Archiving your old photos with a scanner is the best way to preserve them forever.
You need one of the best scanners for archiving photos that can not only transform all these pictures in to a digital form but can do justice to your old photographs in terms of fidelity as well.
It needs to be efficient enough to transfer true to life image of your past.
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Archiving Old Photos with a Scanner
If you have a lot of albums hidden in your attic, its probably time you give them a digital life. Archiving photos with scanner will:
- Create digital files of them.
- You can perform some touchups to improve their quality.
- Photos are easy to share.
- They are easy to access from anywhere in the world.
- You can easily find a particular photo out of hundreds of files if you have archived it properly.
Comparison Table of Top Scanners for Archiving Photos
|Epson FF-680W||1200||Yes||Yes||High - 1 photo/second||USB, WiFi||See details|
|Plustek Z300||600||No||No||2 seconds (4x6 photo)||USB||See details|
|Epson V370||4800||No||No||11 sec (A4 300dpi)||USB||See details|
|HP 2500 f1||1200||Yes||Yes||High - 20 ppm/40 ipm||USB||See details|
|Epson V800||6400||No||No||High - 12.3 msec / line||USB||See details|
How to Archive Photos with a Scanner
Archiving photos with a good scanner is very easy and convenient. The part of archiving can be divided between some simple steps.
- Select the Storing Destination: Some scanners allow you to save the photos to any local destinations or any cloud service as well. So it is up to you which storage you choose.
- Scanning photos: The scanning part becomes easy with any good scanner. Remove the dust from your pictures and scan them to create a digital file of them.
- Choose the file type and resolution: if you are archiving photos 600 dpi to TiFF format is a good idea. 600 dpi is enough to transfer true to life image. If you opt for a lower resolution the photos will still look good but lose quality if you ever plan to create enlargements later.
- Naming files and adding details. Name each file so you can easily find them later. You can also add details like little notes about photos’ whereabouts.
- Add Tags: Tagging photos with persons, occasions, or years make them easily available. You can retrieve any picture within seconds without any hassle.
List of Best Scanners for Archiving Photos in 2020
- Epson FastFoto FF-680W – High Speed Photo Scanner
- Plustek Ephoto Z300 – Budget Manual Sheetfed Scanner
- Epson Perfection V370 – Budget Flatbed Scanner for Photos and Negatives
- HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 – Flatbed with ADF
- Epson Perfection V800 – Professional / Studio Level Photo Scanning
1. Epson FastFoto FF-680W – High Speed Photo Scanner
The scanner can scan thousands of photos in an evening. It can scan a photo in one second. Now that’s a lot faster than most of the scanners offer.
While there are plenty of high speed scanners out there, none are designed specifically for photo scanning as this. This particular model is expensive, but it has safety features that can prevent your photos from getting damaged.
Another great feature of Epson FF-680W is its editing and organizing tools. You can restore some faded colors and organize them, especially for archiving.
It has an Automatic document feeder that can scan a stack of photos in a very convenient way. The scanner comes with a wireless connectivity option that is convenient as you can work from anywhere.
Epson FF680 offers a choice when it comes to scanning photos. You can choose 600 dpi for archiving but if you want to reduce the resolution to save some space or for online sharing, you can opt for 300 dpi as well.
The scanner offers a single-step technology that automatically captures both sides of the photo. Old pictures often have handwritten notes or dates that are no less precious than the photo itself.
The scanner can be used for multiple tasks and can cater your document scanning needs as well.
As for the price, it is a little pricey, but if you need a quality scanner for scanning an attic full of photos, then this is an excellent machine to have. You can’t expect the same results from a cheap scanner especially in terms of speed.
However, the scanner can cause some problems when dealing with very old square formats that were popular in 40s and 60s. The scanner can also get jammed when dealing with some badly curled pictures.
However, worry not, since as mentioned earlier, it has fail safe and safety mechanisms which prevent any damage to occur on your precious photos.
Read more: Best Scanners with WiFi
2. Plustek Ephoto Z300 – Budget Manual Sheetfed Scanner
Plustek Z300 is another great option for bringing your photos into the digital world. The best part of this scanner is its affordability. For those who cannot afford a pricey photo scanner, this can be a cost-effective substitute.
Like the Epson FastFoto FF-680W above, this is also a sheetfed scanner however it lacks an ADF. Instead, each photo has to be scanner separately by manual feeding.
The scanner offers reasonable speed and can scan a 4×6 photo in two seconds. The speed is a little slower than our previous option, but it is among the best speed you can expect within this price range.
The scanner has a gentle feed system, and its soft roller will not damage your old photos, so that’s a big relief as well.
You can store the scanned files in any file format, and it offers both 300 and 600 dpi that is good enough for your basic archiving needs.
The scanner supports versatile photo sizes; you can easily scan between 1″x1″ to 8″x11.5″ with equal ease. It can perform some basic photo editing functions like auto deskew or auto-crop.
The only downside we can mention is probably not very crisp photo results. It also does not offer any photo restoration or dust removal options. It also does not support wireless connectivity, and you would have to rely on USB cable.
Again you can’t expect the features of a slide scanner in such a budget-friendly scanner. Overall, it is one of the best scanners for archiving photos for those who have a limited budget.
Read more: What is a sheet-fed scanner
3. Epson Perfection V370 – Budget Flatbed Scanner for Photos and Negatives
Here is another budget-friendly option but this one comes with a flatbed and also offers 35 mm negative slide scanning facility. As such, this is the perfect scanner for archiving your very old photos as well as negatives.
Slide scanners are expensive devices, but this budget-friendly option can surely cater to your basic archiving needs effectively.
Its built-in transparency unit can scan old worn-out photos, 35 mm films, and slides with equal ease. The scanning resolution is also not bad. With 4800 ×9600 dpi, you can expect clear and true to life photo scans. But for archiving you can choose 600 dpi as well.
An exciting feature is its Auto-stitch option. The stitching of photos is performed when you are scanning oversized photographs.
The photo is scanned in parts and later that parts are joined to create one single photo, the process is called digital stitching.
The scanner offers auto-stitching option for larger scans that is very convenient for non-professional users.
The scanner also offers a simple user interface, and you can scan documents or save them to cloud services with a simple touch. V350 can also provide some basic touch-up to your old and faded photos.
The scanner does not offer wireless connectivity. Also, it has been reported by the customers that the pressure plate, that straightens the photos, is very thin and fails to apply any pressure. This may result in uneven surfaces on the scans.
Still, this scanner provides great quality in a very cost-effective price, and that’s why we have selected it as one of the best scanners for archiving photos.
4. HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 – Flatbed with ADF
Here is another great option for archiving your photos. HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 is a good combination of Automatic feeder and a flatbed scanner.
Its powerful feeder can scan 50 photos in a go.
While the feeder is great for batch scanning, flatbed also has its uses especially when dealing with delicate and worn out photos.
While restoring some photos, you can’t risk putting some of the photos through a feeder, therefore, in such situations, flatbed can come in handy.
The scanner can fix and edit your old photos as well. Its efficient system can auto orient, straighten, clean up, or remove holes to give good quality scans.
You can scan the photos to your preferred location easily, and you can choose your preferred file type as well.
HP Pro 2500 f1 is a document scanner, and that’s why it has very limited resolution for scanning photos. Still, with 1200 DPI, it stands at a better level as compared to normal ADF scanners.
Therefore, it will do the basic archiving job, but you can’t expect to create enlargements from those pictures.
The scanner is equipped with useful scanning software like Nuance Technology, OCR or others that are helpful if you want to use it for document scanning.
Overall it’s a great scanner that combines ADF and flatbed. Although not a professional scanner for photos, it can be used for archiving old photos.
All in all, if you are sold by the notion of having both facilities, then this is among the best scanners for archiving photos for you.
Read more: Flatbed vs Slide Scanners
5. Epson Perfection V800 – Professional / Studio Level Photo Scanning
For those who want nothing less than professional quality for their old photos, Epson V800 is a perfect option.
It’s a complete solution for scanning photos. It offers the most comprehensive slide scanning facilities and some of the best optics technology for capturing the minutest of details from the photos.
The slide scanning facility can help you to revitalize your old films, 35mm films, slides, negatives, and old photos. All your medium format strips, 1×5 inches of a frame can be archived with equal clarity.
The scanner is one of two scanners (the other one being Epson V850) that offers Dual Lens Technology. One lens has a DPI of 4800 and the other has a DPI of 6400. The scanner chooses which one is best suited for the particular object.
DPI is not the only measure of how good the scanner is at capturing the details, the real measure comes from its Dmax. Dmax and Dynamic Range are the measures of how good the scanner can capture the tonal variation, hues and shades from the photos.
This scanner has a Dmax of 4.0 which is considered top notch for flatbed scanners.
The Powerful scanner comes equipped with software for controlling highlights, shadows, gradation, or scaling. Not only you can create archives, but you can recreate perfect versions of your old photos.
It comes with all the editing tools as well. You can remove dust or stains, adjust colors of faded photos, remove creases or scratches, and a lot more with its digital ICE Technology.
It’s a pricey scanner as compared to all our previous options, but the value it brings to invest a new life in your photos is priceless. The scanner is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS.
However, one drawback here is that despite being a premium scanner, Epson V800 does not offer wireless connectivity which is a little disappointing.
But if you are a sucker for quality, this is certainly among the best scanners for archiving photos.
The best scanners for archiving photos come in different shapes and price ranges.
Some are slow others are very fast. Some are flatbed, others have an ADF. Some have a low DPI, others have high DPI that can be used for image enlargements.
And finally, of course, some are expensive, while others are very cheap to procure.
The best option for you would obviously depend upon your use case, your scanning volume, your budget, as well as upon the quality that you demand. For basic home use, even a budget scanner has an extraordinary quality.
However, once you start considering professional archiving especially for clients, you may want to look at the the more expensive options.
You may also have to consider whether you want to archive negative films as well since only a select few scanners can actually scan negatives.