What Is Flatbed Scanner?

Not every scanner has the ability to scan each type of media. For example, a flatbed scanner cannot successfully scan negatives. Therefore, you must know what you expect to print, such as:.

Best Photo Scanner

If you expect to scan only prints, a flatbed scanner may be enough, depending on what you are doing with the scans. A flatbed scanner is also a good option if you need to scan documents too, since a film scanner cannot scan documents. Make sure you know exactly what you want to scan. Even if you purchase a film scanner that works for black and white negatives , it may not be suitable for your color negatives. If, like many people, you just want to share them online with friends and family, the solution is easy.

It only makes the file and the image itself bigger, which makes for awkward viewing on a computer screen. In particular, a scanner with higher resolution is the best photo scanner for old photos, which may look blurry or faded at lower resolutions. If your businesses routinely print large transparencies, your best bet is to get a transparency scanner.

However, if you only expect to print a handful, consider a transparency adapter to your current flatbed scanner. If you use pictures for your business, for example, you are a professional photographer and print the photos for your client, you may want to invest in a drum printer.

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They offer the best resolution possible to make professional, beautiful pictures. The best photo scanner for Mac and PC may not be the same product, so make sure you know what type of computer you have before you buy.

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  6. However, if you have a Mac , finding a device that works with your computer may prove challenging. You may even need to take some extra steps to ensure it actually works. Make sure to see if the device is compatible with your computer, and if you have to do anything special to connect it.


    There is no single best photo scanner out there. The best one for you may not be the best one for someone else. It all depends on your needs. On the other hand, if you are a business, consider a transparency printer if you print large transparencies or a drum printer for the highest quality possible. This can be done with a conventional flatbed scanner that has the option to scan negs and slides, and includes the required holders. Alternatively, there are dedicated film scanners.

    Cheaper options can scan incredibly quickly but at the expense of image quality, while high-end models take their time but reward you with stunning clarity, resolving every single film grain in your original photo. Here we've selected film scanners that'll suit most budgets. All will scan 35mm color and black and white negatives, as well as 35mm slide positives.

    The flatbed scanners can also scan medium format film, while others are capable of digitizing 8mm film. So what's the best film scanner?

    Option 1: Scanning Old Photos at Home

    Right now, we think it's the OpticFilm from film scanning experts Plustek: it extracts phenomenal levels of detail from your film, is backed up by excellent included scanning software, and it's sensibly priced. We love it. If you're after something that'll scan multiple film frames automatically, and has the versatility to scan photo prints and documents, Epson's V Photo flatbed scanner is a great choice.

    This is baby of the OpticFilm range, yet it still boasts a respectable 7,dpi maximum scanning resolution. This does however mean the is no speed demon. Even without messing with the settings, and scanning at 3,dpi, the is in a league of its own for scan quality, extracting bags of detail from our 35mm negs and transparencies. It also lets you scan the entire film frame with no overzealous cropping. The did struggle to reveal every detail in the shadow areas of our high-contrast 35mm slide positive, but this is our only nitpick.

    Flatbed scanners are traditionally thought of as a more versatile but less finessed alternative to a dedicated film scanner. However our experience with the V was very positive. Scanning resolution can go as high as a whopping 12,dpi, but we found 3,dpi more than enough for our test film stocks, producing a digitized image equivalent to around You might imagine that laying out up to a dozen 35mm film frames over the flatbed would result in fast scanning, but the V Photo still scans each frame individually - albeit automatically - and takes around one minute per frame at 3,dpi.

    Scanning with Digital ICE automatic dust and scratch removal enabled only adds around 20 seconds per frame.

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    Results are superior to the Plustek OpticFilm dedicated film scanner, with noticeably more detail, plus better default colour and contrast. It also crops slightly more of each frame, though nothing too severe. Its eye-opening price tag is a result of a dedicated scanning lens designed especially for film, and it being bundled with not one but two sets of film holders.

    The the 35mm film strip and 35mm slide holders are an appreciable step up in quality from those included with the V Photo.

    The 3 Best Ways to Digitize Old Photos (And Why You Should)

    The scanner itself is also an absolute beast and feels like a premium product. The problem with most dedicated film scanners is you have to stick around to manually load each frame of film to be scanned. The beauty of the OpticFilm is its motorised film transport automatically advances a strip of six 35mm film frames or four 35mm slides through the scanner. The process is complete in just 3 minutes 20 seconds when scanning negs at 3,dpi, though unlike the cheaper OpticFilm , this is the highest resolution available.