I bought the Microtek ScanMaker E3 about a year ago for less that $200. Haven't had any problems with it. I'm sure they have upgraded models. Check 'em out. Also, Photoshop is an excellent program to use with the scanner.
I picked up an OBM OpticPro 4380P a year or two ago for like $150. I have seen it around no for under $100. 30bit, works well with Photoshop4 & 5, and scans nicely. I have no clue where to get one, other than through Damark.
I personally like the UMAX 600 series (I think it might be a 630 or some such.) CNET has a good round-up of scanners in your price range from a couple of months back. Go to the CNET page (www.cnet.com) and go to the hardware link.
I just bought a HP 4100C flatbed and IT ROCKS!!! The setup is a breeze(I'm really beginning to believe the USB hype) and the output is well above average. We use UMAX scanners at work and they aren't bad but we have a LOT of problems with the few Visioneers we have laying around so avoid them at all costs. I guess we could start the Parallel vs SCSI vs. USB debate but in the end if money is a HGE factor buy a parallel scanner. If a balance of ease of setup and value is important a USB scanner is probably the way to go. If you have a SCSI card already and can avoid having to shell out for a new one then SCSI won't be prohibatively(sp?) expensive. Jeez I'm rambling!
This is kinda off the subject, but I am looking to buy a scanner (with prices this low who isn't) I just had one question though.
Is 300x600 enough or 600x600? What is the difference? I know the quality s better, but real life is it enough to tell the difference?
Is there a web site or somethong that talks about this?
I've had my E3 ScanMaker for several years. Seen it for well under $100. Happy with it for what I do. Mostly photocopies. Few photos. My HP printer is only 300 dpi so why go for a 600 or 1200 dpi optical scaner? If you are into photography and want to store your old snaps well then a higher dpi might be better. My 1.5 cents.
I've had my Mustek parallel port scanner for a few years and it's been good. It's only a 24bit, but I've seen some of the 30 and 36bit scanners and I can't really tell the difference in scan quality. I usually scan at 150dpi or so, and the pictures come out great - higher dpi setting just take up too much HDD space. My friend has a HP SCSI model and it is FAST, but mine suits my needs just fine.
just my $.02
[This message has been edited by Kevin930 (edited 03-09-99).]