The context of this review is in relation to the variety of tasks normally undertaken at the Archive.


PROs CONs    
Very fast scanning Poor user manual        
B&W Book scanning, page splitting Spiral binding confuses page splitting        
    Post scan editing limited        
Accurate OCR OCR has problems with accents when converting mixed languages        
320dpi resolution Glossy documents hard to scan        
A2 scanning Poor photographic image scanning        
    Lacks resolving power for fine detail and colour in colour scans        

The Czur ET-24 Pro scanner is an exceptional piece of kit for its main purpose as a B&W book scanner. It can produce scans at 320dpi  of comparable quality to a Canon LiDE 400 flatbed scanner and in some cases of better quality. The ability to crop the scan to the size of the book and to separate the left and right pages is a big plus. Tasks that take hours on a flatbed scanner take only minutes using the ET-24.

The supplied post scanning software has some very good features and makes editing of scans relatively easy. Export to searchable PDFs is done well, despite a few niggles that Czur would do well to correct. Images cannot be edited, however, to remove blemishes, for example.

The hardware and software are good but are let down by the appalling manual. The manual only gives screen displays that appear when an option is chosen and does not explain the effects of these choices; determining what these effects do is left to the user to find out. In addition the manual contains many errors describing features that do not exist or describing features that appear to be out of date.



Out of the box
This scanner was purchased from D&H Innovations Ltd., the UK Czur main distributors. They are very knowledgeable and delivery was within 24 hours of ordering

The scanner comes in a beautifully presented, black, cardboard case, inside of which all the items needed by the scanner are included in robust, custom, sponge protection. The individual items are boxed in matching black. The case doubles up as a stylish container for storage when not in use.

Assembly of the scanning system is simplicity itself and all parts feel solid and well made. The scanner tower is very stable on its base without being over-heavy. The scanner has its own PSU. Connection to a PC is via a standard USB connector. The length of the supplied lead is perfectly adequate. Other accessories, such as the foot switch, connect via a USB connector on the back of the stand.

The included CD of software was out of date. Up to date software is available to download from the Czur website. Installation is simplicity itself.

The User Manual is on line. It is not good and does little more than indicate what each button or menu item is called. Czur missed a trick here. The User Manual should really explain how each button or menu item affects the scanned image. As it is, the user must resort to experiment to find out.

Two yellow plastic 'finger cots' are also included. These are intended to be used to hold the pages of a book down flat for scanning, which they indeed do. The scanning software removes these from the scan, replacing them with a clear background. Well, that is the theory. The yellow 'cots' are generally very effectively removed, especially when scanning in B&W. Scanning in colour is a very different kettle of fish! The 'cots' are removed, yes, but the background that replaces them is white and is clearly visible against the blue-tinged background from the colour scan. What is more, the user's hands are not removed but become part of the scan. Thus extensive and pointless post scan editing is needed. Czur, this needs fixing!


Comparison of black and white scanning.

The same image was scanned by both the Archive's standard flatbed scanner, a Canon LiDE 400, and the ET-24 scanner at approximately the same resolution (Canon 300dpi and ET-24 320dpi). B&W scanning is a staple activity at the Archive and so this provides a very good indicator of the ET-24's prowess.

Scanned in B&W 300dpi flatbed Scanned Autoenhanced 320dpi ET-24
Scanned B&W 320dpi ET-24 Scanned B&W enhanced 320dpi ET-24
Scanned Colour 320dpi ET-24 Scanned Greyscale 320dpi ET-24

The above images show the scan quality from the ET-24 compared to the control standard on the flatbed scanner. The flatbed scanner shows true black and white and is only matched by the ET-24 scanning in B&W enhanced mode, although the blacks tend to be dark grey. The clarity of the ET-24 scan, especially on the girl's dress is better than the flatbed scanner.

For scanning in black and white the ET-24 is arguably the better when using the B&W enhanced mode. The other modes of scanning were disappointing, especially the standard B&W mode which had problems with solid blacks. Colour mode was the worst of all with washed out blacks and whites with a decided blue cast. Bleed through from the page behind was also evident.


Scanning an A5, staple bound, B&W, text-based pamphlet

This is where the ET-24 comes into its own. Scanning was very quick and simple. B&W enhanced mode was used. The cover was scanned as a single page; cropping of the scan was very accurate. The inner pages were scanned as a booklet. Page separation and page cropping again was very accurate.

To create the same set of page scans using the flatbed scanner would have involved manually copying and saving individual pages, a very time consuming process.

Post scanning, the images needed editing to remove artefacts. The ET-24 bundled software did not have the facilities for this. It could remove over-scanned edges but not 'dirt' in the middle of the page. An external graphics package was used to both erase black marks and to crop/blank over scanned edges. (The flatbed scanner would have been used from within MS Paint and so the editing could have been done there before saving.)

Conversion to a PDF file for uploading to the Educational Archive website was performed in two ways.

  1. Firstly the file was exported from the Czur software as a searchable PDF. This was quick and produced an accurate copy of the pamphlet appearance. However, as the pamphlet contained both English and French text, the OCR software did not accurately recognise the French accents. It appears that it cannot handle mixed languages in the same document.
  2. Secondly the file was exported as a MS Word document. This was slower than the PDF and was less accurate. The OCR could not handle 5¼ or 3½ when describing disc diameters, nor could it handle the French accents. Being a MS Word document meant that the text could be easily, manually edited to replace the missing accents. The document was then saved from MS Word as a PDF. This was searchable and about half the file size of the Czur created PDF.

The ET-24 scored excellently due to its faster scanning speed and automatic page separation. The Czur software proved to be very good for OCR and export to MS Word.

Glossy A4 booklet
This booklet had been used, that is read, and at some time had been exposed to damp air. Consequently it was not flat. Not only that but also the paper was highly glossy and would not itself lie flat.

Initial scans with the ET-24 confirmed that scanning as a book would be problematic. The page flattening routines could not cover the whole page, just the top. There the curvature was different from the bottom. Using the 'finger cots' to stretch the page made no difference.

The flatbed scanner produced more accurate colour resolution and photograph resolution. There was some evidence of flare due to the glossy paper but the text and graphics were rendered most accurately. The ability to make fine adjustments to scanning brightness, contrast and resolution of the flatbed scanner made its use here a much better proposition.

In the end the flatbed scanner was used to archive these booklets. The scanner's ability to adjust the parameters for each individual scan and the scanner's more accurate rendition of the pages outweighed the slowness of scanning (very slow at the 317dpi used to avoid Moiré patterns). Conversion to searchable PDF was quick and easy using the Czur software.

The ET-25 was not effective at scanning this type of booklet.

A 392 page Software Catalogue 25mm thick
The book posed a serious challenge to the ET-24. The book was hot-glue bound and with a 6mm maximum page border. The only way to make a high quality scan of this book would be to slice off the spine and use a flat-bed scanner, not an option with a scarce book! This book could not be scanned with the flatbed scanner.
The cover was in slightly glossy colour. The overhead lighting raised a couple of bright spots. Using the side-bar lights removed these light spots and the scanner was able to produce a good quality scan, easily comparable to a flatbed scanner working at 300dpi. For best effect with glossy material the room lighting was switched off.
The book was scanned in black and white. The ET-24 made a very creditable job of scanning the book. Curve flattening was good, even though the curvature of the opposing pages was different. The scanner was unable to resolve all the text close to the binding due to the tight curvature of the book. This was not a fault of the scanner. All of this text was not readable even by a human reader. In some cases the curvature was obvious in the scans and showed the limitations of the curve flattening algorithm when opposite sides have different curvature.
Page splitting was accurate but, when the book was moved to make sure that the central split line was between the pages, the page-splitting algorithm sometimes had a hissy fit and split the pages at about 45 degrees. This had been a constant problem with its precursor, the ET-16, tested previously. To be fair this happened for only about 1% of the time and, if the scanning were monitored, a re-scan solved the problem.
Pages were scanned in black and white. Apart from the extreme curvature of the spine the text was resolved accurately. The text was between 6pt and 9pt and was very readable even on quite high zoom. As long as the letters were well-formed, OCR was extremely accurate, even taking into account the curvature of the text.
The 'finger cots' supplied were very useful in holding pages down and, as per the advertising, were removed from the scans (with a single exception). What was disappointing, however, was that the arm and hand attached to the 'cot' were still scanned by the software and not removed. This is a serious flaw.

Manual cropping had to be used to remove these cot images and also slight over scans where the page splitting software tried to accommodate a slightly out of square page. Although the software was very good at recognising the bounds of the pages to be scanned, if the pages were even slightly non-square, black artefacts at the edges were introduced. Again these could be removed later by manual editing. The foot switch was used to good effect here whilst scanning and speeded the process.
This test book ran to almost 400 pages and would always be a severe test of the scanner and software. The lack of exporting the scans in their raw state had already been noted by other reviewers. This was not an issue here, since the raw scans could easily be accessed, copied, manipulated, deleted, renamed, etc. outside the Czur software and much more quickly and accurately. Once edited, the scans could easily be imported back into the Czur software for compilation into a searchable PDF, for instance. This was a nice touch and quite valuable as scans from other scanners could be so imported and converted by the Czur software.
The ability to re-order scans in the main Czur software would be a very useful addition rather than using the export re-order facility.
Conversion to a searchable PDF was reasonably quick, but, with a 400 page book, did take some time. A fast processor and large memory are necessary here to make the conversion quicker. Using Adobe Acrobat to combine all the edited scans into a single, non-searchable PDF would have resulted in a file of over 500Mb in size. The Czur software, searchable, medium quality PDF was just over 20Mb, a considerable saving.
Given the difficulties posed by this book, the scanner and software performed their tasks admirably and quickly. Speed of scanning was definitely a boon here as was the splitting of pages.

The Czur ET-24 is an excellent choice for this type of task and can produce a clear PDF where other scanners could not.

An A5 spiral bound manual of over 100 pages
Scanning, again in black and white, was very quick. The pages all lay flat so that curve flattening was not an issue. Page splitting, however, was not accurate. At least 50% of the scans were faulty and had to be redone. For this task auto-page turning could not be used.
To overcome this problem of page splitting, scanning was performed as a single page and done twice. These images could later be cropped to complete the document. This is a major flaw in the scanning software and should not occur at this price point. Initially the scanning with facing pages works properly but after about 30 pages it goes completely haywire, splitting pages at a 45 degree angle or not splitting where the centre line marker is. This was irredeemable and consistently repeatable.
The cover to the manual was very glossy. The ET-24 could not handle this. Reflections prevented accurate scanning. Neither the top light nor the side bar lights were able to remove the flares. The cover had to be scanned using a flat-bed scanner. This externally scanned cover, however, could be incorporated into the main document simply by overwriting the Czur-scanned file.
The batch crop feature of the software came into its own here. OK it is still a manual process but very quickly done using the cropping box with the mouse and the arrow keys to move to the next image. The facility to select left and right pages separately was an efficient feature here. Once all the crop frames were created the software batch-processed the images. Again this was a quick process.
Exporting to a searchable PDF was accurate and produced a file of small size. OCR was extremely accurate.

The speed of the ET-24 was the deciding factor here. The flatbed scanner could have handled the book accurately but all post processing tasks would have been manual. Despite having to scan each double page twice with the ET-24, its speed was impressive and its batch post processing very good to use.


Ring Bound Stamp Albums
Although strictly not an archiving task, this task was included because the stamp album pages were larger than A4 size and could not properly be scanned by an A4 flatbed scanner. The ET-24 handled this with ease. Scanning was set up as for a book using facing pages in colour. As the stamps were housed in Hawid sleeves, which have a shiny transparent plastic cover, the side bar lights only were used for scanning.
Scanning was very quick and there were no errors.
The quality of the scans was poor when compared to a digital camera or flatbed scanner. The quality, however, was sufficient for purpose, which was to quickly compile a booklet usable on a tablet or smartphone, showing the stamps missing from the collection when visiting shops or fairs..
Loose-leaf stamp albums generally have stamps on the right facing page only. The scanner easily split the image into right and left pages. The left pages needed to be removed. The software allowed these pages to be selected and bulk deleted.
The albums were easily exported as PDF documents.

The ET-24 was excellent for this procedure and very rapid. The bulk erasure of blank left hand pages was very easy and quick.


Scanning Photographs

Basically, use a flatbed scanner. The ET-24 cannot replicate the detail in the photograph, especially when scanning in colour. Greyscale is acceptable but not accurate. This has implications for archiving glossy photo magazines, such as the NAACE publications in the Magazines section of the Archive web site.

The flatbed scanner is far superior here due to the fine control of scanning resolution, which can avoid Moiré patterns, and its accurate colour rendition.


General Issues
Whilst using both the ET-24 scanner and its bundled software the following issues were noted;
  • The inability to re-order scans shown in the right hand pane on the main screen. As the scanner frequently does not scan correctly, a re-scan is often needed. If the error is noticed immediately, the re-scan will be contiguous to the error and, when the erroneous scan is deleted, the scan order is preserved. However, if the error is noticed later, whilst editing, a new scan will appear at the end of the scan list and cannot be moved into place.
  • Lack of simple graphics editing such as removal of blemishes or straightening of pages.
  • No easy way to add a watermark to the scans, despite the User Manual stating that this feature exists.
  • The system has a very steep learning curve that is not helped by the simple User Manual.
  • When cropping images for batch processing the crop lines are too thick and obscure detail. It is very easy to miss edges that need cropping. Cropping therefore becomes a tedious procedure, one scan at a time. This can be overcome somewhat by setting default batch clipping margins for each page and have the clip as whiteout rather than cut but even this is not 100% accurate and, if the background colour is not blank, damages the appearance of the page.
  • Poor quality photographic scans and handling of subtle colour gradients.




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