Flatbed scanners are the most common desktop scanners. Why? Because they are very easy to use and have extreme versatility. A flatbed scanner can be used to scan photos, books, magazines and easily damaged documents like stamps which you can’t pass through a sheet feeder.

Buying a flatbed scanner is easy but choosing the right one for your need is the tedious task. There are some factors you should consider which determines the quality of a flatbed.

The primary concern would be scanning resolution. You may notice specification like 2400 x 4800 ppi in many sites. The smaller number is the optical resolution. So the above scanner has 2400 ppi resolution.

Optimum resolution varies for different purposes. For example, document scanning needs only 300 ppi while photo scanning needs 600 or above. See the following table.

  • Image Sensor

There are two types of sensors used these days. CCD (Charged Coupled Device) and CIS (Contact Image Sensor). Former is used for high-quality image processing while later is most common, consumes less energy and cost less but gives slightly less quality output.

  • Color Depth

Color depth or bit depth is the amount of information per pixel. Which means as the color depth increases quality increases and also the size of the scanned image. 36-bit is more than enough but even 48-bit scanners are now available for high-quality scanning.

  • Bundled Software

Usually, there will be software inbuilt for color calibration, image editing and optical character recognition (OCR).

Here we list the most efficient and worthy flatbed photo scanners of every budget for easy comparison.

5. Canon CanoScan LiDE 120

canon canoscan lide 120

This low-cost flatbed photo scanner from canon is really impressive, I must say. A successor to LiDE 110, most of the features remain unchanged but there are some changes in software. It has 2400 dpi resolution with 16-bit color depth.

The machine is totally easy to use and features 4 EZ Buttons on the front panel. Although you can assign custom functions to these buttons, by default they are used for Copy, Scan to PDF, Scan to email and AutoScan feature. AutoScan automatically selects the format to save your scans. Example: photos as JPG and documents as PDF.

The LiDE 120 has both TWAIN and WIA drivers for direct scanning from scan command on windows. The software includes My Image Garden to arrange photos and view as an album. You can also do some photo enhancements with this but it doesn’t replace a good photo editor. The built-in OCR is pretty good as it can read up to 8 points character size Times New Roman without any mistake.

LiDE 120 is powered entirely by USB connection hence highly energy efficient. And for the price, I must say the scan quality is excellent. The only drawback I found was the lack of a good photo editing software.

Overall, LiDE 120 is the best budget flatbed photo scanner for light uses.

More Details & User Reviews @Amazon

4. Epson Perfection V550

5 Best Flatbed Scanners for Photos Films and Negatives

The V550 is yet another worthy scanner for scanning your photos, films, and negatives from the leading manufacturer Epson. The V550 is known for its impressive scan quality and features. It can scan to email, facebook and cloud.

Also, it has a large scan area of 8.5 by 11.7 inches with 6400 dpi optical resolution and 48-bit color depth. Which means you can scan four 35mm slides, two rows of 6 negatives each or medium format film at a time.

Epson’s Digital ICE Technology is another notable feature. It digitally removes dust and scratches from scanned images. There are 4 EZ buttons which do these functions by default: scan to PDF, copy, scan to email and Autoscan. Of course, you can set custom functions to these buttons.

There are 4 modes of scanning too. Full Auto, Home, Office, and Professional. You can use Professional mode for film and negative scanning as only this mode uses Digital ICE.

The machine is easy to set up and easy to use. Software included are Epson PhotoFix, Abbyy FIneReader 9.0 Sprint OCR. It supports TWAIN and WIA drivers so that you can scan directly from windows.

It only takes average 28 seconds to scan a 2400 dpi slide. The scan quality is also perfect for the price. Scanned images look pretty close to the originals.

More Details & User Reviews @Amazon

3. Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II

Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII Color Image Scanner

The successor to the well-received model 9000F, 9000F Mark II had its advantage. Well, at first I didn’t notice anything different, appearance is same but the software is different.

Canon 9000F Mark II is faster and has advanced optics. It normally scans at 4800 dpi but can scan handle slides and negatives up to an incredibly detailed 9600 dpi with a maximum of 48-bit color depth. The machine is easy to use with TWIN scan interface. The AutoScan mode does the job automatically and saves files accordingly.

Also, the 9000F Mark II is an incredibly fast scanner for the price. It scans A4 sheet in just about 5 seconds and takes only 50 seconds for a film scan at 2400 dpi. The scanner has 7 function buttons for user-defined purposes.

With the CCD imaging technology, you get high quality perfectly focused detailed images. The software included are Canon Scangear, Image Editor, and My Image Garden. Can be used with both Mac and Windows.

Considering the price, quality of scanning and the features, Canon 9000F Mark II is, without doubt, the best budget flatbed photo scanner in the market.

More Details & User Reviews @Amazon

2. Epson Perfection V850 Pro

Epson Perfection V850 Pro scanner

The V850 is top-class premium scanner from Epson for the best possible scan quality. Well, stuff is little too pricey but its worth the money for perfectionists. V850 has 6400 dpi resolution with 4.0 Dmax rating for perfect shadow detail.

Made for scanning films, this beast can handle anything from 35mm slides to negatives as large as 8 by 10 inches. It has 2 sets of 4 film holders so that you can set up next one while scanning the first set.

Well, Epson has thought of all the technologies that can possibly be included in a photo scanner. Like the lower versions, you can find Digital ICE technology in this one too. Besides that, the LaserSoft Imaging’s SilverFast Scan Utility software provides higher degree of efficiency for image optimization and X-Rite i1 scanner profiling software enables superior color calibration.

The machine is heavy though, weighs 14 pounds. Overall, Epson Perfection V850 is a top-notch scanner focused on film and negative scanning with at most perfection.

More Details & User Reviews @Amazon

1. Epson Perfection V600

Epson Perfection V600

Epson takes their 550 to next level with the new V600 photo scanner. This well-built scanner can scan at 6400 dpi resolution with 48-bit color depth. I must say this one is a complete bang for the buck.

The main attraction of V600 is the large scanning area. You can scan up to four 35mm slides or two 35mm film strips at once. You can also scan medium format films, 120/220 and the entire range of panoramic formats up to 6 by 22 cms. Just like V550, V600 also uses LED light source which is faster and takes less warm-up time.

There are 4 EZ buttons as in V550, customizable for any functions and the four modes, from fully automatic to manual, does the job really good.

The set up is really easy and hassle-free. It comes with TWAIN and WIA drivers for windows so that you can scan from most of the program using scan command.

Unlike V550, there is Adobe Photoshop Elements as a dedicated image editor and Abbyy FineReader for OCR. I found the OCR excellent because it could easily read 6 points character sizes Times New Roman without mistake.

Overall, Epson Perfection V600 can be described as the perfect photo scanner.

More Details & User Reviews @Amazon

Categorized in: