The best photo scanners will convert your favorite printed photos to digital. While there’s something magical about opening an old photo album and going through your physical photos, scanning those hidden away in dusty boxes can be a great way to rekindle your precious memories.
It’s always a good idea to have a digital backup of your irreplaceable photos, after all. Making them digital means it’s easier to share your memories – that is, photos of you in your 1980s outfit – with friends and family. It also makes it easy to share on social media, if you want. You can store the digital files on your computer or hard drive and access them when you want to reprint larger photos or create a photo book as well.
Want to start scanning? We’ve rounded up the best photo scanners for 2022 here. We’ve also included the photographer’s top tips Richard Sibley on the best ways to organize and store your digital photos so they’re easy to access whenever you want.
Read reviews online and you’ll hear nothing but good things about the Epson FastFoto FF-680W. It has a large loading tray that allows you to scan a batch of photos together. It has an automatic document feeder and works much like a printer – just place the photos in the feeder and let the scanner do its magic. It also takes different photo sizes ranging from 9 x 13 cm to 21 x 91 cm.
Speed is key on a model like this as it has the power to scan up to 30 images in 30 seconds, all in excellent quality. The scanner has the ability to enhance your photos to improve color and contrast, and can also automatically crop and rotate images. They can then be automatically saved to storage platforms such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
An exceptionally stylish flatbed scanner, the Canon LiDE 400 is remarkably sleek in design. It gives you the choice of scanning flat or upright and is priced excellently for its impressive performance.
It stands 3.9cm tall and weighs just 1.7kg and has a single USB Type-C powered connection. This means it’s easy to fit on the desk worktop, but also compact enough to store away when not needed.
It can scan photos in just eight seconds, but can also pick up thicker documents and objects such as books. It incorporates dust and scratch reduction technology to keep your digital photos as sharp and vibrant as possible.
Another great option from Epson, this Perfection V600 photo scanner lets you scan both printed photos and negatives. This is an ideal solution if you have a box full of negatives and have lost all the actual photos. You can quickly scan negatives and easily create digital files of your shots.
It includes film holders to hold all sizes and formats, including 35mm film strips, mounted slides and medium format panoramic film, in place while you scan. Scanning detail is also impressive as it captures details in 6400 dpi optical resolution. It also features Digital Ice technologies to remove dust and scratches from your photos and movies to give you the best digital picture.
The ePhoto scanner is a sheet-fed scanner and has a wedge-shaped design that’s small enough to sit perfectly on your desk. It’s designed to support standard photo sizes including 3×5, 4×6, 5×7 and 8×10, but can also scan on letter and A4 size paper.
It doesn’t have an automatic document feeder, so you’ll have to load each photo yourself. However, its performance is reasonably fast, scanning a 4×6 photo in just two seconds and an 8×10 in just five seconds.
It works with both your Mac and PC and comes with a USB cable to connect to your computer. Once you have downloaded the ePhoto software and started scanning, the images will appear on your computer screen. You can then click on the image and make basic edits that allow you to enhance and restore old faded images and change the resolution of your digital files.
The HP Envy Inspire 7220e is primarily a wireless color printer, but it can also scan and copy documents and photos. Its speed is impressive enough since it can print 15 pages per minute in black and 10 pages per minute in color. It’s also good value for money as it comes with six months of ink built into the price.
Using the HP Smart app, you can use wireless features and print, scan and copy using your smartphone as control, wherever you are. At 19cm high and 46cm wide, it’s much bulkier than your standard flatbed scanner, but it has a good scanning range of 215.9 x 297mm. Thanks to its contact sensor technology, it can scan your photos with a decent resolution of up to 1200 dpi and also enlarge images up to 400%.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST PHOTO SCANNER
Consider this when choosing which scanner to buy:
1. Photo scanner or all-in-one printer? You can find a multitude of photo scanners and all-in-one printers on the market – the latter being able to both scan and print photos and documents. If you plan to scan a lot of photos, a dedicated photo scanner will be the best option for digitizing your collection, both in terms of quality and functionality.
2. Speed: Scanning photos into digital format can be a laborious task if you have hundreds to sift through. That’s why it pays to have a fast and efficient scanner on hand, so check the scanner to see how long it will scan each photo. Also check if it has a manual or automatic photo scanning feature.
3. Resolution: The higher the resolution, the more detail the scanner will see. “I would suggest at least 3200 dpi and maybe more if you’re considering a printer to also scan negatives,” says photographer Richard Sibley.
4. Scanning negatives: The majority of the photo scanners we’ve included in our roundup focus on scanning printed photos, but some models also scan negatives and transparencies. “Some flatbed scanners come with mounts to scan standard 35mm negatives or even larger format slides,” says Richard. “A dedicated negative scanner will give the best results for negatives, but they can be slow to scan and you need to be very careful to keep dust at bay or it will show up on scanned images.”
HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS
When you have hundreds or more likely thousands of photos, it’s essential to organize them all to find an image when you need it. Here, photographer Richard Sibley offers tips for keeping your image collection under control:
1. Shop all images under “My Photo” or similar. You don’t want to have to search through “My Documents”, “Desktop” or “Downloads” to find the image you need. Although both Windows and Apple computers have photo organizing software, good organization starts with boring files and folders.
2. In the Folder “My photos”, create subfolders for event types. Create folders called “Birthdays”, “Holidays”, “Holidays” – whatever you need. Add another folder with a person’s name or location in these subfolders. Finally, add another folder for the year and put all the photos there – For example, ‘My Photos>Birthdays>John>2017’ – then put all of John’s birthday photos from 2017 there. sound a bit difficult, but now you will be able to quickly find all images from vacations, different places or even photos taken in specific years.
3. Use facial recognition to make it easier to find photos – especially with specific people. Facial recognition will look for faces in an image and let you tag them with a name. It will learn the person’s face and even suggest other images it thinks that person is in.
4. Some image recognition is so good that it can also automatically detect objects in images. To see this in action, use the Photos app on your phone to search for “sunset”, “dress” or even “coffee” and watch it sift through thousands of images to find relevant images.
5. Save your images! Computer failure, hard drives fail! Now you have all your photos in one folder, back up that folder to an external drive or use an online service like Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud.