We all have entered the digital age and keep every record like pictures, and photos into digital formats like in mobile phones, cloud services and online storage. But still we have a huge pile of old photos and negatives that remind us when we look back at these old photos and they remind us about some memorable events of our life in the past.
We want to convert these photos digitally to have easy access and preserve them in time and associate us with special moments that we want to preserve forever. For converting old photos and negatives into digital collection, we need photo scanners so that we can save them on our hard drives, USBs or external storage devices to place them in laptops or PCs to view them later.
It makes so convenient to store, retrieve and transfer old digital photos in case we lost the original pictures in the hard form. Scanning old photos brings lots of incentives like we can make more copies, edit pictures, print them on canvas and make a digital collection with ease.
Scanning old pictures and negatives require specialised photo scanners that have the capacity to scan high resolution images in details and transform them into digital photos.
Most people think that a mobile phone can do a job like photo scanner to scan and transfer pictures or negatives into digital one, but there will be hell of difference in quality, sharpness and feel of a scanner scanned image and image taken a smart phone camera.
If you compare a scanning vs taking picture image specification, you will come to know the different between both. Only a photo scanner can help us to digitize our old photos in the true format that we can store in hard drives, NAS devices and online storage safe and secure.
All you would need a good photo scanner to convert old printed photos digitally. You have to spend money for a good scanner? With the right scanner, your digital assets can be preserved for generations.
We have tested out a dozens scanners that are user friendly and enable you to take control of the scanning process without spending too much money.
Since you are not a graphic designer nor an expert who can turn your old photos into high-resolution digital image, you must rely on the photo scanners for scanning old photos.
Most people don’t know about picture scanners and how they work. But they can read out the information available online to get basic knowledge about scanners, their features and the scan resolution of these scanners.
You have photos that are very special to you lying around in a pile, and wish there was a way to get them back? We all do.
We’ll show you how easy it is to bring those photos into the digital age by scanning with the best photo scanners for old photos.
Best Photo Scanner for Old Photos 2021
Before you proceed further exploring the top rated and best photo scanners, get some information about them. Learn the basics about image scanners, their design and how they scan images or photos.
You need to know what resolution is, what is the best scan resolution for old photos, scanner type, i.e. flatbed or tower, and many more about image scanners.
Different Scanner Types
Why are there so many kinds of scanners? Wouldn’t one scanner do the trick? Not quite.
Each scanner performs a different type of scanning, making it suitable for a certain type of job but impossible to find just one scanner that falls under the umbrella of ‘all-in-one’.
Most scanners fall into one of 3 categories: Flatbed, Sheet-fed, Photo and Portable. Do you know which category you need to scan your photos? Whether you want portable scanners to scan documents when travelling or just use flatbeds.
If you are looking for a scanner to scan high-resolution images and restoring old photos, then a flatbed scanner would be most convenient and recommended for the purpose.
Do you want to convert your old film negatives into digital color photos? Despite having a digital camera, you still prefer to take pictures with traditional cameras using films. But you will need to save them electronically and that’s why you will need a scanner with capacity to scan negatives or a negative scanner that can give you the solution.
When you have a project that requires high resolution document images, quality flatbed scanners come in handy. For a better understanding, let us take a page to see things from the scanner’s perspective, then talk about its electronic components and finally examine the process.
We use flatbed scanners for scanning documents, photos, negatives, slides, CDs and other items. They come in different resolutions and speeds for digital cameras. The image sensor is transparent to allow light through for flatbed scanners.
Flatbed photo scanners are universally considered being “true” scanners. When we lift the lid of scanner, it exposes the glass platen of these scanners, enabling us to place a photo on it.
The size of the platen is usually a distinguishing factor between models, with most being either letter-size (8.5 x 11 inches) or legal-size (8.5 x 14 inches). It is important to pay attention to that specification based on what type of scanning you do.
To avoid destroying delicate materials, do not scan your photos (or any other type of old photos, for that matter) using a sheet-fed document scanner, whether a standalone model or one built into a printer (more on that in a moment).
Flatbed scanners use an optical CCD light sensor to capture the image of the item to be scanned. Light reflects off the document and is directed towards the sensor, creating an image that can then be digitized into a bit-mapped raster image.
Prices and capabilities of photo scanners vary. Photo-scanning devices with low-cost can scan prints and documents only and that are not of excellent quality. It is possible to find one for less than $100 that does a good job of this but you need to research extensively.
You can buy scanners that can digitize film negatives or slides for around $200. Several slides or negatives can fit in a plastic frame during scanning, which secures them in place during scanning.
By using this technique, alignment and spacing can be achieved during scanning, reducing the need to handle transparency directly off the platen.
Scanning devices offer basic and advanced modes that can be accessed through the scanner’s driver or scanning utility. These extra features makes scanner easier and simple.
The program will select basic scanning software utility settings on the fly, but advanced scanning will let you customize them.
Best Photo Scanner Reviews
1. Epson Perfection V550 Color Photo
From negatives, slides and photos, the Epson Perfection V550 Color Photo Scanner delivers high-quality scans. With 6400 dpi optical resolution, it can scan 35 millimeter images and documents up to 8.5 x 11-inches.
Get better results when scanning prints that are warped or crooked. The Perfection V550 includes Easy Photo Fix one-touch photo restorations, which lets you automatically improve images to look their best.
This high-performance scanner features an advanced CCD that can capture images in 6400 dpi optical resolution for perfect photo restorations. With its multiple scanning modes, you can quickly scan stacks of photos or old negatives one at a time.
Its optional removable transparency unit that can scan up to four 35mm slides, two rows of six negatives, or four sheets of medium-format film.
It automatically detect the size of multiple photo prints and crop them, saving each as an individual file if its auto edge detection technology determines the size correctly.
Digital ICE, a hardware-based film scanning technology that removes dust and scratches digitally, is included in the V550. V550s also have software-managed dust removal for prints, but Digital ICE is more effective.
Plug in the power cord and USB cable that came with the scanner, and turn it on. It is easy to put the V550 scanner together, Just install the software and plug in the power cord.
It supports scanning from virtually any Windows program that uses the scan command, Twain and WIA drivers.
A flatbed scanner of this price provided very good scanning quality. An LED-based light means the scanner warms up quickly, whether you just finished scanning or you are starting from scratch.
The second benefit of LEDs is that they do not contain mercury, like most scanners use and oppose to cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL). Thus, making the V550 models more useable and recommend for scanning.
Its impressive scan quality, coupled with features like scanning multiple 35mm slides or film negatives, and the Digital ICE hardware-based solution for film scanning combine to make the V550 most recommended image scanner for old photos scanning.
- Scans variety of images
- Perfect for old photo restoration
- Great picture quality and color balance
- Great scanner but its software is not user-friendly
2. Canon CanoScan Lide 300 Scanner
This is a flatbed scanner that can digitize photographs and convert them into high-quality images. It can scan documents at homes, small offices, and home offices. The Canon CanoScan LiDE 300 is an entry-level flatbed scanner.
If you compare the Canon CanoScan LiDE 300 with LiDe 400 , you will find the major difference of resolution between the both. The latter one comes with a little higher resolution and scans a bit quicker.
However, LiDE 300 is still a great option at this price. It can scan digital photos and quite helpful in restoration of old images and negatives. It is a lightweight machine and not takes much space.
Canoscan LiDE 300 offers USB 2.0 connectivity for data and power but doesn’t offer any mobile or cable connectivity. You can just upload your scanned images on cloud services for later use.
The scanner allows you to scan photos or images into PDF and other formats, facilitating scanning in multiple formats. Users can generate copy for prints with this scanner and email them directly through various applications. This is a functional scanner that can scan variety of images.
The lid of the LiDE 300 holds a lot of variety and accommodates thicker items, such as books and magazines, besides paper-thin media.
CanoScan LiDE 300 has a bundled software that is compatible with platforms like Windows, Linux and MacOS and lets users scan photos conveniently.
LiDE 300 scan utility performs multiple functions like doing OCR, scanning photos and documents and converting the text into editable formats.
Canon LiDE 300 gives terrific performance for reproducing old photos like the original one. It includes filters like Fading Correction, Scratch removal and auto correction, making it an ideal machine to scan old photos.
- Great picture quality
- Compatible with multiple OS
- Ease of use and portable
- No support for mobile connectivity
3. Plustek Photo Scanner
Digitize your old photos, negatives and slides with the Plustek Photo Scanner. This scanner transforms your old pictures into a digital format in a matter of seconds. And you don’t have to be a computer whiz to use the Plustek scanner.
Simply slide your photo or negative into the device and press a button. In one second, it saves your photo on a computer memory, CD or DVD.
The Plustek scanner recognizes over 200 different picture formats, eliminating the need for you to go through complicated scanning procedures.
The Plustek ePhoto Z300 sheetfeed scanner is one of the cheapest scanners available, and it’s well built to handle photo scanning and produce high-quality result.
Plustek Photo scanner gives easy scanning of your photos and converts them digital in no time. This scanner can scan photos at a maximum 600 dpi, and take only 5 seconds to scan 8×10 images at either 300/600 dpi.
This is a recommended scanner for scanning images of standard sizes like 4×6, 5×7, and 8×10. It is the best photo scanner for scanning old photos and negatives to reinvent them digitally.
Setup of the Z300 is extremely simple. With USB cable, you plug the scanner into a computer and install the software (Windows or Mac) on a computer to scan old photos. Since this is a sheet-fed scanner and it scans faster than flatbed scanners.
Stacks of photos or documents won’t fit on the Z300. With multiple sheets inserted in the feed slot, it will scan only the bottom sheet at a time.
This manual-feed machine does a decent job scanning when compared with scanners with scanners with automatic feeders. At 300 dpi, 36 photos of 4×6 inches were scanned in just 2 minutes, 9 seconds in a test, which is quite reasonable.
- Good quality scan
- Easy to set up
- Affordable and easy
- Lacks Automatic Document Feeder (ADD)
4. Staples Epson V600
This scanner comes with a simple design, incorporating all functional buttons on the front panel of the scanner. The scanner isn’t that small being a flatbed, so it will take up some desk space because of its weight i.e. 4.1kg and size 48.5cm long.
If you lift the lid, you’ll see a flatbed for storing papers, photos, and transparencies, along with removable padding to prepare the scanner for scanning negatives and films. The film holder in V600 accepts 35mm, 120 film, and slides for scan and converts them into digital photos.
V600 can achieve a maximum resolution of 6400dpi at 48 bits of colour depth. This model uses LED illumination like most pro scanners do. Installation of the scanner software is easy, and you can choose which package of software you need to install like OCR or install everything at once.
Using the buttons on the scanner or the Epson Scan software, you can start scanning after all the settings have been made. The technology is designed for professional photographers and eager hobbyists who intend to convert a large number of slides or negatives using extensive software such as the V600.
The V600 cannot be calibrated or profiled using the included software. A V600 scanner is the perfect solution for home users scanning films, slides and documents, provided you are willing to tweak the images afterwards.
5. Epson FastFoto Scanner
Epson FastFoto FF-680W is the latest scanner in the market. It has all the features and specs that you need to scan images, documents or any other type of paper with utmost clarity. If you are looking for an efficient scanning solution then this one is perfect for you.
This scanner provides excellent quality scans which can be used as a backup copy of your files, photos, books etc. And it offers storage options like SD card slot, USB port or even cloud storage facilities like Dropbox or Google Drive to make sure that your data is safe and secure at all times.
The company also offers customer care service to provide assistance if there are any issues with using this product so users don’t have to worry about anything.
The best part about this scanner is that it can scan your files in just less than a minute which means you don’t have to wait for hours before getting your scanned data back. This makes sure that users are not inconvenienced and they receive their reports, photos or any other documents on time.
Epson FastFoto FF-680W scanner also has an option to scan up to seven pictures at once. This is useful when you are scanning multiple documents or images for a school project, presentations, etc. Its resolution can be set as high as 19200 dpi (dots per inch) and it scans both color and black & white photos.
Epson has a built in card reader that can read most of the formats including SD, XQD and CF cards making it easier to transfer files from your camera or mobile phone directly to your computer. It takes up less space on your desk with its compact size yet is powerful enough to meet the demands of both home and office.
This scanner is definitely one of the best scanners available in its price range. It has all the features and specifications that make it better than other competitors at a affordable price.