Thanks everybody for your input so far - looks like it's going to be a paycheck or two before I have enough free cash to put down on the scanner (best estimate so far is $300 including the extended 2 year warranty), so if anybody else has any input feel free to post.
Aru: the problems you're having with photos - what sort of results are you getting? Color bleeding? Pixellation within colors (purple comes out as dots of red and blue)? Sorry - just trying to understand what I might expect in terms of problems when it comes to scanning color illustrations. Also, have you tried to adjust the color balance in the capture software? I've heard more than one person refer to it as a Photoshop "clone", so I'm assuming you might have that sort of capability in the program.
On a side note (and this is for anybody here) - the TIFF format seems to be the preferred method of capture when it comes to images with this unit. Now, my understanding is that TIFFs provide the user with what can be considered the "raw" data from an image capture, therefore you have an extremely large image file that can later be saved as a JPG with minor image quality loss....or am I somehow missing the point here? With the Canon I got, I've been able to scan directly into Photoshop and then I save it for the web as a jpg, so this TIFF feature has never been an issue for me unless of course it's something that's working behind the scenes when I import into Photoshop. I'm sorry if it seems like I might be going around in circles with the logic here - combination of the lateness of the hour and long day at the job. I'm simply trying to understand the logic of the image capture format (TIFF) which seems to come up repeatedly in reviews for the 3600. If it's a quality issue where you're losing noticeable quality if you scan directly into JPG and thus wanna take the extra step to capture to TIFF, then convert/compress to JPG, or if it's more of a format issue where TIFFs are easier to convert/integrate into a pdf file, or if simply it's a matter of the scanner's default being TIFF files.
Please, if that last question wasn't clear at all (or just plain confusing) feel free to lemme know in a reply. Honestly, I won't take the least bit of offense - almost sorta expect it at 2am, if you know what I mean.
Anyway, thanks again folks for your input and if you have any other info feel free to post. The more I learn the better I know what to expect with this sort of unit - the good AND the bad.