TTI reprographic copystand.
Where can you find a reprographic copy stand which can hold the weight of a digital scan back camera without bending, sagging, or otherwise being askew and hence out of focus? Over the years I have used many poorly designed or otherwise inadequate copy stands, those cheap columns that stand up from a board that sits on a table. Most of these copy stands are barely adequate to hold a 35mm camera, and definitely too weak to support a large format camera combined with its heavy scan back and SCSI cables.
Then I learned of several solutions that were more professional.
The first high-end solution was the ZBE Satellite copy stand image capture station. The ZBE Satellite looked very impressive. However after keeping my ears open I got the impression this was technology of the late 1990's that had not been updated. I also got the impression that the system was not being fine tuned. It later turned out that many good products such as this kind of get abandoned as the companies that initially made them move onto newer products. In the case of ZBE they moved on to the Chromira, a digital photo printer. Somewhat disappointed, I kept going to trade shows and soon found another make and model, the Colex.
The Colex Repro Scan 4060 8000PG System looked great, so I contacted the company. It turned out this product sold poorly in the United States and there was not really anyone who could seriously handle questions about the German-made Anagramm scan back. On the company web site there was no mention whatsoever of who made the scan back, nor who made the lights, nor who made the repro stand itself. I then visited a Colex booth at PMA trade show circa 2001 or 2002 and I don't even believe this equipment was displayed any more. My distinct impression was that this nice looking repro stand was not exactly a priority with Colex. Considering that one web site said this system cost $ 67,000, I would prefer to deal with a company that paid special attention to their products.
Then I came across a digital scanning system at Ilford's office in Germany. It was nicely designed but did not have the whallop that I needed to reproduce mural-sized images with a wide format printer. So I kept looking.
Next I heard about the tti system. I subsequently met the capable engineer who designed it, Joe Tarsia. Here at last was a reprographic copy stand that actually received the full attention of the company that made it. If you seek more information on using the Tarsia system to hold a BetterLight or other professional digital camera, contact John Lorusso, email@example.com. Unfortunately it did not seem feasible to obtain a tti reprographic stand for our FLAAR demo studio, so I kept looking.
At a major international trade show in Germany, probably CeBIT circa 2000 or 2001, I ran across the Cruse reprographic scanner system. Then after learning about the features and capabilities of this camera eventually it was possible to obtain a Cruse scanner-camera for FLAAR's evaluation facility at Bowling Green State University (2001-2008). I soon found that that Cruse offered precisely what professional photographers looked for in a turnkey solution. As it turns out, the Cruse and the tti both deserve the FLAAR award for engineering design, absolute top quality, and the secret ingredient, namely that each respective founder and owner is an active owner-operator. Both Hermann Cruse and Joseph Tarsia take personal responsibility for the design advancements in their respective systems. I discuss the Cruse further in a section devoted to their products; since we have a Kaiser rePRO stand at the FLAAR facility in Guatemala and a Cruse reprographic system at FLAAR USA we know more about how these operate than the tti, since we do not have any tti to practice with.
Alternatives to tti: Kaiser, Linhof Master Digi Repro System, and others
Since I do not have a tti stand, I have been looking around for what alternatives to feature. At Photokina 2002 Cruse displayed their new model CS 185ST, Synchron Table, fine art repro camera system. The model we have, the CS 145SL 450 is comparable to the absolute top of the line Mercedes SL600, a car so fine you actually see it seldom even in Germany (I know, I live in Cologne when not in the USA, which makes attending Photokina so easy). In distinction the CS 185ST is a combo between a Rolls Royce and Range Rover or Lexus (the most exclusive 4-wheel drive vehicles I can think of).
For more information about Cruse scanner-digital cameras contact: Mike Lind, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Another alternative would be the various Linhof repro stands, such as the Linhof Master Digi Repro System that I saw at Photokina 2008, with an Anagramm tri-linear scanning back as the digital camera.
You will also notice that we do not recommend any wall-mounted reprographic stand. Most giclee ateliers and professionals with experience do not accept a wall-mounted system as adequate (due to problems of the wall resonating or vibrating if there is any truck going by the street out front within a block away).
In summary: the copy stands that I like so far are that of Linhoff, tti, and the best is Cruse. Since FLAAR has a Cruse system to evaluate, this is the one we review in a thorough manner in separate reports in full color PDF format. We can’t write about the Linhof or tti since we do not have either one of them. But if one becomes available, we can evaluate it.
Most recently updated Dec. 1, 2008.