Photo Scanner Comparison Tips: Features to Look For

Before you run out to the store to purchase a photo scanner, you should take the time to do a thorough photo scanner comparison to determine which features you want and which features you can do without. The higher the quality of scanner and the more features you need, the higher the cost of the product is generally going to be. If you can identify exactly what you want in a scanner, however, you may be able to save yourself some money and provide a better overall experience for yourself when you are using the scanner in the future. Below you will find a list of features commonly found in photo scanners so that you know what to look for when you are making a purchase.

Optical Resolution

Optical resolution refers to the quality of image that a scanner is capable of producing. You will want to have a good idea of what you will want to do with your scanned images before you decide on the quality of optical resolution that you will be looking for. If you only want to display your images on your computer screen or e-mail them to friends, you will be able to purchase a scanner with significantly lower optical resolution than if you intend to print out your images on photo paper.

Automatic Feeder

If you intend to scan large volumes of photos at a time, an automatic feeder might be a feature to take into account. An automatic photo feeder can significantly cut down on the amount of time it will take to scan a large stack of photos, as it eliminates the need for you to manually insert each photo.


You will want to make sure you know what type of connection you have on your computer before purchasing a scanner because you do not want to buy a scanner that you cannot hook up. Some scanners, for instance, come with FireWire connections that will be very fast, but many computers do not have FireWire inputs. The majority of scanners will come with USB 2.0 inputs, which most computers will be able to use.

Color Depth

Color depth is similar to optical resolution in that it will affect the quality of image that the scanner can produce. Specifically, color depth refers to the amount of color data that the scanner can extract from your photos. In general, the greater the color depth, the higher quality of image that your scanner will produce.

Sensor Technology

There are two basic types of sensors that will be found in the vast majority of scanners on the market. The first type of sensor is referred to as a charge-coupled device, or CCD. This is the more outdated type of sensor, which means that it will typically be found in cheaper scanners. The other type of sensor that you will sometimes find in scanners is referred to as a Contact Image Sensor, or CIS. Interestingly, CIS sensors actually produce slightly lower quality images than CCD sensors, but CIS sensors use far less energy and are smaller and lighter weight than CCD sensors.

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