So why exactly is it that we need a photo scanner in the first place? It is true that Snapchat and Facebook have converted most of our picture to digital already. But more often than not we end up with some pictures or slides that we need to convert into digital.
Hence, grand names like Cannon and Epson scanners have become the name of the day. Yet, there are other companies that are producing some very well reputed products that can give you as much reliability as an Epson scanner can. In our tests before and our list below, we will be looking at some of the best from Epson, Cannon as well as a number of other notable desktop scanner models.
A Photo Scanner To Challenge What Epson Scanners Offer?
Well, to be honest, it wouldn’t be fair if we were writing up a list on the best photo scanners to buy and we didn’t include any Epson photo scanner in the list. So let’s just compare the couple of Epsons in our list with the other PC scanners.
While we are at it, the list below will take you through a number of important things you should consider before buying. For instance, optical resolutions, maximum scan areas, scan speeds and so on. But before we do that, we are bound to give you a round-up on our findings. Here are two of our top picks, based on two different criteria.
Best High End
Epson Perfection V800 Photo
This is as good as it gets if you are willing to pay for it. The Epson scanner is among the premium choices for its almost unbeatable dpi, multiple size film frames, and exceptional scan qualities.
Canon CanoScan LiDE 120
Best Photo Scanning on Budget
Nothing too flashy, no stick like the design. But the Canon scanner manages to cost less and do more. You get a presentable quality of scans for images and documents both, and for not wanting film and slide scans you get to pay about one-tenth that of the Epson scanner above.
Not everyone is looking for a flatbed scanner that they will keep stationary on their desk. And if you are also looking for a model that is easier to port, the Doxie Flip Cordless scanner is just the right thing for you. Since it doesn’t put you through the hassles of wiring, it is also easier to set up.
Although many of the prominent manufacturers still make wired scanners a priority, Doxie aims at different things. And one the go use is on top of that list. Having a cordless scanner means you will also have to keep the batteries charged, but even that is fine. If your use isn’t too demanding, the battery power inside this flatbed scanner is good enough for a spin around.
The best part about Doxie is that the lid on top is removable. This means that you can literally flip this notebook sized scanner over to digitize memories from, say, a withering old scrapbook. Even the manufacturers say that it is aimed at capturing history, hobbies and memories. How cool is that!
This brings us to the next question on everyone’s mind. How good are its photo scans? Well, in all honesty, there are better qualities available on this list. But they are not half as (reliably) portable as this one. Another thing that you will have to compromise on is the maximum scan size. Since Doxie is just a little bigger than a notebook, it has a limit on the size of images and documents it can scan at once.
- Removable lid is helpful
- Cordless portable scanner
- Good battery power
- Very portable design
- Comparatively lower image quality
- Scan size isn’t the biggest
If premium scanning is what you were looking for, go no further. Although you could get another flatbed scanner for quite less, this is as good as the high end gets. Among photo scanners, the Epson Perfection V800 is the best for negative scanning.
You are able to pick up to 18 frames on 35mm films. And if it is just scanning pictures and documents that you are after, it is going to be a walk in the park. Due to the immense potential that it offers, the V800 is also compared to the professional use scanners. But you will see it slacking under bulky jobs as compared to those.
Nonetheless, if you are willing to spend enough, you will get 11 times the pixels that Epson FastFoto FF-680W can offer. On that front, only the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai was able to top the Epson scanner. But keeping it simple for the common user, it is will nonetheless produce exceptional photo scan and film scans.
Oh, and while you are at it, you get to choose whether the image gets automatically scanned or you wish to control every setting in the scan modes. The only thing better would have been a dedicated photo editor. Is that wishful thinking? Taking a step further from its predecessor, V700, the V800 has an LED light source. As a result, the are no warm-up times.
Unless you are using it in a place where very bulky scanning jobs take place regularly, this is as good as it gets. Clearly, if you are willing to pay the extra price, that is.
- Quality high end product
- Good film, photo and slide scanner
- Control over scans
- No dedicated photo editor
- High price
At the beginning of the article, I talked about great competitors to the Epson scanner monopoly. Well, here’s the strongest contender as far as photo scanning devices are concerned. At 7200 dots per inch, this is even better than the Epson Perfection V800 Photo, and with a lower price tag.
Apart from having one of the best optical resolutions in the group, the Plustek model also has color calibration and dust/scratch removal solutions. Thanks to the quality of calibration, we were able to process images with great detail.
There is a dedicated side slot for films where you can get scans for all the memories you cherish. But the problem is that at a time you can only scan one slide using the Plustek photo scanner. In comparison to this, the Epson scanner V700 can scan 12 or 24 films together and up to 10″ of slides.
The limit of film and slide converter is 35mm though, which is less than the Epson models too. But then again, the V700 and V800 are one of the most costly desktop scanners whereas the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai Film Scanner costs a few hundred dollars less.
It looks bigger in the picture above but the Plustek scanner is only 4.7″ on two sides while even in length it is 10.7″ only And since it is a tried and tested model, we can assuredly say that it is as good for Mac as it is for Windows.
- 7200ppi optical resolution
- Automatic color calibration
- Hardware based dust/scratch removal
- Single slide scanner
- Could use better software
Another flatbed scanner for the photo collectors out there. The Canon scanner we decided to include in this list is the CanoScan LiDE220 Color Image Scanner. And while it is not a slide scanner, image scanning jobs haven’t been cheaper than this.
To be exact, you can take home this photo scanner for almost ten times less than the Epson scanner we have compared all the products with. You might say that is because it is a low-end product but that’s not entirely true. The best scanner would cost more because it is also a slide and film scanner. But since the LiDE 120 is only an image scanner, it doesn’t need a big price tag.
So yes, it is limited in what it can do, but it is exceptional in what it does i.e. image scan quality. While there aren’t a lot of high-end features included, you do get color and dust correction. Also, even when you are using it as a document scanner, it will allow you to save in readable text file formats as well as PDF.
For a below $100 scanner, it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker if you aren’t getting an image editor. Because that is possibly one of the only two issues that the CanoScan LiDE220 Color Image Scanner has. The other being a very occasional problem you might face in required commands for different scans.
Indeed there are other cheap scanners like the Epson Perfection V19. But the realism of scanned images is much better with LiDE 120. We have no doubt that it should be your go-to choice if you want a budget scanner.
- Very affordable
- Good image scan quality
- Compact flatbed scanner
- Doesn’t scan film or slide
- Slightly inconsistent
In comparison to the infamous Epson scanner V800 as well as the Pulstek 8200i Ai, this desktop scanner is notorious for bulk jobs. Not only do you get piles of snapshots digitized with ease but tons of documentation as well.
One problem you find with almost all sheet-fed scanners is that they handle the original document in such a way that they can get damaged, especially when you are scanning old photos. But the Epson scanner in question isn’t like that. As it is made for bulk photo scanning jobs, the sheet-fed scanner is very gentle with all the documents.
Moreover, the company boasts it is the fastest “personal photo” scanner in the market and promises one scan a second at 300 dpi. Although you will be able to get scans of up to 1200 dpi if you use the enlarge mode. The scan speed was quite close to the claim, but since you will also have to wait for warm-up times and save times, the final time taken is longer.
Last but not least, while there are other models that have improved connectivity, the FF-680W is also a WiFi scanner, alongside the standard USB connectivity.
- Best for bulk scans
- Durable, long-lasting build
- Great scan speed
- Better OCR
- Low image resolution
- Costs more than many
However, image correction is a whole new question. Some scanners come with in-built fine-tuning abilities. While others allow you to also have control over them. With these, you can not only control the variation in colors but also fix wear and tear that becomes apparent in scanned versions of an old photograph. More sophisticated scanners even have dedicated photo editors packed inside.
Just as the name suggests, a photo scanner is made to specifically scan pictures, in all different forms. Starting with basic image scanning, there are models that offer film scanning for older photographs as well as slide scanning. Photo based scanners are preferred over general/office use scanners in cases when the scan items are not going to be documented most of the time.