It seems mobile scanners are becoming more and more popular. This one, from Pandigital, who also make digital picture frames, is a new portable scanner designed for quickly digitizing analog photo prints of wallet size up to 8 /12 X 11”. It works for both color and black and white. The resolution of 600 dpi is good enough to capture crisp, sharp images.
Most people will want to use the Pandigital Photolink for scanning and archiving old family snapshots and portraits. Why not just use a flatbed scanner? Well, that’s fine for two or three photos, but after you lift the lid a few times, place the picture, then crop it and size it in Photoshop, you’ll look the boxes of family photos in the closet and give up the whole idea.
With the Pandigital scanner, you just feed the pictures into the slot, wait 10 seconds or so, then feed in the next picture. Also, you don’t need it to be hooked up to a computer, the images are saved to an internal flash memory card, which means you can take the Pandigital over to your grandparents’ or aunts’ house and scan in all their photos, too.
The best price on the Pandigital Photolink One-Touch PANSCN06 right now is at Amazon, where it is up to 33% off list price, plus free shipping. That puts it at just under the 100$ mark. Click here to take advantage of this great deal.
A few of the Photolink’s features:
- Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Dimensions: 11.2 x 2.3 x 8.4 inches
- Memory Card formats: SD, XD, MS, MS Pro, and MMC memory cards
- File Format: JPG
- Connectivity: USB 2.0
- Resolution: 300 dpi (default) , 600 dpi
- Power Source: AC adapter
- Scanning Speed: approx 10 seconds for 4 X 6” photo at 300 dpi
The main complaint I have with this scanner is the lack of either battery or USB power. Considering the fact that it is meant to be portable, having to carry along an AC adapter brick and find an outlet to plug it into seems a bit of a letdown. If mobility is your prime concern, then go with the Vuepoint Magic Wand scanner, which runs on 2 AA batteries. (see our review here)
Resolution may also be an issue- if you need to captures to be top resolution, museum quality archival files, then you will need to sacrifice portability and go with a high quality flatbed scanner like the Epson Perfection V600. (our review here)
Here is what one owner had to say about the Pandigital Photolink:
A very nice compact scanner. Exactly what I was looking for to scan pre-digital camera pictures onto my computer. It does a very nice job on my 40 to 60 year old 2″ by 3″ pictures. It is a pleasure to view them full screen on the computer. They are much clearer and larger than the original photos, not to mention the ease of accessing photos on a computer vs. muddling through numerous photo albums.The scanner is easy to use and 100 times faster than the my computer printer/scanner. –JP. Abridged for space. click here to read full review
The Epson Perfection V600 photo scanner does an outstanding job of scanning both slides and film, right up there with the Canoscan 9000F, among scanners targeted to the advanced amateur/semi-pro photographer category. The difference between the V600 and the V500 is that this scanner does a better job of handling medium format film. Note to Lomography and Holga camera fans: if you will be scanning any 645 or 6×7 (also known as 120/240) negatives, this is the scanner to get, as the included plastic adapter templates will allow you to scan twice as many negatives at once.
The other difference from the V500 is that the Digital ICE correction software works on slides and film, i.e. transparency media, as well as on reflective media (papers, books, etc.). Epson is second to none in driver support for their line of scanners, also, so whether you use the latest Mac OS or Windows 7, they have you covered.
With optical resolution of 6400 X 9600dpi, Dmax 3.4, and 48-bit color, it does a superb job of delivering crisp clean scans of slides and black and white negatives. This compares to the Canoscan 9000F’s resolution of 9600 X 9600dpi. What do these figures mean?
Resolution and Sharpness
Resolution measures the amount of information captured, and relates to the ability of an image to be enlarged. When you see a scanner advertised as having resolution of 1200 X 1200, for example, the first number represents the horizontal pixels captured by the scanners CCD sensors as they move across the image. The second number is the vertical scanning rate, as determined by the speed the stepper motor moves the sensors vertically, and does not really relate to the image quality.
To make matters more complicated, the actual sharpness of the image quality captured depends primarily on the quality of the optics the scanner’s lens is constructed of, as well as the intensity of the light source. The resolution affects more the ability to enlarge images, and the higher the resolution, the larger the image can be enlarged without sacrificing fine detail. A 3,200 dpi scan from a 35mm color negative, with Digital Ice could be printed at 11” X 13” and look at least as good as the same size print produced by a photo lab.
Getting back to the Epson Perfection V600, here are some of it’s great Features-
- 6400 x 9600 dpi resolution enables creation of enlargements from film — enlarges up to 17″ x 22″
- built-in Transparency Unit for scanning slides, negatives and medium–format film
- Includes Digital ICE® for Film and Prints to remove tears, fold lines, dirt, dust and scratches
- Includes ABBYY® FineReader® Sprint Plus OCR for converting scanned documents into editable text
- four customizable buttons for Quick completion of common tasks — scan, copy, scan-to-email and create PDFs instantly
- Energy Star compliant
- ReadyScan LED light source eliminates warmup times for faster scans and lower power consumption
- Includes Adobe Photoshop Elements, for editing and enhancing digital images
- Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity
- TWAIN compliant
- Weight: 9.0 lb, Dimensions: 11″ x 19″ x 4.6″
The included Epson Scan software has 4 levels of user involvedness. From Full Auto Mode for the ‘Point and Shoot’ type user, to Professional Mode for a more advanced user. If you will be using this scanner to scan color negatives, you may want to download and use Hamrick Software’s VueScan, rather than the included Epson software. VueScan has a wider range of film emulsion profile settings that can give more accurate color balance to your scans, as well as many other helpful functions such as calibration of targets.
What comes included/in the box?
- V600 scanner
- Transparency unit (built into lid)
- Film holders for: 35mm film and mounted slides & 6 x 22 cm medium-format film
- Scanner software CD-Rom
- Adobe Photoshop Elements DVD
- Start guide poster
- Hi-Speed USB 2.0 cable
- AC adapter and power cable
Here is one owner’s comments on the Epson Perfection V600:
I am very happy with the 35mm slide scans I am getting with the Full Auto Mode and 300 dpi setting. It is more than adequate for my needs to digitize my slide collection. It is very easy to load and scan slides. You lay a template on the bed which has guides to get it in the right place and drop up to 4 slides in the open squares in the guide. It takes about 2.6 minutes to scan 4 slides with the settings above. Yes it will take time to scan a lot of slides, but I am willing to take the time because of the results. -S. Hamilton Excepted for size- Click Here to read original review
One of the big problems with finding the best slide scanner is that there are so many options available to choose from. There are dozens of different slide scanners on the market from pretty much every company that makes consumer electronics. They come in a wide, wide variety of prices with an even wider array of options.
This is compounded by the fact that what might be the best dedicated slide scanner for me may not necessarily be the best slide scanner for you. You might need to scan in an entire archive of slides and negatives that need to be crystal clear, while I just want a scanner that will allow me to put in a few of my my old vacation pictures.
What would be right for me wouldn’t even come close to being enough for you, and what would be perfect for you would be way too much machine and money for what I need. This makes sorting through reviews of slide scanners tricky, because reviews are going to vary depending on what the reviewer needed.
Having said all that, we decided to try and find out who makes the best slide scanner on the market, so we reviewed ten of the most popular models on the market. We chose from a variety of prices, from inexpensive to high end, so that no matter what you’re going to use your scanner for, you should be covered.
VuPoint Solutions Digital Film and Slide Converter
This was the least expensive of the scanners that we reviewed, so we weren’t expecting a lot from it; if it scanned the pictures in reasonably well, we’d be happy. Fortunately, it turned out to be a handy little machine.
Since it is such an inexpensive piece of machinery, (Click here for latest price) it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. You need to set the resolution and picture type with each batch, and you can only scan three pictures at a time. Within those limitations, though, the thing works more or less automatically, which makes it great for people who don’t like to monkey with technology.
One thing that we did like is that this scanner doesn’t require you to be hooked up to a computer. You can slide in a memory card and move it where you want, which is really handy when you need to scan a lot of slides. If this isn’t the best slide scanner for the money, it’s very, very close.
Pacific Image Memor-ease PLUS 35mm Film & Slide Converter
The Memor-ease is a little more expensive than the VuPoint, and as such it has a few more options that make it a little easier to use. One of the biggest differences is that it has dust and scratch removal technology built in, which is good for the casual user or for people who have older slides and negatives that have taken a beating.
This little device is also a very fast scanner, which we liked. The downside is that in terms of picture quality, this definitely isn’t the best slide scanner. For many people, it’ll be perfectly fine, but anybody who is into photography is going to find it wanting.
Plustek Opticfilm 7500 or 7600
This scanner is getting into the mid range of prices, so it’s probably better suited for people with an interest in photography or small business owners who need to extra quality for their photos. Not surprisingly, the big attraction with this is the fairly ridiculous resolution it gives you; up to 7200 dpi.
With that kind of resolution, the picture quality and color replication are about as excellent as you’d expect, and the images are reproduced with startling fidelity. The Plustek is also pretty close to being an automatic system, and it gives you a wide array of choices when it comes to colors, file formats and everything else you’d need for scanning in your slides.
The two models are similar, with the difference between the 7500 and the 7600 is that the Plustek 7600 uses instant-on LED light while the 7500 uses cold cathode lamps that have to warm up when first powered on. All in all, we’d say this was the best slide scanner in its price range.
Nikon LS 2000 Slide Scanner
Nikon is a big player in the camera world, so it’s no surprise at all that they also make slide scanners. The Nikon LS 2000 is their higher end scanner model and the best slide scanner they make for the price.
One of the big draws with the Nikon 2000 is that it uses the Digital ICE technology to remove scratches and smudges. If you’re scanning in old slides or negatives, you’re going to find that a big plus.
Picture wise, the scanner reproduces images and colors pretty much flawlessly, and the pictures look great. It gives you a full range of options in terms file formats, color options, and even allows you to do some editing.
This is a high end machine that’s primarily designed for people that are serious about their photography. If you’re just a casual user, there’s probably more machine here than you need, but it does everything you could ever want it to do. If you would like more information about the Nikon LS 2000 scanner, get further details, customer comments and latest special price on this page at Amazon
Braun Multimag Slide Scanner 4000
If you’ve got a bunch of slides that you need scanned in a high quality format, this is the best slide scanner we’ve found. It’s expensive, but the magazine will hold up to a hundred slides and scan them without much input from you.
It also comes equipped with the Digital ICE (Digital Image Correction and Enhancement) package to get rid of scratches and smudges, as well as automatic color restoration. ICE’s technology works from within the scanner, so unlike the software-only solutions it does not alter any underlying details of the image.
This machine is really, really useful for restoring large batches of old slides, and it’s surprisingly user friendly.
The best slide scanner, in terms of balancing price with function, is the Plustek Opticfilm. For 99.99% of people that need a scanner, it will do everything they want and more, and the price is within reach for almost everyone that might need a slide scanner. It is available on Amazon with savings up to 48% off list retail price. Click here for more details
The overall best slide scanner has to be the Braun Multimag Slide Scanner 4000, which is professional quality, high end machine, and it shows. If you need something that powerful, this is the slide scanner that will do pretty much anything you want. The Nikon Super Coolscan 5000, a slide and negative scanner, should also be considered. (See our review here) Though it has been discontinued, it is still available in some locations in limited quantities.
slide image coutesy of Okko Pyykkö, Creative Commons
The Super Coolscan 5000 ED is a high end film scanner that offers high-quality scanning of 35mm slides, 35mm film strips, APS film (with optional IX240 film adapter), and prepared slides (with optional medical slide holder). It is one of the only high-end dedicated film scanners for 35mm still available. Although it was recently discontinued, it is in stock in some outlets, but quantities are limited.
Scan times are as fast as 20 seconds including image transfer to display, and as fast as 11 seconds in preview mode. Nikon’s own LED illumination technology ensures accurate color separation with no warm-up time or risk of heat damage. PC and Mac compatible with USB interface.
Limited quantities of the Nikon Coolscan 5000 are currently available on Amazon for a savings of over 12% off retail price. Click here to take advantage of this great price
If you are skeptical that a scanner can ever reproduce what you shot on high quality slide film, try the Super CoolScan 5000. With the proper settings, your scans will actually digitally represent what you recorded on your slides phot-chemically.
Just some of the features of this high end scanner:
- 4,000 dpi optical resolution, 4.8 density
- 16-bit A/D conversion, 8 or 16-bit output
- Preview scans in 11 seconds, full scans as fast as 20 seconds
- Digital ICE4 Advanced suite of image correction technologies
- USB interface, PC and Mac compatible
Scans are smooth and gorgeous, color accuracy, provided your monitor is correctly calibrated, is unrivalled, and the updated ICE4 including DEE is a dream come true.
Here is what one owner has to say about their Nikon Coolscan 5000-
“My mother passed away recently and I wanted to go through my father’s 20,000 slides and scan the best ones before they, as many before them, disappeared into the hands of one of my 7 other siblings never to be found again. The scanner is fast and does produce wonderful wonderful detailed scans, easily demonstrating the grain in the transparancies at 3000 and 4000 dpi. The Kodachrome slides were a challenge to the Dynamic Range of the scanner, but I believe that most of the detail in the shadows that is there was extracted.” (JanSobieski) Excerpted for size- Click Here to read the Original Review and Others
The Canoscan 8800F features a simple, streamlined design, including seven simple buttons you use to scan, copy, create emails and multi-page PDFs, and automatically scan with an incredible color resolution–up to 4800 by 9600 dpi. The USB 2.0 interface makes scanning and image transfers faster than ever.
The CanoScan 8800F is able to simultaneously scan up to four slides or twelve 35-millimeter frames, using either positives or negatives. This flatbed, color, and monochrome scanner is compatible with Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Mac OSX 10.2.8 through 10.4.x
These Canoscan 8800Fs are available on Amazon for a savings of over 19% off retail price. Click this link to take advantage of this huge discount!
Being able to preview each slide and adjust the different setttings to improve the quality is one way to go, but it is also easy to establish default settings that work well for most slides.
Some of the great features of this scanner are:
- Color film/negative/photo scanner featuring high-luminance white LED lamps
- Batch-scan up to 4 slides or 12 35mm frames
- Digitally remove dust, scratches, and other imperfections from old/precious photos
- Scan, copy, create emails and multi-paged PDFs
- 1-year limited warranty
The Canon 8800F has a detachable shield in the lid that houses a secondary lighting unit for scanning transparent materials. Canon also includes 3 different “film guide mounts” to ensure accurate scanning for these less conventional formats. While it can take up to 2 minutes to fully scan 4 slides, the resolution of the resulting images is extremely good.
Here is what one owner had to say about the Canoscan 8800F-
It’s sleek and light and – as far as photos go – it’s fairly easy to figure out. One snowy day in January, I sat down with the scanner and did my 100 slides (high resolution) and was very pleased with the quality of the finished product, and above all – the TIME. Even high resolution photos scan amazingly fast and – praise be to the heavens above – there is NO LAMP to warm up.” (Rosemary Thornton, “Author, Montgomery Ward’s Mail Order Homes”) Excepted for size- Click Here to read original review