What do I look for in a good but cheap scanner?

It’s for work, and I really have no idea even where to start. Generally we’ll be scanning in pictures & logos from companies that can’t be arsed to put their stuff in an e-mailable format.

Pixels? Scan rate? I don’t know much about scanners. I think I am looking for less than $300. Ideas?

Unless you’ve got non-flexible paper stock you need to scan most people are moving towards instant PDF desktop scanners. This is the one we use and it’s the bomb. HUGE time saver and quality is top notch.

If you’re just looking for a desktop scanner you can pick up almost used (but often in near new condition) USB and SCSI scanners for almost nothing in thrifts and on Eba.

An excellent tool there, the ScanSnap, but it is a very specialized tool that does one thing very well and others poorly (I say this as I gaze at my ScanSnap S510M, the centerpiece of my paperless life).

I still keep my old Canon LiDE scanner for things that don’t fit in the ScanSnap and things that need a more accurate scan.
Specifically, the ScanSnap is not meant for photos. It is designed to scan in thick stacks of paper quickly and convert them to PDF. It does not feed paper accurately enough to get a perfectly distortion-free scan of a photograph (or logo).

I would also question whether it has the same color quality as a scanner designed for photos.

Get a cheap flat-bed scanner that does the following:
o Fast
o Cheap
o USB powered is nice (no extra wires)
o Can scan to PDF if needed
o Film adapter if needed

I looked up scanners on Consumer Reports and in Dec 2007 they rated two Canon scanners as top of the game:
The CanoScan 8600F—apparently no longer made, but the CanoScan 8800F is available.
The CanoScan 4400F, probably not available anymore.

I would say that you can probably buy that 8800F sight unseen and be good to go. (it’s close to $200; you can probably get a much cheaper scanner that will be just fine, but this one is likely going to be able to do whatever you want to do—except for scan huge stacks of paper, which the ScanSnap is for).