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Best Scanner For Art And Photos

By October 8, 2020No Comments

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Best Scanner For Art And Photos

Best Scanner For Art And Photos

Whether you are looking to scan artwork or trying to digitize old photos, the process of taking analog to digital can be an exciting process. On the other hand, if you don’t have the right scanner for your needs, it can be frustrating. To make sure you find the ideal scanner for your specific use case, this article will give you a curated list of the best scanners for art and photos.

Each scanner we review has different benefits and features. For this reason, I will explain why each scanner is good and what type of user it is best for. In addition, later in the article, I will break down what makes a good scanner and what to look out for when choosing a scanner. Let’s dive in!

Best Scanner For Art And Photos

Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner

Best mid-range scanner for photos and artwork

  • Type: Flatbed color image scanner
  • Optical Resolution: 9600 dpi
  • Maximum Resolution: 12,800 x 12,800 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth: 48-bits per pixel
  • Maximum Scan Area: 8.5″ x 11.7″
  • Light Source: ReadyScan LED technology
  • Scanning Speed: 21.00 msec/line
PROS
  • High-resolution scanning for enlargement of up to 17×22 sq.in.
  • Digital ICE to eliminate dust, scratches, tear marks, etc.
  • Scans prints, slides, films, and negatives for all-around use
  • Equipped with one-touch photo restoration software
  • Works on both PC and Mac
CONS
  • Can be challenging to set up with MAC computers, as reported by some users
  • Some users report scanner software temporarily freezing up after heavy use
  • Film holders are a bit flimsy and could scratch the platen over time

If your budget is around the sub $300 price range, the Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner is a great choice. This scanner can handle any kind of scanning, from photos, film, negatives, artwork, and everyday documents. The scans are precise and high quality due to its 6400 x 9600 dpi resolution that translates to enlargements up to 17 x 22“.

The Epson Perfection V600, comes with easy to use software packages that will drastically improve your scanning process and overall quality. One of which is Digital ICE, made for removing tears, dust, scratches, and restoring faded colors. Another included software, ArcSoft PhotoStudio, will help you fix and enhance your photos quickly to improve bulk quality improvements. Lastly, you will get ABBYY FineReader Sprint Plus OCR, which converts scanned documents to editable text.

If you are looking to make your photo restoration process easier, the V600 comes with two film holders to scan film negatives. One of these is 33mm with film mounted sides. The other one is 6 x 22 inches. This, in combination with the included software, makes the Epson V600 one of the very best scanners for art and photos for the price.

The closest comparable scanner is the Canon CanoScan 9000F. While the Epson is a bit more expensive, it performs slightly better in most objective measures except for scan speed. One matter which of these two you go for, in the sub $300 price range, both are amazing value and will give you outstanding high-quality scans reliably.

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Canon Canoscan 9000F Mark II Flatbed Scanner

Ultra fast mid-range scanner

  • Type: Flatbed color image scanner
  • Optical Resolution: 9600 dpi
  • Maximum Resolution: 19,200 x 19,200 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth: 48-bits per pixel
  • Maximum Scan Area: 8.5″ x 11.7″
  • Light Source: White LED
  • Scanning Speed: Approx. 18 seconds for 35MM Negative at 1200 dpi
PROS
  • Very easy to use
  • No warmup time and super-fast scanning in seconds
  • High resolution for pro-level scanning of slides and images
  • Single-touch functioning with auto-correction of images
  • Versatile scanner designed for different dimensions of films, slides, etc.
CONS
  • May not be able to scan the grains in very old slides and negatives
  • Not text recognition software for converting documents into editable text

If you’re looking for the fastest scanner that will work for photos and artwork, the Canon Canoscan 9000F Mark II Flatbed Scanner is the ideal choice. With a resolution of 9600 x 9600 dpi, this scanner works super-fast, whether it scans slides, photos, or documents, without compromising on quality.

The Canon 9000F Mark II comes with software that is compatible with Windows and Mac. You will find it very easy to install. In terms of additional programs, the 9000F comes with My Image Garden, and Gutter Shadow Correction. My Image Garden automates tasks like facial recognition, date based organization, layout suggestions, and also a set of filters. Gutter Shadow is helpful if you are scanning books, as it automatically removes page shadows.

If you are looking for a scanner in the $250 – $300 price range, chances are you are cross-shopping the Epson Perfection V600. The main differences are as follows. The Epson will produce scans that are a bit more true to the original, where-as the Canon auto corrects. This makes the scans look slightly more vivid. But if you are looking for one to one accuracy, I recommend the Epson. The Canon is way faster, therefore better for bulk scanning or if you are impatient. If you need text recognition that converts text to editable text, go with the Epson as Canon doesn’t offer this.

Overall, the Canon Canoscan Mark 9000F Mark II is a great scanner for mass photo scanning because of its speed, quality, and ease of use, for the money.

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Epson Perfection V850 Pro Scanner

Professional-level scanner for photos, film, and artwork

  • Type: Flatbed color image scanner
  • Optical Resolution: 6400 dpi
  • Maximum Resolution: 12,800 x 12,800 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth: 48-bits per pixel
  • Maximum Scan Area: 8.5″ x 11.7″
  • Light Source: ReadyScan LED technology
  • Scanning Speed: 10.8 msec/line
PROS
  • ICE technology to eliminate dust and surface problems while scanning
  • Unmatched range of colors with incredible details of shadows and smooth gradations
  • High-resolution, dual-lens scanning for professional scanning of negatives, slides, images, etc.
  • Powerful software for controlling highlights, scaling, sharpening, and more
  • Scan lid is removable so you can scan books
CONS
  • A little difficult to set up and use for first-timers
  • The software is a little outdated

One of the best scanners for photos, film negatives, and artwork is, without a doubt, the Epson Perfection V850. It is designed specifically for professional photographers and creatives that demand color accurate, high-resolution, high-quality scans.

So why does the V850 produce such high-quality images? For one, the Epson V850 scans images at 6400 dpi, using advanced optics. I’m referring to a high-reflection mirror and anti-reflection optical coating that reduces optical distortion. Secondly, 4.0 Dmax technology gives your images an exceptional tonal range, smooth gradients, and shadow detail. Not to mention, this Epson can produce amazing quality no matter what media because of its dual-lens system. It automatically selects from these two lenses based on the media type.

The scanner comes with two sets of plastic film holders made for 35mm negatives (18 frames), 35mm slides (12 frames), medium format (1 frame up to 6 x 20 cm), and 4 x 5 film (1 frame). These holders will make sure your scans are not distorted and consistently aligned.

The Epson Perfection V850 comes with software packages that give you better control, versatility, and efficiency. First, Epson Scan is the base software that gives you control over media type, histogram, contrast, color management, resolution, dust removal, color restoration, file destination, and more. Second, is SilverFast® SE Plus, which gives you even more creative control over what is available in the base Epson Scan Software. Finally, Digital ICE Technologies will reduce your post-editing time dramatically by removing most surface defects from various media.

While the V850 is an amazing scanner, it only has a few improvements over the cheaper V800. Even though the V850 can boast better high pass optics, and a slightly better version of the SilverFast Software, SE Plus. Overall, they are basically the same scanner and it is hard to tell the difference in image quality between the two. Therefore, if you are stretched on budget, I recommend the Epson Perfection V800.

Bottom line, if you need a professional-level scanner and don’t mind paying a premium for it, the Epson Perfection V850 is a perfect choice. It uses state-of-the-art technology for vivid colors, remarkable details, and smoothness. The scanning software may be challenging to learn. But once you are familiar, it gives you in-depth creative control.

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Epson DS-50000 Large-Format Document Scanner

Best mid-range large Scanner for Artworks

  • Type: Flatbed color image scanner
  • Optical Resolution: 600 dpi
  • Maximum Resolution: 600 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth: 16-bits per pixel internal / 8-bits external color
  • Maximum Scan Area: 11.7″ x 17″
  • Light Source: ReadyScan LED technology
  • Scanning Speed: 300 dpi Mono/Color: 0.35 MSec/line
PROS
  • Supports large formats of up to 11.7″ x 17″ sq.in.
  • Bright colors, crisp text, and sharp details with 4-line CCD sensor
  • Supports networked functioning for group work
  • Easy to set up, integrate, and use
  • 3-year warranty
CONS
  • Pricey for only 600 dpi
  • Limited software available

If your primary use case involves large-format, over 8.5 x 11, the Epson DS-50000 should be considered. With a maximum scan area of 11″ x 17″ and 600 x 600 dpi, this scanner is an excellent blend of size and quality. While this scanner is great for artwork and general use, it doesn’t have enough resolution for scanning film.

The Epson DS-50000 comes with Epson Scan, Document Capture Pro, and ABBYY FineReader Sprint software. The interface is intuitive and easy to use. You can scan and transfer files directly to the cloud. 

It also comes with Epson Smart Scan utility, including OCR technology (Optical Character Recognition) for document scanning. This gives you the ability to scan documents into editable text.

Overall, the Epson DS-50000 Large Format Scanner is perfect for digitizing large format artwork and documents. Scan speeds are very fast. Quality is good enough for artwork and documents, but not meant for professional photographers scanning film. If you want to increase quality and control, you will have to buy X0Rite i1 Scanner software and Reflective IT-8 Target separately.

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Epson Expression 12000XL-GA Graphic Arts Scanner

Best high-quality large Scanner for Artworks

  • Type: Flatbed color image scanner
  • Optical Resolution: 2400 dpi
  • Maximum Resolution: 2400 x 4800 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth: 48-bits per pixel internal/external
  • Maximum Scan Area: 12.2″ x 17.2″
  • Light Source: ReadyScan LED technology
  • Scanning Speed: 16.0 msec/line
PROS
  • Supports large formats of up to 12.2″ x 17.2″ sq.in.
  • High-quality 2400 x 4800 dpi
  • High fidelity with accurate color 
  • SilverFast Software gives more control than standard scan utilities
CONS
  • Expensive
  • The software is a little outdated
  • SilverFast software can’t automatically make frames on batch scan prints

If you need a high-quality, high-resolution, large format scanner, the Epson Expression 12000XL ticks all the boxes. This scanner delivers excellent quality scans on most media from photos to tabloid-sized artwork. This scanner is expensive. However, if you need tabloid-size scans at 2400 x 4600 dpi resolution, this is a great choice.

It is important to mention, there are two configurations of this 12000XL series scanner. While both are essentially the same, there is one key difference. The one we are recommending here is the 12000XL-GA. The other is the 12000XL-PH. The PH version is about $600 more expensive because it comes with a 12.2 by 16-inch transparency unit that will scan up to 48 frames or 35mm film negatives, 30 slides, eight frames of 4 by 5 transparencies, or size medium format transparency strips. If you plan on scanning film negatives, you should step up to the 12000XL-PH.

When it comes to setup and software, the 12000XL series scanners don’t disappoint. Setup is easy. You pug in the USB cable and download the Epson Scan 2 utility from Epson’s website. In addition to the base software, you get SilverFast Ai IT8, and Lasersoft Imaging, for full creative control over the way media is scanned.

Overall, if you need a large-format high-resolution scanner for artwork, photos, and general use, The Epson Expression 12000XL-GA is a great choice. If you need all of the aforementioned, plus the ability to scan film, I recommend checking the price on the Epson Expression 12000XL-PH.

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Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner

Excellent budget scanner for art and photos

  • Type: Flatbed color image scanner
  • Optical Resolution: 4800 dpi
  • Maximum Resolution: 4800 x 4800 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth: 48-bits per pixel internal / 24-bits per pixel external
  • Maximum Scan Area: 8.5″ x 11.7″
  • Light Source: Three-colour RGB LEDs
  • Scanning Speed: 600 dpi approx 30 sec
PROS
  • High-resolution at an affordable price
  • Supports large formats of prints through “stitching”
  • Converts documents into text files that can be edited
  • Top can be removed for scanning books
CONS
  • Not able to scan film
  • Software features are somewhat limiting

The Epson Perfection V39 is a solid choice if you are looking for an entry-level yet high-quality photo scanner that fits a tight budget. Value for money is off the charts here with 4800 dpi, high-quality scanning of various media types, cloud connectivity, and text recognition capability.

Using the V39 is simple and intuitive with impressive results. There is an automatic mode and manual settings for more control. Scan quality is exceptional for a scanner at this price range. Apart from minor color shifts, the V39 is very color accurate. It handles shades of black easily while retaining precise detail.

The V39 comes with a few software apps to make your workflow easier, including Epson Scan, Scan to PDF, Document Capture Pro, and ArcSoft Scan-n-Stitch Deluxe. Scan-n-Stitch lets you take multiple scans of letter-sized parts and digitally stitch them together. Easy Photo Scan gives you some basic photo editing and file organization functionality. As with other Epson scanners, the V39 comes with the handy optical character recognition (OCR) which lets you automatically convert scanned text to editable text in Microsoft Word format.

Overall, the Epson Perfection V39 is a perfect choice if you want a high-resolution scanner while on a budget. It handles most media types except for film. With easy to use software and OCR text conversion ability, this is really the perfect all-around scanner at an affordable price.

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Epson FastFoto FF-680W

Fastest scanner for photo archivists

  • Type: Sheet-fed, one-pass duplex color scanner
  • Optical Resolution: 600 dpi
  • Maximum Resolution: 1200 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth: 30-bit internal / 24-bit external
  • Maximum Scan Area: 8.5 x 11
  • Light Source: 3-colour RGB LED
  • Scanning Speed: 80 ppm/160 ipm2
PROS
  •  Fastest possible scanning for photos
  • Versatile with scanning options at different resolutions up to 1200 dpi
  • Easy to use with an internet connection and auto-upload to Cloud
  • One-step technology for double-sided scanning 
  • OCR document scanning converts scans to editable text
CONS
  • Prefers flat photos and does not respond well to cupped images

If you need to archive a ton of photo prints, the Epson FastFoto FF 680W, touted as the fastest personal scanner in the world, is a great choice. It is so fast, 300 dpi scans take only 1 second and 600 dpi scans take about 3 seconds. This sheet-feed scanner lets you load up to 36 photos at a time.

Scan accuracy and image quality is good for such a fast scanner. You can scan to 300 dpi and 600 dpi options, with enlargements up to 1200 dpi. It comes with plastic guide slots for 5 x 7, and 4 x 6 photos. Scans arrive on your computer or directly to Google Drive or Dropbox via USB or WIFI connectivity in jpg or tiff format. 

The Epson FastFoto 680W comes with second-generation FastFoto Software that is easy to use. It gives you the ability to edit, organize, and share your photos. It also comes with Epson Smart Scan utility, including OCR technology (Optical Character Recognition) for document scanning. This gives you the ability to scan documents into editable text.

Overall, the Epson FastFoto 680W is perfect for digitizing a ton of old photos and it can also handle common document scanning. The software is easy to use and aids productivity. However, if you need to scan large artwork at higher resolutions, you should look at one of the other flatbed scanners in this article.

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Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i

Best Portable High-Res Scanner

  • Type: ADF (Automatic Document Feeder), Duplex
  • Optical Resolution: 600 dpi
  • Maximum Resolution: 1200 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth: 24-bit
  • Maximum Scan Area: 8.5″ x 14.2″
  • Light Source: 3 color LED (Red / Green / Blue)
  • Scanning Speed: 10 ppm
PROS
  • Small, collapsible, and lightweight for easy transportation
  • High-resolution scanner for different size formats
  • Capable of creating Word docs and Excel sheets that can be edited 
  • Intelligent image correction with automated processing
CONS
  • Not for professionals who want to scan slides and negatives

A high-resolution portable scanner might sound like a bit of a paradox – until you chance upon the final product on our list, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i. This 600-dpi scanner can digitize your documents and photos in different size formats – at the touch of a button. It is compact, light, and really easy to use.

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What Makes a Good Scanner for Art and Design?

Chances are, you have already moved on to tablets for your drawings and illustrations. But what about the old ones that are yellowing away inside old sketchbooks? The ideal way to digitize them is by using scanners for art and design. But how do you select the best ones for yourself?

Let’s find out more about them to understand the factors and features to consider how to select the best scanner for art and design!

Flatbed vs. Document Handler:

The first decision to make is regarding the type of scanner that you need: a flatbed or a document handler – or both of them put together in one device. Flatbed scanners are equipped with a glass plate and come with lids. The document handler, on the other hand, allows you to feed a bunch of sheets at a time. 

Gone are the days of bulky scanners. Now, as a painter, photographer, any professional artist in any field, you can choose a flatbed scanner. With this scanner, you can place your artwork on the glass plate and press down on it with the lid for high-quality scanning to keep the original colors intact.

Resolution:

A standard scanner is usually 600 dpi. However, while these are good for everyday documents, this kind of scanner may not be able to do justice to your works of art with the finest details. For that, you will need a scanner with high resolution to capture small details.

The unit, “dpi” means “dots per inch”. The higher the number of dots in an inch, the more details captured. Flatbed scanners can export high-quality images, but it is the resolution that will make the real difference. A flatbed scanner with CCD technology and 1200 dpi is considered the best.

Resolution:

A standard scanner is usually 600 dpi. However, while these are good for everyday documents, this kind of scanner may not be able to do justice to your works of art with the finest details. For that, you will need a scanner with high resolution to capture small details.

The unit, “dpi” means “dots per inch”. The higher the number of dots in an inch, the more details captured. Flatbed scanners can export high-quality images, but it is the resolution that will make the real difference. A flatbed scanner with CCD technology and 1200 dpi is considered the best.

Maximum Paper Size:

What size of paper is your scanner equipped to handle? Most scanners are equipped to handle only standard A4-size papers. So if you usually paint on papers of that size or less, you will not have a problem with scanning and digitizing your art on paper.

There are specialized scanners for different sizes of papers, too, and you will need one if you want to scan papers that are large. This will not necessarily hamper the size of the scanner. Some portable ones are designed to scan standard papers despite their compactness.

Speed:

An essential feature to consider when you’re out there shopping for a scanner for your artwork is its speed. How many pages can the device handle in a single minute? This will help you understand if the scanner is designed to concentrate on quality or quantity, or maybe a little bit of both.

If it is a fast scanner, it will likely cost you a small fortune. But do remember that these high-speed, expensive scanners are designed for high-speed, high-volume scanning. As an artist, do you really need to concentrate on speed? Or would you rather not pay for a feature that won’t be of any use to you.

Print/Copy/Fax:

Many scanners available now are devised to sit on your table like a multitasker, saving space – and, to a large extent, money. You will no longer have to allot space and money for printers, copiers, etc. Instead, you can invest in a combo unit that will serve many other purposes.

However, you have to remember that the price of these multipurpose devices is usually much higher than the regular ones. As an artist who needs a scanner to digitize his art, are you going to be using the device often as a printer, copier, or Fax machine? Consider the question before buying the appliance.

Network Connectivity:

Can you really call a device “advanced” until it has internet connectivity? While it may sound strange, scanners actually come with network connectivity these days. But why would you really need internet connectivity on your scanner? This will help you connect to the Cloud.

Whether you use all the free virtual space available on Google Drive or have purchased some extra storage, a direct connection with the Cloud will allow you to save your scanned artwork there. The capability to collect with multiple computers is a feature that you won’t need for personal use.

Software Capabilities:

An advanced scanner will be loaded with the software to let you select the format for your scanned content, which is an innovative and quick feature. Apart from that, a scanner for art may come with the software to detect first, dust, irregularities on top of the paint.

Another handy software in case of smaller scanners is the “stitching software. If the scanner is small, a scanner will ask you to put the image inside it several times to scan separate portions of the image. Then, using the software, it will “stitch” these scanned images and give you the complete image.

What DPI Should I Use for Scanning Artwork?:

The resolution of a scanner is measured and expressed in terms of “dpi”, i.e., “dots per inch”. Different types of artworks need scanners of different resolutions. In general, artists are happy with 600 dpi for scanning their images and photographs on the paper.

For line drawings that are used in comics, glyphs, etc., scanning at 900 dpi is essential to ensure that gradients are properly captured. Halftone images, on the other hand, are best captured at 1200 dpi. In general, 1200 dpi scanners are the best to maintain the archival-quality of the pictures.

Is higher DPI Better for Scanning?:

The resolution of the scanner determines how much of the image information it will capture. The higher the resolution (measured by “dpi”), the more information it will be able to capture. As a result, you will be able to scan and print a detailed photograph of high quality.

Higher “dpi” will ensure that the image captured is smooth. Interestingly. The size of the image has an essential role to play in how you want to capture the image at a specific dpi. If you’re going to reduce the size of the scanned image, you scan it at a lower resolution!

What DPI Should I Use for Scanning Artwork?:

The resolution of a scanner is measured and expressed in terms of “dpi”, i.e., “dots per inch”. Different types of artworks need scanners of different resolutions. In general, artists are happy with 600 dpi for scanning their images and photographs on the paper.

For line drawings that are used in comics, glyphs, etc., scanning at 900 dpi is essential to ensure that gradients are properly captured. Halftone images, on the other hand, are best captured at 1200 dpi. In general, 1200 dpi scanners are the best to maintain the archival-quality of the pictures.

What is the Best DPI to Scan Old Photos?:

While most artists are happy with a 600 dpi scanner, scanning images at a higher dpi is preferred if you are trying to capture an old photo. At the time of performing your retouching job, you cannot settle for a blurry old image. Plus, you may need to crop and recompose it. So a minimum of 600 dpi is a must.

The story will be different if you are dealing with old slides and negatives. For those, you will have to go for a much higher dpi. To get the quality of a 6 mp photograph, you will need a scanner with a 2000 dpi. A scanner with a higher resolution, like 4000 dpi or more, is even better.

Is 600 dpi Too Much?:

As an artist, a scanner with a high resolution is always the better option. So 600 dpi is definitely not “too much”. Most artists use this resolution to scan their images and capture details that lower-resolution scanners just cannot handle. In fact, you can aim for higher resolutions.

The higher the resolution, the smoother the image will be. For standard grayscale text or document scanning, 300 dpi might be sufficient. But to ensure that your artwork is digitized well and does not deteriorate in quality at the time of printing, 600 dpi is a must.

Camden Taylor

Author Camden Taylor

Camden is Arturth's founder. A Senior Graphic Designer from the Pacific Northwest, he has a passion for art, design, and bringing people together through the creative process.

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