced excellent results with Zeutschel scanners. The entire infrastructure for scanning books consists of Zeutschel equipment for A0, A1 and A2 formats.

In acquiring the system, Vincent Tan was expecting to further increase his market leadership in terms of quality.

Internationally recognized norms and standards serve as the reference framework for the image quality for FotoHub. “We systematically align our digitization processes with Metamorfoze, ISO 19264-1 and FADGI”, Vincent Tan reports.

After analyzing the image quality of the first scans, he was surprised. We can achieve higher image quality with Zeutschel ScanStudio than with other scanners used, for all materials up to A2 format. This means we not only meet the digitization guidelines specified but even exceed them.”

Perfectly attuned

To achieve this, Zeutschel paid careful attention during development to ensure that all the components used are state-of-the-art and when combined they deliver the best possible image quality. This is exemplified by the camera and interchangeable lenses which come from Zeutschel and are perfectly matched with the digital camera backs from PhaseOne. For example, the 50 or 100 megapixel resolution offered by ScanStudio is fully achieved and not subsequently upsampled through the use of software. The results are sharp, noise-free images that faithfully reproduce even the finest details.

In addition, Zeutschel ScanStudio does not use flash. Instead, it has ErgoLED lighting with two controllable and adjustable LED lamps optimized for the digitization of cultural objects. The original material is illuminated ‘crosswise’ to prevent shadows from appearing in the book fold or those cast on mint coins, for example.

Digitizing film, slides and glass negatives with the highest quality….

The existing equipment was not able to meet the rising demand for digital images of film, slides and glass negatives, let alone to efficiently process orders for such materials.

“We solved this brake on our digitization capabilities with Zeutschel ScanStudio, thereby significantly expanding our range of services”, Vincent Tan explains.

For example, the high image quality of ScanStudio really bears fruit when it comes to transparent originals. Here, the system shows itself to be “eagle-eyed”, even capable of recording “hidden” elements. For example, negatives can contain further information in dark areas of the image which often cannot be seen with the naked eye. The system enables shadows to be cleanly separated with the result that even the faintest details become visible in the digital image.

… and productively

By comparison with existing repro camera systems, Zeutschel ScanStudio offers productive processes with very simple operation.

For example, for the digitization of slides, film and glass negatives, there is a separate table with a light source as well as special fixtures for holding the transparent originals in place while at the same time handling them with great care.

The OmniScan software provided in the scope of delivery and proven in numerous digitization projects, contains many practical operating aids such as pre-defined recording settings. Once they are activated, the camera travels automatically to the right position, and the user receives precise instructions on what to do.

In this way, even non-professionals can easily and reliably perform repetitive digitization tasks – with the same high quality.

The results for FotoHub’s digitization center are far-reaching according to Vincent Tan. “Since installing ScanStudio, we have almost completely shifted the digitization of film, slides and glass negatives to the Zeutschel system.”

Also suitable for books and documents

FotoHub also uses ScanStudio for other media which previously could only be digitized with overhead scanners: historical and rare books, manuscripts and large-format prints and documents up to A2 format.

With this diversity of applications and the results so far achieved, Vincent Tan is sure they have made a worthwhile investment: “Zeutschel ScanStudio produces the highest quality output achievable with today’s technology and does so for a wide variety of different materials. At the same time, we have significantly reduced the scanning cycles, thereby increasing our productivity. And ultimately, we are strengthening our competitive position by expanding our range of services.”