It Can Always Be Better

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ask The Retoucher #50 - Scanner Shopping


In this show, Eric of Photo Grafix responds to a viewer’s question about how to choose a scanner. Eric gives some scanner recommendations and shows you how to shop online to compare prices, features and specifications.

1.              Go to the Photo Grafix University Store Software and Hardware section and scroll down the page to section named “Recommended Scanners.”

2.              For flatbed scanners, I recommend Epson brand. They are affordable, yet high-quality and the software is easy to use. Most of the scanners can handle OCR, 35 mm slide and negative scanning, as well as prints and documents.

3.              If you need a portable scanner, click on the V300 and follow along to check specifications and pricing.

4.              The link will bring you to a page that compares pricing of all the V300 scanners.  Clicking on the price will bring you to a page that also desribes the features and specification of the V300.

a.     Optical resolution: 4800 dpi is good choice and will handle 35 mm slides or small negatives at 1200 dpi.  For prints, 300 dpi is adequate in most cases.
b.     Color Bit:  48-bit.
c.      Maximum scan area:  8.5 x 11.7.  Would prefer to have a bed that can handle legal size scan area, but this could limit portability and affect price.
d.     35mm transparency adapter.
e.     6 negative and 4-slide capacity.
f.      Hi-Speed USB interface.

5.              Go back to Software and Hardware and check out another model.
a.     Optical resolution: 6400 dpi, will scan small negatives at 1600 dpi.
b.     Also handles Medium format film, which is twice the size of a 35 mm frame
c.      Digital ICE, which aids in scanning small negatives and slides, and helps to minimize scratches and dust when you blow up these slides.
d.     LED technology uses less power, has no mercury (much better for your health).

When you are researching a scanner, the most important feature to look for is the optical resolution.  Divide it by 4 and that will tell you what is the highest resolution you can actually use to scan.

Additional Hint: Make sure you create redundant backups and archives for your scans and photos. More information on archiving your work can be found in Digital Photo Restoration Book II.

—Edited by Judy Bond for Photo Grafix University

Please send your questions and problem photos, your location—and genealogical society affiliation if appropriate—to Eric for future "Ask The Retoucher" columns. Visit Photo Grafix online for more information.

Eric runs Photo Grafix, a humble photo-retouching studio in Evanston, Illinois (USA), making photo illustrations and improving photos for hundreds of people and companies worldwide. If he doesn't know the answer, he won't rest until he finds it. Eric Basir is at your service: With each "Ask The Retoucher" article, he'll help you successfully tackle your digital photographic problems. 

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