Both photo buffs and family archivists often turn to flatbed scanners to digitize photographs, slides and negatives. Many of the newer model photo scanners provide some helpful additional features such as the ability to scan non-print formats such as slides and negatives with or without the help of an adapter. Many of these scanners also include bundled photo editing software to help retouch scans and remove scratches. Here’s a short list of the 5 best we’ve seen from 2013, courtesy of pcmag.com
1. Canon CanoScan 5600F
Any flatbed scanner is technically suitable for all-purpose scanning, since you can scan anything on it. But some are clearly targeted more for some uses than others. A case in point is the Canon CanoScan 5600F ($149.99 direct), which focuses on photos, and does its job well enough to deliver relatively high-quality scans for both photographic prints and film. Not many scanners manage both kinds of scans well, particularly at the 5600F’s price. That by itself is enough to make the scanner stand out—especially if you’re on a tight budget.
2. Canon Pixma MG8220 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-in-One
There are at least two contexts for judging the Canon Pixma MG8220 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-in-One ($299.99 direct). First, as big brother to the Canon Pixma MG6220 ($199.99 direct, 4 stars) that I recently reviewed, it offers essentially identical capabilities except that it adds the ability to scan 35mm slides and strips of film. Second, it’s Canon’s latest high-end home photo lab, meaning that it can print high-quality photos from so many different sources that you can reasonably use it just for photos without ever connecting to a computer. Either way, it’s impressive enough to be the new Editors’ Choice for high-end photocentric MFP.
3. Epson Perfection V300 Photo
Scanner technology tends to improve over time, benefiting consumers mostly through lowering the cost for a given level of capability. The Epson Perfection V300 Photo scanner ($99.99 direct, which includes a one-year parts-and-labor warranty) is a case in point. Coming a year after the now discontinued V350 Photo scanner, it is $50 cheaper and can run rings around the V350 in performance, particularly for scanning transparencies.
4. Epson Perfection V500 Photo
Epson has knocked one out of the park with this scanner. It offers high-quality scans for both prints and film and features an LED light source that eliminates warm-up time. Like almost any flatbed scanner, the V500 can handle all-purpose scanning, but it’s focused on photos. This makes it most appropriate for anyone (short of a professional photographer) who needs to scan a backlog of prints and film (including slides) to digital format.
5. Canon CanoScan LiDE 210 Color Image Scanner
Unlike most flatbed scanners meant primarily for photos, these LiDE scanners do not include any ability at all to scan film (meaning slides and strips of film). The advantage, quite simply, is that it keeps costs down, so if you don’t have any interest in scanning film, you don’t have to pay for a feature you don’t need.