Scanner, Anyone?

Over the week­end, a friend and I were dis­cussing scan­ning our old 35mm era pho­tos. While we both have func­tion­ing and capa­ble flatbed scan­ners, they are old­er and are very slow. When scan­ning at 600 dpi1, my scan­ner sounds like the open­ing three notes to the Star Wars Impe­r­i­al March, with each beat rep­re­sent­ing less than 1% of the lines scanned. I learned how rel­a­tive­ly slow this was when using a new­er flatbed scan­ner at my old job, which I was quite sure was­n’t actu­al­ly scan­ning the image prop­er­ly because it was just mov­ing too damn fast. I sud­den­ly had one of those cur­mud­geon­ly moments: you dang keeds and yoor technolargy!

So now I’m in the mar­ket for a new flatbed. I’d like one cheap, but that can scan quick­ly at 600‑1200 dpi. I real­ize that with the pop­u­lar­i­ty of dig­i­tal cam­eras, scan­ners aren’t near­ly as com­mon as they once were (or were going to be). How­ev­er, if any­one has any tips or rec­om­men­da­tions they’d like to pass on, I’d love to read them. I’m cur­rent­ly lean­ing toward buy­ing anoth­er Canon, just because I’ve been so pleased with my old one (qual­i­ty, if not speed). How­ev­er, low prices and rave reviews have been known to sway my attitudes.

Even­tu­al­ly, I’d like to scan in all our old 35mm pho­tos (as well as wed­ding pho­tos). If I can auto­mate the files sav­ing process and cut the scan time down to sec­onds per pho­to, that will be much more like­ly to happen.

1 — This is, by my cal­cu­la­tions for a 3“x5” pho­to, rough­ly equiv­a­lent to an image tak­en with a 5 Mega pix­el dig­i­tal camera.

Categorized as Geek, Life

By Jason Coleman

Structural engineer and technical content manager Bentley Systems by day. Geeky father and husband all the rest of time.


  1. Nope. I’ve real­ly kind of held of look­ing for the time being. It’s been pushed down on this list, as we’ve been focus­ing finan­cial efforts on oth­er fronts. How­ev­er, it’s in the back of my mind and I’m still look­ing to see what’s out there. I’m still think­ing a rel­a­tive­ly cheap Canon or HP.

  2. I’ve seen some at Sta­ples that look pret­ty cool. They’ve got built-in negative/slide slots and one even had a place to put a stack of (I think 3“x4” ish) pho­tographs in it. I’m a lit­tle afraid of those jack of all trade devices, though.

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