Best photo scanner

Best Photo Scanner to Digitize your Old & Damaged Photos

When it comes to preserving and restoring some of our best memories, photo scanners are indispensable, and turning a physical photo into a digital image will require a special touch. With the best photo scanner, you can convert your slides, negatives, and snapshots to a digital format with a click of a button. This means if you ever lose or damage the original photos accidentally, you will still have a digital copy that is just as good.

What Is A Photo Scanner?

A photo scanner is a machine that can enhance your old and damaged photos and make them look like the first time they were taken. Since they are made with specialized sensors, you can digitize your treasured prints consistently, and the best photo scanners will help you keep treasured memories forever. Photo scanners are designed for use with photographs specifically, unlike standard scanners meaning they give a high resolution capturing every detail without complications. They range from flatbeds to automatic feeds and even those that scan from negatives or prints.

However, the best photo scanners in the market can be daunting, and finding the best photo scanner for your needs can be difficult, and knowing what to consider before making your purchase. Therefore, have researched and identified some of the best photo scanners on the market with their advantages and disadvantages. In addition, we have included a buying guide to help you understand what to look out for.

Do photo scanner work well?

1. EPSON Perfection V850 Pro Scanner

Epson Perfection V850 Pro scanner
  • Pro quality color & detail - get unparalleled scans W/ 6400 dpi...
  • Remarkable tonal range - 4.0 Dmax for smooth gradations & fine...
  • Exclusive dual lens system - selects from 2 lenses for optimum...
  • Operating systems: Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows...

EPSON Perfection V850 Pro Scanner is one of the best photo scanners for professional photographers or enthusiasts, and it's the best upgrade from the cheaper Epson Perfection V600 if you want to move from casual to professional. The photo scanner is impossible to compete with and is the right photo scanner if you are trying to get the best scan quality out of your photos and film as it boasts of a high scan resolution.

EPSON Perfection V850 Pro Scanner has an amazing 6400dpi when scanning film holders and 4800dpi optical scan resolution for reflective photo scanning and is ideal for scanning film slides and photos. In addition, the photo scanner has a high dynamic range for enhanced tone reproduction. It uses Digital ICE technology to bring your old photos back to life, reproducing the colors as close to the original as possible.

The photo scanner can remove scratches and dust from photos and film scans and has software that helps to optimize results. Even though EPSON Perfection V850 Pro Scanner is quite expensive, scanned photos match the exact detail, color and dynamic range to guarantee impressive accuracy making it a perfect choice for professional photographers.

Pros:

  • High resolution and image quality
  • Quick warm-up time
  • It scans film slides and photos
  • Dual lens system that selects optimal lens
  • Great Digital ICE retouching technology for repairing old photos
  • High dynamic range for enhanced tone reproduction
  • One of the best photo scanners for professionals and enthusiasts
  • Removes scratches and dust

Cons:

  • Lacks a Wi-Fi connection technology
  • It has a large footprint
  • Pretty expensive

2. Epson Perfection V600

Epson Perfection V600 Color Photo, Image, Film,...
  • Create extraordinary enlargements from film: 6400 x 9600 dpi for...
  • Remove the appearance of dust and scratches from film: Digital...
  • Remove the appearance of tears and creases from photos: Digital...
  • Restore faded color photos with one touch: Epson easy photo fix...
  • Scan slides, negatives and medium format panoramic film: Built in...

Epson Perfection v600 is one of the best photo scanners in the market, which is a balance of versatility and decent price with a high optical scan resolution of 6400 dpi that will produce a quality digitized representation of your photos. In addition, it is a flatbed scanner that perfectly scans your photos, and thanks to Digital Ice Technology, it can clean up your older photos by removing any dust and scratches.

Epson Perfection v600 comes with a pair of film holders that make positioning straightforward and handle every size and format, including mounted slides and 35mm. It will capture all your details thanks to the high resolution. The product will come with a built-in transparency unit, a power cable, and a USB cable, and the device not only scans but also restores and saves images to Google Drive and directly to emails.

Pros:

  • High resolution of 6400 dpi
  • It restores damaged photos
  • It can remove dust and scratches from your images
  • The photo scanner can support a range of film formats, including slides and negatives.
  • Digital ICE technology for film and prints

Cons:

  • The bundled software is not the most ideal
  • It is not a very portable photo scanner

3. Plustek Ephoto Z300

Plustek Photo Scanner - ephoto Z300, Scan 4x6 Photo in...
  • The easiest way to scan photos and documents. Supports 3x5, 4x6,...
  • Fast and easy, 2 seconds for one 4x6 photo and 5 seconds for one...
  • More efficient than a flatbed scanner. Just insert the photos one...
  • Powerful Image Enhancement functions included. Quickly enhance...
  • ePhoto Z300 works with both Mac and PC : Supports Windows 7/8/10...

Plustek Ephoto Z300 is an affordable sheet-fed scanner suitable for household use, and it has striking looks that will stand out from the crowd. It is more of a photo scanner than a document scanner, and with the 600 dpi scan resolution, it will be more than enough for photo scanning your snapshots.

Plustek Ephoto Z300 scanner includes some handy image-enhancing tools that will guarantee you get the best out of your old photos and even the faded snaps. However, this Plustek photo scanner model does not have Wi-Fi, and since it's a manual photo scanner, you will have to feed each print one at a time. Nevertheless, even though the 600 dpi resolution may not be enough for pro photographers, it works well for the average family picture.

Pros:

  • The Plustek photo scanner is fast compared to flatbed models
  • It can scan up letter-size prints
  • Great price
  • Designed to reduce any potential harm to your photos
  • It is one of the best photo scanners with image enhancement functions at a budget
  • One-touch sharing to all social media sites

Cons:

  • It is a manual document feeder
  • It has limited document-scanning abilities

4. Epson Fastfoto FF 680w

Epson FastFoto FF-680W Wireless High-Speed Photo and...
  • World’s Fastest Personal Photo Scanner (1) — scan thousands...
  • Preserve Your Priceless Photos — restore, organize, protect and...
  • Share Stories for Future Generations — use the Epson FastFoto...
  • Perfect Picture Imaging System — bring new life to old photos...
  • Single-step Technology — capture both the image and any...

Epson Fastfoto FF 680w is a sheet-fed desktop scanner that will perfectly scan many snapshots at a go while perfectly also being a document scanner for general scanning documents. It can simply load up to 36 photo prints at a go and will scan at an impressive rate, and it qualifies as the best photo scanner for anyone looking for speed to process large stacks of old photos.

Epson Fastfoto ff 680w sheet-fed scanner has an optical scan resolution of 300 dpi which will power one photo a second, and it's perfect for snapshots and quality results. You may need to dial the scan resolution to 600 dpi and wait longer for your scan. The sheet-fed scanner is excellent for treating your photos gently, and it includes a program that scans, digitizes and saves up to 36 photos in less than two minutes.

Epson Fastfoto ff 680w photo scanner also allows users to choose between different modes for easy sharing, and the lower the dots per inch (dpi), the faster it will scan documents and photos. The photo scanner can also load up to 100 standard sheets into the feeder at a go, and it includes plastic guides for different widths of paper with marks for the 4x6in and 5x7in photos.

Pros:

  • It can scan to searchable PDF format.
  • It also works as a document scanner and can scan Square, panoramic and instant photos and postcards.
  • Solid OCR performance
  • The scanning unit scans stacks of photo prints quickly
  • 36 photo sheets sheet capacity
  • It has different modes for different image types

Cons:

  • It is not budget-friendly

5. Epson Perfection V39

Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner...
  • High quality scanning for photos and documents : 4800 dpi optical...
  • Preserve priceless memories: Restore, archive and share family...
  • Scan to Google Drive and other cloud services (2): Epson Document...
  • Convenient: Easy to use buttons for scan jobs, plus a space...
  • Scan over sized prints, documents and artwork : ArcSoft Scan n...

Epson Perfection V39 is among the best photo scanners to scan photographic prints, short documents, editable text, and even searchable text formats. The photo and document scanner come with a 4800 dpi optical resolution that is perfect at a price as long as you don't need a slide scanner or extremely high-quality scans. In addition, the device uses an Easy Photo Fix technology that restores color to your old photos, making it perfect for digitizing old family photos.

Epson Perfection V39 is among the best photo scanners to scan your photos directly to Google Drive and other cloud services and send them directly to your emails. When scanning the photos, you can remove your lid for convenience, and there is special use software that you can use for large images.

Pros:

  • High-quality photo scans
  • It scans to editable text and searchable PDF format
  • Compact and lightweight scanning unit
  • It can scan to cloud services such as Google
  • The photo scanning unit has a fully automatic mode for easy scanning.
  • Budget-friendly price

Cons:

  • It has no film or slides scan capability
  • It does not have bundled applications

6. KODAK Mobile Film Scanner

KODAK Mobile Film Scanner - Fun Novelty Scanner Lets...
  • SEE YOUR OLD MEMORIES COME TO LIFE | Cool Tabletop Film Scanner...
  • ALL YOUR OLD PHOTO TYPES | No More Complicated Scanning Devices...
  • GREAT FOR EXPERIMENTATION | Thinking About Converting Your Old...
  • CONVENIENT COLLAPSING DESIGN | Platform & Tray Fold Out & Break...
  • SUPER EASY TO OPERATE | Load Film Onto the Tray, Place Your Lens...

KODAK Mobile Film Scanner is not a traditional scanner, yet it's well designed as one of the best photo scanners if you want to have fun with your film scans. It is a pretty affordable tabletop photo scanner and allows a user to download a smartphone app to bring 35mm slides to life as it is compatible with 35mm color film, 35mm black and white film, and 35mm color slides. All you will need to do is put your scan slides in the tray and use the app to edit, like add effects, stickers, borders or retouches.

KODAK Mobile Film Scanner is a portable scanner, and it's a cardboard creation that is fun to use when you want to relive some memories you may have stored away. Using the free android companion app, your scan slides will be uploaded to your device instantly, and it qualifies as a perfect gift for your film photographer. Since it's built like a Google Cardboard, the film scanner is made from cardboard, and it collapses back nicely into a box after you are done using it.

Pros:

  • Scans directly to your phone
  • Minimalist and easy to use
  • KODAK Mobile Film Scanner has a decent companion app
  • Affordable and decent price
  • Fun and portable

Cons:

  • Mediocre scan quality, and it will only scan film negatives
  • It is made of cardboard and feels more of a toy and therefore not the ideal way to digitize memories for some users

7. KODAK Slide N SCAN Film and Slide Scanner

KODAK Slide N SCAN Film and Slide Scanner with Large...
  • SAVE OLD PHOTO MEMORIES: 14/22MP Digital Film Scanner Lets You...
  • 5” LCD DISPLAY WITH GALLERY MODE: Features Large, Crystal-Clear...
  • CONVENIENT EASY-LOAD FILM INSERTS: Quick-Feeding Tray Technology...
  • EDITING WITH A SINGLE TOUCH: Advanced Capture Software Enhances,...
  • SUPER CHIC. UBER COMPATIBLE: Device Handles All Your Old Slides &...

KODAK Slide N SCAN scanner is the best photo scanner if you need a scanner specifically for films since some adaptors for scanning film in some photo scanners can sometimes be challenging to use. The scan film scanner allows a user to scan film of 500mm slides and includes adaptors for 135, 110 and 126mm films. In addition, the Kodak slide film scanner is easy to load and scan film negatives as it includes a Quick-Feeding tray technology and includes software that is relatively easy to use.

To use the KODAK Slide N SCAN scanner, you should feed your film through the loader, and this will allow you to view and edit your photo on a 5-inch LCD and then save your scanned films on an SD card. The KODAK Slide N SCAN film scanner allows 14 MP and 22 MP resolution and can handle both color and black and white film photo negatives. So even though it is not a professional-level photo scanner, it is one of the best photo scanners for everyday use in any household.

Pros:

  • It has a bright 5-inch LCD screen display for editing and viewing
  • Makes film scans relatively easy
  • Uses a quick-feeding tray technology
  • It has an impressive image quality
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Only made for film scans, and hence it's not that versatile
  • The film scanner only stores in SD cards

8. Canon Canoscan Lide 400

Canon CanoScan Lide 400 Slim Scanner, 7.7" x 14.5" x...
  • Enjoy high speed scanning in as fast as 8 seconds, with the...
  • Preserve detailed photos and images thanks to 4800 x 4800 dpi...
  • Enjoy ease of use with 'EZ' Buttons. With auto scan mode, the...
  • Paper size: 8.27 x 11.69, 8.50 x 11.69

Canon Canoscan Lide 400 is an entry-level software-rich flatbed photo scanner that handles both photo and text documents with a lot of ease. It is a reliable scanner and will take up small desktop space, and it can be stored by folding it upright on a kickstand and making it available when you need to scan and hiding it when you don't. It is a suitable option for photographers or small businesses to scan photos and documents.

Canon Canoscan Lide 400 is made with a great design, and the photo scanner will digitize your photos accurately. In addition, it can scan documents turning them into editable text using the included software. The extra software is a CD-ROM that you can use to locate a disk drive, especially for new computers. Canon Canoscan Lide 400 is an excellent photo scanner if you digitize your photos occasionally and are looking for a budget-friendly way to scan your old photos.

Pros:

  • Vibrant scanned photos
  • Simple to use
  • It includes an excellent software bundle
  • The scanner includes a kickstand for an upright positioning
  • It can save to cloud services such as Google Drive and DropBox
  • The scan unit is has a small footprint design
  • It connects via USB-C

Cons:

  • It lacks mobile device apps, remote scanning, and Wi-Fi support.

What are the Different Types of Photo Scanners?

a). High-Quality Photo Scanners

A flatbed scanner is among the best photo scanners for demanding users as the device is made with a flat fixed glass bed where you place and scan photos. These high-quality photo scanners will scan from medium to the highest scan resolution depending on the scan resolution. A flatbed scanner may also comfortably handle photo slides, photos, films and negatives and not only an A4 sheet of paper.

Opting for these high scan quality photo scanners will also allow anyone to scan old photos safely. However, it might not be one of the best photo scanners for batch scanning reasons, as it may take a lot of time to scan a lot of photos.

Epson Perfection V600 Home Photo Scanner is a perfect example of these printers as it offers a 6400 DPI optical resolution for high scan quality. However, if on a budget, the Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner with a 4800 DPI optical resolution will work just as fine.

b). Bulk Photo Scanner

These are one of the best photo scanners if you need a machine to handle large photo quantities daily, as this sheet-feed scanner will quickly transform your photos and organize them into easy-to-find digital files. Unlike the flatbed scanners that will need photos on a surface, this photo scanning device will feed them then roll them out.

You will find this type of photo scanner mostly in offices thanks to the speed and convenience it offers. Another benefit of this type of scanner is its compact and space-saving solution.

A perfect example of this type is the Plustek Photo Scanner - Ephoto Z300, which is budget-friendly and it supports all standard sizes, and it takes just two seconds to scan photos of average size. In addition, customers rate it as one of the best photo scanners for its user-friendly capabilities and also because it's button-free.

c). 35mm Slide Scanner

This is one of the best photo scanners in the market if your main focus is negatives and photo slides, as it is a dedicated film scanner. Currently, film photography is gaining popularity, and these devices allow you to convert your film into digital files and then archive them.

These slide scanners also come in top-notch models that create large-scale files that print high quality, but they are still designed the same way. The slide scanner works by illuminating your film and then scans it thanks to the sensor, and a perfect example of this type is the KODAK Mobile Film Scanner.

d). All-In-One Scanner Printers

These are considered the best photo scanners in the market if you are looking for versatility. The photo scanner has both scanning and printing functions for documents and not photos only. Some of these photo scanner models also come with faxing and copying capabilities, and they have 1200 DPI and a high printing speed. However, these types deliver a lot of conveniences, and they are not the most suitable choice if scanning is your primary purpose.

In addition, they have limited resolution options and also cannot handle films and negatives. A perfect example of n all-in-one printer is the HP OfficeJet Pro 9020, and it prints up to 18 color pages each minute and creates searchable documents.

e). Handheld Photo Scanners

Handheld types are the best photo scanners for travelers as they are compact, lightweight and portable and can easily fit into a bag. They can also scan books in libraries and scan artwork and large-sized drawings. In addition, they qualify as one of the best photo scanners because they are simple to work, and they can start scanning just by pushing a button, and they run on disposable or rechargeable batteries.

An average scan resolution of a decent portable scanner is 600 DPI, and this is enough scan resolution for printed photos in good image quality but not for enlarging them. Many models can be connected to your PC through a USB to transfer files.

f). Scanners for Book Pictures

Book scanners are different from other photo scanners to efficiently and quickly scan bulky objects such as books. Notably, these devices are not equal, and they will depend on your priority as you can choose an overhead, a flatbed or a portable book scanner. If you need a high image quality and accuracy, then the best photo scanners for you will be the flatbed scanners, as they remove shadows at the binding and image distortion.


Is The Scanner On An All-In-One Printer Enough?

Even though most people who scan many photos prefer a single functioning scanner, most multifunction printers (MFPs) will also be referred to as all-in-ones (AIOs) will have a flatbed that can scan photos and any other materials. However, the photo scanning quality may vary depending on the software and hardware used. Therefore, most single-function photo scanners avoid scanning quality prints and photo-centric features.

Some models known as home photo labs scan negatives and slides and prints, and they have various photo-centric features while still offering the normal MFP functions such as coming, printing, and sometimes faxing. These models are worth it, especially for scrapbookers or photo buffs who need a versatile photo scanner that can print and make copies and identify these models to check a vendor's specifically photo-minded AIOs. In addition, AIO's save a lot of space compared to a printer or a flatbed scanner.

Why Should You Digitize Photos?

For most of us nowadays, we take photos on our phones or use digital cameras, but some people still prefer to shoot on film. If you are one of those people and have a collection of old prints, then the right scanner is essential. Turning your older photos into digital copies is not as easy as leaving them in a box or a photo album. Even if you like shooting with film and holding physical memories in your hands, there are some reasons you may want to consider converting old photo prints to digital copies. Some of these reasons include:

a). Better Preservation

It is easy to get physical photos damaged, intentional or unintentional. Some of the concerns to physical photos could be discoloration, water damage, and accidental tears, as this could ruin your photo collection forever. Scanning photos to make digital copies allows you to have as many photo backups as you may need, and this helps you never worry bout losing your family history in the event of an accident, be it a flood or fire.

b). Save Space

Photo frames, storage boxes and photo albums can take up a lot of space in your home and therefore using photo scanners to save space is ideal. In addition, you can store hundreds of thousands of digital copies on an external hard drive which can be compared to the size of a deck of cards.

c). Easy Sharing

Family photos are meant to be shared amongst family members, and digitizing photos ensures that no one will find their favorite childhood memories. In addition, every member can have access to all the photo collections of the family.

d). Correct Blemishes

Digital photos allow users to correct blemishes, adjust lighting or white balance, and crop out anyone they need to. With physical photos, you will not have digital image correction without spoiling your photo, as adjustments cannot be made to the same extent in physical photos. Correcting blemishes on your photo slides allows you to have each shot looking the best it can be.

No matter the circumstances, it's essential for everyone to consider photo scanning old photos. Even though it might take some money and time, its benefits outweigh the cost of protecting your old photos.


Factors To Consider Before Purchasing The Best Photo Scanners

1. Scan Speed

The speed factor is crucial, especially if you often have a lot of items to scan within a short time, and you should check how many pages a scanner will be able to handle per minute. Also, check for scanners with an automatic document feeder as they help speed up the photo scanning process and reduce the time you would spend manually trying to place each item on the scanner.

2. Cloud Support

Cloud support is essential if you want access to your scanned documents from anywhere. Nowadays, most document and photo scanners can scan and upload files directly to the cloud and when looking for a cloud-friendly photo scanner, opt for one that supports Dropbox, Google Drive, or your preferred cloud services.

3. Media Type

You should figure out what you are planning to scan, whether documents, photos, or both, and then decide accordingly since some scanners are better for scanning photos than documents. Others are better at creating copies of letters and other documents than photos. The higher-end units are suitable for scanning documents and photos, depending on your budget. They include separate bays and adjustable sliders that help handle complex documents and laminate identification cards.

4. Automatic Vs. Manual Feeders

You will need to choose between the two feeders from the wide range of scanners. Flatbed scanners feature a flat and glass surface where you lay the documents and scan underneath, and each document or photo is placed manually into the scanner. They produce more high-quality photo scans than their counterparts, but the manual process is longer, and they are ideal for scanning old and fragile photos.

On the other hand, automatic feeders will layer your documents or photos in bulk and scan them similarly to a printer's paper feed. The scanner will sort through the photos and documents and scan each one automatically but remember they are prone to paper jams from time to time, and this may damage your photos, incredibly if fragile.

In general, a manual flatbed scanner is recommended for sensitive documents and delicate original photos as there is a risk of damaging them in case of a paper jam. The manual photo scanners also produce a higher quality of photo scans, but automatic scanners are faster and ideal for bulk processing.

5. Scan Resolution

Dots Per Inch(DPI) is the number of pixels or dots that fit in an inch of any image or document file and is widely known as resolution. A high DPI means you will get a higher quality image where if your need for scans is to upload to social media, 300 DPI would be enough, but for scanning high detailed sources such as film negatives and slides, then a scanner of between 4800 and 6400 dpi is the best.

The best photo scanners will have higher dpi ratings, and they will consistently outperform any lower specified counterparts. When shopping, remember that the higher the DPI, the more detailed and higher quality your final result will be.

6. Color Depth

Scanners have different color depths, and the color depth determines the amount of color information that will be reproduced in one image. The standard color depth for general purpose use is 24-bits, but if you need to scan pictures for enlargements or prints, you may need to get a higher depth photo scanner, which should be somewhere close to 48-bits. These photo scanners may also produce better monochromatic images with nuanced gradations.


Frequently Asked Questions On The Best Photo Scanner

1. What Is The Best Resolution To Scan Old Photos?

The best resolution for scanning old photos will depend on what you want to use the photos for, and for photo prints with a high resolution, opt for less than 300 DPI and even higher. For example, if you plan to use the photos on the web only, a DPI resolution of about 72 to 96 is adequate.

2. Is It Better To Scan Photos As PDF Or JPEG?

It is better to save anything online to a Jpeg format as PDFs are significant only for text images. You will get the best quality if you save them as TIFF. PDF files are commonly used for images since they have automatic image compression, and JPEGs are suitable for images since they can compress large files down to a small size.

3. Is It Better To Scan Or Photograph Old Photos?

Scanning is faster and more straightforward and produces better photos than copying or photographing photos using a camera. The only exception is when the surface texture is silk, which will need offset lighting to overcome.

4. How Good Is Epson Perfection V850 Pro?

Epson Perfection V850 Pro gives an impressive performance, especially in the 48-bit mode where it resolves the grain in both 4×5-inch films and 35 mm films and packs a dual-lens system. In addition, the scanned film produces excellent results for both negatives and slides and better difficult originals.

Image Source: digitaltrends.com

Ian Mutuli
Ian Mutuli
iantos99@hotmail.com

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.