I have to go searching through many years of paper documents and it occurs to me that this might be a good time to digitize these old records, so I’m looking for a good quality, but inexpensive scanner.
Naturally, I want to get as much for my money as possible, so I would like the scanner to be able to scan photos and maybe even 35 millimeter slides.
Because I have so many pages to scan, speed is important, but I will need to be able to read the output. (i.e., I can’t sacrifice too much quality in the name of speed.)
I searched the forums back to last August but I’d like my information to be as up to date as possible.
So, if you have recommendations, please suggest a scanner that:
is around $100;
can handle individual pages, magazines, or books;
has a reasonable throughput speed;
can do a reasonable job with photos and maybe slides;
works with Windows 7 and 8;
isn’t overly complicated, requiring most of my hard disk just for its own software and no one else in the family would ever be able to fiure out.
I’m going to assume that almost everything outputs to .PDF and that should suffice for my needs. Please inform me if this is a bad idea.
I’ve not had to work with scanners before and I’m trying to shortcut the learning curve. If you can’t suggest a model, please feel free to tell me what specifications I should concentrate on.
I put this in IMHO because it seems like an opinion rather than a general question.
Scanners are abundant on Craigslist and often very cheap. However, the best way to scan hundreds of documents is a scanner with an automatic document feeder. those are fairly rare, but show up a few times monthly in major markets. When you see one, search for reviews… Usually good reviews are at pcmag.com or the buyer reviews on Amazon.
Scanners with transparency adapters (for film and slides) are common on Craigslist and will handle all your needs. The big names – and decent products – are Epson, Canon, and H P. The preferred models are the newer mid to high level Canons and Epsons that include automated dust and scratch removal. I’ve got an Epson 4490 with Digital Ice scratch removal. Newer models like the v500 cost more than $100 new and aren’t common used.
The Canons in the 8800f, 9000f, etc. line also have dust removal and are equal to the Epsons.
It’s most useful on film and slides where a small bit of dust can obscure a lot of image. For a long time Digital ICE charged scanner makers a hefty fee to license the technology so it only showed up on high level film scanners. I’ve probably misremembered the details, but I think it uses multiple passes of the scanner at slightly different angles to determine what is the film emulsion, and what is dust or a scratch.
I’m scanning right now! I have an Epson Perfection V600. It does a great job with photos and a good job with negatives and slides.
Digital ICE does a second scan using an IR scanner. It is like magic in how it gets rid of the dust and scratches on negatives. Doesn’t work for black and white negatives, though – the silver particles show up as dust, so dark areas end up being completely blacked out. Also, it’s slows down the scanning a lot. If you buy a film scanner, watch out for Newton Rings. I have to scan my negatives upside down to avoid them.
For throughput, it can scan 8 negatives in about 30 minutes with Digital ICE on – maybe half that or less without it. Scanning prints and documents is much, much faster – you can fill the scanner with pictures and scan them all at once, creating individual pictures. It’s about a minute per picture, maybe less.
For documents, though, you might want a feeder, which this doesn’t have. I don’t know that you’ll find a scanner with a feeder that also handles negatives and slides – feeder scanners are usually more for an office environment.
Unfortunately, it’s more expensive than what the OP was looking for – maybe $260?
Do you have a smartphone with a decent camera? If so it’s worth trying that out as a way of quickly digitizing documents. Just sit your papers on a table near a large window, hold your phone above it, and snap away. There are “scanner” apps that will automatically crop the edges for you, if that’s important.
It’s not going to make archival quality copies, but if you just want readable copies of old documents then it’s fast and cheap.
Certainly a high quality standalone scanner will probably be better built than the scanner atop a MFD, but your price point suggests you are in the market for a fairly standard consumer grade scanner.
They’re about the same quality in my experience. You lose the flexibility of replacing either function independent of the other, but you gain functions such as quick and was photocopying, host-free scanning to email or file shares, etc
I like having OCR (optical character recognition) capabilities. Not for every document, but for certain things; a receipt I wouldn’t OCR, but a contract I might. It’s the difference between having a ‘picture’ of a document & having a document that is searchable & you can copy text from, if necessary.
Old Canon Lide 100: very small, but uses lamps that need to warm up and using Apple’s Image Capture the scans are gray and the image size on disk is too large.
Epson V370: works well for documents with Epson’s software for the Mac, does slides and negatives pretty well for the price, but it has no dust removal, which is a problem, and it’s relatively slow.
Canon PIXMA MG7550 integrated printer/scanner: I really only needed the printer, but the scanner is also nice, because Canon’s software can do OCR, you can scan (and print) over the network rather than USB and you can initiate scans from the scanner’s touch screen, which is faster because you can start replacing documents while the scan is still being processed. I like the Epson software much better, though.
But the killer feature of scanner/printer combos is copying. Yes, you can scan on a scanner and then print to a printer, but this requires a whole bunch of settings and stuff, while on the combo you just press “copy” and that’s it!