Photo scanner is an effective tool to preserve physical photos, artwork, books and more. If you’re planning to buy one, read this shopping guide to help you choose amongst the best photo scanners available on the market today!
Photos are a great remembrance of all the memories we once experienced and shared with our loved ones. But as time passes, it fades. This is a photo scanner becomes handy. Modern scanners first entered the market in 1980; but due to its low resolution, it only became popular in late 1990 where high-resolution and color versions were offered. Now, with cameras’ popularity spread like fire, photo scanners became, almost, a common household electronic device.
If you’re planning to buy one, this shopping guide is a great read because we reviewed 3 of the best home scanners for photos available on the market today. But before we discuss the products itself, we want to first discuss the important things to consider before buying a photo scanner to ensure you’ll only score the best in the market.
First on the list is the type of scanner. Some may ask if knowing the type of scanner really matters. The answer is yes; all photo scanners may have the same function but its quality, scanning speed and the way they do it are different from each other. You can choose between flatbed, sheet-fed and portable. Actually, there are four types; the fourth one is the hybrid type of scanner which is commonly used for business purposes such as publishing. We will not discuss more of it since this guide focused more on personal usage.
- A flatbed scanner is known for its versatility, you can scan photos the same way you scan documents. Since it comes with high-resolution too, it became an ideal choice for scanning photos with texture and details. The only downside of a flatbed scanner, you can only scan one photo at a time. If you need to scan in bulk, a sheet-fed scanner is a much ideal choice.
- From its name, the sheet-fed scanner works by placing all the photos on top of the machine and once done, it will eject the physical copy at the bottom part of the scanner. But if you’re looking for a photo scanner that you can bring along anywhere you go, choose portable scanner.
- With the portable scanner size and affordability, it becomes the photo scanner best buy option for everyone who’s always on-the-go. But in buying a portable scanner, you must always choose the scanner that has software compatible with your computer and a reliable paper feeding to ensure its effectiveness.
Next to consider is the connection type. Photo scanners have a different method to connect to your computer, you can choose between Wi-Fi and USB connectivity. Though we’re living in a digital age there are still places that don’t have an internet connection. So, in our opinion, it’s best to choose a scanner that has a USB connection type.
Lastly, choose a scanner that’s compatible with your computer platform. Photo scanners are not made to work on all computers. Some work well on Mac OS, some in Windows and there are some that work well in both. So in my opinion, it’s advisable to choose the scanner that works well on both Mac and Windows OS.
3 Best Photo Scanners
The table below will show you the comparisons of the 3 products with its specifications in accordance with the important things we discussed above.
|PRODUCT NAME||SCANNER TYPE||WEIGHT||CONNECTION TYPE||COMPUTER PLATFORM|
|Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII||FLATBED||10.1 lbs||USB||Windows, Mac|
|Epson FastFoto FF-640||SHEET-FED||8.8 lbs||USB||Windows, Mac|
|Vupoint ST470 Magic Wand Portable Scanner||PORTABLE||2.95 lbs||USB||windows, Mac|
Reviews of Top 3 Rated Photo Scanners
Shopping for a photo scanner isn’t as fun as shopping for clothes. And reading isn’t enough to fully understand everything about it. So, to give you a much better picture of what it looks like and its functionalities, we reviewed 3 of the best photo scanners for each type.
Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII is one of the best photo scanner options for flatbed scanner type. Many love this scanner because it doesn’t only scans photos but film and negative as well. So, if you have tons of films in your attic or basement that you don’t have any idea what’s on it, you can check it all out with this scanner.
Aside from that, Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII have other promising features such as:
- Superb speed and quality
When it comes to scanning’s speed and quality, CanoScan 9000F MKII stands out because it has a maximum resolution of 9600×9600 dpi (film) and 4800×4800 (all other media) – both for optical; for interpolated, it has a 19,200×19,200 dpi.
While its speed has approximately 18 seconds for 35 mm Negative at 1200 dpi for Standard Film Scan and approximately 7 seconds for an A4 color document at 300 dpi for Standard Reflective Scan.
- Ease to use
Every manufacturer’s goal is to design a device that’s easy to use and maintain. For Canon, they made it possible by making it user-friendly. With CanoScan 9000F MKII, copying, scanning and attaching files to email can be done with a simple push of a button. It also has a built-in retouching technology called FARE Level 3 that provides automatic correction to the photos and film.
- Software included
CanoScan 9000F MKII has a software called My Image Garden. This software’s main purpose is to manage all the scanned photos and organize it in a simple way. It also has fun filters, automatic layout suggestions, facial recognition and more.
- Reliable connectivity
CanoScan 9000F MKII has a USB connectivity known as USB 2.0 Hi-Speed. With this, you can scan and transfer photos to your computer fast. Also, this USB 2.0 Hi-Speed Interface allows quick previews of your photos to your computer.
- OS compatibility
OS compatibility is certainly one of the important things to check out before buying a photo scanner because no matter how modern or expensive your photo scanner is if it’s not compatible with your computer, you can never use it.
For CanoScan 9000F MKII, it’s compatible with both Windows and Mac OS.
Epson FastFoto FF-640 is one of the best photo scanner options for sheet-fed scanner type. This scanner can scan as fast as 1 photo per second; so, this is good if you’re scanning in bulk.
Aside from its high-speed scanning, FastFoto FF-640 has other features such as:
- Custom FastFoto software
It’s almost everyone’s goal to preserve the photos they’ve treasured for years. Now, it becomes easy with FastFoto FF-640 Smart Photo FixTM technology. This technology can restore faded photos to their original beauty. Also, it has a red-eye reduction and color enhancement features.
With this technology, you almost never have to hire somebody again just to restore your old and faded photos.
- Archiving capability
After scanning the photos, the next thing we do is saving it to a safe and easy to access storage device. Epson created a much simpler way to do this with its FastFoto custom software. Through this, you can find your scanned photos in seconds because everything is well-organized by folders accompanied with date and subject tagging.
- Scanning resolution
When it comes to high-quality photo scan, FastFoto FF-640 can scan up to 600 dpi and its auto-feed tray can accommodate a maximum of 30 photos at a time.
- Connectivity and compatibility
Just like Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII, FastFoto FF-640 has a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and compatible with both Windows and Mac OS.
One advantage of Epson FastFoto FF-640 to others is it’s designed to accommodate both fragile photos and large panoramic photos.
For the portable scanner type, Vupoint ST470 Magic Wand Portable Scanner is the best photo scanner option. Most of the people who purchased this scanner love it because it’s easy to set-up and use.
Aside from its ease to use, ST470 Magic Wand Portable Scanner has other features such as:
- Micro SD Card Included
Since ST470 Magic Wand is a portable scanner, it can scan photos without connecting it to a computer. You can save all your scanned photos by plugging in a Micro SD card. The ST470 Magic Wand can accept up to 32 GB of Micro SD.
But it still comes with a USB docking station.
- OCR Software
ST470 Magic Wand comes with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) editing software. This software allows the user to convert scanned documents into an editable text and searchable files. Just be aware that OCR software is only compatible with Windows OS only.
- Scanning specifications
In ST470 Magic Wand, you can scan photos with 8.5″ wide and up to 125″ long as fast as 2 seconds. You can also choose the scanning quality from 300, 600 up to 1050 dpi (1200 dpi when docked).
ST470 Magic Wand Portable Scanner is both compatible with Windows and Mac OS.
One advantage of Vupoint ST470 Magic Wand Portable Scanner to others is it comes with a permanently installed rechargeable battery that can scan up to 400 photos and documents per charge.
WHAT ARE YOU SCANNING? AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH IT?
If you already decided what photo scanner to buy, the last process is to ask these two questions to yourself before paying it “What are you scanning?” and “What are you going to do with it?” These two questions will let you realize if you really made the right pick.
Let’s start with, what are you scanning? Not all scanners have the capability to scan all types of media: Prints, Black and white negatives, Slides, Color negatives and so on. So, you have to know upfront if your chosen scanner can actually do what you need.
After knowing the type of media you’re scanning the next question is, what are you going to do with it? Once your scanned photos are on your computer, are you going to share it online or via email, store them on physical backups or cloud, or use it for business purposes?
After answering these two questions, you can confidently say that you picked the best for your scanning needs.
Through the years, scanners continue to make our life both convenient and a little difficult – convenient when it comes to effectively filing and archiving documents, photo restoration and more; while a little difficult because it’s continuously growing and when it grows, more model options are entering the market. So, we certainly need a lot of patience in choosing the photo scanner best suits our needs.
But just like in shopping for other things, the key to making the experience easier is by being practical. You need to prioritize your needs, the products’ quality and effectiveness in delivering the results you wanted, and your budget.
That’s why among the 3 best photo scanners that we’ve discussed, we choose Epson FastFoto FF-640. It’s a much practical choice because it has a high scanning quality and speed for both single scanning and in bulk. Other reasons are explained below:
- Scanning area
One of the reasons we chose Epson FastFoto FF-640 is because of its type. Compared to others, sheet-fed scanners are more flexible since it can handle any size of documents and photos. It’s a good plus for FastFoto FF-640 that it can also accommodate both fragile and large panoramic photos.
There are some scanners that only designed for a specific purpose – home device or for large businesses. But with Epson FastFoto FF-640, it can be used for both.
- File management
Lastly, Epson offers file management software exclusively for their scanners. The software seamlessly scans photos or documents and uploads it into the cloud services. So scanning, sending and automating scanning jobs becomes less stressful and easier.
But overall, no matter what type or brand of scanner we choose, a photo scanner will always be a great helping tool to preserve our most treasured photos.