This scanner buying guide will help you choose the best scanner with the right features & software to help you archive and create files suited to photo restoration.


There is only one scanner choice, a dedicated flatbed!

Compared to an all-in-one, there is no better choice.

  • Dedicated flatbed scanners have better optics
  • Better imaging device
  • Longer life motors
  • A Better set of features
  • Better Software

Optics and Imaging

All-in-one scanner printer copiers cost as little as £45. When the scanner is broken down into components, the scanner head and lens can only cost about £15. Compared to a £250 scanner that only scans, it is obvious that more money is spent on optics and imaging and therefore much better quality.

Motors and features

It goes without saying that more money spent gets you longer life motors for even more scans and a better set of features. Dedicated scanners can come with negative scanning attachments and special light in the lid that shines through the negatives to produce exceptional scans.

Better Software

The software that comes with dedicated scanners if often better too. Software bundles with special products to help improve your scans further. Better damage removal and better colours.

Top 5 tips for choosing a scanner

1. Dedicated Scanner

All-in-one scanners are awful. They lose focus if the image is uneven and create overly noisy or sparkly images to overcompensate for bad optics. A dedicated scanner has a great depth of field and can focus on images even if they are not touching the scanner glass. The optics produce a one to one likeness of the photo in great detail. Perfect for editing and photo restoration.

2. Scan negatives

A scanner that can scan negatives can widen the range of materials you can digitize. A variety of attachments and scanning lids enable all kinds of negative sizes. Great scanners will scan up to 24 35mm negatives at a time!

Canon Scanner 9500F scanning accessories

Canon Scanner 9500F scanning accessories

3. Portability

Modern flatbed scanners are portable and slim and can offer great features even in a smaller format. For the best range of features, a bigger scanner will always be needed.

scanning guide flat-bed scanner

 Scanning buying guide – portable scanner

4. Removable Lid

A good scanner will enable you to remove the lid, This is good for thick or mounted photos and also to scan large images. With the lid removed you can scan any-size media. Including scanning huge paintings!

5. Software

With good software, you can scan more than one image at a time, no matter how small and all with different settings. This is so useful. I’ve written a separate article scanning software for multiple images that covers more on why this is so useful and how it can improve your productivity and efficiency.

Other choices of scanners.

Just Negatives – If you scan nothing but negatives you can get specialist machines that only scan negatives, they are limited to the size of negative.

Loads of prints – Bulk scanners, such as the Epson FastFoto FF-680W are a good choice if you are scanning thousands of prints at once, normally best suited to flat prints of uniform size and shape. These machines are incredibly fast with less individual image control than a flatbed.

Epson FastPhoto FF-680W

Epson FastPhoto FF-680W

No time for scanning? It can be a tedious task! To see how I can help with your scanning needs you can read my scanning guide or get in touch and you can hire me for your scanning project. You can also read here about how much does photo restoration cost