Converting print photos to digital
In the age of digital photos, photo scanners are still around largely because most of usor our parents and grandparentshave collections of old film-based photos. Most people would like to get those photos scanned, if they could only figure out how. If that's the boat you're in, here are some tips that can help.
1. Face Reality. Scanning photos is a time-intensive operation. Almost anything that speeds it up (other than buying a faster scanner) lowers scan quality. So pick the level of quality you want, and then accept the amount of work that comes with it.
2. Know Your Classes of Scanners. If you're still looking for a scanner, the balance of scan quality and ease of use should be your key concern. Unfortunately, the scanners that are easiest to use tend to have the lowest quality. That said, if you'll be satisfied with scans that are suitable for viewing onscreen or reprinting at the same sizealthough with noticeable color shifts and loss of resolutionconsider using an inexpensive sheet fed scanner like the Kodak P461 Personal Photo Scanner (9.99 direct, 4 stars). These scanners make all the settings decisions for you so all you have to do is feed the photos through a slot.
For quality suitable for just about anyone but a pro or prosumer, consider an inexpensive flatbed scanner, like the Editors' Choice Epson Perfection V300 Photo ($99.99 direct, 4 stars). For still better quality, consider a more expensive flatbed, like the Epson Perfection V700 Photo ($550 street, 4 stars). Also keep in mind that for the best quality, you should skip the printed photo, and scan the original negative instead, if it's available, preferably with a scanner like the V700, which can scan 12 slides at once.
3. Scanners on MFPs Aren't Great. Most MFPs are aimed at scanning documents and are best avoided for photo scanning. You can recognize the few exceptions by options in their scan utilities that are clearly meant for photos, like a color restore feature. Even for those, however, don't expect great quality. The best MFPs we've seen at PC Labs are in the same class as an inexpensive flatbed.
4. Choose a WIA or TWAIN Scan Drivers. Many scanners give you the choice of scanning with a separate scan utility or by calling up a driver from a program - using PhotoShop's File | Import command, for example. In most cases the interface and setting options are the same either way, so it doesn't matter which approach you take. However, you may also have the choice between using a WIA driver or a Twain driver. If so, the Twain driver will almost always give you far more control over the scan settings and better results even with the default settings.