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Microfiche Reader Review: Should You Buy One?

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If like many, you find yourself with a huge stock of microfiche with nowhere to go, there are only really a few options to be able to view them and beyond. One of those options is to purchase a microfiche reader but is it a reliable solution?

Whilst there are other options out there this is normally the first option that comes to mind for most people and start searching for a device that they don't know a great deal about and, more often not, the specs of a microfiche reader can be complex at best; they are simply not made for the amateur.

But for the sake of this review we're going to be reviewing one of the budget models that does what it says on the tin in allowing you to view your microfiche. The device is the Eye Com 1000 Reader which typical sells for around £300-500. This is one of the lower end readers and one that, if desired, most could afford. It would seem pointless to review one of the larger devices such as the Microvue XL16 O S which comes in at around £2000 as those are strictly for those who have experience with the devices.

So the Eye Com 1000 Reader comes in at a relatively compact 14″ high and 13″ wide which makes it nicely compact compared to its forefathers and it also comes with a generous 9″ screen which is decent enough for the price to be able to see the contents of the microfiche. It's not huge but perhaps it's just what the majority of people need. It also comes in at weighing around 10lbs so it's also relatively easy to move around too if required. It also offers excellent magnification of up to 75% of the original size of COM (computer output microfiche) and standard fiche, which is quite impressive for its size and dimensions.

Overall the Eye Com 1000 Reader is ideal if all you need to do is view your microfiche but it has the same problems that all microfiche readers do; it is extremely limited.


Quality of reading is fine,
but not flexible enough

Microfiche Reader Alternatives

Compared to modern and more flexible options such as microfiche scanning by outsourcing, they only allow you to view the contents of the microfiche. Equivalents such as microfiche scanning allow you to view the microfiche from the comfort of your own computer with any size screen that you wish and allows you to do almost anything that you could with any other type of digital document; print, share online, email and even edit them and in some cases if the contents of the microfiche has text you can have them converted with OCR so that the text is searchable on your computer if you so wish, which is particularly handy if you're going to be searching for particular references and names (the quality of this can entirely depend on the quality of the microfiche, so keep this in mind).

And of course the price of the service compared to the reader is also a major sticking point but with companies offering microfiche conversion from as little as 70p per sleeve and 3p per image, for relatively small quantities of microfiche in the low to mid thousands of images, then price-wise scanning still blows the reader out of the water.

Right now the world of microfiche viewing is at a transition period; the machines are less desirable so their prices go up because they have become niche products whilst superior services prices drop due to improving technology in their area, ironic as it's changing technology that has killed the microfiche in the first place.

If you simply want to view microfiche, then a budget viewer like the Eye Com 1000 might be the right way to go for you, but when you could get so much more from the images on the microfiche, why would you?

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Document Scanning by Pearl Scan

The Scan-do Peopletm

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Why People Choose to Put Documents onto Microfilm

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Even now when technology is at its most complex and yet most simple and most accessible, individuals and organisation still choose to use microfilming as a way of storing their data. But why is this?


The Microfilming Process
Hasn't Changed A Great
Deal Since The 1970s

Microfilming is to put documents and other images on to a microfilm, much as you would have when taking pictures on an analogue camera years ago before the advent of digital cameras. But when digital cameras became the norm, analogue cameras for the most part became something of an extinct species which is the same mostly with microfilms and microfiche, but every once in a while this is still a choice when it comes to storing documents in a smaller space.

This is mainly because, though the legal admissibility of scanned documents is better than it once was, people still prefer to have hard copies of their documents and microfiche, microfilm and negatives in general are still the smallest way to store hard-copy versions of documents without taking all the room of files and paper themselves. This is of course mainly down to personal preference and is more often than not a mind-set because digital documents are now just as acceptable as physical ones but not a lot people know this.

Microfilming is still a process that is done with relative ease but it has also become something of a niche service and therefore costings tend to be quite high, especially as it is ultimately a more complex process than actually converting documents to digital files such as PDFs. Converting digitally also makes them more flexible than they are on a microfilm and if microfilms are are viewed, a microfilm reader is also more often than not required and this can become quite expensive.

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Document Scanning by Pearl Scan

The Scan-do Peopletm

For more information feel free to give us a call: 
Nationwide: 0845 22 55 923         London: 0207 183 1885
Manchester: 0161 832 7991         Birmingham: 0121 285 1900

The Solution to Modernise Microfiche?

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More often than not we are approached by people who have microfiche but have almost no idea what to do with them.

Microfiche scanning is not always the first thought when it comes to being able to get access to the fiche in a modern and plausible way. Those that have some idea of what to do with these icons of time gone by search for microfiche readers which as an earlier post discussed are expensive and quite limited solutions.


Sweep in Logan City Council
Local Studies room with the microfiche
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the main question now is whether or not microfiche scanning is the best solution to be able to access your files that are on fiche.

You might say we are somewhat biased as a company that features microfiche conversion as one of its main services, but the fact is that if there were a better way and one that was overall a better way to access the fiche we would offer that as a service. The simple fact is that there are realistically only the two options we've already talked about; buying a microfiche viewer or having the microfiche converted by a professional company.

As we talked about in a previous post, microfiche readers are remarkably limited even today. They will literally only offer you the opportunity to view the microfiche and some of the more expensive ones will potentially allow you to print the images too, but that's the extent of them at the best of times and they come at a high price being such a niche item these days.

Microfiche scanning offers you the opportunity to totally modernise your microfiche images. We're not just talking about printing them; that is one of the options, but because you get digital copies of the images you can do virtually anything you want with them and certainly anything you could do with any other digital file. You can modify them, add notes, email, print and share with others as well as post them online if you wish.

Microfiche scanning is also a remarkably cheap way to be able to gain this type of flexibility.

If you're interested in getting your microfiche converted digitally get in contact with us.

Request a Quote  |   Contact Us   |    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Document Scanning by Pearl Scan

The Scan-do Peopletm

For more information feel free to give us a call: 
Nationwide: 0845 22 55 923         London: 0207 183 1885
Manchester: 0161 832 7991         Birmingham: 0121 285 1900

Accreditations and Certifications

Accreditations and certifications

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Why choose us

  • Experience >

    We have over a decade of experience providing scanning services for some of the most reputable companies in the UK including blue chip companies and organisations as well as small businesses and private individuals. Some of our past clients have included NHS, local government, Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Manchester, Aviva, BBC, Sky, Metropolitan Police, Environment Agency and many more.
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    We have the infrastructure to support small-to-large, quick-to-long term scanning projects and with a capacity to scan 10 million images per month. This scalability provides a great deal of flexibility with the services we offer meaning we can tailor all of our services to suit the needs of each client and we will always try our best to accommodate any request.
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    We hold a number of ISO accreditations including ISO 9001 (Quality Management System), ISO 27001 (Information Management System) and EMS 14001 (Environment Management System) and Data Protection 1998. We are also a member of the Information and Records Management Society as well as being supporters of Investors in People and a member of The Skills Pledge.
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