Those of you in the market for a large format scanner know that they can be much more expensive than their letter-sized counterparts. The selection is also limited, with a couple of options around two hundred dollars and the really good ones costing more than two grand. I needed to buy a scanner to replace an Epson 836XL that I had used to scan my wife's watercolor paintings. I was worried the GT-20000's quality wouldn't be up to par for that purpose since it is labeled as a "document" scanner. Higher-end large format scanners are just too expensive and the two cheaper options I've tried (Mustek 1200 USP Pro and Brother MFC-6490CW) just don't have the scan quality that I am used from the Epson. Their color range is limited and muddy, and resolution is comparatively quite poor. I scan the paintings while they are stretched on a watercolor board, and both the Mustek and Brother have slightly recessed glass, and lids that get in the way of the large boards. This lends to further degradation of the image quality.
The Epson GT-20000's glass is flush with the surface of the scanner and the hinged lid is easy to remove, so I get the best possible scans. The live scanning area is slightly smaller than that of the 836XL, but 11.7"x17" is still quite generous. Rarely do I need to scan in sections. I don't use the included software, but instead have a pro-version of VueScan from Hamrick. I am currently running OSX 10.5.8 on my iMac but understand it works well in Snow Leopard as well. It also works in Windows 7, x64, Vista, XP, 2000, NT and Unbutu Linux. Anyhow, I am quite happy with the software as it has tons of fine tuning options and works really well with the GT-20000. I've been using the scanner for several months now and am very happy with it's performance and scan quality. It scans more quickly than the old 836XL and the quality is on par with it. I am not sure why they just market it as a document scanner as it is more capable than that. Perhaps Epson doesn't want to lose business on it's $2K+ fine art scanners.
At around a thousand dollars, it isn't cheap, but if you need a quality large format scanner and 600 ppi/dpi is enough resolution for you, then you would be hard pressed to find a better deal than the Epson GT-20000.
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