This page
Test setup
Angle markings

Tunings and speeds
Related pages
Scanner tests: Test pattern photos
Scanner tests: Creation photos
Scanner tests: Scanner-by-scanner
Index to Special Report on Faster Scanning



hese tests are the most extensive comparison ever published of laser show scanners. We ran the tests as part of our technical research, and then decided to share the results with our clients and the industry at large.
        Over the two days of the tests, we worked hard to be fair to every scanner:

  • Each scanner set was tuned, by Pangolin or the factory, to give optimum performance before testing.

  • The tests were conducted at LSDI, with two non-Pangolin employees present as "witnesses".

  • We photographed the results so you can draw your own conclusions from the photos. (As described below, the original uncompressed photos are available to anyone.)

  • We published our information for everyone to see. This is in contrast to companies that may tell you about their test results . . . but you have no chance to review their procedures, or use the same test frames, or study photos of their results.

        Of course, no testing procedure can ever be perfect. That's why we suggest that ideally every laserist or laser company should run their own side-by-side tests.
        In conclusion, we feel these tests are very fair, are very repeatable, and thus are very useful for laserists. We welcome publication of procedures and photos from any others who run similar tests. (Let us know and we'll add a link from this page to your test data site.)

Test setup


angolin's tests were conducted with the scanners on a breadboard, scanning onto a test target 12 inches away. The test target is printed on paper taped at the top and bottom to a metal plate. The paper is a bit wavy, which can be seen in some of the photos where straight lines appear to curve. The waviness does not affect the angle measurements.

Test setup showing projector with Pangolin TrueK 50 modifications to Cambridge 6800 scanners

This setup is normally used by LSDI for scanner tuning. As it turns out, the short, 12-inch throw made it hard to photograph very small angles. If we re-ran the tests, we would use a much longer throw, to enlarge the test patterns relative to the beam width.

Angle markings


he target is a sheet of graph paper pre-calibrated with angle markings (not linear distance). Angle markings are absolute numbers, designed to make it easy to read off angles when the scan is centered.
        For example, in the photo below the laser image stretches from about the 25 marking on the left, to the 25 marking on the right. This represents a 25 degree optical (peak-to-peak) scan. It is not 50 degrees.

A 25 degree optical (peak-to-peak) scan


P hotographs were taken with a digital camera at a source resolution of 1536 x 1024 pixels. The photos have been edited to improve contrast, sharpen edges, and reduce graininess for fast Web loading. Source photos can be around 300-400KB; after resizing and processing for the Web, JPEG versions of the photos are about 10-20KB.
        Despite the processing, the content of the photos -- the actual appearance of the scanned images -- has not been altered.
        The original, unedited photos are available upon request from Pangolin. Please mail a Zip 100MB disk with a stamped, self-addressed return envelope or a FedEx or UPS return mailing label with return charged to your account. (If you do not provide pre-paid return envelopes, labels and postage, we will keep the Zip disk and use it for our own work!)

Tunings and speeds


he Catweazle was tuned by Holo-Spectra. The GSI G-120 and two CTI 6800s were tuned by Pangolin's William Benner. The CTI 6210 was tuned by Cambridge.
        Cambridge does not officially tune to, or promise any particular ILDA tuning. Our understanding is that these 6210s were factory-tuned to get the highest possible performance, which Cambridge has previously stated is ILDA 60K to 66K. 
        In all photos, the laser images for the three ILDA 30K-tuned scanners are being output at 30,000 points per second. The TrueK 50 and 6210 images are being output at 50,000 points per second, except for the 60K and 72K photos.
        The input gain on the Catweazle amp used in these tests was "turned down" a bit. This meant that the maximum scan angle available from our Pangolin software was about 25. This could be fixed by increasing the gain, but it was not ours so we did not want to touch it. This affects the photos a bit; the Catweazle is at a slightly smaller size than the other four scanners.

This page last updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 08:54:20 PM

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