Kaiser Fototechnik RSP rePRO.
Libraries, archives, museums, as well as companies who need to record their products will find a digital reprographic copy stand useful. The Kaiser RSP rePRO stand from Kaiser Fototechnik is a good example. These are the modern digital versions of the old fashioned copy stands. Difference is that the quality is better; the systems are completely digital.
A library, archive, or museum would use such a reprographic stand to digitize maps, drawings, or rare books. Museums or art studios would use this system to digitize paintings or other art that was too large to fit onto a flatbed scanner.
Companies whose products are flat or thin could use these to record their products.
Why a reprographic system and not a normal camera? Because nowadays there is no difference between a scanner and a digital camera. The better kind of digital cameras are simply flatbed scanners mounted in a camera format. These are even called scanning backs. They fit into any 4x5 camera such as Arca-Swiss, Sinar, Linhof, Cambo or other. These scan backs are described and pictured in the new FLAAR Report on digital cameras.
Kaiser Fototechnik is a respected German company who makes copy stands. Actually any company who makes old fashioned darkroom enlargers, or any company which makes copy stands for 35mm slides probably makes a copy stand. Thus Bencher, Beseler, BogenImaging, and Testrite all make copy stands as does Kaiser. Linhof used to make them but I did not see them on the Linhof web site recently, nor their tripods.
However most copy stands are small, cheap, and hold only a 35mm camera, and that not very well. If you have a large format scan back you need an industrial strength copy stand. It also helps to have a motorized column position for your camera as well.
After visiting two Photokina trade shows in Cologne (1998 and 2000), plus visiting PhotoEast and several times at PMA, it was clear that the Kaiser RSP rePRO stand was the most sturdy of what might be called the traditional copy stands. That is, stands that derived from those of the last few decades.
There is, however, an even more robust reprographic stand, the tti from Tarsia Technical Industries. Plus we found an even more sophisticated system, a turnkey reprographic system from Cruse. Turnkey means that everything is included, everything is built in. The tti in distinction is a component system. You add your own digital camera for example, such as a BetterLight or PhaseOne (we use the BetterLight since the resulting pictures turn out nicer).
For information on the Cruse system, check out first the Cruse page on this www.digital-photography.org. Then check out an animated view of the Cruse system on www.FineArtGicleePrinters.org. This FLASH animation is worth the time to peek at.
We have never used the Scando from Kaiser since BetterLight and Calumet have provided two of the BetterLight backs for evaluation. Nor do we have the Kaiser rePRO copy stand since Cruse expressed interest that we test theirs first. We have meet Mr Tarsia at the BetterLight and Improved Technologies booth at trade shows twice. He is the capable engineer behind both the lighting system and the overall design of the tti reprographic system. We have met Mr Cruse, the engineer who designed the scanner system which carries his name. Their synchron lighting system was recently granted a German patent.
Design updated 07/07/2008, links added Oct, 14 2001.