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Digitize your old photos with these photo scanners
Like many of you I have tons of physical family photos and I wouldn’t want to lose them. One way to make sure these remain forever is to digitize them and saving them on a USB drive or in the cloud. Converting your old printed photos into digital files can seem like a daunting task. But with the right photo scanner, it doesn’t have to be. Modern photo scanners are designed to make digitizing your photos quick and easy, while delivering high-quality scans that accurately capture all the details.
When searching for the best photo scanner for your needs, there are a few key factors to consider so you select the right model for your budget, tech capabilities, and collection.
What to Consider When Buying a Photo Scanner
One of the most important specifications of any scanner is its optical resolution, measured in dpi (dots per inch). For photo scanning, you’ll want a model with at least 600 dpi for capturing fine details, especially on small prints like 3×5” photos. Higher-end scanners offer resolutions of 1200 dpi, 2400 dpi or more for studio-quality archiving.
If you only have a few old photos to scan, scan speed may not matter much. But for larger collections spanning multiple albums or boxes, look for scanners with fast speeds to complete your digitization project quickly. Speeds range from just a few seconds per photo on lower-end models, up to 1-2 photos per second on the fastest scanners.
If you are only planning to scan a few photos then an automatic feeder will not be important. However if you are scanning 100s of photos you will want to consider a scanner with an automatic feeder. This will allow you to scan 30-40 photos automatically without having to do them one by one.
Common file types that scanners can output your scans as include JPG, TIFF, PDF and more. JPEG is fine for most purposes, but for archiving consider lossless TIFF to preserve full image quality without any compression.
More basic scanners will have just a USB 2.0/3.0 connection to link to your computer. For greater flexibility, look for units with built-in memory card readers, Wi-Fi/network connectivity, or Bluetooth options to transfer your scans to multiple devices easily.
Many photo scanners come with included software for editing scans as well as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to digitize text from documents. Having the right software makes the post-processing work much simpler once scanning is complete.
The Best 5 Photo Scanners
1. Canon CanoScan Lide 400 Scanner
The Canon CanoScan Lide 400 Scanner is an excellent option for digitizing photos and documents with ease and efficiency. This scanner offers a maximum optical resolution of 4800 x 4800 dpi, enabling you to capture high-quality scans.
The Lide 400 take just 8 seconds to scan a 4 x 6 inch photo at 300 dpi. It can handle originals up to 8.5 x 11.7 inches in size. Onboard image enhancement features allow you to restore color, reduce grain and dust, auto adjust, and fade correct to optimize scans.
Navigate scanning and editing with five convenient EZ buttons, or take advantage of Send-to-Cloud functionality to upload files directly to Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google Drive and more. Supported file formats include JPG, BMP, PNG, TIFF and searchable PDF.
The Lide 400 has a lid holder to easily scan thicker documents. It also features auto power on/off for efficiency. Connection is simple with USB.
This scanner works on both Windows and Mac.
How much does the Canon CanoScan Lide 400 Scanner Cost?
$79.50 (as of 4th February 2024, see Amazon for the latest price)
2. Epson FastFoto FF-680W Scanner
The Epson FastFoto FF-680W is a high-speed photo and document scanner that makes digitizing your photos a breeze. With an auto document feeder that holds up to 30 photos or 20 documents, it can scan at blazing speeds of up to 30 4″x6″ photos per minute.
This scanner supports a wide variety of media including photos, postcards, panoramas, documents, and negatives up to 8.5” x 11.7”. It automatically detects borders, straightens, crops, and enhances images for quality results without the hassle. Dust removal and fade restoration further optimize your scans.
Connecting via USB 3.0 or Wi-Fi, the FF-680W enables simple sharing to the cloud or between devices. Send scans directly to Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote and more for streamlined archiving.
The Epson FastFoto FF-680W is slim, but packs in useful features like single photo mode, auto power off, and USB direct print. It comes bundled with Epson Scan 2 software and additional image processing programs for further management and enhancement.
How much does the Epson FastFoto FF-680W Scanner Cost?
$599.99 (as of 4th February 2024, see Amazon for the latest price)
|Epson FastFoto FF-680W Wireless High-Speed Photo and Document Scanning System, Black
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3. Epson Perfection V600 scanner
The Epson Perfection V600 is a powerful flatbed scanner packed with premium features to deliver outstanding scans from photos, film negatives, slides, and everyday documents.
The Epson Perfection V600 features 6400 x 9600 dpi optical resolution and large scanning areas up to 17” x 22”. It utilizes a 48-bit color depth to capture over 281 trillion color tones for rich, vibrant images. Powerful interpolation technology boosts hardware resolution to an impressive 12,800 dpi.
In addition to photos and documents, the V600 excels at scanning 35mm, medium format, and large format film positives and negatives across its 12″ x 16.5″ film scanning area. It works with diverse media types from glossy prints to 60lb bonded paper. Epson’s DIGITAL ICE suite removes dust, scratches and grain from film scans automatically.
The Perfection V600 makes scanning easy with one-touch color restoration, four customizable buttons, automatic document size detection and more. Quickly restore faded photos, slide cartridges and Polaroids to their former glory. Conveniently send scans directly to Cloud services, email, printers and more.
Connecting via SuperSpeed USB 2.0, this scanner delivers solid performance with speeds up to 3.6 seconds per 4” x 6” photo at 2560 x 1920 dpi. Larger 12” x 16.5” film scans take about 14 seconds at maximum 6400 dpi resolution.
How much does the Epson Perfection V600 Scanner Cost?
$349.99 (as of 4th February 2024, see Amazon for the latest price)
|Epson Perfection V600 Color Photo, Image, Film, Negative & Document Scanner
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4. Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 Color Scanner
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 can scan both sides of up to 50 mixed-media sheets hands-free thanks to an automatic document feeder. It auto-detects size, orientation and page edges for efficient, accurate scans.
Beyond paper, the iX1600 flawlessly digitizes photos up to 4” x 6” at an impressive 4800 dpi enhanced resolution. Its 600 dpi optical sensor captures fine details for brilliant clarity while integrated color correction optimizes hues and brightness. Convenient editing features like de-skew, cropping and multi-language OCR save time without sacrificing quality.
Connecting via USB or Wi-Fi, the ScanSnap iX1600 makes digital organization seamless. Send scans to the cloud, email, printers and more or use included software like ScanSnap Home to intuitively manage and export files. ScanSnap Sync provides one-touch integration with cloud storage services including Google Drive, Dropbox and Evernote.
This scanner features a durable, compact build designed for frequent use. Integrated paper dust control maintains fidelity scan after scan while automatic feed detection and jam sensors simplify upkeep.
How much does the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 Color Scanner Cost?
$399.99 (as of 4th February 2024, see Amazon for the latest price)
|ScanSnap iX1600 Wireless or USB High-Speed Cloud Enabled Document, Photo & Receipt Scanner with Large Touchscreen and Auto Document Feeder for Mac or PC, Black
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5. Plustek ePhoto Z300 Photo Scanner
The Plustek ePhoto Z300 makes digitizing photos, slides and fragile documents easy. This specialized scanner utilizes gentle roller technology and adjustable resolutions up 300 or 600 dpi optical to protect delicate originals during quality capture.
With scan areas reaching up to 8.5” x 11.7”, the ePhoto Z300 accommodates anything from snapshots to legal papers, postcards to panoramas. It renders 48-bit color and 16-bit grayscale with striking depth and clarity. Convenient scanning speeds clock around 2 seconds per 4” x 6” photo.
Adjust everything from color balance to cropping or easily convert scans into editable formats like Word, Excel and searchable PDF. The included Button Manager allows custom presets for one-touch operation. Outputs can also be directly shared to email, cloud services and more.
The Plustek ePhoto Z300 sports a conveniently compact footprint at just 11.4” x 6.3” x 6.2” and 3.26 pounds. Yet it still houses versatile media handling and software capabilities. USB connectivity provides plug-and-play functionality across Windows, Mac and Linux systems.
How much does the Plustek ePhoto Z300 Photo Scanner Cost?
$199.00 (as of 4th February 2024, see Amazon for the latest price)
|Plustek Photo Scanner ePhoto Z300, Scans 4x6 inch Photos in 2 Seconds, Auto crop and deskew with CCD Sensor, Supports Mac and PC
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