Grades of Copiers

What type of copier do you want?
Copy machines come in two flavors: analog and digital. The quality of reproduction is basically the same (although digital copiers can produce slightly crisper photos and graphics). The chief difference is in the way they copy the original. An analog copier copies the original document each time a copy is made, while a digital copier scans the original once and makes multiple copies of the stored image.

Analog copier: While digital technology is rapidly overtaking the copier market, the analog machine is still the workhorse of most offices and still the best choice for small jobs (one or two copies at a time). These machines tend to take longer to produce multiple copies. A mechanical sorter can make sets of copies, up to the number of bins available on the sorter unit.

Advantages: Generally cheaper than digital machines, though digital prices continue to drop. Faster with first copies than digital machines. Cost per copy is usually lower.

Disadvantages: Many manufacturers are no longer making analog machines and they may be obsolete within five years. Parts need replacement more frequently than those of digital machines, requiring more frequent service. Copies of photos and graphics are slightly inferior to digital models.

Digital copier: Most digital copiers can "scan once/print many," limiting wear and tear on both the machine and the originals. Digital copiers can produce two-sided copies, automatically number pages, print watermarks (like "confidential" or "copy") onto copies and add a date stamp. Most models can be networked to your computer system as a printer, and/or be configured as a fax machine. Digitals usually have a larger zoom range than analogs, some as high as 800 percent and as low as 25 percent. Most digital copiers' print engines also support electronic sorting, so sorter bins are not required to make collated sets of documents. Please note not every digital copier features scan once/print many. Be sure to ask. Advantages: Fewer moving parts than an analog copier and less likely to jam. Quieter.

Disadvantages: Machines and parts are generally more expensive. Cost per copy is higher than with an analog machine.

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